If her life was a musical, Addie would sing a song about being on the right track. She sprang from bed and danced to the window. With one smooth motion, she flung open the night drapes flooding the room with light. After sliding the glass doors open, she stepped onto the balcony.
And her right track took a wrong turn. Hundreds of men camped out in the courtyard.
"She's awake," someone shouted.
The sea of men sprang to life. Blue and yellow balloons, blue and yellow being her favorite colors, floated into the air. In bold letters, the signs they carried implored, Pick Me Addie.
She flew back into her condo, snatched the drapes closed, and peered through a crack where they didn't quite meet.
The men broke into song. Not just any song. Her favorite song of all times. The song her father sang to her mother on the night he proposed. The song that used to be her ring tone for Lamont, “I'll be There” by the Jackson Five. Having someone pledge to always be there for her no matter what was all she’d ever wanted and the one thing she’d never have. Lamont proved that.
The colors, the song, how could these strange men possibly have known any of that? Why ask the question when she already knew the answer? This went way beyond posting husband wanted on the church bulletin board. How in the world had Momma pulled off something this big?
Like a high-school marching band, the men formed three lines and replicated her dad’s dance steps with one change. Instead of dropping to one knee on the final note to propose as Daddy had, the lines spelled out, Pick Me Addie.
Who were these people? What made them think she would have anything to do with any of them? They must watch the same crazy shows as Momma. What if they didn’t just watch them?
No, even her momma wouldn’t—“Call Momma,” Addie barked into the phone.
Momma answered on the first ring. No surprise there. Even though it was only 6:13, her parents rose with the sun.
“See anybody you like?” Momma asked.
“You called that show didn’t you?”
“Nope, I did everything online. Aren’t you proud of me?”
When Addie dragged her parents into the digital age, she’d never expected anything like this. There’d be no reasoning with Momma. She’d have to go to the source, the Love Doctor himself.
While Momma gave a running commentary on Addie’s selection of men, Addie googled the Love Doctor. She found plenty of information about the show but nothing about the man behind the whole Love Doctor persona nor how to reach him outside of a general “contact us” page. Probably for security reasons. She couldn’t be the first person who’d wanted to kill him.
Google might not know who he was. Momma surely did. Pen in hand, Adeola asked the all important question. “Who is the Love Doctor and where can I find him?”
“That’s classified,” Momma said. “A reporter never reveals their sources.”
“You’re not a reporter.”
“Who do you think writes the church newsletter?”
Addie rolled her eyes confident journalistic source confidentiality didn’t extend to God’s Trumpet. “I know how badly you want to see me married. That’s not something you can arrange.”
“Sure it is. This is only the beginning. In a few days, you’ll have thousands of men to choose from. All of America will help. The one is out there for you. I just know it.”
Addie groaned. “I don’t want my life to be a reality show. If the one is really out there for me, it’ll happen without anybody doing anything.”
“That’s so old-fashioned. You can’t sit around and wait for life to happen. You’ve got to go out there and make it happen. Since you won’t do it for yourself, we’ll do it for you. Ooh, Addie, that one’s cute. I bet he’s your type.”
“Momma, please focus. Since you won’t tell me how to reach the Love Doctor, call and tell him to get these men away from my house.”
“Are you watching what’s going on?”
“No.” Their cries of pick me Addie were bad enough. She didn’t need to see them too.
“Look out the window.”
“The window. Are you getting enough sleep? You sound confused.”
Confused didn’t begin to describe it. Peeking through the gap in the curtains, Addie saw a woman on the lawn sticking a microphone in a man’s face. Wait a minute. Her parents lived twenty miles away. How had Momma known?
“Where are you?” Addie asked.
“At home. You called me at home, remember? You’re too young to be so absent minded. When’s the last time you had a checkup?”
“Last month,” Addie said. “Which is so beside the point. If you’re at home, how do you know what’s happening at my house?”
“You’re on television, baby. Channel 6.”
What? This was on television too? Live? She looked closer. The woman doing the interview couldn’t be, could she? Grabbing the remote, Addie clicked on channel 6. Direct from her lawn, Lori Meyers, Ft Lauderdale morning anchor.
The man she interviewed stood over six feet tall, had dark brown skin, wavy hair and a gray pinstriped business suit that fit him like it’d been custom made. He didn’t look crazy like some of the others. Moving closer to the television, Addie turned up the volume.
"If one local mom has her way,” Lori said, “this Thanksgiving will give Valentine's Day a run for its money in the love department. Tell me, sir, what’s your name?”
"I am Abayomi. It means brings great joy". His rich baritone voice sounded like a man should sound.
"Well, Abayomi, why are you here?"
"As a performer, I spend most of my time in a make-believe world. It's been years since I've had a real Thanksgiving dinner. I would be honored to be Addie’s frog prince."
"You mentioned you were a performer. With that wonderful voice, I bet you’re a singer."
"You would lose that bet. I am one of the men of Smokin' Hot". In a millisecond his suit and tie were history, revealing a bare chest and the briefest of briefs. The camera didn’t cut away fast enough to miss him gyrating like a snake.
Lori's face flushed red. "Single guys, listen up. If you think you'd be a better match for Addie than Adabyomi, visit uglyducklingaddie.com."
Addie’s picture filled the screen. A website address and 800 number scrolled beneath it. “Tune in Thanksgiving night and see ugly duckling Addie meet her frog prince,” Lori said.
Addie covered her mouth. With Momma’s help the Love Doctor had brought strippers to her door. Strippers, as in get butt naked, as in stuff money down my drawers, as in ugh. It was bad enough to look pathetic in front of the family. Thanks to the Love Doctor, she looked pathetic in front of greater Ft Lauderdale.
What next? All of Florida? America? The world? For all she knew aliens monitored this broadcast. She might be the laughingstock of the galaxy.
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