Charlie’s hands shook. Her air conditioning was on high but sweat ran down her back. She was a certifiable mess. Charlie hated feeling like this, but she figured it was understandable considering the person she was holding the line for.
If anyone would cause this type of uncharacteristic behavior in her it would be the one and only Ms. Oprah Winfrey.
Although her ego was telling her, “but you’re cool, calm, collected Charlie, able to handle any situation.” One look in the mirror said different. The real Charlie was a crazy eyed woman falling apart over a damn phone call.
“Please hold for Ms. Winfrey,” the warm voice on the other end of the phone said once again. Charlie’s heart jumped in her chest. She wanted to scream; “don’t you worry, I will hold this phone until my arm falls off,” but she kept it together.
“Of course,” she said as calmly as she could muster trying to make sure there was a smile in her voice.
It was happening! This was really happening she thought pinching herself mentally and when that didn’t work physically.
“Ow,” Charlie said.
“Excuse me,” the woman’s voice immediately came back over the phone.
“Oh, nothing,” Charlie said biting her knuckle. Keep it together girl, she thought. Keep it together. You are about to speak to the most powerful woman in America, possibly the world, she thought. Keep your silly butt in check, Charlie. Please oh please don’t mess this up!
Her little bakery had grown into soon to be two locations and could very possibly be on the verge of going international if she played this right. She just had to impress the woman on the other end of the phone who held the keys to the world she so desperately wanted entry into.
This was the most important phone call of Charlie’s life. All of her dreams were about to possibly be answered. No big deal really, she thought holding back a hysterical giggle.
Charlie knew if she could get a show on OWN with the Oprah Winfrey herself endorsing her the Honeybee would take off into the stratosphere. There’d be no stopping the Southern Fried Honeybee and all her little honeybee minions. Her legacy would be set. She would become a legend. Not that legendary status was her purpose for all of this. Charlie wanted to give to the world what she’d given to Biloxi and soon to be Gulfport, Mississippi. She wanted to give the world community, that’s what the Honeybee was all about. Charlie was an expert at bringing people from all walks of life together. If she could, she wanted to do that across the entire world. Oprah could help her with that.
If she was on TV, her little fried honeybees would take over the world, she just knew it.
A huge smile broke out on her shining face. Her employees were going to be so excited to hear Oprah had actually followed up with her. She couldn’t wait to tell them.
After all that had gone on this past week with Cyndi, and then the vandals busting out their front window, then the pipes. Charlie needed some good news. They all did.
Suddenly there was a click on the line.
“Hello,” Charlie said, but there was only silence. Trying not to sound too frantic she said, “Are you still there?” Oh my God did Oprah hang up on her? Again there was nothing, then suddenly the woman’s voice came back. Charlie sighed with relief.
“Sorry, yes, Ms. Daniels,” the woman said. Charlie suddenly wished she’d remembered the woman’s name when she first answered the phone. Usually she was good with names, but when she’d heard Ms. Winfrey’s name everything kind of just went crazy.
“I’m am so sorry to say that Ms. Winfrey will not be joining the line,” the woman said. Charlie’s heart dropped. “She was called away to an urgent matter that unfortunately could not be delayed. She asked me to apologize.”
Charlie nodded for several seconds before she realized she hadn’t said anything. “I understand,” Charlie said even though it felt like her face was crumbling.
“However,” the woman said and Charlie stopped breathing. “I have Ms. Winfrey’s producer Jan on the line and she would like to continue with the meeting as planned.” Charlie dropped to the floor.
Although she was disappointed (because Ms. Winfrey, hello) she was glad to know she was still in the game. Even if it wasn’t Oprah Winfrey it was at least someone who worked with the woman which was good enough for now.
“I would love to speak to Jan,” Charlie said feeling her game face slowly slipping back into place. This was most definitely happening she thought to herself ignoring the beep on her phone signaling she had a call.
Whoever it was could wait. Ms. Winfrey’s people were on the line and this was bigger than anything else right now.