September 9, 2013 by jacklovelace
Shit. Twenty five minutes. Dress and hustle to radio hill.
I’m a dj. Disc jockey. Radio personality. I work the 6-10 a.m. shift on a small town country station.
Slam the clothes, a few last-minute preparations, and I’m out the door and roaring up the road.
As I pull away from the house I can still hear the bitch snoring in my ears. The best part of leaving for my job every day is leaving “it” in the rearview mirror.
On to the gravel lot, unlock the door and turn on the transmitter.
“Good morning Rosedale, this is Johnny Martin and I’m ready to wake up with you. Here’s Loretta Lynn and her “Squaw is on the Warpath.”
That wake up line is more than bullshit. I’m not a bad-looking guy, almost six-foot, dark hair, skinny enough. And a voice like honey. It is warm enough to nail some trim from time to time and keep me from going crazy in this place. And keep my mind off the bitch.
I like the morning routine. A lot of commercials on the carts. Weather, news, a little talk but not too much. My choice on the promo 45’s provided by the record company. I’m not the biggest country fan but I’ve developed my favorites and I know how to please.
Sometimes I feel like a maestro with my turntables to the left and right and cartridge machine in front of me just to the right of my mike. A rhythm of action and time flies.
On one piss break I get to exchange good mornings with Sandy, the receptionist with big ta ta’s to compensate for her much smaller brain pan.
“Sandy, lookin good.”
Sandy returns nothing but a tired stare.
“How come the boss isn’t in yet?”
“He’s running late,” Sandy explains.
Just then the “hotline” lights up. This is the connection we have to the fire department letting us know that a fire has been reported. Much more important, it also triggers an advertisement for State Farm that runs when we announced the fire location on the air.
I sprint back before the song ends to get the address, scribble it down and go right on air.
“The fire just reported is………………………………………….my house!”
I grab the first LP I can find and almost throw the needle on the album and run out the door. Sandy would need a lobotomy to run the studio so I just fly to the car and roar down the hill to home.
(The boss explains later he is on his way to the station when he hears “The fire just reported is, my house!? and then hears a needle pop on to Merle Haggard’s “Live from Muskogee” album, unfortunately running at 45 speed, not LP 33. It sounds like chipmunks with a twang playing as he races up the hill to get there, but not in time to avoid hearing the record end and the sound of thump, thump, thump, the only thing worse than dead air)
The house is in full flame when I pull up. As I run toward the house Bobby Thompson from the volunteer fire department stops me.
“Hold up Johnny, we got Helen out but she is in bad shape.”
“We won’t know till we get her to the hospital.”
“Goddamn, I wonder if she was smoking in bed, I warned her over and over.”
“Don’t know about that Johnny but….
Just then Johnny watched as the ambulance crew wheeled Helen into the ambulance.
Then Johnny turned his head away from everyone for a second.
A smile, a deep, deep smile, barely showed on Johnny’s face.
“Look” Bobby said.
Helen had raised her head as she disappeared into the ambulance and gave full voice.