One of my older writing projects I’m eager to finish is Truly Yors, an autobiography from fictitious radio personality Yors Truly, who is based on radio legend Howard Stern. His friend and producer is Fat Bubba, inspired by Stern’s producer Gary Dell’Abate. In fact, Truly Yors aims to be a spinoff of Stern’s autobiography Private Parts.
In this excerpt, Yors and Fat Bubba are unemployed after a nasty on-air feud nearly destroys the radio station where they worked. Then Yors gets a job offer from Chat 54, New York’s most popular AM station. Excited, he rushes to Fat Bubba’s apartment to relay the good news but suddenly remembers the feud that ended their friendship…
I went upstairs to Fat Bubba’s apartment and as I approached the door, I heard a popping sound from inside that sounded too much like a gun going off.
My heart sank. No way did Fat Bubba just kill himself. Wait a minute. Fat Bubba doesn’t even have a gun. He’s scared to death of guns, but what was that noise?
Then I heard another popping sound, followed by another and another. I began to visualize Fat Bubba shooting himself in the head again and again but that turned out to be a very silly thought. Considering he’s the Million Mistake Man, he couldn’t even shoot himself in the head if he tried. But that didn’t explain the popping noises.
I knocked on the door. “Fat Bubba, it’s me. Are you okay in there?”
“Fat Bubba, what are you doing?”
I knocked on the door again, this time harder. “Fat Bubba! Open up! I’ve got some good news!”
Finally, I heard Fat Bubba speak from inside. “Go away,” he said.
Pop, pop, pop.
“Don’t make me kick this door down.”
Suddenly the front door flew open and there was Fat Bubba holding a candle lighter.
“You better not!” he yelled. “I won’t get my security deposit back!”
He started closing the door but I held it open. That’s when I noticed his apartment was grey with smoke everywhere.
“What the hell were you doing?” I asked. “What were those popping noises? And why is your apartment filled with smoke? What if the smoke detector goes off?” I panicked. “The smoke detector!” I hurried inside the apartment to open the windows to let out the smoke. “It’s a miracle your smoke detector hasn’t gone off yet. Or did you even replace the battery?”
“What battery?” Fat Bubba asked.
“Never mind,” I sighed. Sensing the apartment was finally clear of the smoke, I closed the windows so the air conditioning could resume cooling the air.
“Are you leaving now?” Fat Bubba asked.
“No,” I said.
“Why did you come up here then?”
“Because I have some good news.”
“No, but at least our careers are.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’re starting at Chat 54 tomorrow afternoon, both of us, together, as a team.”
Fat Bubba was confused. “What’s Chat 54?”
“Haven’t you heard of Chat 54? WCHT? 540 AM?”
“We’re starting at 5:40 in the morning?” Fat Bubba yelled.
“No, you dummy, it’s 540 on your AM dial.”
“There you go again, calling me names.” Fat Bubba protested. “And you want me to go in with you?”
“The manager said for me to bring in my producer,” I said calmly.
“Good luck finding one,” Fat Bubba snarled, “because I’m through with you.”
“Fat Bubba,” I said, “You’ve been with me since the very beginning of my career, and I really don’t want to part with you now. I know I’ve done some nasty things to humiliate you and I’m sorry. I also know we haven’t been exactly the best of friends but I see great potential for us to find out what a great team we can be. I’m seeing Chat 54 as a chance for us to wipe the slate clean and start over from scratch, and the manager will work with us to make us both the great team I know we can be. So what do you say?”
“Get out,” Fat Bubba said.
“Do you really want to end our friendship like this?” I asked. “As far as I know, I’m the only friend you got.” I headed for the door but suddenly stopped in thought. “Come to think of it, you’re the only friend I got.”
Fat Bubba responded by slamming the door to the bathroom and minutes later, those popping noises started again. They got louder and louder as I approached the bathroom door and I pushed the door open to see what was going on.
There was Fat Bubba, kneeling on the floor, lighting firecrackers in the bathtub. He had a large paper bag in the bathtub that contained a large supply of firecrackers and he kept taking one out at a time to light it in the tub. After it exploded, he put another one down and had just flicked on the candle lighter when he suddenly stopped, seeming to sense he was no longer alone in the bathroom.
“Get out,” he said in a tense voice.
“Firecrackers in the bathtub?” I snorted.
“GET OUT!” Fat Bubba yelled, finally turning to face me. The flame from his candle lighter lit the paper bag containing the firecrackers and suddenly there was a deafening barrage of dozens of firecrackers exploding simultaneously. The bathroom was filled with thick smoke and we both had to evacuate. Before leaving I opened the windows again to let out the smoke and I ended up running back downstairs back to my apartment. I had entered my apartment and was about to close my front door when suddenly an arm reached out to keep the door open.
It was Fat Bubba.
“Why did you follow me here?” I yelled. “I thought we were through.”
I could still hear the firecrackers going off upstairs and Fat Bubba started cracking up. “That,” he said between fits of laughter, “was the funniest thing I ever saw!”
I couldn’t resist cracking a smile either. “Yeah, I guess that was funny.”
“No, that wasn’t just funny, it was STINKIN’ HILARIOUS!”
As if on cue to punctuate his point, some more firecrackers went off upstairs and we both started laughing so hard that we had to sit down on the couch. And there we were, laughing every time we heard another firecracker go off.
Then it dawned on me. There was no more friction between us. All the hostilities that had been formed from the morning’s events had melted away and we couldn’t even look at each other without laughing.
“So, are we still on for the new job tomorrow?”
“Sure,” Fat Bubba sighed as he recovered from his laughing fit.
“We’ll make this work, both of us. I know we can do it.” I said. “This is our chance to start over from scratch, and I think this is our only chance. If we blow it, we may never get another chance like this again. So let’s work together and show Chat 54 what we can do.”
“And that would mean no more picking on me,” Fat Bubba said.
“Agreed.” I nodded. “And that would mean no more fouling up on the simplest tasks. Work with me, and I’ll work with you. We’ll have ourselves a killer radio show yet.”
We both agreed and then silently listened for any more firecrackers. Judging from the silence, we concluded the last of them had popped so we went back upstairs to survey the damage. The bathtub was cracked and there were burn holes on the rug, but we cracked up all over again and we spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the mess.
As a team.