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November 19, 1998

Charlotte, North Carolina to be official site of 2004 Apocalypse

GENEVA — After a millennium of heated debate, the end of the world finally has a home base. Ending years of speculation, the International Apocalypse Committee (IAC) agreed upon Charlotte, North Carolina as host and sponsor for the coming apocalypse.

In a speech before the United Nations Assembly, Committee chair Shaman Al-Bayir Habib made the fateful announcement.

"Despite religious claims or economic benefits," said Habib, "other cities simply cannot offer the apocalypse what Charlotte can."

Nearly 5,000 years after the apocalypse was first predicted, the list of potential host cities was narrowed down to eight: New York, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, Cairo, London, Paris, Moscow and Charlotte. The IAC then began to evaluate each individual city’s apocalyptic potential.

Naturally, since the end of the world comes but once, the committee had to be especially careful in determining their decision-making process. After much deliberation, the following criteria were agreed upon:

1. Number of lawyers per loud appliance salesman

2. Number of militias per car pool lane

3. Number of politicians per fugitive

4. Level of corruption

5. All-around vibe

Each city’s composite scores were then tabulated by the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse and returned to the committee for final review. Said committee chair Shaman Al-Bayir Habib about the finalists: "Not since Michael Spinks got in the ring with Tyson have I seen this much enthusiasm about the concept of being completely destroyed."

While New York was a strong favorite to host the apocalypse, committee members felt that it was not accessible enough to lure tourists and apocalypse hopefuls.

"Just because New York is a pit of hell and a bastion of all that is evil doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ‘apocalypse worthy,’" said committee member Cardinal John Philip Delorio. "Just take a look at the parking and traffic situation."

Similarly it had been thought that Jerusalem would have been a top contender for the host city, due to its longstanding reputation as a "religious" center and its high number of fanatics per capita. But the committee believed that the city’s existing violence and turmoil would overshadow the apocalyptic process.

The city of Charlotte has been going through a significant population boom since the early ‘90s, largely due to an influx of high-tech business into the surrounding region. This, as well as excellent public transportation, made the city a prime candidate for mass destruction and the events surrounding it.

Charlotte certainly tried hard to woo the committee. According to Charlotte mayor Patrick McCoy, the city had recently finished renovating its convention center and expanding its indoor and outdoor stadiums to accommodate more "end of the world" participants. Many street vendors even went so far as to design T-shirts in anticipation of the event. "I am the last guy on earth ... better look again" has been the top seller thus far.

"We’ve done everything short of blowing up the world in our efforts to sponsor the apocalypse," said McCoy.

When the news reached the eager city, an unprecedented celebration ensued, complete with a 70-foot floating Grim Reaper balloon. Mayor McCoy spoke before thousands of ecstatic Charlotte citizens.

"You know, you hope and pray all your life that something good will happen, and then after years of hard work it all pays off," said McCoy. "We’re the end of the world!"

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