I left Barnaby, aka Jesus, in Capernaum and headed out for a busy Saturday night: first dinner with Judy Blue Eyes, then swinging by The Boomer’s place afterward if I could manage it. He said what the heck, it was Saturday so just wake him up if it was really late. And as usual, Mother Grail was right again: after a full day of listening and transcribing, I was ready for a break. Particularly knowing that we’d be right back with Jesus in the morning.
On the way to pick up JBE, I dropped by the history office to leave a stack of corrected papers I’d pumped out Friday night. As I headed from the bike racks toward the building, I remembered that the university radio station was housed in the basement. That immediately brought to mind the conversation with The Boomer about whether The Grail was powerful enough to make me the next Senator from Texas. The Marquis hatched up a scheme while I was making my deliveries, so we dropped by the basement on the way out.
After my attack of paranoia at leaving The Grail unguarded, I’d converted a fanny pack to carry her around in. They were something brand new—weren’t even called fanny packs yet—but JBE had given me one big enough to hold a book, along with a pocket-sized Kama Sutra, for Valentine’s Day. The Grail just fit, with a bit of padding here and there to soften the suspicious bulges. I cut an inconspicuous slit so I could stick my finger in for a boost of eloquent persuasion. The aspirin bottle of wine rode in my back pocket.
KTRU was strictly a low-budget concern, and at that time of day there were only two people there—the DJ and an assistant who doubled as producer, receptionist, advertising salesman, and gopher.
“Hi, I’m Brad Schuster,” I said to Jack of Many Trades, who had the phone pinned between his ear and his shoulder but who, if the extent of his doodles were any indication, had been on hold for some time.
“Bob Fletcher here,” he answered, shaking my hand without taking his feet down off the desk.
“I’d like to see about making a radio appeal.”
“Sure, go on in.”
“You mean, do it now?”
“Rockin’ Roger won’t care.” He hung up the receiver with a satisfied bang. “Come on, I’ll introduce you.”
When he saw us coming in, Rockin’ Roger put on The Allman Brothers’ Whipping Post (at more than five minutes for the studio version and a whopping twenty-two for the live performance, it still reigned as the number one ‘dump song,’ so designated because the DJ had plenty of time to take a dump before he had to change records) and switched off the mike so that none of the six or so people who were listening at this time of day would overhear us.
“Rog, this is Brad Schuster. He wants to make some sort of appeal on the radio.”
Rockin’ Roger also shook my hand, but his expression was anything but friendly (not unexpectedly, considering that Bob Fletcher and not Grail-enhanced Brad Schuster had brought the idea up). “What kind of appeal?” he demanded in a leery voice that said plainer than words, “Hell no, you aren’t making any personal appeal on my radio program.”
“I’m soliciting for the whales, man, but that’s not the whole story. It’s really the Karma.” I’ve always been good at thinking on my feet, and The Grail elevated my game to lofty heights. “The convergence this evening is so powerful that anyone who makes a donation will receive abundance many times their actual contribution. Sending the money to save the whales is just a convenient thing to do with the cash after it’s already given so much satisfaction.”
“Well, why didn’t you say so?” Roger shot back apologetically. “We’ll do everything we can to help something that worthwhile.” He shook my hand again before confiding, “We get a lot of cause crackpots beating their own drums, so we have to be careful who we allow on the air.”
“No problem, man.”
“Do you want to rehearse or anything?”
“No, it’s really better if it comes from the heart.”
So by the time Greg Allman felt like he was dying for the last time, I was wired in with headphones and microphone and waiting for my cue. I slipped The Grail out of my pack and given her a little vino for maximum impact, holding her unobtrusively under the countertop.
“This is Rockin’ Roger and that was the Allman Brothers, and you didn’t need me to tell you either of those things. But now I’m going to introduce Brad Schuster, a special guest who wants to take a minute of his time and yours for a special message.” Roger pointed at me and switched my mike on.
“Greetings, devoted listeners and fellow travelers on our precious ship earth. I have unearthed a recent discovery that I’m going to share. Please don’t switch your dial—I’m not an evangelist and this will only take a minute.
“The planetary convergence this evening is so powerful that you can almost reach out and touch it. It’s a Venus and Saturn pas de deux, an extraordinary night when the entire solar system, and probably the rest of creation as well, is in tune with giving.
“Because of this cosmic phenomenon, if you make a donation tonight, you will receive an abundance of fulfillment twelvefold your actual contribution, or even more. The cause isn’t really important. You can walk down Fannin and give to a bum on the street. But if you’d rather, I’ll make it easy. Just mail a buck or two to P. O. Box 2194, Rice U, Houston, 77001. I’ll bundle up whatever you send and pass it on to Save the Whales Foundation, so they can swim free while you’re out there basking in the interstellar goodness and light.
“You are already starting to feel that special radiance just thinking about it. That’s how powerful a day it is. That address again is P. O. Box 2194, Zip Code 77001. Enjoy the fruits of your benevolence.”
Roger switched me off and started another song. They both thanked me profusely for coming by and told me to drop in anytime. I left before things got any deeper, and even made it to JBE’s on time.