I had finally accepted the fact that I was never going to break into the broadcasting industry on a full-time level. I lacked a college background and had no desire to spend a couple of thousand dollars and attend a school for broadcasting. I still got plenty of work providing my wide range of voices for commercials and as a result, I became known to many program directors and station managers.
The Summer was drawing to a close and that meant that the kids would be back in school in under a month. It also meant that the time for all the haunted houses put on by the Jaycees and other civic groups to begin to promote their attractions and that meant radio commercials which meant money for me. Plus it also meant public appearances as Count Dracula to promote the haunted house that I had been working on since my late teens.
Out of the blue, I received a call from the radio station that was our exclusive sponsor. The city I lived in was hosting an event at the community pool to showcase the groups of swimmers and their accomplishments and they needed an emcee. I was given the name of the lady in charge and she asked if Count Dracula could emcee the event, I respond that it would be my pleasure.
I called my longtime lady friend and told her the good news. She was not surprised as she was instrumental in them calling me in the first place; She was tight with all the radio stations and newspapers and promised that there would be coverage of the event and my name would become even more known.
I was also informed that this was pro-bono work and the radio station was to receive credit for sending me as part of their commitment to public service. I wasn't angry as I knew how the game was played.
So on the day of the event, I packed my bags and headed to my lady friends house. She loved less than a half a mile from the pool and would eliminate the need to drive crosstown in full makeup and a tails tux. She led me to a spare room that was complete with an old fashion makeup table. As she had done some modelling in younger days I was not surprised.
I laid out my makeup, brushes and pencils and then stripped to the waist and began the long process of applying makeup. About two hours later I was done. I then reached into my makeup case for the can of hairspray only to discover that it wasn't there.
"Shit," I said out loud.
"What is the problem?" I heard her ask in her perfect college syntax from another room.
"I forgot my hairspray," I responded.
"There are three or four cans in the third drawer down on your right. Help yourself," she informed me.
I slid open the drawer and there they were. I grabbed the first can my hand fell on and popped the top and began spraying. My friend said something else, but I was so busy concentrating on my task that I didn't hear her.
"What?" I said as I continued to spray.
She appeared in a doorway and froze."I said to not use the can with the black label."
I twisted the can on my hand to look at the label and it was born a black label.
"What's the problem?" I asked setting the can down.
"It's the product models use on stage to keep their elaborate hairstyles from falling. It's almost pure lacquer.
"Not a problem, I'll wash it out at the end of the day," I answered.
"Therein lies the problem. This spray cannot be washed out, it has to wear out," she answered.
I placed the can back in the drawer and then gently touched my hair. It felt as solid as a football helmet. I shrugged and finished dressing and then headed out.
I arrived at the community pool and met everyone in charge. The people that ran the pool had set up a stool near the pool along with a microphone in a stand. I was given a clipboard that featured all the groups I was to introduce including notes on when each segment was completed.
The pool manager allowed some scary organ music to be heard throughout the pool area for about 30 seconds before I was introduced. I donned a pair of dark glasses and opened the large black umbrella I brought as a prop and I exited the offices. I was overwhelmed by the number of people in attendance and the applause.
I took my seat and welcome everybody before citing what they were here to see. After introducing each group I sought the shade from a nearby overhang to escape the heat. I could feel sweat creeping down my back under my tux shirt and tails jacket, but my hair was perfect. The large umbrella offered only minimal protection to my face and neck,
Now normally in this kind of heat, my Dracula hairdo would have fallen flat. But thanks to the heavy-duty hairspray and the amount I used it remained stiff and perfect. An hour later the program ended and I took my leave and headed back to my friend's house where I commenced to remove my tux and makeup.
The shirt and jacket were stained with sweat and my perspiration had removed most of the makeup on the back of my neck. My hair, however, was as firm and tall as it was when I first styled it. I headed back home where I jumped into a hot shower. I swear that the water bounced off my hair as bullets from Supermans's chest. I finally gave up and went to bed.
The next morning after crawling out of bed I noticed that my hair was still in its Dracula mode. I touched it and it was still hard and firm as the day I sprayed it. I gave a shrug and finished dressing. I lost count of the number of people that questioned my new hairstyle as I went about my daily rounds. I just ignore them as an explanation would be long and cause me much embarrassment.
It was two days later that upon waking I noticed that my hair was no longer stiff. I grabbed a stiff bristle brush and gently ran it through my hair to loosen it. Another hot shower followed and finally, my hair fell flat against my face.
After dressing I grabbed my makeup kit and placed a fresh can of regular hairspray in the bottom. From that day until I stopped doing public appearances I found myself double and triple-checking the contents of my case before heading out.