Cancel the all-points bulletin. Mayor Marion Barry came back from California yesterday -- only to face a stood-up, steaming-mad radio talk show host, her irate listeners, and his own staff in apparent confusion about just where he had been.

"I'm just asking the question, where is the mayor?" fumed talk show host Cathy Hughes, as she struggled to fill three hours of live radio time yesterday morning on her radio station, WOL (1450 AM). Barry had been the scheduled guest, but did not show. It was two hours later when Barry's staff confirmed he would not appear at all.

"He has literally blown the whole show," said Hughes, describing her audience as "hardworking black folks who put {Barry} in office." Many of Hughes' callers joined in heaping criticism on Barry for being disrespectful.

Barry said his staff had failed him. "We have a procedure that got lost. Security people are supposed to call the command center if there is any change in my plans," Barry said. "{The center} didn't transfer the calls to {other staffers}. I don't know what happened. I don't think about those details."

Barry went to Oakland Sunday night to promote baseball for Washington during the All-Star break. He was scheduled to return home Wednesday for his monthly news conference, but canceled the news conference to remain in California. Barry's staff and D.C. Council member Frank Smith (D-Ward 1), chairman of the D.C. Baseball Commission, said Barry planned to go to Los Angeles to meet with Mayor Tom Bradley.

Barry never showed and Bradley's staff said Wednesday that the mayor never had an appointment. Barry said yesterday that he had never made plans to go to Los Angeles and had told Smith only that he was considering the trip. Barry said he did not go because the All-Star game ran late -- 13 innings -- and because he had unexpected chances to hold job interviews.

Barry, who said he returned from California at 9:45 a.m. yesterday, arrived at the District Building at 11:30 a.m. He declined to give any details about the job interviews, citing the privacy of personnel decisions.

Barry's office had been asked as early as 10 a.m. for details about his travel and whether public funds were being spent. Barry said late yesterday that the travel would be paid for by the D.C. Armory Board, which receives money from rental of RFK Stadium and the Armory.

Barry scoffed at suggestions by some that he had remained in California to socialize.

"I can come back home to party," Barry said. "I don't party that much anyway. I work too hard."

The questions about Barry's traveling come at a time when the mayor has been trying to stabilize the image of his administration in the wake of a series of mishaps since the first of the year, a variety of resignations and reassignments, and a federal probe of District government contracting.

Several times this year, Barry has traveled to other cities only to return to troubles at home. In January, Barry attended the Super Bowl in Los Angeles while the District was hit by a massive snowstorm. Barry said in an interview from California then that he was working too hard and planned to take more vacations.

Barry returned from another trip in February to face mounting public criticism of the city's ambulance service. He returned from a later trip to find that City Administrator Thomas M. Downs and Police Chief Maurice T. Turner Jr. had been involved in a publicized squabble about the cancellation of a popular antidrug program, Operation Clean Sweep.

Hughes generally has been a strong defender of Barry, but sharply criticized him earlier this year when Barry made remarks about poor people that were seen by many as insensitive. Hughes also was a leader in a protest last year of what participants said was racial insensitivity in The Washington Post Magazine.

Callers to the radio station yesterday were treated to several hours of impromptu programming as Hughes first joked about the mayor always being late and then became increasingly angry as the minutes dragged by.

"We have been waiting one hour and 33 minutes now . . . ," said Hughes. She called the District Building, but was told someone would call back later. "Will you please call?" Hughes said into her mike. "It only takes a second or two to place a phone call. Would you please let us know what is going on."

Hughes said later that her switchboard lit up with callers, some of whom said they had seen the mayor in town the night before. No one offered evidence, she said.

At one point, just before 9 a.m., Hughes decided to call the mayor's Emergency Command Center to speak with director Joseph P. Yeldell or staff member Sam Jordan. Neither man had arrived for work.

"I want to know as a taxpayer . . . is our mayor in the District of Columbia?" Hughes asked her listeners. "Do we need to put out an all points bulletin: We're missing our mayor in the District of Columbia?"

Not all of the callers sided with Hughes. Some urged her to "be cool." One male caller almost whispered into the telphone, "The mayor is a good man. He might be doing something that he might want to do."

Hughes said was undeterred and told a spokeswoman for the city: "This is just totally inexcusable and disrespectful to {the audience} . . . . You all have got some serious problems downtown."

Barry's staff said he had arranged to be on the radio program for an hour today beginning at 9 a.m.