Like its earlier failure in 1994, Howard Camping's Armageddonator® broke down only seconds after it was fired up on Saturday at 6:00 PM. "At the heart of the machine is an old REO Truck engine, and the dang main bearing just seized up," said Camping from his Oakland, California home.
The best estimate is that the Armageddonator® ran for no more than 30 seconds, which was enough to levitate several dozen of the "saved" around the country. Bernard Boudreaux of Evangeline Parish in Louisiana was raised up almost 27 feet before he fell back to earth "like a shot 'possum. I felt like a couyon [crazy person] until I saw the Pearly Gates open up just over Lake Chicot." Boudreaux only suffered a mild ankle sprain in the fall.
Judgment Day was less kind to others. Butti Brule, a prostitute in Little Rock, Arkansas, suffered third-degree burns when her deep-fat fryer jumped off the counter and splashed hot oil on her right leg. "That was enough message for me," said Brule. "I'm gonna mend my ways and get a job at Wal-Mart. Eight bucks an hour is better than eternity in Satan's pit, although my co-worker Chastitty thinks it might be worse. Thanks to that broken-down REO, I get a second chance."
In a related matter, former pastor and current Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee refused comment after his cell phone bill was posted on the Internet, showing that seven calls were made to Brule's office in April. A spokesperson for the governor said that "the calls were unrelated to Ms. Brule's profession." There was no word on how high Huckabee was raised on Saturday, although rumors are rampant that the burns on his forearm were not caused by a barbecue flare-up as originally claimed.