By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Thank God The End is finally at hand. So many tent-show preachers talking the talk, so few evildoers and deities walking the walk. We were beginning to lose faith in the readable parts of the New Testament.
After all, we've clearly always been partial to the rantings of Crazy John of Revelation and his disciples in the Eisenhower and Bush administrations.
When Tom Ridge talks, we shudder, then shutter.
So we've collected our nuts for nuclear winter. Once upon a time, we built the ultimate bomb shelter under our offices here at 12th Street and Jefferson, a concrete lair that makes NORAD and Tora Bora look like Kmart pup tents.
Now, we assume panic lies in the soon-defibbing hearts of those of you who didn't show such appreciation for nuts. Home Depot is out of duct tape. And whistles, compasses and moist towelettes are nearly gone from the shelves of Popular Outdoor Outfitters and REI.
As bomb shelters go, ours is less Bank One Ballpark and more Mini Cooper. Instead of the 144,000 New Times Elect we had initially hoped for, we can only invite one other Phoenician to survive the coming nuclear, chemical and/or biological holocaust by sheltering in with our staff.
Social comment aside, here's the deal:
One person will live! All others will die!
This is the real Survivor, baby!
But whom to choose to accompany us to the postapocalyptic world of cockroaches and Krugerrands? You're all such good candidates.
You there, you're very cordial. You there, you have high cheekbones and few pre-cancerous lesions. You, well, if male instincts could talk, they'd say you look capable of meeting the nutritional needs of baby Cain and Abel.
AND LOOK AT THE UNIT ON THAT GUY!
Being a newspaper and all, though, we're partial to writing skills and shameless self-promotion.
If you want yourself and your seed to survive, please send us a short essay describing why you deserve to be the one other human in Phoenix to live past Easter.
Just think, you'll be safe with us while those left duct-tapeless succumb like salted slugs in the chemical plume.
"Is that the sound of a moist towelette drying?" you'll ask.
"No, Adam, that's the tortured cries of the rest of humanity barely audible to the human ear thanks to our three-foot-thick, titanium-reinforced walls. Would you like more single-malt Scotch?"
Yes. This is an essay contest.
The winning essay will be appreciative of the needs of humanity, as well as the men and women who might be spending many lonely nights in a cramped bomb shelter with a fully stocked bar.
Even in the unlikely event that the Bush Apocalypse doesn't come, your winning essay will not be a waste of time.
There is gold involved.
The author of the best essay, as judged by us here at the paper, will receive a one-quarter-ounce Krugerrand gold coin. We are not making this up. We bought the thing in Scottsdale. Really. (No use for gold? No problem. You can exchange it for cold hard cash, roughly $100 depending on how the price of gold holds up over the next couple weeks.)
Essays may be published in a future issue and on the Web.
You must include your name, address and phone number. A photograph or drawing of yourself would be nice, though not required. Please limit your essay to 500 words or less.
You get the idea here. Have fun, write well, and you may be chosen to live long and prosper with a small pocketful of South African gold.
And now a word from our lawyer: Send your entries via e-mail to email@example.com or by hand-delivery or the U.S. Postal Service to our office at 1201 East Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ 85034. As stated, entries must be 500 words or less. Photos and drawings will not be returned. Winner will be chosen at the sole discretion of New Times staff. All entries must be received by 6 p.m. March 7.