During the Jurassic Age, when no one lived in the financial district, that part of the island was deserted on weekends, doubly deserted, post-apocalyptically deserted, on holiday weekends. It was on one such Labor Day weekend that the Father-Mother were possessed of the idea that nothing could be finer than a family sojourn down to Battery Park to watch the ships cruise past Lady Liberty. We had the park to ourselves save an overpopulated kit of flying rats and a drove of drunken bums, for whom, of course, every day was a holiday. As we were lightly stepping in between little groupings of cooing vermin on our way to a bench by the water, a couple of muy borrachos came weaving and wobbling in our direction. The womb saw this as a teaching moment, pointed at them, and exclaimed: Look Rob-it, look at the schickers — they can’t even walk straight. Don’t ever let that happen to you! As if to punctuate her words of wisdom, a pair of gliding squabs in that instant materialized overhead, buzzing us, and one of them took a little dove dump, white as the driven shit, that plopped right on top of mom’s greying conk. What would you have done? Me, I started cackling. This was literally the funniest shit I had ever seen, and that included Martin and Lewis movies, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, even the Marx Brothers. Unfortunately for me, the parentals didn’t share my amusement, saw nothing funny in what had just gone down, experienced my reaction as gross disrespect, and responded to it in kind by potching me all over the place, taking turns doing so. After I had been properly disciplined, they each grabbed one of my hands and dragged me down to the IRT, pulled me off at Times Square, hauled me through the underground passageway to the IND at Eighth and Fortieth, up into the antechamber to the hell of the Port Authority, past Nedicks, then up the escalator and past the newsstand and Walgreens, the Book Bar and Food Fair, out onto Ninth Ave, over to 39th Street, into the house, up the stairs, into my room, tossed me onto my bed, and then stood there glaring at me. I saw this as my cue to spew a regret-filled apologia. I didn’t disappoint. At least I thought I didn’t. I cried, bawled was more like it. I begged their forgiveness, told them I knew I had been wrong, bad, and that I was really, really sorry. But my apology was not accepted. They slammed the door in my face. I was upset, shaken, downright fucking traumatized. It took me a while to calm my shit down, but once I did, I closed my eyes and relived that glorious moment. And then I did like Galileo, who, upon leaving the inquisitors, having told them what they wanted to hear—that he had been mistaken, that the earth was in fact the unmoving center of the universe—spit in the street, and with bated breath, and in Latin, said Eppur si muove, Still it moves, only in my case, and had I known Latin, I would have said, Tamen suus ridiculam, Still it’s funny. And they could not take that way from me.
Luckily for all involved, the events recounted here concerning the besotted hobos occurred pre-Night of the Living Dead, so there was zero potential horror to be gleaned from this suddenly spooky turn of events in the all-but-deserted city. In my daydreams post- NOTLD, as soon as the staggering dudes approached, I would have figured out fast that these weren’t ordinary bums but Hooch Zombies DTK LAMF (down to kill, like a motherfucker). Yet my lightning read of the scene would have come too late for some, for even before I could speak, the schicker undead would have already pounced upon the slow-witted parentals and commenced to chow down. After the initial horror of watching the gruesome zombie degustation of mom and dad, but before the walkers could wobble-work their way to me, my brain would have relayed its marching orders to my peds, and they would have done their duty, carrying me like winged Mercury in the direction of the South Ferry Terminal. Since no daydream, or nightmare—is worth its weight in NaCl without complication, I would realize upon arrival at the terminal that this last ferry out of hell had already begun chugging its way out of its mooring, heading for the safety of the open sea. I would have no choice but to pick up speed and leap for life. Since I was the hero of my dream, during my leap of faith in space, with my legs churning the air just as Wile E. Coyote’s would in the nanos preceding his predetermined crash and burn, I would metamorphize from gorkball pischer, yeshiva bucher, into all that I aspired to be—a slim, handsome, athletic, incomparably cool, teen bad boy. But instead of sticking the landing—that would have been too easy—I would fall centimeters short and instead gain a most tentative hold on the stern with the tippy- tip tips of my fingers. As my fingers slowly slipped, slipped, slipped off the edge, a hand would appear from out of nowhere, digits ex machina, reach out, offer help. I grab ahold and climb on board. I see my savior’s face haloed by the sun and realize that he-who-had-saved-me is actually a she, a beautiful teen, my other half, who would either be the Anne Francis of Forbidden Planet, or in the contempo remake, Kristen Stewart, consort of vampires and beatniks. The ferry would head not to Staten Island, already overrun with famished undead rising out of the wormy loam of the Fresh Kills landfill, but to Bedloe’s Island, where we would muster our meager forces in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, where I would volunteer for the Flesh and Blood Regiment of Brooklyn, for which I would fight with great valor, and of which I would be one of the few survivors. Afterward I would sell my tale of time served to Joel Silver or Roger Corman and the film adaptation, which, as a condition of sale, would be titled Rob-it Contra Los Hooch Zombies, would either star Brad Pitt or John Agar, depending on both budget and where on the space-time continuum principal photography began.