Hooked Up_ Book 1(4)

By: Arianne Richmonde



“It was brought forward by an hour. You should have been informed if you’d booked ahead.”

Booked ahead? What is this, Broadway? “Are they speaking again? At a different time?” I asked, knowing I’d blown my chance of ever seeing this elusive duo.

“No, ma’am. That’s it. It was quite a coup getting them here. The audience was the biggest we’ve ever had. Sorry you missed out.”

“Me too,” I muttered.

I thought of how disappointed my boss would be, whose idea it was to do this documentary. I felt so unprofessional. I should have double-checked the hour. The duo had not been willing to submit themselves to an interview just, “Come and see us speak at the InterWorld show on the 12th –we’ll talk then.”

I secretly wondered if I’d subconsciously willed this to happen—messing it all up. Surely my own project could now take preference? I’d been hatching and researching an idea for a year now, a venture that really interested me, something that deserved worldwide attention. The Aftermath of World Aid was its working title. What happened to the billions of dollars that never reached the victims after a natural disaster? Everyone digging into their pockets to unwittingly fund corrupt governments—siphoned-off aid—money in the wrong hands. A political hotbed, I mused. Nobody wants to tread on toes.

My other ambition was to run a special on arms dealing. People talked about world peace but how would that ever happen as long as dealing in arms was legal? As long as its trade was used as world currency by governments? If the profit were taken out of war, if war was no longer business, surely then wars would end? At least on such a terrifying scale.

My reverie was broken when I heard my cell phone vibrate in my bag. I fumbled about for it, my hand wading through my sneakers, hairbrush, iPad, and a thousand other things that made my purse feel like a training tool for women’s welterweight boxing.

I looked at my cell, holding it out at arm’s length. Another annoying thing about getting older—my eyesight was not what it was, yet not bad enough (yet) for me to have to wear glasses. Uh oh, my boss calling via Skype. Her picture popped up on my iPhone screen, her smooth caramel-colored face poised with questions, her large hazel-brown eyes expectant.

“Hi Natalie,” I said with a hint of a sigh that I couldn’t manage to keep to myself.

“So it’s been cancelled,” she said, in more of a statement than a question.

As usual, she was one step ahead of me.

“No, not cancelled, it was moved forward. I’ve just missed them.”

“Darn.”

“I’m so sorry, Natalie. It’s all my fault, I should have checked. Look, I’ll track them down somehow. I’ll get onto it. I promise.”

“You know what? Forget the whole idea. These guys are obviously not up for it. They’re too hard to get hold of. We don’t have time to be messing around with subjects that are not interested in collaborating with us.”

“Really? You mean that?” I asked, relieved.

“Really. Get your butt back into gear on one of your other topics, we’ll figure out something else.”

My lips curved into a subtle smirk. I thought about the tsunamis . . . Japan, Sumatra, Thailand. The earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal. I hoped she’d maybe green-light my Aftermath of World Aid project, after all.

“Okay, I’m going to grab a coffee and we can talk,” I suggested. “I have a few ideas in the making.”

“Oh yeah, I know you do,” she replied, laughing. “But, honey, I’m out the door now. I need to pack and I have a ton of stuff to take care of first. And just to be clear, please don’t disturb me while I’m in Kauai, I really need this break.”

“Okay, I promise.”

“You’ll be okay for two weeks without me to guide your skinny ass?” Natalie said ironically—she knew I could hold my own at work.

“Not so skinny,” I joked. “Have a ball, Natalie.”

Natalie had been single until I introduced her to my father—but that was another story. She had two teenage daughters and, luckily, her sister was coming to stay to look after them while Natalie took a deserved break in Hawaii. By the time she returned, I’d have a nice package to offer—I’d work hard on my presentation and come up with a choice of projects.

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