Teaser 184: Meet Roland Hodges, BBC

After one of the last long and boring government meetings, we walked out of the building and I heard a loud, distinctly British accent shout, “Gregory, how goes your Africa expedition?”

I looked in the direction of the voice and saw a slight, relatively handsome young man wearing a smart, dark blue business suit, holding a clipboard and standing next to two other young men, one holding a camera pointed to the ground and the other holding a microphone. Without looking to any of my colleagues I said, “Give me a few minutes, please.” I heard acknowledgment and stepped over to the three men, noticing as I got closer the letters on the camera, “BBC.” When I reached them I put out my right hand. “I don't believe we've met.”

“Roland Hodges, BBC,” the young man said with a smile as he reached my hand and we shook, “but I've heard you prefer a hug. I'm disappointed.”

I smiled. “Entertainers don't hug reporters, Mister Hodges. It's construed as collusion.” All three laughed lightly.

“Do you have a few moments for an interview, Mister Hess?”

“Not at this time, Mister Hodges.” I nodded to the group standing away from us waiting. “My colleagues and I have a dinner engagement.” They all looked disappointed. “You know something about this, I take it.”

“You talked about Africa on Oprah's show months ago, Mister Hess. Everyone knows about it.”

“Let me suggest this. Why don't you and I and your crew sit down for an extensive interview in the next week or two back on the continent. I'll be leaving here in a matter of days. We've completed our preliminary work and we'll talk at length. Run that by your heads at BBC. I'd be happy to answer all your questions then.” We agreed, exchanged phone numbers and Roland would contact me in a few days to schedule it. As I was starting to move back to the group I asked, “Out of curiosity, Mister Hodges, what exactly do you think I'm doing here in Africa for my expedition?”

“Putting yourself in harm's way, Mister Hess. That's what I think you're doing.” The crew members looked down to the ground when Roland spoke.

I smiled widely. “We'll have plenty to talk about. Tread lightly, gentlemen.”

- Just Desserts, Segment Twenty-ThreeA Magnet’s Attraction” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021

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