Chapter 5 Monday
A few days earlier, Brian had put his pack and sleeping bag in one of the rented film trucks. Now he was taking the subway up to the zoo. He was carrying nothing, not even a camera, and he felt a lightness and freedom he'd never felt before. True, he was heading for an uncertain future, but he was quit of his-day-to-day obligations; classes, homework, need to conform. Before him was a tabla rosa, a clean slate. He could be the person he wanted to be, the person Professor Rexford and Lori wanted him to be. Today would be the start of the new Brian; independent, involved, decisive, and committed.
The day was overcast and the light was terrible. Brian knew it would take some real creativity to do a good shoot in these conditions. But he couldn't blame anything on the equipment. It was great working with first class, professional cameras and lights. He was at the zoo under the pretext of filming a documentary, but for Brian it was no pretext. Here was the best opportunity he'd have in a long time to shoot the great animal documentary film he'd always wanted to make. People wouldn't get in the way either. It was a school day and it threatened rain. Besides, it was past the season and many of the attractions were closed. CALF had the zoo almost to itself. There were a number of mothers with small children, obvious retirees, some uniformed scout groups, but it was sparse, not the cheerful, bustling place Brian was used to.
Brian got a sudden idea. He decided he'd follow Professor Rexford's council and film people. It was a departure for Brian. In the past, he'd only shot animals. After an hour, he realized with horror, that he wasn't good at it. The video was like home movies, bad home movies. Brian felt things whenever he was filming animals, but with people, he didn't feel anything. He decided to try filming Lori. He should feel something when looking at her through the view finder.
Brian sought out Lori and posed her in front of Zoo Central. He looked in the viewfinder and watched her move. It didn't look quite right. It was the the clothes. She was wearing clothes. The animals he filmed never wore clothes. Brian idly imagined Lori naked. Yes. Now in the viewfinder, he felt what he did when filming animals, except this time the emotion was stronger, and scarier.
At 1 p.m., Brian brought his equipment back to a truck. It was too bad he had to stop filming as the weather had cleared. It was still warm, warmer in fact, since the drizzle had stopped. The overcast had lifted, and the sun had come out. The light glistening off the wet paths and railings of the zoo, gave the place a magical quality. Brian sighed and stowed the equipment.
As per plan, Brian went to the Lakeside Zoo cafeteria for lunch and a short executive meeting with Jack and Joshua. As he walked, Brian almost felt he really was there to film a documentary. It seemed almost everyone he passed was carrying video equipment and wearing an ID on colored cords around his neck. Many were carrying black fiberboard tubes which were meant for lighting umbrellas. Brian tried not to think about what they held now There were the big white support trucks from Big Apple On Location in several of the parking areas. There was a lot of walkie-talkie activity, and the chaotic running around of the Calfers made them almost as interesting to watch as the animals. Brian had to concentrate to think of himself as a committed animal rights activist, and not a film-maker. He'd show Professor Rexford.
At the cafeteria, Brian bought lunch and then fought his way through the throng of hungry zoo-goers, including a very rowdy cub scout pack. Jack and Joshua were already there. Brian held his tray above the heads of the scouts and made his way to the table overlooking the wild foul pond. Joshua was smiling broadly. Everything was going according to plan. There was little need for talk. They'd meet again at 3:30 in the Education Building to get the final go for the take-over.
The 3:30 meeting was just as routine. Brian thought that this must be the way wars are fought, with regimented routine, so no one ever has to think. The Calfers left the meeting with their well defined tasks. Brian's role as president was to wander from site to site, watching for problems.
At 4 o'clock, Brian set his watch to 24 hour time. Everything from now on was to be done on military time. All right then. It was 1600 hours. Brian made his zero-hour minus 30 tour. At the Bronxdale entrance, the Calfer with the lock and chain was ready. In front of the entrance the video shoot was in progress, and adjacent to it, the food tables were just being undraped. There were platters of snazzy little sandwiches and coolers filled with ice and canned soft drinks. Another table held a mass of cookies and cakes. By now it was near closing time, and a stream of visitors was leaving through the Bronxdale gate. Many stopped to admire the food. At 1620 precisely, a Calfer chained the Bronxdale gate closed, while another made an announcement through a megaphone.
"Were really sorry, but because of the filming, we cant open the gate." he said. "In a couple of minutes a zoo train will come by and drive you the long way out through another exit and back to your cars. Until then, please be our guest. Theres lots of food."
A group of about 20 gathered to eat the free food, while others left the park through different exits. Then, at 1630, Brian heard the distant electric hum of a zoo train coming down the path. The others heard it too. Soon, the train, adorned with painted frolicking antelopes, came over the hill and to a stop near the platters. The zoo visitors got on, and were driven away. They would not be leaving the zoo.
Brian walked into the Education building and into the first floor meeting room. He walked past the rows of empty seats and up to the raised dais. Joshua was there waiting. Brian took his place beside him. Jack circled the hall, giving final instructions to the Calfers who were spaced 20 feet apart around the room. Then they heard the train pull to a stop in front of the building. The train had circled the zoo, eating up time, before stopping essentially where it had started from. Brian heard the grumbling of the passengers, and then the announcement from outside, that the passengers were encouraged to come inside the building for a surprise. They did come in, and as they sat down, Jack joined Brian and Joshua at the podium.
When all was quiet, Joshua stood up, flashed an open, comforting smile, and looked around the room.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," said Joshua smiling broadly. "Im sorry to have to inform you that you are now," he paused for the word, "guests of CALF, The Captive Animal Liberation Front."
At that point, the Calfers around the room opened the black fiberboard cases they were carrying and took out the assault rifles.
Brian was smiling also. What else could he do? He was beginning to wonder if the 'New' Brian was really to be preferred over the old.