That morning I wrote one-liners, a time when my story arcs went from the first word to about the fifteenth, unless I could say it quicker. Brevity is what I lived for.
The morning was routine. I pushed the buttons and played the hits, cranked the volume, sang along, talked time and temperature, and remember saying the days would be getting cooler. The fall festivals were coming up and that Labor Day I had visited The Shrimp and Petroleum Festival, even commented, it was that weekend’s crustacean station.
About 7:45, anticipating the 7:50 break, Dr. Don Thomas from C-107 FM, opened the door and said, “Larry, a plane just hit one of the twin towers.”
I was puzzled and sure I had that expression on my face, when I said, “How the hell could someone hit that thing?”
He said, “Really. I don’t know,” and went back into the other room, separated by a big window that allows us to see each other. Dr. Don now had the television turned to the news. There was the tower, burning.
At the 7:50 break I mentioned the incident to the listeners and said we’ll have more news as it develops. I knew the AP wire would have the information any second and I went back to playing the hits with my eyes glued on the television through the glass.
A few minutes after 8 o’clock in between two songs, I had to give the ID, “The New 96.7 THE BUZZ, KBZZ, Morgan City, Houma, Thibodaux, and when I turned off the microphone Dr. Don opened the door and said, “Larry, Another plane just hit the other tower.”
“What? My god. That’s not an accident.”
He said, “I know. We’re being attacked.”
My colleagues were now getting to work, filled with anxiety from hearing it on the way. Everyone was congregating on our side of the building, perplexed, amazed and bit scared. There were now close to ten people in Dr. Don’s control room watching the footage on TV.
When the initial shock wore off even sales people pulled together to get the disc jockeys in the building the information to inform listeners. All the announcers were called to come to work. It reminded me of what we do when a hurricane hits but this was different. This wasn’t an act of God, something crazy Cajuns laugh at.
After each song I gave another report trying not to be an alarmist. Then, about 8:40, the plane hits the Pentagon. That rattled everyone. South Louisiana could be a target for terrorism. Much of the oil in America comes from our area. Hit us, you hit the energy supply.
The music stopped completely and as the information kept rolling in I’m sure more televisions than radios were on that day, but radio played its part, maybe just to get away from the horrible pictures.
Fun had no place. For days information came to us but how could I talk of the lives lost then say, “If you’d like to go to the movies this weekend be my 6th caller.” The whole nation was in shock.
I got off the air at 3pm and had a weird idea. I rolled up all the AP wire paper, its long and short lengths, ripped off the printer, with my notes on the edges, edit marks and things to say, put a rubber band around it, and told myself, I’m going to keep this and in ten years I’ll look at it again. When I got home I threw it in my box of memories. It’s still there, with an at least nine-year-old rubber band. I saw it when I moved four weeks ago.
I have a MS that I’m 99.9999% ready to query, a WIP with two chapters completed, and I want to read my 9/11 notes and maybe find something in there.
One-liners were much easier.