by AK - July 21, 2013
Special Edition Sunday Night Bedtime Horror Story
No mystery in this one.. many many people already knows how this one ends.. but here’s what I remember from that night.
Normal night on the Randi Rhodes show.. few calls and basically Randi having to talk to herself, or Jim, or me for 3 hours. No wonder she went crazy. A caller from Bubba the pre-teen violin player in Tampa. Some yenta from Boca to tell her how much of a breath of fresh air she is… some lonely dude who used to follow her around anywhere she went on his scooter (Al Rogers this means YOU).. the usual night chronics..
So I’m in the control room answering the phones, loading the spot and promo carts… rolling reel-to-reel tape… talking occasionally on the air or off air in the overhead monitor depending on what i wanted to tell her. Jim is doing what he usually did.. sit in the studio with her. That’s about it. They’d talk, or fight, or laugh during breaks while she plucked her eyelashes out with her fingers. Yes, she really did that.
There’s double pane 4 foot high by 8 foot wide window looking into the studio… and while spinning 360s in the control room between the phone or the tapes or the carts, I’d keep one eye n the studio in case Randi, or Jim tried to catch my attention…
Jim often would come into the control room just to see what I was up to, or shoot the shit, or clue me in on something that was bugging Randi so I’d be aware/forewarned. Or he’d wander around the building, or go get her soda or candy or whatever. He was he do-boy for anything I couldn’t or wouldn’t do. In most cases, I had to and did.
Randi’s doing her normal craziness.. She’s wearing a brown and yellow flowered sun dress and those Sally Jessie Raphael glasses of hers.. gesticulating into the air, pounding on the desk, yelling “BROWARD!” etc. I give her the break sign for the top of the hour as the out music rolls on…, she goes to commercial, and hits the talk back and asks Jim to come in there. Jim stamps out his Parliment light in the ashtray (not only could you smoke in the studio back then, but you could actually purchase cigs in the vending machine down stairs. They were just loaded into the machine in those coil thingies next to the chips.. $2.25 a pack!.. But as always, I digress..
So I’m half paying attention, one eye on the spot carts running, changing reels out, looking at the blinking on-hold lights… and I see Randi stand up and start bunching her sundress… and Jim heads to where she’s sitting behind the desk… and Randi exits the studio and heads out the door. Jim is snickering, but he also looks a little wigged out. He too exits the studio and asks if I have any paper towel and cleaner.. I do what I always did in these situations.. I opened up the cupboard where Reineri’s producer stashed his stuff, everything labeled with “NO TOUCH!” and handed him the paper towel and spray cleaner.
“Randi spill coffee again?” I ask.
“Not exactly” replies Jim as he leaves the control room to head back to the studio.
Randi comes back to the studio, her dress soaked wet all across the lower half. Jim is dragging her chair from behind the desk, and putting a different one in its place. He grabs the chair with the spill on it, and gets ready to start wiping and spraying… the hourly show open starts to play.. Jim drags the chair into the middle of the room, and Randi hits the off-air talk back button and asks if I can come in and help Jim.
I remove my headset, hop out of my chair, and head into the studio.. Jim is handing me the paper towel to mop up what he’s spraying on it…
“Whadja spill?” I ask as I grab the roll.
“I had my period”. i look at the black chair with blue and mauve tiny squares all over it… theres a dark, slick stain running front to back of the seat. It looked like a crime scene. I drop the roll, leave the biohazzardous area, and go back into the control room.
Jim is rubbing and scrubbing as best as he can. I cant even look. I’m sure Randi was mortified, but she didn’t show it. She just finished the show, laughing off air with me and Jim, trying to lighten the mood.
If it were me I woulda taken that chair out back and thrown it in the dumpster. But they just left it there. And it stayed there, in the one never used sitting area under the dry erase board and clock, and all it was ever used for was for standing on to update the totals of the charity drive.
And thats how the Scarlet Chair came to be, and remain.
at least that’s how I remember it…
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