edited: Friday, October 28, 2005
By Larry Rochelle
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Become a Fan
Finding a place on the street, I parked and went inside the store, browsing through the rock and blues sections, but no Morells.
The Boulevard was bumpy as usual, the narrow lanes, the burst of color near the Mexican restaurants, the haggard, scattered bunch of illegal Mexican workers gathered by the gas station, waiting for the daily jobs that might not come to them today.
Finally at my desk, looking out the window, I saw an argument in the parking lot between the lot attendant, a redheaded female in black pants and short sleeved, black shirt, a radio/pager on her hip, and a guy in a black Honda, who moved his car a bit into the space, but who did not get out as the redhead beckoned to him. Then, another attendant ran over, a white-shirted, young, blond male, who motioned to the man with his hands to move away, to leave the parking lot, but the car remained.
Shortly, the male caretaker ran away and returned with some car keys. He went to the car immediately to the front of the Honda, and then moved it away. The Honda then did pull out, did a little circle around the lot and left the area, heading west on 17the Street. The conclusion of the episode was very ambiguous. Why was the man arguing? Why did he resist? Why did they force him away?
All the while, I took photos of this action. Why? I guess I wanted to document a seemingly innocuous problem that might have escalated into something like road rage. I don’t know if the Honda returned later or not. It easily could have, the man carrying a gun, perhaps.
Getting into my computer, I opened up my “Gulf Ghost” disk and typed about two pages, watching the watch on my wrist. I was getting hungry and not too creative, so I cut my typing short, turned everything off and left, driving my car south on Main to the Plaza. A Winstead’s breakfast sounded good.
The window seats looking toward south the Place tennis courts were closed, so I took a booth at the north side, facing Brush Creek Blvd. and some apartments. Ordering the combo (eggs over easy, ham, hash browns and coffee), I watched individuals walk past the window. Then I pulled out a book about Biloxi and briefly noted the Biloxi Back Bay area, old ships tied to shore and decaying. My own book, “Gulf Ghost,’ is going well but I’m anxious to get to the exciting part, when the water level rises and the ghost boats take to the Back Bay, one of them taking my character, Dr. Gene Jennings, to his death.
The food was good and I felt content. No arm pain yet today, even though I had played tennis until 10 p.m. last night. No chest pain. No tingling … yet.
Packing up, I went out to the lot and drove north on Main, then over to Broadway to visit the Streetside record store. I had read the previous week about a sale on the CD of The Morells, a group with almost the exact name of my leading character, Palmer Morel, in “Gulf Ghost.”
Finding a place on the street, I parked and went inside the store, browsing through the rock and blues sections, but no Morells. Checking the local bands, I finally found the CD, but it was not sale priced. After picking out a few more CD’s, Aaron Neville, Roomful of Blues, B.B. King and Eric Clapton, Dr. John, I asked about the price and the cashier said he’s give me 30% off the price of The Morells. This seemed like a good deal.
Rushing now, I saw it was 10:55, almost time for the Ruckus taping. I sped off, parked across from KCPT, wandered around the disjointed, working area until Mike Shanin pointed out the entrance to the studio.
In the neatly cluttered back room, Matt and I chatted about the previous night’s fundraiser for the NY injured. Matt said that Channel 9, using KCPT’s phone bank, made $500,000 in donations and would try to do the same thing tonight, but not on live TV, with just a crawler giving the phone number to call. People wanted to help, and these donations seemed a good way to be involved.
Matt was taping both Ruckus and also a Cynthia Smith special, on how to talk to children about the tragedy. Matt thought five psychologists would be on the show when usually Cynthia had only one guest. Matt had been at the studio until eleven last night, maybe later tonight.
I took photos of Matt applying make-up to the talent, namely Yael and Rich Nadler. Then I walked around the set, telling Shanin that Ruckus got a nomination for Pitch BEST OF series. I knew that was true , because I had written the nomination.
After a few more photos of the group (Steve Rose was missing.), I went to the control room and sat next to Katie who was working the Teleprompter. She was really wired, and during the taping, she saw a scary crawl on the TV in her office.
The Kansas City government building had just been given a bomb threat. An evacuation in the downtown area was being enforced as the tape rolled. It was 11:55, five minutes before a scheduled prayer meeting at City Hall. Katie hurriedly dialed a few numbers, trying to get the attention of the crew, probably wanting them to insert that detail on the tape or at least put them on alert.
I watched to my left as the screen showed the prayer group leader, local African American activist Alvin Brooks, chatting with reporters.
The Roasts and Toasts part of Ruckus began, the part allowing each media expert to roast or toast someone. Rich Nadler gave a heartfelt toast to a victim of the attack:
I would like to raise a toast, and a farewell, to conservative commentator Barbara Olson, who visited Kansas City just a year ago to discuss her book, “Hell to Pay.” To those who knew Barbara, it came as no surprise that she was the first one to risk instant death by calling from the hijacked 757 to alert her husband, U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, to the crime, in progress. Minutes later, she was dead. Flight of angels, Barb
(the actual TelePrompTer script read “babe”).
Ruckus ended on that note of sadness, and I took off down Main Street, trying to get close to City Hall, but all the traffic within maybe four city blocks was being stopped.
Driving around for a while, trying to get closer, I took photos, then left for the College.
At home, I read a new note from Doug in New York that seemed very confused about the New York situation.
?...We begin the day with a? ...Did anything happen last night.....?.... I smelled smoke from the WTC on the way home...it was different than before.... more chemicals.... I wonder if the smoke is dangerous...there was a bomb threat at the Empire State building last night...there were bomb threats at Grand Central today.... and at the Chrysler building...ones that we know of.... is it safe to ride the subway? ...the air force is flying over us all day and all night.... the sirens are also going.... the news is on.... people look at you weird when you walk down the street.... the foreigners look a little fearful...does Starr have school today...?....when does she go in?....10:30...?...why....?...that doesn't make sense...are you going to the city today....?.....I’m supposed to work...?....I’ll find out when I get there....is it safe to ride the subway...?....I work on 7th street....will they let me get to my job...? ...When! Will I be able to go back to work? ...What about the people who worked in those buildings? What's going to happen to them? ...How is this affecting the rest of the country? ...Gas is $5 a gallon...Do you know anyone who worked down there? ...Where were you when you found out? Where does the train let me off? How close can you get to ground zero...? ... Did you see anyone jump from the building...? ... There were body parts strewn all over the street down there...? I can't believe it...It seems like something else is going to happen. I wonder where it's going to happen...so many bomb threats around the city.... It’s a beautiful day outside, blue skies, nice breeze, cool temperature... Did anything really happen?