“Pink Pussycat”

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CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE

PINK PUSSYCAT

I had spoken with Joe Windsor on many occasions about technological inevitability. “AM Rock” was on borrowed time. The FCC had approved a new FM frequency for Flint. There were many applicants, but I felt that Fuqua should take its best shot and go with an “experienced broadcasters in the market” approach. It was the sort of opportunity we had to go for. The investment was minimal compared with the possible score.

We were competing against three other major opponents for the license. There was a heavily-favored Black group, another entity of marginal significance and a fairly fanatical assortment of religious fundamentalists.
We felt that the Blacks had an edge on several counts. Race was an important issue, as was the fact that their corporation would be locally owned and controlled. We felt that we enjoyed the next best odds. We generally discounted the other opposition, especially the “religious nuts”.

The FCC had scheduled hearings before an Administrative Law Judge the second week in January. This guy would make an initial recommendation, which would normally be approved by the full Commission as a matter of routine. R. Nottingham Hill flew into Washington for the first day of action on January 7th and I was to join him the following day to offer programming testimony as part of Fuqua’s presentation. After arriving in Washington, I met R. Nottingham for dinner and drinks. At that stage in our relationship, we actually got along fairly well.

Since it was the Bicentennial Year and as we were in Washington, Hill felt that something which combined both history and politics would be highly appropriate as a focus for evening entertainment. When he offered further explanation, I sincerely congratulated him on both creativity and vision. It was the best idea he’d ever expressed. I didn’t know he had it in him.

Congressman Wilbur Mills was from the grand and glorious state of Arkansas and had been around for quite some time. He had risen to a position of substantial national prominence and power and was considered expert in many areas of the law, particularly matters involving federal taxation. He was considered extremely dedicated and responsible and thought of as a paragon of gracious virtue and refined demeanor. Then, he met Fanny.

Fanny Fox was a stripper. She worked at “The Pink Pussycat”. Wilbur fell in love.

He began drinking quite heavily and thinking not levelly.

He hung out at the “Pussycat” just about all he could and even chased Fanny around the country. There was some sort of scene in Boston. A “moonlight swim” in the Potomac Tidal Basin garnered arrest by the authorities and extensive media coverage. Wilbur even had most of his clothes on, but it didn’t matter. He surely needed more than a bit of rest. The fanny Wilbur finally nailed was his own. His retirement from office came shortly. Fanny Fox’s rates went up for public appearing and private endearing. From Wilbur’s fall came Fanny’s rise. She was still working at the Pink Pussycat. Just a taxi away. She was now a national treasure.

“LET’S GO! “

It turned-out that Fanny had taken the night off. What matter?

I was surprised that the place wasn’t particularly crowded or exceptionally elegant. Indeed, it barely qualified as slightly above seedy. It smelled like a lavender-scented locker room. Four nearly-naked ladies were floating about on stage. A dozen other “dancers” worked the room with polished professionalism. I knew that’s where the talent lay or could be almost laid under certain circumstances. There was a private area for  “special entertainment”. If you bought a “bottle of champagne” for, say a hundred dollars, that’s where you’d go. There would be no outright fucking, at least for strangers, but an ice-cube blow-job was not completely out of the question. Poor Wilbur. It must have been a taxing experience.

Corporate credit cards were willingly accepted and would be stamped with some fictitious, innocuous designation such as “Joe’s Tires” to conceal purpose of expediture and services obtained. It was all covered, except for the tits and ass.

“Betty” sat down in Nottingham’s lap with curious familiarity. “Judy” sat down next to me and asked if I would buy her a drink. I told “Judy” I appreciated her interest, but would be wasting her time. I admitted that I was an attorney with a law firm representing former Congressman Mills and was there to quietly gather information. She took off like a rocket, whispering in “Betty’s” ear on the way. “Betty” quickly excused herself as well. R. Nottingham was perplexed and asked me what I’d said. I told him I had mentioned his homosexuality. He was not amused. I suggested that we had a long day ahead. If we wanted a few “last calls” back at the hotel bar, I thought we’d best leave immediately. He brightened at the thought of more sanctioned booze and we departed.

Ed O’ Neill was our outstanding FCC attorney and a fine Irishman as well. He received a highly irregular phone call early the next morning from one of the “religious nuts”. It turned-out they were really nuts.

Ed reached me in my hotel room. We spoke in confidence.

The righteously religious had noted WTAC’s application for the FM frequency filed in opposition to their own. They were aware that WTAC played nothing but Satan’s own music and encouraged fornication, degradation, humiliation and masturbation; often simultaneously. They knew that WTAC’s General Manager was coming into Washington to testify in the all-important FCC hearings. A “Christian Detective” had watched R. Nottingham Hill arrive at National Airport and tracked him to his hotel. Then he had been followed to the “Pink Pussycat”. He had been there several hours before leaving. He had been back last night, accompanied by “somebody wearing dark-rimmed glasses”, but had stayed only “briefly”.  Ed theorized I might be Mr. “Dark-Rimmed Glasses” and asked what I knew. I told him “not much”, but was quick to offer hypothesis.

Mmmmmmm. No wonder “Betty” seemed to make such fast acquaintance with Mr. R. Nottingham.  He certainly was a little devil.

O’Neill handled the affair masterfully. He contacted the law firm representing the Lord’s chosen and outlined such matters as “invasion of privacy”, “bribery” and “extortion”. Properly, no prowling at the “Pink Pussycat ” was ever introduced into the official hearings. Ed also shared his thoughts with R. Nottingham concerning “discretion”, “corporate responsibilities” and “personal exposure”. He proclaimed innocence, but softly so.

The religious group was blown-out when it was discovered that all prospective employees were expected to sign statements accepting “Jesus Christ as their Personal Lord and Savior” before broadcasting at the radio station. A Federal license was at issue. Remember “Separation of Church and State”?  What?

They tried to back-pedal, but it was too late.

R. Nottingham was fairly good on the witness stand, except getting a little fussy when probed concerning his feelings on “Affirmative Action”. He was quite candid, but damagingly so. It became clear that the Black group had it locked. We shook their hands and wished them well.

Flying back to Flint, I reflected that Ed O’Neill and Joe Windsor were personally close as well as professionally associated. R. Nottingham felt he had skated safely and had “forgotten to tell me” that he had visited the “Pussycat” the night before. It was no big deal and was quickly forgotten. By him.

Michael Moore came by the station in February and I helped him put together some production for his “Davison Hotline”.

Michael enjoyed the distinction of being the youngest elected public official in Michigan state history. He had become a member of the Davison  Board of Education at the age of eighteen, offering to annoy the establishment as his most specific campaign promise and surprising many with his win, including himself. He had established the “Hotline” as an intervention service for teens and had started publication of a “Hotline Newsletter” which was gaining wide circulation.

Michael and I had met several times before at Township Meetings when officials were trying to put both of us out of business for separate, although similar, reasons. A common enemy establishes instant alliance.  Michael was Irish too.  He was even at one time on his way to the priesthood and eventually might have been Sainted by The Church were he not asked to leave his seminary . He had been listening on a transistor radio under his bedsheets to the Detroit Tigers eventually beat Saint Louis in the 1968 World Series, such noctural activity forbidden by the powers which were. Michael felt he would have been better regarded for simply masturbating to Playboy by flashlight. He testified this was a pastime not completely unknown in theological environs.

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