Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Janelle, Back to Marsha, here comes Becky

My trip to the mountains wasn't anything like I had imagined it would be.  On the drive up I had only hoped to get away from the pressure for a few days.  When Janelle recognized me I didn't know it was the beginning of a diverting, sexually-charged, long weekend.

But even a long weekend comes to an end.  Our final night together didn't call for anything exotic. Instead we went with low, slow, intense, and loving.  That worked pretty well.

On the drive back down out of the blue mountains I tried to make sense of it.

I never did.  Still haven't.

Janelle and I got together two more times in her mountain town last year.  The second time I felt a distance.  I could tell she'd found someone else to play with-- I was right.  We stay in touch but I haven't seen her since.  Who knows what will happen?


When I went off on this tangent many months ago I broke away from telling the story of my time with Marsha way back in the late 70s.  There wasn't much more to tell.  I'll preface this last bit about her by saying I hold no animus towards Marsha.  I wasn't angry with her then and I have only fond memories of her today.  So, here's how that all ended...

To get back up to speed, Marsha was a student at the broadcasting school and I was doing overnights on a big station in the market and working a few hours a week at the school. The Program Director at my station had been assigning me more and more spots-- radio commercials-- to voice. Someone else would write the copy but I'd do the voice work and production.  I was cool with it even though they didn't bump my pay much.  After all, it made my voice recognizable in all day parts on the station and I figured that wouldn't hurt my career.

So, one day they had a spot, as I recall it was for a heating and air conditioning company, and they needed a female voice to play the part of my character's wife.  I suggested Marsha for it. I thought she would be good because I'd worked with her in the studio at the school and knew she could perform in a soft voice with a slight Southern feel that was warm without being overtly sexy. She was delirious with excitement just for the chance.

My boss allowed me to cut it in the production studio after hours with Marsha on spec and leave it for his approval. If approved the station would pay her a talent fee.  No promise was made beyond that, but we both thought that if we did well she could get more work in town for radio ads or, maybe, we would do more spots for the client as a team.  (I wasn't allowed by contract to cut ads that only aired on other stations.)  If I had been doing the ad by myself I could have knocked it out in less than 30 minutes but together we spent over 2 hours getting it just right.  The key was making it sound like the natural conversation of two young married people not two people reading copy.

When we finished our work we went out for something to eat before I had to go back to the station for my shift.  Marsha was giddy with the rush of cutting a spot that might be heard by tens of thousands of people.  I cautioned her that the client still needed to approve our spot and she acknowledged as much but her excitement wouldn't be tamped down.  It was fun seeing her reaction to the work we had done.  And she was determined to show me her appreciation for the opportunity. That amounted to a hand job in a shopping center parking lot.  I remember her wiping my cum off the back of her hand with a Wendy's napkin--  I truly was Captain Romance.  I hoped that was just a warm up act for what would surely come my way the next time I got her up to my apartment.

As for the ad, the PD loved it.  The sales manager and sales rep loved it.  And, most importantly, the client OK'd it. And it went on the air.  I told Marsha when it would first run and she and her mom listened to the station that afternoon and were, reportedly, ecstatic when they heard it.  Since our ad had run Marsha was owed her talent fee of $25 -- about $100 in today's money. Rather than giving me the check our PD asked for me to have Marsha call his office to arrange a time to come pick up her payment.  Nobody in station management had even met her so it made sense someone should meet her, especially since the client and station were both getting a positive reaction to the ad.

Marsha was nervous about going in to see the Program Director.  I told her not to worry, he might just leave the check with his secretary, don't overthink it, besides he's friendly.  To which she replied, "What am I going to wear?"

She went to the station on a mid-week morning.  Since I worked overnights I didn't get up until 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  Marsha knew that and wouldn't normally call my apartment until 4 or so if she needed to talk to me.  Around 3PM my phone rang.  I figured it was Marsha, excited about her check. It was the station Program Director instead.

"Wilson," he said.
"Oh, hey, what's up Russ?"
"That chick, Marsha, came by for her check this morning."
"Oh, cool, good," I said.
"Yeah, I talked to her for a few minutes.  What's her story?"
"Well, um, you mean her background?"
Russ grunted an affirmitive sound.
"Well, her dad owns a construction business down in ________, they're pretty well off, she graduated from college last year and then decided to go to the broadcasting school here, she thinks she wants to work in TV or radio, I know her fairly well from over there..."

"You nailin' that?"
"Uh, wellll, we've gone out a few times..."
"Yeah. That's what I thought.  Smart guy, I applaud you. If you had brought her in here first I wouldn't have let you cut the spot with her.  I would've figured you were just trying to get in her pants. Can't blame you there, pal, poised, well-spoken, and very pretty too. Dresses like she's got dough.  But, hell, she did a decent job on the spot.  We may have you two do more ads together for those guys."
"Oh, hey, that would be great," I said.
"Don't worry Wil. I won't put her on payroll. Ya won't have to worry about our rules against swimming in the company pool," Russ the PD said.
I mustered a slight chuckle.

"Oh, one other thing about her.  I'm thinking of telling Stan on the TV side about her. He'd probably want to do a video test on her.  Ya know, have her read some copy, do some ad lib like a reporter on the scene sorta thing.  You don't mind do you?"
I paused for a second before responding which I'm sure Russ noted.
"No, of course not. That makes sense."
"Cool.  Ya know, a face and rack like that should be on TV not radio," Russ said.
I made some sort of noise that probably sounded like a faint chuckle to him.
"Hey, one last thing Wilson.  I'm moving you to mid-days, 10-2 next week.  Do NOT tell anybody! Jim doesn't know he's out yet.  So, keep it between us. OK?"
"Sure, oh, and thanks," I said.
"Hey, don't even tell that sweet piece about it, you dog."

My mind was spinning.  I was happy to be moving to mid-days but sad that Jim was gettin' fired.
I realized I didn't even know if I was getting a raise.  And then, what about Marsha?  Russ was a lech but harmless. Stan, on the other hand, was not harmless.  Which, it dawned on me, was why Russ had asked if it was OK with me.  What was I going to say?  I'm not her manager.

The phone rang again. Still not Marsha.  It was a friend from the sales crew at the station.  He was barely speaking loud enough to hear, "Hey, Wil, Congrats!"  He sounded likee we were part of a conspiracy.  "About what, Mike?"
"Like you don't know!"
"I'm pretty sure I don't," I said.
"Well, I have sources in the building that tell me you. my friend, are moving to mid-days next week."
"That's crazy! Jim's last book was good."
"Not good enough.  You'll be in that hot seat talking to the housewives for four hours soon, Willie," Mike said.
"I doubt it."
"You'll see.  Hey, that spot where the doll asks you to get a new air conditioner for your love nest. That's good.  Why don't you do hot work like that for my clients?"
"You complaining Mike?  Have Jim cut your shit."
"Ha, good one!  You know!  I know you know!  Hey, was the doll from those spots in the building this morning?"
"She was supposed to go in and get her pay for that job today, yes, but I don't know if she did," I said.
"Dorothy Hamill with big knockers and a sweet ass?"
"Crude, but that's about right," I said.
"Yeah, I saw her leaving when I was coming in around 10. Tight dress and heels to the sky.  Believe me, I'll be thinking of her tonight, know what I mean?"
"Yeah. Thanks for the unconfirmed rumors, Mike.  You need to get your nose out of the stroke mags and find a nice girl to date."
"Hey, like Kojak says, 'Who loves ya baby!'"
I hung up as he cackled.

Two weeks later I was doing mid-days on the radio side and Marsha was working in the promotion department and doing weekend on-camera reporting on the TV side.  The rumor around the building was that she was "dating" Stan.  All I knew for sure is that she wasn't dating me any more.

A couple months later she was the new weather girl on the 6PM news.
Later, when I moved out of the market, I lost track of the career of Marsha H.

Luckily, right after I started doing the mid-day trick I ran into Becky, a new student at the school.



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