MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 America's week of unspeakable horror began, fittingly enough, with a splashy gala concert by the King of Pop/alleged child molester/seventh sign of the apocalypse Michael Jackson. Honoring Jackson's 30 years in the entertainment industry, the sold-out Madison Square Garden tribute show featured appearances by a bloated Liza Minnelli, a freakishly thin Whitney Houston, and a spookily prophetic Marlon Brando, who delivered a 10-minute speech about world atrocities before admonishing the booing audience with "It could be you!" Meanwhile, at least 19 Islamic extremists in anti-American "cells" across the U.S. prepared to commit the worst act of terrorism in American history, killing thousands of innocent office workers and hundreds of heroic firefighters, and ruining everything for everyone forever.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 This morning in New York City, two hijacked passenger planes smashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing thousands and thousands of Americans and leveling the landmark towers. A third hijacked plane hit the Pentagon, killing hundreds; a fourth crashed outside Pittsburgh, killing 45. In the wake of the events, Last Days holed up in our Central District home and surrounded ourself with friends and television, all of us trying to make sense of the most staggering event in our nation's history. "Pave the West Bank," said one typically sensitive, professionally artsy male friend, shaking with rage. "That's what we do. That's how religious wars are won." Meanwhile, a brainy alterna-rocker film geek spoke of his gut response to join the Army, while a dear sex columnist friend wept like an itty-bitty girl. As for Last Days, whose pessimism runs so deep it almost qualifies as faith, we're stumped. Part of us wants to retreat to the historical level, viewing this tragedy as we've viewed all others: something that's happening somewhere else, to someone else. Another part of us just wants to go to sleep until everything returns to "normal." (Unfortunately, this would require 400 sleeping pills and a bottle of vodka, a step we're as yet unwilling to take. Plus, we're more of a morphine 'n' milkshake-type guy.) For now, we must content ourselves to wait for orders, brace for bloodshed, and count our motherfucking blessings.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 Today every news source in the world spilled over with firsthand testimony, updated facts, and horrifying imagery from the Attack on America. (Confidential to the New York Times: If you're trying to kill us, keep up the good work. Your blood-chilling page-three photo of the plunging crash victim left us quivering on the floor in the fetal position.) Of course not all coverage was sympathetic: Iraq's President Saddam Hussein told reporters that Tuesday's events were the result of "America reaping the thorns sown by its rulers in the world," while citizens in Egypt and Palestine openly celebrated the terror attacks as just revenge against a godless bully. America's enemies don't hold a monopoly on violent idiocy: By week's end, at least two innocent Americans of Arab descent will be murdered by bloodthirsty American psychos.

••When it rains, it pours: Hot on the heels of yesterday's tragedy comes another significant loss of American life. Today in Merida, Mexico, a sightseeing plane carrying 16 Seattle-area tourists (along with two pilots and a tour guide) crashed, killing everyone on board. The passengers--all Husky football fans--were taking a day trip from a Husky-based "Tailgate at Sea" Caribbean cruise. "It's too hard to think about," says Sonny Sixkiller, former Husky quarterback and co-host of the group cruise. "It's like, holy crap, what's going on here?"

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 And out come the freaks: On today's broadcast of The 700 Club, Reverend Jerry Falwell, who so memorably lost his virginity to his mother in an outhouse in The People vs. Larry Flynt, announced that gays, lesbians, feminists, pagans, the ACLU, and the pro-choice movement have "made God mad" and must share the blame for the terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans in New York City, Washington D.C., and southern Pennsylvania. "All of them who have tried to secularize America… I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,'" Falwell said before a national audience. "Well, I totally concur," said wise host Pat Robertson. Okay. Last Days understands that these men are bred-in-the-bone idiots, whose fear in the face of new danger is driving them to unprecedented levels of idiocy, but in the grand scheme of things the only real difference between Jerry Falwell and Osama bin Laden is a turban and balls. (Next week, both Falwell and Robertson will try to retract their idiocy, with Robertson denouncing Falwell's previously "Amen!"-worthy remarks as "totally inappropriate," and Falwell claiming his "nuanced theological point" was misunderstood by the "secular media and audience.")

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 Today, in honor of the national day of mourning and remembrance, the nation mourned and remembered.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 In the midst of horror, a teensy ray of hope: For two years now, smart friends of Last Days (Allie, Grant) have been raving to us about the postmodern blues-rocking "sibling act" the White Stripes. For those readers even slower than Last Days, the White Stripes are a Detroit-based duo pairing drummer Meg White with ex-husband Jack White, who sings, plays guitar, and is, however perversely, the world's sexiest man. For a whopping 18 minutes today, songs from the White Stripes' rip-roaring third record, White Blood Cells, made it possible for us forget that the U.S. is headed into the ugliest of wars. Rejuvenated by noisy pop music, Last Days plunged back into our other work of art du jour, Theodore Zeldin's An Intimate History of Humanity (1994), where we were immediately confronted with this sentiment: "Big wars, backed by high technology, are being replaced by a multitude of guerrilla wars, which will baffle organised nations. Accumulating weaponry is futile; the future lies with small groups resisting large ones, sniping at them, not destroying them, but wearing them down, making life uncomfortable and dangerous." Save me, Jack White.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 The week ended with FOX TV attempting to cheer America up with a prime-time broadcast of the gender-bending Robin Williams vehicle Mrs. Doubtfire. On Monday night, FOX will continue its efforts by airing the gender-bending Eddie Murphy vehicle The Nutty Professor. Last Days congratulates FOX for learning what every great military tactician from Odysseus to Colin Powell has known: Nothing revives a weary, war-bound nation like the sight of a giant prosthetic ass.

Dear readers: At the close of last week's column, I hyped the September 14 opening of my solo play STRAIGHT, urging readers to come despite shell shock from Tuesday's tragedy. As it turns out, I was the one to wuss out, canceling the weekend's shows so I could stay home, watch TV, blubber, and sleep. This weekend, STRAIGHT opens for real, running Fridays and Saturdays through October 6 at NWAAT. Call 340-1049 for info and reservations.

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