In the United Airlines terminal I see Andy walking toward me. He smiles, at ease. As we head toward the exit he asks if I had a good flight. I say I did, but neglect to mention I managed to get upgraded to first class. No sense pushing a good thing.
A man in a black suit and tie by the exit door, is holding a sign that reads “HEYWARD”.
Outside, we get into a black Lincoln Town Car – Andy really likes black Lincoln Town Cars. As we pull into traffic, I consider asking Andy if he has any advice for the meeting but I know that would be a mistake. He expects me to know what to do by now. The upside is that this time he doesn’t say, “Just try to sound intelligent.”
We pull up to Those Characters From Cleveland’s unimposing headquarters building, go inside and check in with the receptionist. An attractive woman in her twenties – I’ve learned people working at entry level jobs in the entertainment business are always attractive women in their twenties -- leads us to the back offices.
She opens a door to a large conference room where fourteen executives are seated around a long table. In unison, they all turn to look at us.
In a low voice, I ask Andy, “Who are they?”
In an equally low voice, Andy answers, “Each of them represents a different Care Bear.”
My eyes on the executives, my voice dropping even lower, I tell Andy, “We’re in trouble now…”
I’m not sure, but out of the corner of my eye I think I see him smile.