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." 
    " 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 had 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. \** .(f \** Essay delivered on a napkin, in a nearly indecipherable scribble. Ends abruptly. B.S. .)f .