Getting Plugged In to a Late-Night Radio Circuit

I am not inclined by taste or by biorhythm to listen to radio talk shows late in the night. I think I may finally have heard Larry King, but I am not at all sure.

I was happy to be a guest at Mary Anita Loos' marriage to Carl von Salza and was in Santa Monica Canyon last weekend for a day awash with happy memories and shining anticipation.

I stayed with my dear friend, Mirabe Nowell, who lives in the Riviera in Pacific Palisades. We have been friends since high school, and we spend our times together howling with laughter. We have always done that. We were those two silly gigglers behind you at the movies whom you wished would be pitched out.

Mirabe had a green Chevrolet that everyone drove. It was during the Depression, and we used to put gas in it two gallons at a time. Mirabe lived with her parents in the highest-up house in the Riviera, although now it is surrounded by other houses. Her father was a retired New York state Supreme Court judge. But that didn't mean we had any money. We stretched what pennies we could get our hands on. I have mentioned before that the gruel gets thin in big houses, too.

She now lives in the house her husband built for her next door to the big house where we spent so much of our time when we weren't at my house.

Now, about Larry King.

I was sleeping in a downstairs study on a sofa bed last weekend as I didn't think I could make it up to Mirabe's second floor because of the prosthesis in my knee. We had gone with some friends of Mirabe and with Audrey Ann Marie Boyle, my good friend, who also lives in the Palisades, to dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

When we got home, I toddled off to bed after Mirabe unfolded my bed and supplied fat down pillows and a fluffy comforter. I was sleeping like a lamb in the middle of the night when the radio boomed forth with a man's voice talking about whether or not Notre Dame was really national football champion.

I sprang from my bed to turn it off, forgetting that Mirabe had showed me where the sound system controls are. I ran to the table whence the voice was coming and pushed or pulled every button I could see. Then, after turning on all the lights downstairs and shivering in the cold, I found the cord where it was plugged in and pulled it apart.

Nothing. The man kept right on talking. I looked at the clock. It was 3:30 a.m.

I pattered out to the stairway through the living room and entry hall. Peaches all the while barked quite testily because her sleep, too, was destroyed. We called up to Mirabe, but she was around a corner and down a long hall with her door closed, and did not hear us.

I went back and studied the snarl of cords apparently attached to the sound equipment. It looked like the work of a frenzied gooney bird trying to build a nest. I finally pulled the entire thing apart, and Larry King, if it indeed was Larry King, went back into the night.

I explained my problem to Mirabe in the morning. Why didn't the radio turn off when I pulled out the plug? Because I was silencing the telephone answering machine, that's why.

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