London, England - Not since the global hit-man contract placed on the life of Indian-born Salman Rushdie for his book "The Satanic Verses" criticizing the Islamic faith has a Western journalist had to go underground, fearing for his life.
And that is what has exactly happened again. Only now to the former BBC broadcaster Martin Bashir for his famous ABC hour-long interview with Michael Jackson several years ago, which many fans now consider in their grief-stricken state of mind as an A-1 hatchet job to unfairly discredit their demigod.
In a midnight cell phone call to Salman Rusdie, which he initially refused to take fearing retaliation from Michael Jackson fans more than religious extremists, Bashir begged for advice on how to go into hiding and survive while waiting on the other end of a cell phone. Or so Rushdie believed.
As Rushdie reached out for the phone with Bashir on the other end of the line, his hand shook so violently that his personal assistant had to place it in his unsteady hand and help hold it to his ear.
"Hello? Listen Rushdie...," calmly spoke Bashir through his cell phone. "It has all been a mistake. The Yanks got it all wrong. As usual mate. They got it all mixed up. Lost it in translation and all that, you see?"
As Bashir explained it, Americans know nothing of the means of mass transportation misinterpreted his usage of the British term 'Underground', as meaning going into hiding -- Just like in that movie a 'Fish Called Wanda' -- instead of a means of economically affordable and environmentally sound locomotion for the masses.
"I didn't go into hiding," continued Bashir, his voice sounding muffled by the small phone speaker placed on a pillow as Rushdie rolled himself up into a ball on his bed, rocking himself back and forth "I merely took the 'Underground' because I couldn't raise a cabby with all the paparazzi surrounding me at the time."
Getting no response from Rushdie, Bashir hang up his cell phone just the same thinking how lucky he was that society has come so far since the days that a fellow writer had to go into hiding for expressing an unpopular point of view.
Shaking his head, smiling to himself, Bashir exited the train to an empty station, standing all alone on the boarding platform.
Walking through the white titled tunnels of London's Underground, Bashir could hear over the sound of his footsteps in the distance a Michael Jackson's song "Bad" from the album of the same name, echoing hauntingly through the subway passages.
Looking across the subway station train tracks, his destiny staring back at him: a gang of out of shape, and overweight forty-something Americans, all way past their prime. All dressed as dance extras right of a 1980s Michael Jackson music video and carrying a boom box ghetto blaster (radio/cassette tape player) that blared out throughout the underground transit system tunnel Michael Jackson's song "Bad".
"Some even wearing brightly colored leg warmers stretched to the maximum of the elastic materials tensile strength in a vain attempt to cover their fat chubby thighs," later recalled Bashir.
Bashir felt not only no fear or an empowered sense of self-righteousness because he always felt that. No this was something even more self-righteous he felt as he stared down his nose right into their fat chubby faces of the Off (Way Off) Broadway wannabe music video chorographic dancers. No it was well beyond his normal sense of self-righteousness he felt at being a British subject of the Crown and his proper British accent, too, none of that East End London Cockney stuff. No it was something that he later attributed to a European diet.
"After all so many of the Americans were beet red in the face, looking as if they were in need of immediate emergency medical treatment due to poor diet, lack of a single payer, universal national government run healthcare plan," again later recalled Bashir. "And their steady diet of fast-food and reckless abandon of personal hygiene. All a byproduct of their bankrupt pop culture based economy, I suspect."
As Bashir made a football (soccer) fake move, a quick move to the left and then to the right, as if he was trying to run up the train platform stairs and back down again. The Michael Jackson fans on the other side of the tracks became easily exhausted trying to mirror his moves. Soon they fell onto the ground and on top of each other in a heaving sweaty heap of flesh.
"That soon presented an immediate danger to those unfortunate ones on the bottom," said Bashir. "As they began drowning in the small puddle of their own sweat that quickly became a pool of human saltwater."
Bashir called emergency services immediately.
"After all, I just don't leave those poor Americans to their own devices," said Bashir to a now almost fully recovered Rushdie as they sat and chatted drinking a spot of tea. "Somebody most certainly would have died. I could never live with myself if I allowed something like that to happen on my watch. The mere thought of taking on that sort of financially liability, should they have sued me. Unthinkable."