You're listening to Sweet T on 92.7 WEMD SLAM FM. It's after dark now, so don't change that dial because here's where killer tunes explode through your speakers, leaving you wanting more. I'll take you through the night and feed your soul. Call me at 1-800-555-SLAM and let me know what's up, Miami. Now check out the new Juice Box track I've been promising you.
Until a few years ago, I always dreamed that a radio station would be a sleek glass architectural gem on Ocean Drive. Flashing neon lights with the studio's call letters would adorn the top of the builing, large enough to be spotted miles away. Don't get me wrong, SLAM FM has a good setup five minutes from the beach in North Miami. But they occupy the second floor of an office building, nestled between a law firm and a bail bondsman, hardly in the midst of all the South Beach revelers staring at the disc jockeys through the huge windowpanes.
The only good thing about Mom marrying Rob Fandango, radio bigwig, is that he owns a top-forty station. But while he whisks Mom off to celebrity-wannabe parties every weekend, I'm holed up in my room, downloading all the latest tunes on my iPod and scanning the dial for the next overnight sensation.
There are a few local celebs, like the hottest up-and-coming rapper, PJ Squid, that I'd like to meet, but I'd have nothing to say to him. More like I'm afraid I'd open my mouth and nothing would come out, or even worse, I'd say something stupid.
Might as well admit it I'm shy. Not the kind where you blush when someone compliments you, but the kind that results in feelings of nausea when meeting new people. When I was little, I thought I was Shy Adams. People would ask my name, and my mother would immediately answer for me, "She's shy." She even did it three weeks ago when we met up with some of the radio people at a restaurant. It was so embarrassing because I can no longer hide behind her; rather, she can hide behind me. I'm five inches taller than her and a good thirty-five pounds heavier I'm the evergreen tree to her palm.
"Teresa, you can wait in the car if you like." Mom's ID card pops out of the slot and she zooms into her reserved space in the station's parking garage.
My seat belt is already unbuckled. "No, I'm cool."
I walk a step behind Mom toward the elevator. By the time we reach the second floor, my stomach is whirring. I cross my arms against my chest and inhale. I can do this. I've done it before. We'll only be inside for five minutes, tops. Mom has to drop off a birthday present that Rob asked her to buy for his lawyer. Then we're off to my Friday afternoon dentist appointment. Joy.
When you open the heavy glass door to the station, the first thing you see is a gigantic red and blue SLAM sign hanging over a large U-shaped desk. In addition to the receptionist's area, the entrance is large enough to fit two red couches and a table filled with Rolling Stone, Vibe, and other music industry magazines. There's a small guy with a goatee and shades sitting there now. He's speaking in a hushed tone on his cell. I don't recognize him. Maybe he's a promoter. I hope he's here for PJ Squid.
Patty's up front answering the phones. She's in her midforties, is the proud owner of a seventies feathered hairdo, and plays solitaire in between calls. She gives us a half smile as we waltz by.
We round the corner and walk past the on-air studio. My heart thumps. I'd give anything to be inside there, broadcasting live, instead of doing mock shows from my bedroom.
Derek, the drive time DJ, is leaning against the outside of the door. "Hi, Delilah." He throws Mom a crooked smile.
"How's the show going?" Mom asks.
"All good." He winks. "Do you like your new ride?"
I'm standing next to Mom, but he doesn't even acknowledge me. We've met several times before but have never spoken to each other. It has always been at the end of a long table at a restaurant or at a few station parties filled with models and other women that don't eat for a living.
"I love the Lexus. It drives so smoothly," Mom coos.
Derek puts his hand on Mom's shoulder. His knuckles are really hairy and so is his chest, for that matter. I don't think the first three buttons on his shirt have ever been used. "You deserve it."
I try to peek into the studio, but Derek's blocking the glass pane in the door.
"I like to think so." Mom laughs. "Rob knows what makes me happy."
Okay, this is about all I can handle. This guy gives me the creeps. I clear my throat and point down the hall toward our original destination.
"Right." Mom nods and says good-bye to Derek.
We continue down the carpeted hallway to Rob's window office, facing the bay. When we're a few feet away, I hear him talking to someone.
Mom reaches for the doorknob. "Maybe he's in a meeting," I say.
"Nonsense. He knows I'm stopping by." She whips open the door.
DJ Wipeout is seated across from Rob. "I'm sorry to hear that " Rob stops midsentence as soon as he spots us.
Both men are sporting poker faces. Call me crazy, but it looks like they're busy.
Mom strolls right in, while I linger at the entrance.
"Here you go, honey." She plops the gift bag onto Rob's desk and gives him a big smooch on the lips.
He smiles but doesn't budge. Mom looks at Rob, then DJ Wipeout. "Excuse me. Did I interrupt something?"
"Aaron's leaving us," Rob says.
What? No way. He's got a great show, The Love Shack, "where lust is always in the air."
"For how long?" Mom slides her wedding ring back and forth.
Rob taps his coffee mug with a gold pen. "He quit."
Mom's jaw drops. I inch closer to the desk.
"I'm going to work on my uncle's cattle ranch in Texas." Wipeout runs his hand over the top of his shaved head. I catch a glimpse of the tattoo stretched across his forearm that says Rock or Die.
Double no way. He's going to waste his sexy voice rounding up cows all day and stepping in manure?
"That's nice." Mom smiles.
"The Love Shack won't be the same without you," Rob says. "I have no clue who to replace you with."
Me! I want to shout. I can do the show blindfolded! But instead I stand there deader than a stuffed moose.
"I'm sorry, bud." Wipeout lets out a huge sigh. "But this is my calling."
Yeah, me, too.
This is Sweet T live on The Love Shack, hoping all your dreams come true... Copyright © 2009 by Danielle Joseph