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UCSCA UCSCA Lit of the Nation
UCSCA Lit of the Nation
The Legend of Hal Leonardson and His Sidekicks
Stephen Hayes

"O.K., everyone, you're listening to radio 94.5 WJAR Washington!" said the loud voice of Hal Leonardson, as he struck the gong suspended on the desk behind him. Hal Leonardson was the shock jock of D.C. Working every morning from 5:30-10:00, he had been ripped of the air, a record setting 437 times in his five years at the station. Known mainly for his politically incorrect language, attitudes and word usage, he was disliked by the rich and old—and loved by the young middle class. He was also known for some of his famous political remarks-mostly anti-big government and anti-rich.

He worked for what had been a reasonably small radio network before his current employment. He was also known for his extreme sharpness. It was said that he could convince hardheaded teenagers that they were wrong and hardheaded politicians that they were wrong, too. With a Bachelor's in History and a Master's in Political Science—from Yale—he was as sharp as a throwing knife.

He began on the smallest station in D.C. working for a station that played fast, loud and unpopular rock music. Virtually every morning he would have a guest on the air. Be it a band, political candidate, politician, actors, or virtually anyone that people asked to hear on his show. That was the real "spunk" of it. It was the only real show that asked its listeners who they wanted to be interviewed or simply talked to.

He had sidekicks—like any good super hero would—who were by his side, his fellow soldiers. Florence (Spanks) Nelson who was famous for her news reports and her "Daily News" which was virtually a funny happening and/or funny story. They had a reputation of being gross.

Andrew (Light Bulb) Phillips. Named for his acute-slow and failing-brain. He was a type of field reporter who went out and called back to the show on a cell. There were many others, but these were the main characters. Zeus, Athena and Bacchus.

"So what exactly are we doing today...Spanks?" boomed Hal's voice through the microphone shooting into his listeners' ears.

"Today you are alone, Hal, just you and the listeners." A frown shot into Leonardson's face—he liked listeners—but he'd rather have a guest.

"Right...right..." He said with a bit of a reluctant tone. Let's go to line...line... how about five for a change...Hello, you're on the Hal In The Morning Show...Hello?... Heeello?"

Then the answer came through "Yeah, hi? I'm on Constitution and...I don't know, I'm on the mall. But..." the voice was incredibly high pitched-as high as the tip of Mt. Everest.

"Excuse me...sir...," said Leonardson reluctantly, not sure if he was speaking to a man or woman. "You're on the mall? And what's going on?"

After a short pause the answer came through. "Yeah, the mall...and on the grass there's this guy who's like...I don't know...he's running around in cowboy boots lassoing people...and...oh...well, there are these Park Police trying to get him but...but he's getting away and...yeah."

This was the type of thing that Hal and his crew—the gods of the D.C. morning shows—when lacking a guest got one of the more bazaar cases to strike D.C. that day. Hal's voice came in after a short chuckle and pause. His voice came into the microphone slowly: "Kid, now listen to me...I need you to somehow get the cowboy dude to talk to us...is that possible?" His voice sounded very slow compared to is usual juggernaut speed that would reach listeners with a pang.