The Red Line
"I don't know, all I know is she called and she wants some money. So I
told you, right?"
The red line rang, which is my special "hot line" to Worcester, and I
grabbed it. It was Wendy. "O.K.," she said, "you've got a teeth
cleaning at 11:30... "
"Cancel it," I interrupted.
" ...O.K., next is your operations meeting at 1:30. Geoff, Bret, Ted,
and maybe Paul."
"Tell them I may be late, and to start without me."
" ...next is the bank, at 3:00. Jim Herzog. Ron will be there."
"O.K. That one I gotta do."
" ...and you have about thirty pink slips, most of them reporters.
What do you want me to do with these?"
"Nothing. I'll see them when I get in."
"Also, Nancy called and says she needs some money. Some trip she wants
to take with the kids, in some truck? I don't know, all I know is she
called and she wants some money. So I told you, right?"
"You told me, Wendy. Please be nice to me when I get in there. I'm not
going to be able to do much today."
"Don't smoke on your way in and you might get more done than you did
yesterday," she laughed.
"I'll see you."
The fact is that some radio guy
given me a couple of sticks
of Hawaiian, hoping to further ingratiate himself and his radio station
in our eyes, and perhaps, yes, perhaps even get a special interview
with Mick Jagger. And I had been smoking a little of it on my way into
work, if the truth be known. The only time I ever get to myself, it
seems, is that twenty minutes in, and twenty minutes out. No telephone
in the car. Just a well-maintained Nakamichi cassette deck and a pair
of studio Auratone speakers, which I generally run at a pretty high
volume level, cruising along on automatic speed control, slowly,
smoking roaches, and thinking about my career. I get some of my best
ideas riding along in the Cadillac that way. Always did. Still do. Most
of what you're reading here was either conceptualized, noted down,
scribbled about, or cassette-dictated in the car. Not this particular
paragraph, however, which I'm doing in a bar, looking for companionship
some ninety days after the Stones have left Long View Farm, and some
sixty days after I got the news from Nancy, which I'm determined
to tell you about at some point along the way. As soon as I can
work it into the story. \**
\** Essay delivered on a napkin, in a nearly indecipherable scribble. Ends