Monday, June 05, 2006

The Ever Elusive Applebee's Opus

"Hey your bride in bed?"

What a strange question, I thought as I stared at dim blue light creeping across the bedroom ceiling. Beside me the woman in question shifted under a twisted knot of covers and cat. Through the phone, I could hear muffled voices barking on a crackling police scanner.


"Some jackass is holdin a girl hostage at AppleBee's," my father said with that matter-of-fact tone of a first responder. "Thought for a minute it might be Shelly."

Suddenly I was up, standing on the second-hand bed's crappy mattress and almost hitting the broken ceiling fan. Below, my young wife sat up in bewilderment and the cat shot out of the room. In the distance, the voices on the distant scanner were arguing.

"Say that again." I said, dodging the fan's dead, dusty blades.

"There’s a gunman inside AppleBee‘s, with a girl from last night’s shift. Turn on your TV, boy and call me back." CLICK.

And thus begins my adventure behind the lens. A cinematic tale of a chilly morning in 1993, 'The Applebee's Incident' has served me well at cocktail parties and camera clusters. But proper documentation of my very first news story continues to elude me. That bites, as it's the opening scene in the book I'm still not writing. 'All I gotta do is overhaul this opus and the rest of my short stories fall in order', I tell my project coach and myself. We both know it won't be that easy, but it's evident I have to work through this long, complicated, conflicted tale before I get to the not so simple business of pruning and collation. So, why am I telling you this? I dunno - beats straining my melon trying to remember ancillary facts of my punk-ass past. Besides, a few of you out there know the incident of which I speak. One or two of you were even there beside me that day. What do you recall of March 5, 1992?


Amanda said...

Hm..March of '92? I would have been laid up in a cast after breaking my knee.

Hey you asked......

Sue said...

It was my birthday. In fact, it was my birthday every March fifth since the year 0, no?

in-gun-ear said...

Being hired by the same place that employs me now!

dustin. said...

As a matter of fact, I had just quit working with your wife at that same restaurant. I also remember being stuck in the studio manning the ever elusive tube cameras, wishing I was out there with you, Cormier and Dunn. Thanks to "Rescue 911" for the in depth tv special they hired me for about this!

Carolyn said...

I was standing right beside you, In the McDonald's parking lot next door, where we had a clean view of Mr. Melvin sitting at the bar inside Applebee's swilling beer. I remember you also had a clean shot of Cathy as she ran out the back door of the restaurant into the cop car that whisked her away, and because the rest of us could not see what you were seeing through the viewfinder, you said "she's out, she's gone, she's free" and I used that as a natsound break in my package.
My favorite memory, though, was of the live wraparound I did that night, and the main anchor at the station NEVER told we reporters what he was going to ask us during a live shot - said it wasn't natural - and so I come out of this package, toss it back to the anchor, and he says: "Carolyn, I understand that the only other charge against this suspect was a worthless check charge, is that true?" and I had no &**&*^%$ idea if it was or not - and I was damned if I was going to say something I wasn't certain of, and before I could stop myself, I said "Well, I've not heard that, but I'm assuming if you're saying it, it must be true." Cut back to anchor with somewhat chagrined expression. Dude, I could talk all day about this one. You should call me.

Anonymous said...

WAY more interesting than my first assignment. Think men in suits at a podium. Great stuff, keep it up!