Got a call yesterday from longtime Arizona Republic columnist E. J. Montini. He got a letter from someone who remembered a Jones & Boze Radio Show in 1990 where we were offering concert tickets to the person who called in and told the most outrageous thing their significant other had ever done to them. We got the usual "My ex keyed my car," and the half-believable, "My girlfriend glued my Johnson to my stomach when I was passed out." Finally, a guy called and said, "Nobody can top this one, my wife killed our four-year-old son."
As ridiculous as this sounds today, it was a guy named Arizona Milke and his wife, Debra Milke was all over the news because she had hired two hitmen to kill their four-year-old son just before Christmas. The boy was told he was going to see Santa Claus and the hitmen took him out on the desert and shot him. (She's back in the news because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a hearing to determine if she should be granted a new trial.)
I'm tempted to say we were flattered that a front page newsmaker listened to our show, but, although it sounds vaguely familiar, I really don't remember it. We did so many insane things on that show. One of my partners, however, Jeanne Sedello, told me this morning that she definitely remembers it: "We were all incredulous but your jaw was on the floor." Inevitably, according to our lawyers, we had to give him the tickets (he was right, nobody could top that story).
I have to say this is one of those cringe worthy junctions where the assinine antics of morning drive radio meets harsh reality.
But, this is not the only place where my usually excellent memory has begun to fail me. About ten years ago, I got a call from a writer in Kansas City who said he was doing a book on historic Route 66 and did I have any stories about my father's gas station. I told him the true story about my father waiting on a guy, all dressed in black, driving a '57 T-Bird with Nevada plates who asked my dad to fill the tank while he went to the bathroom. My father put the nozzle on automatic switch and started cleaning the windows. As the gas came up into the neck of the tank, the automatic switch failed to cut off in time and the overflow created a pool of gas on the cement. When the guy came out from the bathroom, he saw the wide pool of spilled gas and told my father, rather gruffly, to take a gallon of gas off his bill. My father told him he was sorry for the spillage but that wasn't a gallon of gas. When the guy demanded once again to remove a gallon of gas from the bill and my father refused, the guy pulled a knife, put it up against my father's throat and said, "There's a gallon of gas there Buddy, and take it off my bill!
My dad said, "You want to see a gallon of gas?" and he held the nozzle straight out, pulled the trigger and watched the pump to measure out a full gallon of gas. Gas sprayed straight out for three feet, then cascaded on to the cement apron like a roaring river breaking the banks. When he had finished, my father said to the guy, "Now that's a gallon of gas and you're paying for that one as well."
The writer thought this was great and wrote down everything I said.
A month or so later, at Thanksgiving, my father came down from Kingman for a visit and after dinner I asked him to tell my kids the story of the guy from Vegas with the '57 T-Bird. My dad told me he didn't know what I was talking about.
When I reminded him of the spilled gas and told him I didn't want to spoil the story by telling more, he laughed and said, "Well, kid, first of all it was a '56 Chevy. The guy was from Texas and when he pulled the knife, I ran into the office and called the police, then hid in the lube room until they showed up."
My head was throbbing like a tiny, green pea. This story seemed so historically accurate in my mind. Where had I gotten all the wrong details and obvious exaggeration from? My father just smiled and reminded me that on every job site in the United States there is always one guy who is a B.S.er. It is almost a union bylaw ("Chicago, we can't start a job out here, we have no bulls----er."). As we compared notes, we decided we knew who probably told me the legendary story. Believe it or not, this is a photo of him:
His name was Tom and he worked at the Air Force Base on Radar Hill and he was a masterful B.S.er. He had been everywhere, done everything, and he told me the story. As the theory goes, it was so vivid, it became cemented in my memory bank as an authentic memory.
Yikes! I've become an old man who is on his way to befuddlement (some would claim I've already arrived).
Old Man Take A Look At My Life
"I'm a lot like you."