Not talkin’ about women

by AK - October 22, 2013

Tuesday Midday Bed Time Story: Not talkin’ about women.

Most mornings before the Rick and Suds Show I’d stumble in around 4:45 with my mug of coffee, my CD of Smashing Pumpkins or Rage Against the Machine and my headphones, and sit in the empty studio combing through the paper, cutting out articles and highlighting things, pull the Live Copy Folders for the show, finalize the prep folders for any guests we had that day, prepare a copy of the log highlighting when and where certain things ran, laying out a schedule of things we’d planned that day. It didn’t really matter; Rick would show up at 5:58 with his briefcase stuffed with things he’d found since I’d talked to him last, and those would usually trump anything we’d planned. And deservedly so. Most times, if Rick had found an angle on something really good, his enthusiasm would always make it that much better.

Suds would always show up earlier than Rick, around 5:45 or so, and he always had his briefcase filled too, but mostly with snacks like a bag of pretzels and a baloney sandwich. And the TV guide.

Whenever I was done, I would go to the Control Room and sit in one of the chairs in that room and strike up a conversation with whomever was running the board, often times it was about if Larry King had said anything worthy of carting up, or what Rick and Suds had planned for the day. One morning, I around 5:15am, a 14 year old boy popped into the control room. He was homeless waif thin and had the most perfectly coiffed golden locks. He was dressed like any preppy Connecticut toddler would; khaki pants, penny loafers with actual pennies in them, argyle socks and a freshly ironed crisp blue oxford. It’s dark in the control room, (Mike, the blind board op liked it that way.. not that it made a difference to him.. ) and the light shining behind the boy in the doorway gave him and ominous, golden boy appearance.

I’m wearing what most radio people wear.. what they would sitting around the house. I’m in my ripped jeans, t-shirt, flannel around my waist and timberland boots. And the child opens his mouth and speaks.

“Hello. I’m Brian Andrews”

“Hi Brian.. are you lost? Can I help you? Where’s your mommy? ATTENTION SHOPPERS, WE HAVE A LOST CHILD IN THE CONTROL ROOM” I thought..

“Hi” was all I got to utter before he continued.

“I’m doing news this morning for WIOD”


“Where do I get the weather report and cuts from certain stories?” he asks.

“Follow me” I say as I get up and walk him back to the news room.

“This here is the weather printer” I say, pointing to the dot matrix printer continuously spooling it’s prefolded paper into a box behind it. “The audio cuts come from here” I said pointing to his MS-DOS amber colored font screen. “Find the cut you want, and cart it up here” I said pointing to the built in cart deck.

“Someone’s going to have to do that for me. I don’t have time for that. That’s not my job” he said hinting at me as he breezed past me back to his work station.

“Okay. Good luck with that” I said as I walked out back to the control room.

I tell Mike the story and we laugh saying things like “who’s this kid think he is?” and “Man is he in for a SUPER rude awakening”, and throwing out a few “yessir, bawss. I gets to cartin’ up yo stuffs rites away, suh!”

So to say we didn’t hit it off is an understatement of monumental proportions.

And every half hour Brian would use all his might to pry open the heavy control room door to grab his spots for his newscast and say things like “I have 5 stories, 3 cuts and traffic and weather” like I cared or needed to know that in any way.

“You’re out at 04:55.” And when he hit :04:55 past the hour, even if he was in mid sentence, I played the show open. “Sorry bawss. I gots to hit that open on time, suh” I mumbled to myself. And he’d come in, place the spots on the desk and ask what happened.

“You gotta be timed out better I guess. You’ll get the hang of it soon..I hope”

As soon as Neil came into the control room, I barraged him with the story about the newsroom man-boy. He took one look at Brian when he came in to grab his spots, and looked at me, and laughed.

I guess when the rest of the news staff showed up that day they clued him in a little better… but he was still a fish out of water. We didn’t talk much, only what we had to. It got friendlier, but was still mostly all business.

Fast forward a few weeks later, and Brian and I are on decent speaking terms, though not best buddies by any sense of the imagination. In the middle of the Rick and Suds show, around Brian storms into the control room to tell me we’re going wall to wall, which is non-stop news coverage. They’re taking over the show. An armed hijacker has taken over a bus filled with disabled children, and it’s storming down the Palmetto.

I type onto the screen where the caller names that we have breaking news, throw it to Brian in the newsroom.. I hit the talk-back button twice fast, which clicks off the overhead speakers in the studio to get their attention, take my index finger and grab the bottom of one of my eyes and pull (the symbol for “look at the screen”). Rick reads it, says “Hold on, we have breaking news from the 610 WIOD news center” and I play the breaking news sounder.

And Brian launches into the story. He’s watching Channel 7 coverage from their helicopter as they follow the bus. Rick flips on the TV in the studio and I do in the control room. And Brian is doing play by play..and he’s not half bad. Until..

He starts mentioning roads. Because he’s new. And he has no idea where the bus is. So when roads like the Palmetto curve, he assumes theyre on a new highway.

“They’re headed East on 95.”

Wait, whut?

Rick and I and Suds are all looking at each other as this continues. And we’re not only laughing, we’re embarrassed for the station. And for Brian. Rick jumps in.

“Brian, that looks like they’re still on the Palmetto”

“Okay, yes, they Palmetto Expressway. Heading east. Wait, no west.”

Soon after it all ends, with Rick and Suds and Neil and Brian all on air together.

And that was kinda the ice breaker to get Brian to be one of us. SHAME. We all suffered it, and as long as Brian tried to be that “I’m better. I’m a NEWSMAN(boy)” attitude, he was never going to be one of the group.

It wasn’t long after that that he started loosening up the top button of his oxford and recording news drops like “We’re not talkin’ about women!” and “Polly wanna cracker?”

One Friday afternoon after my nap, I wake up around 2pm and head to my balcony. I live in a 5 story building across the street from WIOD. I’d first lived in a studio, then shared an apartment with another producer, then when I got the Rick and Suds gig had enough cash to get my own one bedroom apartment. And I’d paid extra for the bay view, looking across at downtown Miami. It was a spectacular bachelor pad. I had a trellis and all kinds of plants on the balcony making it a tropical paradise out there.. the plants, the view of the water and and skyline all lit up at night… It was awesome.

And I step out into the tropical garden in my underwear to smoke, drink coffee, and enjoy the magnificence of my life, and a waterfall of water comes pouring over the balcony, drenching my whole patio, soaking my plants with soapy water, extinguishing my cigarette in the ashtray and covering the entire area with dirty water mixed with clinched out smokes in the ashtray and mud from knocked over plants.

“HEY! WHAT THE FUCK!” and I hear the door close on the balcony above.

I go back to my room, clean myself off and dress while chugging my coffee, then STORM upstairs. I knock on the door rapidly, but not too hard. I want them to answer. I have no clue who my upstairs neighbors are but they’re gonna meet me RIGHT FRICKING NOW that’s for godddam sure.

I knock again.

“justaminute” I hear muffled from inside.

And the door cracks open, and lo-and-behold, it’s Brian goddam Andrews.

“Dude, WTF?”

“Hey Adam!” You live in the building?”

“Yeah dude. Apparently I’m your goddam downstairs neighbor. The one you just fucking showered with a goddam waterfall over your balcony, onto mine with dirty fucking soapy water”

“Ohh I’m sorry. My mom came over and is cleaning.”

“Well isn’t that goddam nice of her. Do me a favor and tell her when the 10 gallons of water she just dumped onto your balcony leaves goes over the edge, it doesn’t magically disappear. It soaks me, my plants, all my shit, then leaves and lands on the people below me.”

“I’m sorry. I’ll tell her. Wanna come in?”

“No thanks.”

And I head back down the hall.

The next day, we turned it into a bit on air, ragging on Brian about his mommy coming over to clean his house. “She do yer laundry too, Brian?” “She did a nice job of ironing today, Brian”. “What did mommy pack you for lunch today?” “

The next Friday when I awake from my nap and head outside, the balcony is drowned again. Brian’s mom had once again cleaned, but earlier during my nap.

I took the ashtray, filled with 20 smokes, the ash/mud and water, leaned over my railing, and lobbed the entire thing onto his balcony and the rugs she’d hung over the side. Black and tan ash mud dribbled down the white mat.

And Brian’s mom never Niagra’d my balcony again.

A few months later Brian was gone from WIOD, (off to Channel 7 where he belonged) and out of the crappy apartment building we lived in. And I honestly can say that I was a little sad.. sad for me because he was good for ragging on at WIOD…and sad for the next person he lived above.

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