Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Episode 34 - Tracking Number: 1Z 5RV 000 03 000 600 8 Status: Shipment delayed due to truck-jacking

The last time we saw Vicky and John, they had just been truck-jacked and were locked in the back of John's UPS truck hurtling to destinations unknown.

Despite all of John and Vicky's efforts, they could not open the door and after some time in the back of the truck, falling over each other every time the truck turned a corner or came to a stop, they were both relieved and worried to find that the truck settled into a steady drive...had they gotten on the highway? How far were they going to be taken? They settled down on the floor of the truck, leaning against the boxes, John's arm around Vicky.

Vicky glanced idly around the truck. There were a number of other Stampin' Up! boxes in the truck that were not hers. She said "Wonder whose those are? I bet they are going to be mad that their boxes don't come today! I wonder what UPS will post on their tracking, 'Shipment delayed due to truck-jacking of UPS van?" She found herself laughing in a rather hysterical way and caught herself before she burst into tears.

John squeezed her shoulder, "Don't worry! We're going to be okay!" In truth, he hardly felt that they were going to be okay...he had no clue why anyone would want to highjack his truck. He had no enemies, no one that would want to hurt him. "It must be Vicky they are after," he thought.

Vicky felt so frightened and puzzled; she could not imagine that anyone she knew would do something like this, why, she hadn't an enemy in the world! She thought, "It must be John they are after!"

And so they rode on, and the sky overhead slowly turned dark, plunging the inside of the truck into darkness. Vicky and John fell asleep in each others arms, resting on several handy packages wrapped in thick layers of bubble wrap with the return address of "framingsupplies.com".

Sometime after our lovers had fallen asleep, the truck pulled into the parking lot of an abandoned skating rink and pulled behind the building. The rear door was suddenly raised and a glaring light shown into the truck, startling John and Vicky awake. John sat up and peered out of the truck at the person standing there, the light limning him (or her) with an aura of menace.

"You!" John said.

Who was it? What do they want? C'mon, you didn't really expect to find out this time, didja? This is a soap, after all, I'm SUPPOSED to keep you wanting to come back for more! I'm not telling, but maybe I will in the next episode of.....THE TEARING EDGE!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Episode 33 - The plot thickens (though the gravy is too runny)

The last time we saw Dianne, she had just made a shocking discovery. Her tires, flat as a pancake (oh, my...we do have a food theme going here, don't we?) had been slashed by a person or persons unknown.

After Dianne had called the police and called the towing company to take her car to TireMart, she called up the local car rental place and had them drop off a car for her to drive for the day. She bopped off to the craft store, got her votives and came back.

The light on her answering machine was flashing and when Dianne hit the button, the cold-sounding voice on the machine said, "You have..four..new messages":

{beep} "Mom! I need a book I left in my room for class, is there any way you can bring it? Call me on my cell phone!"

Dianne rolled her eyes. By now, Heather's class was probably over, there was no point in running all the way down to the school with that book. Dianne pressed "delete".

{beep} "Dianne...this is Sara's husband, Jim...um, the police were here about your tires? And I thought I should let you know that Sara has been in the psychiatric hospital for the last month; she, uh, they found out she has a chemical imbalance they are trying to balance with meds...she couldn't have slashed your tires....well, anyway, I hope you find out who did it. Bye..."

Dianne was stunned. She was so sure that Sara had slashed her tires that she had told the police to pay her a visit. So Sara really had been mentally unbalanced! Dianne felt really lucky to be alive, but it didn't solve who had slashed her tires. Dianne pressed "delete".

{beep} "Heather?...this is Josh. Look, I'm sorry about that business with your mom's friend and everything...I feel really stupid. Can you call me and we can meet for a coffee or something and talk? Call me..."

Dianne thought, "Oh no, not again! This is one message Heather does not need to get!" Dianne pressed "delete".

{beep} Breathing.....then a click.

Dianne frowned...now who could that have been? Was this connected with the tire-slashing, or was it just a wrong number? She pressed "Save" just in case. She checked the caller ID to see what the number would have been. It was listed as Private Name, Private Number, which was no help at all.

Dianne shrugged and decided she'd better get busy cutting cardstock and preparing other materials for her stamp camp. She had designed a great card that had a piece with a torn edge, so she went to get both of her Tearing Edge tools so she could put it in the box of items that needed to go to the garage. But when she opened the drawer where she kept them, they were not there.

"That's weird," thought Dianne, "I thought I had put them in here after I was done designing that card...where could they be?" She spent twenty minutes or so looking before she gave up, figuring she'd better get a back-up for her stamp camp. Dianne looked for the phone, finally running it to earth in her bedroom and dialed a number.

"Barbara? It's Dianne...could I borrow your Tearing Edge? I need it for the stamp camp I'm having and mine seem to have gone missing...you will? That's great...I really appreciate it. See you in a bit! Bye!"

Dianne hung up the phone and decided to go make a bite to eat while she waited for Barbara (yeah, we had to get back to the food...what can I say, I'm hungry!) As she walked out of the bedroom, leaving the phone on the charger by the bed, her closet door, which had been open a crack, swung open a little wider.

Is there someone in the closet? Or is it just the air pressure forcing the door open a little? Who slashed Diane's tires? Why have I eliminated the likeliest suspects in this episode when it would have been so much easier to have picked Sara or Josh? Why do I make this so hard to do? Why don't I get a job? Why don't I just buckle down and write a novel, which my husband assures me will make millions and let him retire and play golf for the rest of his life? So many questions and the only answers are in......the Tearing Edge!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Episode 32 - Which is worse?

The last time we saw Barbara, she was dissolving before her workshop guests after meeting up with a baby…a baby that had reminded her all too much of the pregnancy she had lost. Even though Barbara had tried to hold herself together, she had managed to give the most disastrous catalog tour ever before having a breakdown in front of them all.

Amazingly, though, that workshop had not only set the record for the most horrible catalog tour, it had also set the record for sales. Because once the women there found out why Barbara had broken down, they were so sympathetic and wonderful that she had gone on to give a dazzling demonstration and they had responded by pulling out their checkbooks and credit cards. Her hostess had been stunned at how much free merchandise she would receive. However wonderful it had been, Barbara fervently hoped she wouldn’t have to do that every time she did a workshop. As it was, she had gotten five bookings for the next two months and should be comfortably busy for a while.

And now, a few weeks later, Barbara pulled into the garage after having done the first booking off of that amazing workshop. This one had gone very well and she had a very comfortable feeling about the stack of order forms she already had. Because the hostess had decided to keep the workshop open for a few days, Barbara had been able to leave a little earlier than usual. She decided to leave her stuff in the car overnight and tote it all in the next morning. Tonight she was too tired to bother.

Barbara walked into the house and heard the television blaring from the family room…another ball game. “What did men get out of sitting and watching other men play a sport?” she wondered. Barbara had given up doing workshops where she demonstrated most of the projects because the women got bored; they wanted to get in there with the stamps and inks and make things themselves. So it was hard to understand just what people got out of watching sports; surely it was much more fun to play them yourself? She walked into the family room, but her husband Brad wasn’t in there…where was he?

Barbara dumped her purse and her keys on the kitchen table as she walked back to the bedrooms. The master bedroom door was ajar and light streamed down the hallway. Barbara pushed open the door and walked in. Brad was standing in the door of his closet, turning off the light. He turned and said, “Oh, hi, honey! You’re home early! I was just, um, putting on my robe and slippers so I can be comfortable while watching the game!” Brad closed the closet door, tightened the belt on his robe and giving her a peck on the cheek, walked past her, down the hall towards the television.

Barbara frowned; that wasn’t like Brad. He usually wasn’t a robe and slipper man, preferring to wait until bedtime before he got out of his clothing for the day. She glanced around the bedroom. Something was not quite right in the room, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was. The bed was made, the room was tidy, but there was something different. She sighed. It was probably nothing. Barbara went into the bedroom she had turned into her private office and stamping haven and booted up her computer.

Even if she and Brad had been talking much lately, she would not be able to even attempt a conversation until the ball game was over. Things seemed to have been improving between them after the miscarriage, but lately she had noticed Brad was getting more and more distant and less talkative. He wasn’t even bragging that much about the cars he had sold each day. Barbara had tried after the disastrously successful workshop to talk to Brad about trying to have another child, but he had said he was just not ready yet. Since conversation was unlikely, she might as well go online.

Barbara waited patiently for her computer to finish booting so she could cruise the website she had recently discovered: Splitcoaststampers. Barbara had been loyal to Stampin’ Discuss until just recently, when it seemed like it took forever for the moderator to post anything. On Splitcoast, you could post in real time and get answers to questions right away. And the galleries were fantastic!

A window popped up as her computer desktop built itself; it was time for her One Button Check Up, it told her. As she waited for Norton System Works to clean up her temporary files and perform a system check, her glance wandered around the room. There were all of the things she had pulled out in a rush the other day to make a card. “Might as well clean up while I wait,” she thought as she walked over to the desk.

Barbara picked up a stamp, stamped the ink off on her grid paper and pulled the Stampin’ Scrub towards her so she could clean it. Glancing down at the grid paper as she spritzed the Stampin’ Mist on her scrub, Barbara did a double take. This wasn’t the ink she had used with this stamp…this was a dirty brown, not the black she had used to stamp the greeting. She looked at the pads lying around on the desk. There was a Yoyo Yellow pad there, the cover closed unevenly. Barbara couldn’t remember pulling that pad out, much less using it and closing it that way.

She opened the Yoyo Yellow pad and gasped…there in the middle of her beautiful ink pad was a black stain from the same stamp! Barbara could see the ink dissipating into the pad, but the words were still visible. “Husband, Wife, Happy Life!” it said. Her beautiful yellow pad, the one she’d bought just for herself to use after guests had messed up her original one, was ruined! The pad surface slowly turned orange as a Real Red mist of anger rose before Barbara’s eyes!

Who had been in her room using her things?! Barbara’s eyes roamed around the room, looking for other things out of place. She pulled out the wastebasket and found paper scraps and not little ones, either. Whoever had been in her room had had no respect for using the smallest piece of cardstock necessary, but had cut little pieces out of entire sheets and discarded the rest!

Barbara felt her breath coming fast and tight in her chest. Someone had been in her room, using, messing up her things! Then she froze, remembering: the pillows on the bed in the master bedroom had been lying flat on the bed and the pillows with the decorative shams were lying on top of them. She didn’t make her bed that way! Barbara stood her bed pillows up and leaned them against the headboard. She felt her face contort into a mask of anger as she strode into the bedroom and pulled back the covers of the bed. There was a long red hair in the middle of the bed on top of the Gable Green sheets, not Barbara’s hair color at all, at all.

Will Barbara confront Brad with the evidence? Will she kick him out on his rear like he deserves? And what will push her to do it: the long red hair or the ruined Yoyo Yellow pad? Tune in for the next exciting episode of….the Tearing Edge!

Episode 31 - Don't come a knockin' when the UPS van.....

The last time we saw Vicky, she was just leaving on a date with her handsome UPS driver, John. Unbeknownst to them, they had been followed from Vicky’s house as they had left for their date.

However, the date had progressed without incident. Vicky recalled it fondly as she waited for John to show up with her latest shipment from SU! He had been restored to his old route, so Vicky saw him as often as she ordered.

John had taken Vicky fishing, something that she frankly had not enjoyed much…she was not a person who could sit in a boat for long periods of time. Vicky remembered that her mother had been the same way and had told Vicky that most of the fights she had had with Vicky’s dad had been over when it was time to stop fishing and go back to the dock!

But for Vicky, just being with John had been so exhilarating that she didn’t really mind just this once. Hopefully, they could do something more to her taste the next time. Even if the date was not to her taste, the kiss they had shared after John took her to her front door certainly had been! Vicky gazed out the window mistily, not really seeing what was before her. When John came with her order, she would suggest going to the movies or maybe bowling if he enjoyed that.

Suddenly Vicky jumped…she had heard what sounded like a UPS truck outside! But when she ran to the door and flung it open, it turned out to be a school bus dropping the neighbors’ six-year-old child, Emily, off from school.

Vicky waved at Emily, sighed, closed the door, and turned back to the task at hand: trying to decide how many catalogs to order for the new catalog year. Last year she had gotten five boxes and she had regretted buying so many…with her two clubs, the eight she like to have on hand for workshops, plus some to sell…that should make four boxes. Vicky opened her laptop and prepared to sign-on to the SU! site to enter her catalog pre-order, but a noise from outside brought her quickly to her feet and to the door again.

It was John! He pulled his truck to a stop and grinned at her before disappearing into the back to get her package. Vicky smiled; she had a great idea! Quickly, she ran down her front steps, waved to Emily who was now playing outside, and quietly climbed the steps into the truck. She stepped into the back and quickly put her hands over John’s eyes as he bent over her package, crying “Guess who!!”

John grabbed her hands and turned within her arms. Laughing, he said, “I’ve got you now!! You’ll see how I treat women who ambush me in my truck!” John bent his head down to her warm lips...but before his lips touched hers they were both startled by the slamming of the door to the cab of the truck! John leapt for the door and tried to tug it open, but his efforts were in vain. They both heard the truck start up and were thrown off balance as the truck pulled away from the curb. Vicky and John sprawled together over the SU! box, which, Vicky noted rather abstractly, held up amazingly well under both their weights…maybe SU! had gotten a new box supplier? The boxes she had been receiving in recent shipments would never have stood up to this treatment!

Vicky caught her breath and sat up. “What’s going on? Is it locked?” she panted.

“I don’t know!” said John, “This door locks, but the latch should open it; whoever did this must have managed to jam it shut!”

Vicky clung to John, “I don’t understand…who would do this? What do they want?”

Did Emily see Vicky and John being kidnapped? Will she tell her mom and have her call 911? Did she see who did it? Can she pick them out of a police line-up? Who DID do this? And what DO they want? Gosh…I don’t know either! Whoever it was, you certainly won’t find out now…you’re gonna have to wait until the next episode of….the Tearing Edge!

Episode 30 - Barbara - 0, Anouk - 1

The last time we saw Barbara, she was stranded in the bathroom at her hostess Amanda’s house, with ten women arriving for a workshop at any moment. The reason for Barbara’s current emotionally fragile state was crying lustily out in the family room. Barbara realized she had to face being around a baby sometime after her own unfortunate miscarriage, so she managed to screw up her courage, go out and set up her demonstration area and the stamping table, trying not to look too closely at Kelly, the baby’s mother, especially while Kelly breastfed baby Anouk,.

The women all arrived in due course…the workshop was scheduled for 7:00 PM, but as usual, that was when people just started arriving; Barbara’s workshops typically started at 7:30 and this one was no exception.

“Good evening, ladies!” Barbara swung into workshop mode, “I’m Baby…I mean, I’m Barbara Baby…I mean…er…I’m Barbara Bradley and I’ll be your Stampin’ Up! demonstrator for the evening!” Barbara felt herself growing red and tried desperately to make her mouth behave, “How many of you have never had a baby….oops, I mean never been to a Stampin’ Up! workshop before? Wow! So many! Well, let me tell you what to expect this evening! We’re going to have fun!” Barbara’s mind went blank and she had a moment of “dead air” while she desperately tried to get her brain back on track.

“Yes….fun! That’s right, fun. Um….tonight we’re going to make…er…this lovely card and a very cute tag, uh, suitable for many gift giving occasions, like, um…birthdays and with just a few touches, uh…you could use it for, I mean…” Barbara tried to force the word to come out that had come out so easily and in the wrong places before, but she stammered badly as she said it, “B-b-b-baby or wedding showers!” Barbara chanced a look at the faces of her guests and was embarrassed to see that they looked taken aback at their demonstrator’s verbal convolutions. Still, she pressed on, “B-b-b-but b-b-before I get started,” Barbara could feel a muscle in her cheek start to twitch and her voice starting to shake, “I am going to make a nice little gift for our hostess!”

Barbara began to get into the rhythm of her demonstration as she wheeled the bag and put the incentive stamp, cut cardstock and ribbon within as she showed the ladies how to mount and trim stamps, how to open and close an ink pad and demonstrated the unique features of Stampin’ Up!’s products. The demonstration was going much, much better, and Barbara was just starting to relax when Anouk started to fuss and then outright wail!

“STAMPIN’ UP!’S STAMPS ARE SUCH A BARGAIN,” Barbara had to raise her voice to be heard over Anouk’s strident crying, “BECAUSE THEY ARE S-S-SOLD IN S-S-SETS!” Barbara felt her face starting to crumple into a jagged mask as she fought the sobs trying to come out. “IF YOU J-J-JUST TAKE A L-L-LOOK AT THE IMAGES ABOVE THIS LINE, YOU’LL SEE ALL THE STAMPS THAT G-G-G-OOOOOOO..........!!!!” Barbara found herself giving a primal howl in concert with Anouk; thankfully the tears now pouring from her eyes prevented her from seeing the absolutely horrified faces of what were meant to be customers, but were probably now going to be the instruments of Nemesis, spreading word of Barbara Bradley, Independent Stampin’ Up! Flake, far and wide.

Will Barbara’s guests really be so mean as to tell this story? Will Barbara get herself together enough to finish the workshop? Will she ever want to do a workshop again and if she does, would anyone book with her? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of…..the Tearing Edge!

Episode 29 - Dianne makes a shocking discovery

The last time we saw Dianne, she had just managed to overpower a definitely weird Sara at the SU! convention. She had returned in triumph, to find a very softened Heather and a very unhappy downline, Barbara, who had miscarried her baby. While Dianne was sad for Barbara, she was thrilled to find that Heather had behaved so well over the whole thing. And most of all, Dianne was very happy that the creepy Josh, whom she had never really cared for, was now out of the picture.

But if Dianne had thought it would be smooth sailing with Heather from now on, she was destined for disappointment. Teenagers with hormones at the gallop rarely change for the better all at once. This morning, now that the creepy Josh had gone, Heather was brooding over her college applications. She wanted to go to culinary school, but could not make up her mind which one.

"I just don't know!!" Heather whined, "If I go to this one, I have to live on campus the first year, but this one doesn't have any housing at all! Who knew choosing a school would be so hard!"

Dianne wanted to point out the good features for the school she wanted Heather to go to, one which happened to be close enough to home so that Heather could continue living there. But she had become wiser since the Josh incident. If Dianne tried to get Heather to choose that school, Heather would be bound to pick the school that was farthest away!

"Errghwwewhheh!" shrieked Heather, "I am fed up with this crap! I'm going out for some fresh air!" Heather slapped the brochures and applications down on the kitchen table, grabbed her purse and stalked out the front door, giving it a healthy slam as she did so.

Dianne sighed. She went to the front closet and got Heather's baby scrapbook out and sat flipping through the pages. "God sure knew what he was doing," she mused, "He makes them so cute when they are babies that it becomes impossible to kill them when they are teenagers!"

Dianne often found comfort in gazing at the innocent eyes and chubby cheeks that were once Heather's. Now she was lucky if she saw Heather's eyes at all, since they were often hidden by a curtain of hair or a pair of sunglasses.

Dianne closed the scrapbook with a snap. "Well, that's enough of that! I need to get down to the craft store and pick up some votives for that stamp camp next week!" She stood up and returned the scrapbook to the closet, got her purse and went out to her car which was parked in the driveway since she had set up for her stamp camp in her garage. But as she approached her car, she gasped in shock and disbelief.

All of her tires were flat! And when Dianne got closer, she could see that every tire was slashed with a peculiarly jagged cut in each one. Who could have done such a thing? Dianne raced inside and called the police.Who slashed Dianne's car tires? Was it the creepy Josh? Or the deranged Sara? Is it the same person who is stalking John and Vicky? Only time will tell on....the Tearing Edge!

Episode 28 - Finally...Vicky and John go on a date

The last time we saw Vicki, she was listening intently to a phone ringing: John’s phone. She was calling him from convention on her cell phone when she ran out of minutes and had had to work fast to get connected through the hotel phone. Vicki had finally gotten through to John and had set up a date with him after she got back from convention. She had floated through convention on a Bliss Blue cloud and Dianne often had to nudge her out of daydreams in order to change classrooms or to move out of the main stage area. But now Vicki was back from convention and getting ready for her first date with John.

Vicki leaned in towards the mirror and applied her eye shadow carefully. She didn’t like too much make-up and was sparing with the mascara too. Her own mother was one of those blue eye-shadow queens from the early 70’s, so one of Vicki’s chosen rebellions was to go for a natural make-up look…anything to avoid looking like her mother!

As she applied her make-up, she wondered where John would be taking her. He told her not to dress up, but that they would be having fun. Pressed for details, he just laughed and said he was sure she would love where they were going.

Vicki had tried on and rejected half a dozen outfits before setting on a pair of jeans, a sweater that was a Sage Shadow color, and her favorite pair of cowboy boots, broken in just right. She swept her hair back, checked her make up one more time and decided she was ready, just as the doorbell rang. She rushed to the door and opened it.

John stood outside, a bunch of flowers in his hand. “The last bunch had a card in them, but I figured these wouldn’t need one, since I’m giving them to you in person!”

“Thank you, John, they are beautiful!” Now that Vicky was with John, conscious of the way he was looking at her and knowing that they finally were going on a real date, she felt shy. She stammered, “Um...just let me put these in some vases, I mean in some water in a vase and we can get going! Where are we going, by the way?”

“Oh, you’ll find out when we get there!” John was grinning at her maddeningly.

Vicky put the flowers in some water and grabbed her purse. John and Vicky walked down to the curb, where John’s Chevy Silverado was parked and got in.

As John guided the truck into traffic, a car parked a few houses down quietly pulled into traffic behind them and proceeded to follow them closely as they went on to their destination.

Where is John taking Vicky? Who is in the car following them so closely? Is it the mysterious girl from the hospital who spoke to Vicky briefly when John was in the emergency room? Is it the deranged Sarah, waiting to revenge herself on Vicky for interrupting her master plan to be Dianne for convention? Or is it some other wacko-nutcase whose secret agenda we don’t know yet? Are you biting your fingernails? Are you? Well, you shouldn’t, ‘cause you never know how long it might be until the next episode of…..the Tearing Edge!