Candace was late as usual for her filming of the Home and Garden Show. As she came into the studio, Lanny peered out the door, anxiously waiting for her.
“Did we get the Azalea guy?” she spit out as she came in through the door.
“Yes, he’s in the waiting room,” said Lanny. He turned and followed anxiously behind her.
“It’s Springtime. Atlantans want to hear about their fucking Azaleas. I count on you to help me get the word out about that.”
“Yes, Candace,” Lanny said. “He’s here. Don’t worry. We’ll get out our message about the Azaleas.”
“We’d better. Or your ass is grass. What’s his name?”
“Consere. Dr. Michael Consere. He’s a professor of botany at UGA, he came down from Athens—“
Candace power moved into the room. Lanny stumbled backwards, barely getting out the way.
“Hello, professor. Thanks for coming down on such short notice.”
Consere looked up from the stool where he sat in the studio. His face showed a mixture of surprise, confusion, and maybe a bit of fear. A couple of azaleas were strategically placed behind him.
“Thanks for having me. I’m always happy to talk about my favorite topic.”
“And that, I would presume, is Azaleas, Professor?”
“Yes, it is, as a matter of fact.”
“Well our listeners always want to hear more about Azaleas. We’re going live in 30 seconds. Ready, Scotty?”“I’m on line.”
“OK, here we go. Doctor, thanks for coming on. I understand you are an expert on Azaleas?”
“I’d like to think so.”
“We’re so glad to have all your expert knowledge. What are the most interesting things you can tell us about this most interesting shrub?”
“Well, Azaleas are in the same family as the Rhododendron family. In Japan, there are Azaleas that live for hundreds of years, even though the plants remain small in size like small shrubs.”
“Most Azaleas flower for two weeks in the Springtime, although other Azaleas can flower at other times of the year.”
“I love it when our Azaleas bloom in the Spring,” Candace said. “It gives me goose pumps. See?”
She held out her arm to the professor.
“Yes, I see. I appreciate your enthusiasm for Azaleas,” he said.
“I don’t think I could call myself an Atlantan if I didn’t have an appreciation for Azaleas.”
“I can see your love for Azaleas.”
“It’s been really great having you on the show. I hope you come back and see us sometime.”
“Thanks for having me on the show.”
“OK, that’s a wrap.” Candace stood up.
“Thanks for coming down, Doctor.”
“I always like to talk about Azaleas.”
“We love hearing about them, Doctor.”
The Doctor walked out of the studio. Candace slumped in her chair.
“I can’t deal with this bullshit anymore.”
“What’s the problem, Candace?” Lanny said.
“Always trying to scrape something together for the show. Trying to get someone who will be interesting for our Buckhead air brain bitches. I can’t take it anymore. I really can’t.”
“You can’t take all of the responsibility on yourself.”
“I know. I guess I know. I don’t know what I know anymore.”
“Why don’t you take the rest of the day off?”
“I don’t know. Isnt there more stuff to do?”
“You’ve done enough for today, Candace. Go home now.”
“OK, I guess. Too bad there wont be anyone to meet me there.”
“Get out of here, Candace.”
Candace walked out of the studio. She dialed a number on her cell phone. Charlie answered.
“Hi, it’s me,” Candace said.
“Oh hi there me.”
“I’m taking the afternoon off.”
“Oh, that’s nice.”
“What are you doing?”
“I have a surgery this afternoon.”
“I guess you’re saying that I should cancel it and spend time with you.”
“I never said that.”
“And that if I don’t cancel what I’m doing that means that I don’t really care about you.”
“I never said that, either. You’re putting words into my mouth.”
“Well you might as well have said that. Just by calling me you’re implying that I don’t care about you.”
“Isn’t that a little paranoid?”
“You know that I’m operating this afternoon—“
“I didn’t deny that—“
“ Just by asking me these questions you’re implying--”
“I never said that I think that you don’t care about me.”
“So, do you want me to cancel my surgery now?”