The Great Briefcase Robbery
by AK - October 23, 2013
Wednesday Afternoon Bed Time Story: The Great Briefcase Robbery
This one is kinda fuzzy.. I don’t have all the specifics.. and some of this stuff may be coming from things I’d learned afterwards, or that I’ve made up in my head since based on other real things that may or may not have happened.. so take it for what it’s worth. Rick, and or Suds may remember differently, but my guess is since they couldn’t remember anything in 1991, that by now it’s as forgotten as.. uhm..something else I cant remember. But I THINK this is how I remember it all going down…
Back when I was still a part-timer, a total flunkie, splitting my whopping 29.5 hours per week for $4.25 per hour between board-opping and the Promotions Department, I would frequently help out Rick and Suds, or Neil, because frankly, at the ripe old age of 21 and fresh out of college, I was a HUGE fan of theirs, and it’s why I even applied there.
And even as a nobody, poor slob, they would let me do things like tag along with Marvin on a pay phone challenge, or sit in the control room with Jorge and eat free food Neil had gotten while I did promotions prep.
One day, during Rick and Suds afternoon fun-festival, as I sat in the control room watching Marvin run the board and Rick and Suds doing their show, they decided to do an edition of the Trading Post.
For those of you not in the know, The Trading Post works this way: Rick and Suds offer a prize of minimal value. A caller calls in willing to trade it. They then offer THAT item, until someone ELSE calls in willing to trade for THAT item. And so on, and so on, until Rick and Suds have something really cool that they want. Today they were hoping for a boat.
So they ask Marvin what’s around they can give away (usually they had tickets to things they had to give away for clients) but on this particular day, Marvin informs them that they don’t have anything.
So they ask me to go to the WIOD Prize Closet, which was basically a janitors closet where we kept paper, and autograph cards, and banners, and pens and highlighters, and tickets. Halcyon and I were usually the only people to go in there, and it was right next to her desk, right outside the offices of Boy Gary the Program Director and Kurt “The Evil Twin” the Promotions Director.
So I trod off to the closet, and low and behold… there’s noting in there but old t-shirts that I think I can offer. I walk back to the studio and tell Marvin, who tells Rick and Suds on the air.
“Surely there must be other things in there” says Rick.
“There’s like office supplies. And banners. And some other junk in there” I say.
“There’s like some old briefcase in there….”
“OOOOH!” says Rick.
“Probably Boy Gary’s” says Suds.
“Go see what’s in it, and bring it back” Says Rick.
So, dutifully, I got back to the prize closet.
“Whatcha looking for?” asks Halcyon.
“Rick and Suds are doing the Trading Post. They’re looking for a prize to start them off. Who’s briefcase is in there?”
“I don’t really know. Its been there forever” she says not looking up from her computer.
“Okay” I say and grab it off the top shelf, and open it. There’s truly just assorted junk in it. Some old, used and abused yellow hilighters, old autograph cards from when The Bird was still part of Neil’s show, some napkins, a paper plate, a cart or 2 without labels, a few packets of mustard, and assorted papers. I grabbed it and brought it to Rick.
“I think it’s an old briefcase of Neil’s, but I dunno for sure. There’s only junk really in it. Looks like it’s been in there a long time, too. It was all the way on the top shelf with stuff piled on it”
He rifled thru it much the way I did. Quickly. Reciting what he saw on air to Suds. It seemed non-threatening enough.. So Rick offered it up as “what MIGHT be Neil Roger’s briefcase”, and the Trading Post began.
Neil must have not been listening, because the idea that they might be giving away his briefcase didn’t seem to bother him. If it had, he would have called the batline immediately.
So they give the briefcase away.
The next day, Neil finds out about it and goes ballistic on air. “RICK RILEY STOLE MY GODDAM BRIEFCASE AND GAVE IT TO A GODDAM LISTENER!??!?!? WHAT THE FREAK IS GOING ON IN THIS ASYLUM?!”
And it became fodder for the show. Later that day, the guy who’d won the briefcase called in to go over some of the contents; he’d heard Neil go nuts apparently.
“I think this is an old contract of his in here” says the caller.
After hearing what had happened and how I’d played a part in it, I made sure to show up at the station for the fallout. In the control room, I swallowed hard and looked at Rick. “Uh oh” I said to Marvin, who was nearly in tears laughing. Rick couldn’t believe it either.
During the break, I went into the studio and professed that I had definitely NOT seen that. Only the mustard packs, carts, napkins, plates, old autograph cards and highlighters.
“Listen.. “ says Rick. “I didn’t see it either. We both looked. We weren’t even sure if it WAS Neil’s briefcase. You said it yourself nobody knew who’s it was. It was in the PROMOTIONS CLOSET, for a long time. How important could it have been to Neil if he left it in THERE??”
“Hmmm.. I guess ya got me there. Yeah, yer right. “ I said.
The next morning, the barrage by Neil over the briefcase incident was permanently solidified into everyone’s fondest or least fondest remembrances when Guitar Man called in and recorded that iconic song.
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