THE PARANOIA hung heavily in the air as we left the 9 p.m. showing of "JFK" and plunged into the shadows of the parking lot.
"Don't get in the car," I said to my wife.
A call was placed to the bomb squad to have the engine block and chassis swept for explosives. A nice young lieutenant reported that his department did not respond to such calls unless requested by the local police. Of course he was lying.
"WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?!" I demanded before he hung up. "WHAT ARE YOU COVERING UP?!"
On the way home, we stopped at a 7-Eleven for a loaf of bread. Wary of snipers, I dove from the car to the pavement, executed a quick shoulder roll and sprinted into the store.
"I think someone's watching us," I whispered to the clerk.
"Isn't that your wife?" the clerk said.
"YOU'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!" I shrieked, tossing the bread in his face before he could pull a gun. Then I ran to the car and gunned the engine and we went fishtailing down the road with the lights off, hoping to elude the chase helicopters.
Obviously I still have a few emotions to sort out in the wake of "JFK."
The movie itself is riveting. As to exactly who was behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, director Oliver Stone seems to feel it was the CIA, the FBI, AT&T, the military/industrial complex, the Boy Scouts, the Beatles, the Lennon Sisters, the Shriners, the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Chamber of Commerce, Fidel Castro and one or two drifters.
As I understand it, Stone's theory is that all these people got together at a small Holiday Inn outside Fargo, N.D., where the marquee read: "Welcome JFK Assassins! Happy Hour in our lounge, 5-7 p.m. Win a free night-vision scope at our weekly drawing! Try our Buffalo wings!"
During the course of the meeting, there was apparently a heated discussion about who was actually going to do in the president, with three members of Brownie Troop 114, an ex-Green Beret and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev (via conference call) lobbying hard for the job.
Finally, since it was getting close to Happy Hour, a shadowy four-star general stood and said: "What say we give ol' Lee Harvey Oswald here a crack at it? And remember, if the poor SOB gets caught, mum's the word!"
The decision to go with Oswald provoked a good deal of grumbling, particularly from Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson (yeah, he was there).
In fact, on his way down to the lounge, Johnson was heard to remark: "Geez, how could they pick that hayseed?"
But soon the frosty pitchers of Budweiser and steaming plates of potato skins began arriving at each table.
And by the time the band (the Maurice Williams Trio) launched into a spirited rendition of "Fly Me To The Moon," the mood had lightened considerably, aided in no small part by baseball legend Willie Mays' impromptu Mexican hat dance.
As to exactly why all these conspirators wanted Kennedy dead, well, um, Oliver Stone doesn't say.
He indicates it might have something to do with the fact that Kennedy was reassessing U.S. involvement in Vietnam -- or that the moon was in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligned with Mars.
Nevertheless, Stone appears unconcerned by all the criticism of "JFK." In fact, when it's pointed out that the film is over-long, has a wildly improbable plot, wooden performances by several stars and an unfulfilling ending, Stone has repeatedly replied: "Picky, picky, picky."
Now Stone is apparently hard at work on a new film about rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley that is tentatively entitled, "EP" -- with the director privately expressing outrage that The King had no middle initial.
Industry sources say Stone attributes the death of the grossly overweight and drug-addicted Presley to a conspiracy involving the Medellin cartel, Nabisco, General Mills Inc., Frito-Lay, Breyers and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Original footage of a Sarah Lee truck backing up to a side entrance of Graceland (the infamous Zamuder film) is interspersed with clips of a bloated Elvis hamming it up on a Las Vegas stage with buddy Wayne Newton.
Casting has been a problem, however, with very few big-name actors willing to play the Keebler Elves.
I understand only Danny Devito has expressed interest.