A beleaguered radio producer must get his recalcitrant morning show crew to do the right thing. Dr. Phil demands it!
Morning Meeting, 5:43 a.m.
Jeff Tyndall sat ramrod straight at the conference table and confronted his employees, as if facing a firing squad. Going to work was like doing battle against a small army of eclectic, dirty-minded, foul-smelling soldiers whose apparent mission in life was to give Jeff a bleeding ulcer by his thirty-second birthday.
“It’s a very important cause,” Jeff said. “The Rainbow Children’s Foundation helps underprivileged kids—”
“Booooring,” Slobber drawled. The DJ looked like a young homeless Santa with his bushy growth of matted facial hair. His t-shirt was stretched tight over a protruding belly so the words: “Ask me about my explosive diarrhea” were almost illegible. Almost.
Jeff gritted his teeth. “They take impoverished kids to places like science centers, museums, parks, so that—”
“Museums?” spat Steve. “Yeah, if I were a poor kid, that’d be first on my bucket list.” Jeff tried not to look directly at the other half of the “talent.” Everything about Steve was sharp and cold and gray; a human knife in a pair of headphones.
Command respect, said a voice in Jeff’s mind, the one that sounded like Dr. Phil. Remember: we teach people how to treat us.
“This show is going to sponsor the Foundation to help them raise money,” Jeff said. “They are very grateful for our support.” He held up a pyramid-shaped prism with the words Rainbow Foundation etched in the glass.
Steve snorted. “What the hell is that?”
“It’s a prism. A paperweight,” Jeff said, feeling foolish. It had seemed so pretty, he’d been eager to show it. Now, he put it protectively behind his back. “Never mind. The point is, this show needs to do something for the community besides drinking orgies and concert riots. Something meaningful.”
This was greeted with blank stares and one below-the-breath expletive that Jeff was sure came from Steve. He sighed. “Meeting adjourned.”
Slobber: We’re back; it’s 6:30 in the morning—
Steve: Let’s take a call…
In the booth, Jeff popped an antacid in his mouth. He chewed it dry. They have to mention the Foundation. It’s the right thing to do.
Awareness without action is worthless, admonished Dr. Phil.
For awhile Dr. Laura had been his go-to therapist until the time Jeff mustered the nerve to call-in to her show. She’d berated him for stammering and called him a panty-waist. Which was sort of why he was calling in the first place. Dr. Phil, on the other hand, was safely tucked into the television with his easy-to-remember, non-threatening catchphrases.
Caller: You BLEEPing d-bags better give me concert tickets. I want to see Slipknot, BLEEPers. Slobber (laughing): What? Who are you? Caller: Gimme those tickets you mother BLEEPers or I’ll BLEEP your BLEEP with a dirty BLEEP until you BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP salad fork and BLEEEP BLEEEEP eyeballs BLEEEP and a diaper!
Jeff glanced at Neil, the sound engineer. “Are you sure an eight-second delay is long enough?” Neil nodded without glancing up, his finger hovering over a huge red button, his wrist encased in a carpal tunnel brace.
Slobber: (laughing) Holy moly! Kiss your mother with that mouth? Steve: Simmer down, chief. I got your tickets right here. Caller: You do? Steve: Yep. Here ya go. (hangs up on the caller) (laughter)
The show droned on. It looked warm and peaceful inside the pyramid paperweight. Jeff wanted to curl up in it like a cat under a summer window and sleep. A slant of morning light passed through the prism, creating a brilliant rainbow. It reminded him of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which reminded him of radio which brought him back to…
Slobber: Ever fart so bad you wondered if you might be sick? Steve: Like, have some internal disease or something? Slobber: Exactly. Steve: No, but I’ve a feeling you’re telling us this for a reason…Ah, no! Dammit, Slob! Slobber: See? There’s something wrong with me, right? Steve: Yes. You’re a sick, sick man. Slobber: Here comes another one….Ah! Broccoli!
Jeff chewed another antacid, grateful, not for the first time—not by a long shot—that he was safely behind the studio glass. Are you doing what you're doing today because you want to do it, or because it's what you were doing yesterday? Dr. Phil asked.
Jeff thought back to his old job. He’d produced terrible video commercials for a family-owned furniture outlet. The ads featured poor sound quality and hokey slogans (“You’ll get a kick out of our foot rests!”) The eighty-six year old patriarch of the clan was often required to dress up as a mattress. Boring but oh so safe.
Jeff glanced at the clock. 7:56 a.m. They’ll mention the Foundation or I’ll quit. I swear to God, I will.
That’s right, said Dr. Phil. It's time to get real!
~ON AIR~ Steve: So, there’s an outfit called the Rainbow Foundation and these guys help underprivileged kids get out of the house and go to zoos and parks, and stuff. Slobber: Great organization. Top notch group. Steve: What we’d like to do is give these guys a shout-out and raise a few bucks for’em. Slobber: That’s right. Here’s what’s going down…
Jeff clutched the prism in his hands; the sharp edges bit into his skin so he knew he wasn’t dreaming.
Slobber: For this week’s Wet T-Shirt Tuesday with Morrie, at Morrie’s Pub & Grill, we’re going to charge a $10 dollar cover. All proceeds will go to the Rainbow Foundation. Steve: It’s for a good cause. You can see some boobies and help a poor kid pet a goat or something. Win, win. Slobber: Now it’s 8:00a.m., time for traffic…
Jeff set the prism down on the desk. From in the studio, Slobber gave him a double thumbs up. Steve gave him a death glare.
The most you get is what you ask for, said Dr. Phil.
Jeff smiled and flipped Steve the bird. “Damn skippy, Dr. Phil,” he said. “Damn skippy.”
This was written for an informal contest about a year ago. We were given prompts and had to write based on those prompts, but I was burnt out on the contest so I wrote this piece of tripe. (the prompt was "soul kiss.")
I've read fifteen pages of the first book and saw the first movie (against my will) so that's what this is based on. If you're a Twi-hard or something, my apologies.
It's been awhile. Some stuff has happened. ;) In a nutshell...
Leaving Shitsville: The hubs got a job in a beautiful coastal community where we're ten minutes from the beach!
The car was getting old: We now own a gorgeous 2009 Rav 4, which has been a dream of mine for some time.
The Situation: The baby is perfectly healthy and on track for a 10/10/10 delivery. Her name is going to be Talia. :)
There's a shit-ton of drama, stress, anxiety, more stress, threats of financial ruin followed by last-minute financial salvation and even prosperity, arguments, sleepless nights, waking up to glorious news, packing and arranging and cleaning, etc etc in between those three events, but that shizz would fill a book (a certain one of which is 400 pages away from a decent edit) to explain it all, so I'll just leave it at that.
Did I mention we're moving out of Shitsville? Yee ha!
I'm done with American Idol. What used to be a pseudo-legitimate launching place for real music talent has become a tween girls' self-indulging fantasy show. They HAVE to change the voting system: One phone, one vote.
I'm happy for Lee; he seems like a genuinely good guy and he's talented but Crystal should have won, just as Adam should have won last year. And this season was tainted all along by ridiculous eliminations. Lilly Scott? Didi Benami? Paige Miles may have been "boring" but the chick could sing. It was supposed to be "the girls' year" and instead we got stuck with Aaron Kelly and Tim F'ing Urban for waaaaaay too long while more talented girls got cut.
And not just girls. Tyler Grady was a real talent but because he looked like a scarecrow wearing an afro....snipped first round. He just wasn't poster-on-the-wall-Teen-Beat material, I guess.
And with no Simon next year, the incentive to keep watching is further diminished. I'm done.
Not much progress lately, as I've been sidelines by sciatica and my toddler's continued reticence to sleep more than six consecutive hours. Thanks to my back, I haven't been able to sit at the computer longer than five minutes at a time but have been too burnt to do much anyway. The only real progress I made was affirming (through Facebook) that the town I live in is nearly entirely populated with morons.
But today, despite a serious lack of sleep, I can sit again, so we'll see if I can churn something out. I HAVE to finish this sucker before Baby #2 is born since I will have zero free time and even less sleep. Weeee!
I think I'm at the point with the book of layering. I had a skeleton and now I have to put on the flesh and bone and meaty bits. There are still some original writing to do, but mostly I just have to hone what I have. The book Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon is extremely helpful in this regard. I highly recommend this book to anyone polishing a novel *coughcough*greenwillow27coughcough*
So the new first draft of the "new" book (after breaking the three huge sections into their own books) has a word count of 122,234. I still need to add some stuff, still need to cut some stuff, but that should be the ballpark figure. I can live with that number.