The picture that tugged at our heart strings from the side of a milk carton
Art’s extended absence from the air begs the question: what’s he been up to over the last year? I’ve been monitoring Art’s activities, and in celebration of his return to public life I present the unabridged true story of Art’s retirement.
So what do you do when you’re in Nevada with no job and a late model Firebird? You go to Las Vegas! The free liquor alone is worth the trip, but on this trip Art had time for more. So he fulfilled one of his lifelong dreams and visited…The Star Trek Experience. Lots of folks these days are into that Next Generation crap, but not Art! Just like you and me, Art knows that there was only one Captain of the Enterprise…KIRK! So when it came time for souvenir photos, Art went for the understated elegance of the original series.
Of course, after a few weeks even the world famous Slots-O-Fun casino can lose some of it’s glamorous luster. Just as Art was thinking about heading home to Pahrump, Dame Fortune smiled upon him once again. While eating dinner at the five star Circus Circus buffet one night, he bumped into Fred Durst. It turns out that Durst is a big fan of Art’s hard hitting talk radio journalism. Coincidentally, Durst was thinking about following Art’s example and retiring at the height of his popularity. A few drinks later, the two of them hatched an ingenious plan: Art Bell would secretly replace Fred Durst on Limp Bizkit’s summer tour. Given the size of the venues on the tour, and the uncanny physical resemblence the two share, they reckoned that no one would even notice. This would give Durst the chance to “try out” retirement, and give Art a chance to live out some of his rock star fantasies. The deception worked flawlessly for several dates, and could have gone on indefinitely if it weren’t for Art’s tendency to ad-lib raps about anal probes, storable food, and prostate formulas. The band’s management forcibly removed Art from the tour bus one night outside of LA, and told Durst they would cut off his allowance if he didn’t rejoin the band.
Stranded in California with no money, and too proud to call Ramona for a ride home, Art did the only sensible thing he could: he tried out for Survivor II. Although Australia was even further from Pahrump than LA, Art figured he could get enough money to make it home if he could last at least two or three episodes. Since CBS was looking for unknowns, he lied and told them his name was Richard Hoagland. In no time at all, Art was on a Quantas flight to Sydney. Unfortunately, as Art and the rest of the Survivor group were waiting in the baggage claim area, they bumped into Peter Garrett, lead singer for Midnight Oil. Garrett, who mistook Art for Fred Durst, immediately launched into a diatribe about rock music’s oppression of women and the blatant commercialism of Limp Bizkit. A fistfight ensued, and Art wound up in a Sydney jail cell.
Imprisoned in a third world country, with only a CBS advance check that couldn’t even cover his bail, Art did the only sensible thing he could do…he used his one phone call to contact Premiere Radio and ask them if he could have his radio show back. Coast to Coast had languished after Art’s departure, and the network could see the writing on the wall. Coast to Coast with Art Bell is a winner; Coast to Coast with Mike Siegel isn’t. The only question was what to do about Siegel. He wouldn’t relinquish the show willingly…so the network would have to “persuade” him. During a late night strategy session, a plan was hatched…
Bail money was soon wired to Sydney, followed by a package containing various documents and Art’s secret instructions. Art was to lay low for a few days while Premiere set the stage for Siegel’s departure. Several Premiere executives made the trek to Seattle, to meet with Mike personally. “Mike, you’ve been doing one hell of a job with the show, and as a token of our appreciation, we’re giving you an all-expense paid vacation in beautiful Australia! Go take a couple of weeks off and bask in the glow of a job well done.” The next day, Siegel boarded a flight bound for Sydney.
After getting settled in, Siegel headed down to the hotel bar, where he bumped into Art sitting at a table with a couple of Aborigines. Drinks were ordered, and as Art launched into a description of a race of subterranian humanoid lizard-men living under the Australian Outback, Sigel was so transfixed he didn’t even notice the strange powder one of the Abos was discreetly adding to his drink. Several rounds later, Siegel was starting to see the lizard-men lurking in the dark corners of the bar. Soon, the group was headed out the door and into a waiting car, with Art driving and Siegel babbling incoherently in the back seat. Art and the Abos dropped Siegel off a few miles outside of town and headed for the airport, where a private jet waited to carry Art back to Pahrump. Siegel wound up spending his vacation in an Australian mental hospital, and ended up returning to America a day later than planned, allowing Premiere Radio to exercise an option buried deep in his contract and replace him with Art. Bad break for Mike Siegel, but an uncanny stroke of good luck for the rest of us. Art is back on the air, and all is right in the wee hours of the night.