By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
On the loge level, you'll not only be treated to a faithful replication of a South Texas oilman's hunting lease (note: all Cheney Chamber hookers receive weekly STD testing), you'll also find yourself facing off with an animatronic vice president, ready to blast your face to pieces at any given moment.
The advertising brochure prepared for this attraction emphasizes "the honor you will feel being shot by a man who was only one heartbeat away from the presidency."
To further enhance the experience, visitors will undergo a 3-D re-enactment of a press conference where they will be awarded points for how convincingly they insist it was their fault for daring to be alive within 50 yards of the vice president, who was absolutely not to be blamed for anything. Those who fail to be sufficiently convincing will be shot once again by the animatronic veep. (Just to emphasize, the Liability Agreements are pretty ironclad in stating any and all of this will be the customer's fault, should any injuries occur. And injuries will occur.)
A tip to participants: You can always keep Robo-Cheney on your side by maintaining a steady patter on how the Obama administration is putting America at risk because it has yet to invade any countries that haven't done anything to us, or hasn't based its rules of engagement for interrogations on the methods used on 24. Robo-Cheney will be so busy nodding in agreement and drooling over the "I told ya so" possibilities of another terrorist attack that he'll be too busy to empty his shotgun into your face.
The Cheap Seats
The vast acreage devoted to very high seats with awful sightlines — a charming aspect of the beloved Astrodome years — does not go to waste in the county/Fertitta plan. Under a licensing agreement with the former half-term governor of Alaska, The Sarah Palin E-Z Hunt is an attraction where humans get to experience the advantages of modern technology in the endless battle against predators.
Mini-helicopters hover over the orange seats, where majestic moose nuzzle on strategically deposited piles of whatever it is moose eat. As the fragile warbirds dance their dangerous tango in the air, ever vulnerable to an attack by a flying, big-horned moose, a calm AstroSafari customer takes his aim. Knowing that — at any second — tragedy might strike and he may be forced to slightly readjust his aim even as a blood-crazed moose stares him down, the intrepid hunter keeps his cool in the unbearable war of nerves.
His wily adversary may take refuge in the superbox of the man who built the Dome, Judge Roy Hofheinz; this calls for nerves of steel on the shooter's part, knowing that patience will eventually be awarded, since moose have an inherent inability to stay in any area so hideously decorated as the Judge's (what hunters call the "Naugahyde Rule").
Savvy guides will direct customers' attention to the east side of the building, where BARC — the city dog pound that will have finally become a "no-kill facility" — lets its nonadoptable animals back into the wild, joyfully free to enjoy life outside the cramped cages they have been calling home. Until they're eaten by a moose. Or a loose python from the concourse area.
It is in this area where the moose are easiest to strike.
This is Survival of the Fittest as experienced by only the most audacious of hunters, like Sarah Palin. It is for those who have the intestinal fortitude to shoot wild game from a hovering helicopter. (For those who can't afford a helicopter ride, the "Brewster McCloud" option offers the chance to get off some shots while barreling to earth in a homemade glider.)
Users of the McCloud option are encouraged not to land on the Dome floor, unprotected as they would be without either an armed vehicle or Off.
The VIP Areas
Formerly limited only to the elite of Houston, these sections of the Dome will now be open to one and all — as long as they bring their appetites!!
The Shoot & Eat restaurant will take your day's results and prepare a rib-ticklin' meal fit for a king. Shot too much to eat in one sitting? Take your choice and have the rest made into Earl Campbell Sausages or Nolan Ryan (Not-So) Aged Beef. They both feature generic packaging that doesn't specify such details as "zebra" or "hippo," so give 'em as gifts!! Tastes like chicken!
(Even though the aforementioned Liability Agreement — which all visitors are encouraged to bring at least two lawyers to analyze — specifies that AstroSafari is not responsible "for any meat-carried diseases," it is considered de rigueur to "get in the spirit of the thing" and eat heartily. Anything deadly, doctors say, is likely to strike quickly enough to make "suffering" irrelevant, as the fine print of your Agreement spells out.)
But convenient food is not the only attraction you'll find in this area. Tilman's Taxidermy Shoppe can make a priceless souvenir of your AstroSafari experience "while U wait," and you'll be doing a public service — one-tenth of one percent of the net profits of each sale goes to charity, thanks to some hard bargaining by the county.