Monday - 9:06 am
Back in my office, I check my mobile and find three missed calls from Jenny, my wife. She answers after two rings to the accompaniment of building noises in the not-so-far away background.
‘They’ve delivered the wrong one!’ she wails.
‘Spa of course! It’s a four seater.’
‘Oh, Jen. I- So, is that too large?’
‘No, no, no. Ours is an eight seater.’
‘Sounds like a people mover. Is the house big enough to fit it?’
She laughs. ‘It’s not going in the house, silly.’
‘No. It’s going off the back of the patio.’
‘But I’m digging in a herb garden there.’
‘Oh no, no, Danny. With the money you’re on now, we can afford to buy any herb we want. We don’t need a garden.’
‘But we need a spa?’
‘Matilda and her college friends will love it. And we can use it.’
‘Yes. When Matilda’s on sleepovers. Moonlit evenings. A bottle of champagne.‘
‘Mrs Shaw, you are a vixen.’
I turn as my door creaks open.
It’s Derek Blainey, the station manager, hovering, looking vexed. He looks upon FUN FM as a ship, of which he is the captain. We deejays, the talent, are his crew and the station is . . . which boat? Why the Love Boat, of course, promising something for everyone. And just like on the TV show the happy ending when the SS FUN FM docks - as far as Derek is concerned - is the punters falling in love with the music.
A match made in heaven.
Personally, I see FUN FM as the Titantic, with the iceberg known as musical good taste, waiting to scupper her. Thus far, the SS FUN FM has avoided the nasties lurking below the surface and my breakfast show sits at a reputable third on the ratings. But third is not Number One.
‘Danny,’ Derek says, clawing his way around the door. ‘A quick chat?’
Is he blind? Just for Derek’s benefit, I indicate my mobile.
‘I’m kind of doing something.’
‘But not the Cash Call, I take it?’ Smiling, he leans towards me. ‘Hello, Jenny.’
‘Is that Derek?’ she says. ‘Tell him ‘hi’.’
I cover the phone and turn to Derek. ‘Jenny says ‘fuck off’.’
‘Don’t forget you’re taking Matilda to the dentist today,’ says Jenny.
‘I won’t.’ I had.
Derek edges further into my office. ‘Danny?’
‘Gotta go, Jen. I’ll see you tonight.’ I hang up and swivel to face Derek. ‘What?’
‘Did-did your wife really tell me to- to . . .’
I stare at him. ‘What do you think?’
He stares back, eyes squeezed into a squint. ‘I think . . . not.’
‘That’s why you’re the manager.’
Derek sighs; tugs at his floral tie. ‘Have you made the cash call yet?’
‘You haven’t?’ Derek levels his I-mean-business gaze at me. ‘You do realise that the FUN FM Delta Diet Date $10,000 Cash Call is being made live tomorrow morning.’
‘Yes, yes, I know. Of course I know, I only mention it every five minutes during the show.’
‘Then don’t you think you should make the phone call now? And let’s get a great recording, okay? We don’t want anything to go wrong during tomorrow’s live announcement, do we?’
‘Yeah, yeah. Onto it now.’ I pick up the office phone.
‘Good lad.’ Derek gives me two thumbs-up. ‘And- and you’ll call by my office? For our meeting. Andrew did mention it, didn’t he?’
I put the phone down.
‘He did, yes. But I thought this phone call was more important. It is, isn’t it?’
‘Oh, I- I. Right.’ He gives two thumbs up again. It’s beginning to lose its value. ‘I just don’t want any . . . mistakes.’
‘Neither do I.’
I wait for elaboration, more thumbs up, but he just hovers, smiling.
He starts to speak, then shakes his head.
‘No. There’s nothing.’ Channelling a 1980’s game show hostess, he indicates the phone. ‘Don’t let me hold you up.’
He backs out of the door.
‘Oh!’ He hesitates. ‘Don’t forget to record the call.’
I do my own version of a game show hostess and point out the hardware I have connected to the phone.
I turn away from Derek and punch in Troy, the winner’s, number.
The phone is answered on the third ring.
‘Yeah, hello!’ Best deejay voice, enthused to the max. ‘Is that Troy?’
‘Troy, it’s Danny Shaw from FUN FM. Congratulations on winning our $10,000 Delta Diet Date listener competition.’
‘Oh, thanks, but um, I’ve already been told I won. A guy just phoned me.’
‘Crazy Dave, yeah?’
‘Yeah, yeah, that’s him. He’s crazy.’
‘Rrright. Well, Troy, you see, Dave’s from Melbourne and this competition was Australia wide and our network is Australia wide, so each station has to ring to congratulate you. Dave should have told you all of this.’
‘He didn’t but.’
‘So I’ll be getting heaps of calls?’
‘Well, just from the other capital cities.’
‘Ye-ah. So, we’ll hang up and I’ll call you back. Okay?’
I hang up; punch redial.
Half a ring.
‘You don’t know I’m calling Troy.’
‘Hello Danny, is it?’ A woman’s voice.
‘Christ. Who’s this?’
‘I’m stupid’s wife. Renae.’
Which makes you . . . ‘Hello Renae.’
‘Am I on the radio now?’
‘Christ, no. Can I talk to Troy please?’
‘We getting a cheque or cash?’
‘You can have it in beer and ciggies if you want.’
‘No. Sorry. Can I talk to Troy?’
‘That was the missus. She’s just off to work at the car factory.’
‘That’s great. Look, I’m going to have to call you - again. This is a surprise. You don’t know I’m calling. You don’t know you’ve won.’
‘But Crazy Dave told me I won. Not half an hour ago.’
‘Yeah, yeah. That was for Melbourne. Now I have to congratulate you for Sydney listeners. Remember like I told you?’
‘Okay. We’ll try again.’
‘I’ve got to run Renae to work but.’
‘All right, I’ll call again in an hour.’