TRANSGLOBAL COMMENTARY. 5:10 A.M.
"The loss of power in the middle of the presidential press conference is the final straw in the assault against the public nerve. Probably never before in the history of the republic has the entire population stayed up all night. Millions have been driven from their homes, people have died in vast numbers, families are swept away in full view of TV cameras, and property damage mounts, God help us, into the trillions.
"The American people were surprised to see a presidential press conference only hours after two presidential addresses. If they were expecting Mr. Kolladner to announce Armageddon, they were carried along by his unexpected spirit of confidence and optimism. His clear goal of calming the nation might have been obtained had he not suddenly disappeared from the world's screens. In a hundred languages around the globe, voices explained that the transmission had been lost temporarily at its source, and that the telecast would continue momentarily.
"That news was followed, a few minutes later, by an announcement that a tsunami had struck Washington and continued all the way to Front Royal before exhausting itself against the Blue Ridge. The whereabouts of the president, as of this moment, are unknown. This is Judy Gunworthy with the Transglobal News Service, at the National Weather Service Office in El Paso." Micro Passenger Cabin. 5:43 A.M.
"Charlie." It was Kerr again. But his voice sounded strange.
"Yes, Al. What's wrong?"
"Charlie, we've lost the president."
Charlie Haskell's heart began to speed up. What had Harry Truman said on hearing of FDR's death? It was like a load of bullshit got dropped on me.