Alarms rang through our offices. “Red Alert! Red Alert! Scramble! Scramble!

We met in the situation room. The big screen showed a map of the world, with the routings for Eric Clapton and U2 in green, Paul Simon with Brian Wilson in blue and Fear Factory, Icarus Line and Doves in yellow. But it was that big red X that commanded our attention. That was where the disaster occurred. X marked the spot.

Next, we jumped on the phone and conferenced in all parties involved, including the respective world leaders, the U.N. Security Council and SFX. For added support, our communications team made contact with the road managers for Patti Labelle and The New Deal. A drastic measure, for sure, but you need to cover all the bases in a crisis like this.

When the casualty stats started pouring in, we realized that we had to make a decision. Our first order sent the cargo planes into the stricken zone to air drop the dates for Michael Twitty and Strangefolk to the survivors. What those pilots reported back wasn’t pretty. One old hand said it looked like London after the blitz.

By Saturday morning, everything was under control. The air drops were successful, plus our overland convoys made it to the disaster area by sunrise, bringing the schedules for The Ohio Players, Sarah Harmer and Kool & The Gang to the pour souls that had the misfortune of being at ground zero when everything went nuts.

You can become jaded doing a job like this. Too many disasters like this one leaving too many victims in its wake. Sure, maybe not as big as this one, but try telling that to the survivors who huddle around you in hopes that you’ll toss them a spare date for Gary Lewis & The Playboys or Ron Jeremy’s S&M Sideshow. You try telling yourself that you’re helping the best way you can, and no matter how futile it all seems, your actions will make a difference. But you know you can’t rebuild their lives, that you can’t give them back what they had yesterday. And as a few street urchins beg for dates, no matter how tentative, for American Pearl or The Offspring, a thought rushes through your mind that’s so hideous, you don’t dare speak it out loud.

If Madonna cancels any more dates, this is really going to get messy.