Thursday, October 29, 2009

Me and Snobby Stacie, Part Four

I'm back! Yeah, I've had a busy year (to say the least).

Those of you who were waiting for the chapter where Cyndi gets tied to a tree have probably beyond lost interest, but ... here is the segment! (Better late than never?)

The following three chapters may be the most ridiculous writing ever put to paper by anyone, ever. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Chapter Ten

(Since it's been so long -- and in case you don't feel like re-reading the last entry -- I should remind you that the previous chapter ended with Cyndi and Stacie suddenly in the midst of some prank war. This picks up from there...)

Ding-dong. I opened the door.

"Cynthia Wellman, how could you?!!"

Stacie Barnes stood on my front door, her face red, her nostrils flaring.

"What?" I asked innocently.

"Oh, don't you play innocent with me! A man came to my door with five boxes of chocolates and said that Cynthia Wellman ordered them!"

(So since Stacie's so mad her nostrils are flaring, I guess that means the chocolate-delivery man also made her pay for them? Why not just tell him he has the wrong house and send him back to Cyndi's? I wish my town had a chocolate-delivery man...)

"Well, you did it to me, so I did it to you."

(Cutting, Cyndi. I'm sure Markey's Chocolates appreciates the business!)


(Note, I think Stacie's catchphrase "hmmm!" is supposed to be more like Hmmph!)

I pretended to sigh. "Stacie, Stacie."


"You may not have liked the chocolates, but I'll bet you'll like something else."


I threw a cherry pie that my mother had bought in her face.


She slammed the door. I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. Stacia Ann Barnes was such a weirdo!

(Okay, where do I even begin? The cherry pie that just happened to be sitting there by the door? Who does Cyndi think she is, Betsy Sobak? Who throws a cherry pie in someone's face? Maybe Cyndi can look into clown school after Lisa and the Angels become has-beens?

Also, I hope Mrs. Wellman gives her a good spanking for wasting a whole pie. And how does Cyndi know Stacie's middle name?!

Speaking of Stacie -- I love how she just stands there after getting a pie thrown at her and slams Cyndi's door in her face. Oh, wait ... her revenge is coming up next!)


I put on a black mini-dress, a pair of black nylons, black flats, and a black bow. It sort of looked like an outfit that Stacie had.

(That's ... nice? ... and sort of creepy that Cyndi is now dressing like Stacie. Their outfit sounds very "Laine Cummings." Minus the bangle bracelet and squiggle pin.)



"Can I go outside?"



(I guess it's the next day?)

I grabbed my jean-jacket and walked outside. Good! Stacie was there!

I tiptoed over to her and knocked her down.


I pulled her hair.


Then I punched her back five times and hit her on the head. I picked her up by the hair and slapped her in the face. Then I picked up a handful of dirt and threw it in her face. I pushed her down.

"Serves you right!"

I ran inside.

(What the ...?!? What was that? I wasn't exactly a violent kid, so I really have no idea where the above came from! Maybe it was all the wrestling I watched back then?

I don't know, but I have to admit that, after all these years, I still can't read the words "punched her back five times" with a straight face. Hang on, it gets even better!)

"Cyndi, what was that yelling?" Mom asked.

"Oh, nothing."

The next day, I got dressed (what, no outfit for us?) and ran outside. It was Sunday, but there was no school tomorrow, for State Inservice Day.

I suddenly fell to the ground. Someone was tying my hands behind my back. I had a feeling I knew who it was.

"Stacie Ann Barnes, let go of me this instant!"


I knew it was her! She tied my feet together. The rope was too tight. I couldn't break out!

Stacie picked me up by the hair and the shirt. Boy, was she strong! She ran and ran and ran with me. Once, she dropped me and I scraped my hands. Finally, she stopped running.

(Oh, boy. An 11-year-old girl running through town, carrying another 11-year-old girl -- all tied up -- by the hair and shirt. With one hand, I assume. And to think, she only drops Cyndi one time. Can this be any stupider? We haven't even gotten to the tree part yet!)

I saw a sign that said: Closed. Owners on Vacation. We were at a park. One of those parks that looked like woods. I looked at the sign. It said: Woodland Park.

Stacie dragged me deep into the park. She threw me against a tree. Then she got out some rope.


"Shut up!"

She quickly tied me to the tree. Then she ran off.


No one heard me. "Help!!!"

Still, no one heard me. "HELP!!!!!!!"

It was no use. I sighed. I wondered how long I would be here. What would I eat? I don't (sic) want to be a little skinnybones like Carrie.

(Okay? Cyndi, you're frickin' tied to a tree in a deserted, wooded park. Never mind the "skinnybones", I think you should be more worried about becoming just bones!)

"Help! Someone, help!!!!!!"

(Oh, no, will Cyndi die?! I won't leave you in suspense -- here's the next chapter!)

Chapter Eleven

I was bored. It was Tuesday ... I hadn't had anything to eat since Sunday morning. Carrie + Cyndi= Skeleton Twins. I laughed.

I wondered how Racquelle and Kathy were doing at their quietness. I wondered how lonely Lisa was.

(For a starving person on her third day tied to a tree, Cyndi's mind seems to be functioning awfully well...)

Hey! A berry patch! (How convenient!) Were they poisonous? I was a Girl Scout when I was six, seven, eight, and nine years old. Maybe I could remember if it was poisonous ... it wasn't!

I carefully turned my head around and grabbed some with my mouth. I felt weird. At least I had food.

Wait! Was that a stream? Yes! The water looked sort of dirty. But right by it, I saw a log. In it was a pipe ... with water!

I turned around, and somehow managed to turn it on with my chest. (Boobs to the rescue!) I drank a lot. Oh, how good it tasted! Except, I hope I wouldn't have to eat berries and water forever!

Well, I was in luck. I always got either nuts, grapes and water, berries and water, grapes and water, or nuts, berries and water.

(Yes, I'm sure Albany's state parks are flourishing with grapes and nuts...)

But one day, the food was all gone. I had eaten all of it. The water was the only thing there.

So I was going to be a skinnybones! I'd probably get something like anorexia (what?), and ... oh, it was just awful!

One day, I heard a rustle in the bushes.

"Who's there?!"

A little girl appeared. "Hey! What are you doing tied to that tree in my daddy's and mommy's park?"

"Um ... someone tied me here. Please go get your mom and ... mommy and daddy."


(Oh, phew, Cyndi's been found. I know you were getting worried. And look, she's even still coherent enough to remember to call her little rescuer's mom "mommy.")

The girl ran off. A couple of minutes later, I saw a man with a mustache and beard, and a tall lady with stringy blonde hair.

"Little girl!" said the lady.

(Note, Stringy Hair's talking to Cyndi now, not her daughter.)


"How long have you been here?"

"Two weeks."

"Have you eaten anything? You look skinny as a stick!"

"I've eaten some nuts, berries, grapes, and water."

"Oh, little girl. Follow us." They walked to a big, four-story house.

(Who untied Cyndi?! Who apparently can walk just fine...)

"What is your number?" asked the lady.


The lady dialed my number.

"Hello ... My name is Lynn Baker ... I'm over at Woodland Park. Is your daughter missing? ... She's right here ... What's her name? ... Just a sec."

"Is your name Cyndi?"


"Her name is Cyndi ... What's your address? ... I'll drive her over ... okay, bye."

"Okay, Cyndi, we're going to drive you home right now."


(Yeah, no police or anything ... no missing person report ... it just keeps getting more realistic!)

Mr. and Mrs. Baker drove me home.

"Oh, Cyndi!"

"Hi, Dad!"

"Oh, hello!"

Dad gave me a big hug and kiss.

(Did he recoil from her smell? After two weeks without a bath, or a bathroom, I can only imagine ...)

"Where's Mom?"

"Your mom is ... in the hospital."

"In the hospital? Is she sick?"

"No, she's with ... your little sister, Emily Candace Wellman."

"My sister?! Oh, Dad!!!"

"Do you want to go visit her?"

"Not now."

"Why not?"

"I wanna call some of my friends."

(?!? Of all the stupid reasons. Get some priorities, Cyndi!)

First I called Carrie. (Groan, not more one-sided phone calls.) "Hi, Carrie! It's Cyndi! ... I was gone for two weeks ... Tied to a tree ... Woodland Park ... Stacie ... Stacie Barnes ... I know ... My mom had a baby ... Yeah! ... It's a girl. Her name is Emily ... Emily Candace Wellman ... Beats me ... Bye."

I called Kathy.

"Hi, Kathy! It's me, Cyndi! ... Tied to a tree ... In Woodland Park ... Stacie Barnes ... A rich girl that lives next door to me ... My mom had her baby ... A girl ... Emily Candace Wellman ... I know! ... I don't know ... Okay ... Okay ... Bye."

Next, I called Racquelle. "Hi! It's me, Cyndi ... Hi, again! ... Tied to a tree in Woodland Park ... Stacie Barnes ... A rich girl next door to me ... I know ... My mom had her baby ... A girl! Her name is Emily Candace Wellman ... I know ... Okay ... Bye."

Finally, I called Lisa. "Hi, Lisa! It's Cyndi ... Tied to a tree ... In Woodland Park ... Stacie Barnes ... A girl ... You know ... My mom had her baby ... I know! ... A girl ... Emily ... Emily Candace Wellman ... Oh, I know! ... I'm going to see Mom and the baby ... Okay ... Bye."

(Ha, judging from those thrilling calls, not only do Cyndi's friends seem to be sharing one brain, they barely even noticed she was gone!)



"Come on!"

(Ew ... let her take a bath at least, Mr. Wellman.)

We drove to Albany General Hospital. Then we took the elevator up to floor fourteen, the highest floor. We walked to room 14D. Dad opened the door. Mom was on the bed, but I couldn't see Emily.

Mom opened her eyes. "Dave. Cyndi!!!"

"Sshhh," said Dad.

"Oh, sweetie, I'm so glad to see you."

"Me, too," I said.

"Do you want to see Emily?"


I tiptoed over to Mom. In a white blanket was a tiny brown-haired baby with a red face.

"Oh, she's so cute," I said.

Dad and Mom started to talk. (Cyndi's own mother barely noticed she was gone!) I peeked inside a cabinet. Books and paper were there.

"Can I draw something?" I asked.

Dad nodded. I drew a picture of a rainbow with birds and clouds.

(Yes, I actually drew this; tragically, I can't scan it.)

Then I thought for awhile. I wondered how it would be if I were friends with Stacie. I decided to write a very short story and draw a picture.

Once a girl named Cyndi had five friends. Racquelle, Kathy, Lisa, Carrie, and Blackey. One day, a girl named Stacie joined their group. They called it Us. The end.

(That's it?! Lame, Cyndi. Though, it was nice of her to include her dog in her quote-unquote story. There's an accompanying picture, by the way ... also "sadly" non-scannable.)

I laughed.

"Cyndi, we're going home," said Dad.

"Just one second. When are you and Emily coming home, Mom?"


"Oh, goody."

Dad and I drove home. I wondered what it would be like if Stacie did join our group. Racquelle, Stacie, Kathy, Lisa, Cyndi, Carrie. (So much for Blackey...) They sounded good together. Us. That sounded good, too.

I decided making friends with Stacia Ann Barnes was a wonderful idea.

(Yeah, if someone tied me up and left me for dead in a deserted park, I suppose I might try to get on their good side, too. You know what they say, keep your friends close...!)

Chapter Twelve

I decided to wear a Stacie-like outfit. I put on the outfit I wore when I first met Stacie. (Some black dress again.) Then I ran downstairs and ate breakfast.

"Cyndi, we've got to go right now!"


I stood up. Dad looked at me.

"Boy, you look nice. You always do." The he sighed. "My favorite older daughter is growing up."

I giggled. Then we drove to the hospital. I was sure glad to be home!


We were at home now, Mom on the couch holding Emily, Dad right next to her, me on the floor.

"Now, tell me," said Mom. "How did you get to Woodland Park without finding a way out for two weeks?"

"Well, you know Stacie?" Mom and Dad nodded. "I was enemies with her then, but now I want to make friends with her. Anyway, she picked me up ... wait, she tied my hands and legs together, and dragged me to Woodland. Then she tied me to a tree. I survived by sneaking nuts, berries, and grapes. And water."

"Oh, Cyndi!"

Mom and Dad both hugged me.


We all laughed while Mom took care of Emily.

(How nice and cozy, but shouldn't they be, I don't know, calling the police on Stacie? Or packing up and running like &%$# before Stacie pulls her next psychotic stunt?)

"Can I go outside?"


"Oh, good."

(Well, maybe they want Stacie to kill Cyndi!)

I walked outside. Shelley and Sheena were out.

(A three-year-old and a two-year-old? Concerned parents abound in this neighborhood...)

"Doggy-girl!" said Sheena.

"Listen, could you please get your sister Stacie?"

"Okay," said Shelley. She ran inside.

Pretty soon, Stacie was outside. She was wearing a glittery pink dress.

(A reminder that Lisa and the Angels started out as Barbie dolls ... whichever one was Stacie had a "glittery" pink gown.)

"Um, hi!" I said.

"What do you want?"

"I'm sorry about all of the things I did." I grinned. "Can we be friends?"

"No," Stacie said matter-of-factly.

I sighed. "Why not?"

"You're not sorry. Everybody says that, but they never mean it. Why should I believe you?"

(Poor, suddenly-angsty Stacie!)

"Why not?" I said. "I really and truly am sorry."


"I am!"

"You could go on and keep saying that, because I'm never going to believe you and never ever are going to be friends with you."

I sighed again. "Why?!"


"Because isn't an answer, Stacie."

"I don't care, Ms. Goody-Goody Two Shoes!"

"I am not a Goody-Goody Two Shoes!"

"Yes, you are!"

"Fine, you little snob, why would I want to be friends with you, anyway!"

Stacie yanked my hair (!!!) and wouldn't let go until she suddenly fell to the ground.


Stacie was about to run into her house, but instead ran smack into Kathy, the one who knocked her down.

"Whoever you are, don't knock me down again!" She ran inside.

Kathy and I laughed and laughed. "Thanks, Kath," I said.

"Hey, no prob!"

I laughed.

"Was that Stacie Barnes?"


"Oh, she's awful! Just awful!"

"No kidding!"

"What was she doing?"

"I was just trying to make friends with her, and she grabbed my hair."

Kathy made a face. (Kathy sounds very cool.) I laughed again.

"Well, I'm going to some relatives not far away, so bye."

"Bye," I said.

I laughed again. (Quit with the crazy laughing, Cyndi...) Then I thought for awhile. Last year, Kathy wasn't friends with me at all. Then she wasn't extra-friendly, but she was nice. Now we're super friends.

I'm so glad I have friends like Kathy. I mean, my friends are so nice. Much better than Stacie. Man, an idea like having Stacie for a friend was so stupid! So, so stupid!


And that does it for this round. Speaking of "so, so stupid" -- coming up next: Cyndi calls the police on Josephine! And hops a boxcar!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Me and Snobby Stacie, Part Three

Gasp, an update! This has undoubtedly been my busiest year EVER so far. Between getting married, switching doctors, working extra at the radio station, and preparing for a honeymoon in Europe next month, I've ... well, neglected my blog(s) more than usual. So I MUST take advantage of this free moment to give you more old-school Lisa and the Angels (before they were rock stars!).

Unfortunately, this segment isn't nearly as classic as the one coming up after it -- it's pretty much all outfits and one-sided phone calls. Well, I guess the outfits make it slightly more entertaining, particularly Stacie's bizarre reaction to Cyndi's all-white get-up in Chapter Nine... but still.


Chapter Seven

My days were long and boring and restless.

(Poor, poor Cyndi. That opening really makes me want to continue reading, by the way.)

One day, the phone rang.

(And here it gets even more fascinating...)

"Hi, this is Cyndi ... Carrie! ... Out for the day? Wonderful! Great! ... Sure ... Bye!!!"

(In case you couldn't tell, since it's so clear, I'm pretty sure Carrie just told Cyndi over the phone that Mean Aunt Josephine was out for the day, then invited her over.)

I ran to Carrie's.

"Hi, Cyndi! Am I glad to see you!"

I stared at Carrie. She was wearing some long, baggy blue pants and a flowered blouse. Her hair was messy. Her face was pale, and her cheeks were kind of sunken. She looked quite thin.

("Hot." I was a little obsessed with the image of "sunken cheeks" back then; don't ask me why. Was that in a Sweet Valley book?)



"When was the last time you drank water?"

"This morning."

"When was the last time you ate?"


It was Saturday.




"She's not even your mom! (what, starving Carrie would be okay if Josephine was her mom?) She can't do that! I'm telling!"

"Cyndi, NO!"

"Why? Does she beat you?"

(Wow! Blunt, aren't we, Cyndi?)

"No. It's just that... well, I'm afraid she will."

"Carrie, somebody's gotta tell, or you'll die of starvation ... and humiliation!" I looked at her clothes. "You look like an old lady!"

(And ever so sympathetic, too. I should note here that Carrie's "baggy"-blue-pants-and-flowered-blouse outfit was directly inspired by one of my then-teacher's regular getups. My teacher was about 67. Her pants -- which, by the way, were navy blue -- actually fit her, seeing as she wasn't being starved, like poor Carrie ... at least, not to the best of my knowledge.)

"I know ... but, Cyndi, don't tell! She feeds me every two or three days. And she feeds me eggs and bagels then. She'll feed me today. I know she will."

I looked doubtful.

"Cyndi, I won't be able to trust you if you tell."

"I won't tell! Now, before your parents died, how much did you weigh?"

Carrie glared at me. "Seventy-six!"

"How much are you now?"


"That's six pounds, Carrie. Six pounds!"

"Leave me alone!"

"What did you eat last?"

"A jellybean, now leave ... me ... ALONE!"

(One jellybean? What happened to the eggs and bagels?)

"Fine! I'll just go tell!"

"Fine! I knew you didn't care!"

"I do care! And goodbye!" I ran outside.

"Good riddance!" I heard Carrie scream.

I burst into tears. Nothing was going right! I lost one friend (maybe two, if Blackey dies).

I couldn't wait until ... well, probably Racquelle would heal first. So I couldn't wait for her to get better!

(Yes, I remember describing Lisa, Kathy, and Racquelle's gratuitous injuries to my dad and asking him which would heal first, and he told me a "damaged bicep" would probably heal the fastest. Lisa had a "crushed leg", you may recall, and Kathy had some head injury that had her near death. Of course, all three of them are fine before the end of this story.)

I woke up and put on a very short bleached jean skirt, and a big baggy bright-colored sweater. Then I put on some white nylons and denim flats. I put a denim bow in my hair.

(Cyndi, you fashion plate! I wonder if her denim flats and bow are also "bleached.")

Hmm, what should I do today? I know! I'll call radio stations!


I dialed a number.

"Hello, WSVW, where are you calling from?"


"And how old are you?"


"What may I do for you?"

"Could you play 'I Think We're Alone Now'?"

"I'll sure try."


"Thanks for calling, bye."


(I don't doubt that would be Tiffany's version of that song Cyndi requested, not Tommy James and the Shondells'. Oh... my siblings and I used to call radio stations all the time, and the deejays at one of them always asked us how old we were. At the time, I figured they kept some sort of age tally, but like they weren't just humoring the little brats that were bugging them during their shift.)

I dialed another number. 555-WNLS.

"Hello, WNLS, this is Rob."

"Can you play 'I Get Around'?"

"Sure! Bye!"


(She might not know Tommy James and the Shondells, but Cyndi probably would know "I Get Around", even though it's an "oldie" -- this was written right around the time that "Kokomo" was a huge hit, and the Beach Boys were on every other episode of Full House.)


"Hello, WROR, who is this?"

"My name is Cynthia Marie Wellman."


"And what may I do for you?"

"Can you play ... 'Don't Rush Me'?"

"We'll play that right now."

530-2020. "Hello, WCON, you're on the radio."

"Can you play 'In the Darkness'?"

"Okay, bye."


Oh, my gosh! I was on the radio!

(Hate to burst your bubble, Cyndi, but I don't think they're going to use your sound bite; I had to google "In the Darkness" to find out what it even was, and now vaguely remember it as the B-side to the aforementioned Taylor Dayne hit "Don't Rush Me." B-sides, just what most radio stations love...)

1-800-321-4040. "Hello, WNDY, country music."

"Oh, um ... could you play 'Daddy's Hands'?"

"'Daddy's Hands' ... I'll sure try."


("Daddy's Hands" was the only country song I "knew" back then; I didn't even really know it, but knew the chorus from some Tife Life classic country infomercial. My sister and I thought it was utterly dorky and would sometimes sing it out loud in mocking voices.)

This day was going okay. I decided to call the three hospital girls. You could only call one a day. I would disguise my voice for Kathy and Lisa.

(Don't ask me where I came up with that rule for a hospital ... and btw, this has almost as much to do with the rest of the story as the radio station phone calls.)

"Hello, may I please speak to Racquelle Arlington?"

"Yes, you may."


"Hi! ... (Who is this?! says Racquelle...) Cyndi! How're you doing? ... Is your arm okay? ... Guess what ... Carrie, well, don't tell anyone, but ..." (I lowered my voice.) "She's being starved. She weighs seventy pounds! But we're in a fight! ... Yeah ... yeah, bye!"

I waited for two minutes. Then I pressed re-dial. "Cen I pleeze tok to Leeza McOrrill?"

"Yes, but she doesn't have her wheelchair yet, so you'll have to call her bed number."


"Whoot iz thot?"


"Thonk yoo."

(Zzzz. What an annoying "accent.")


I dialed the number. "Hi, Lisa! ... Cyndi! Is your leg okay? ... Oh, that's too bad! Guess what ... Carrie's being starved! ... I know! And Blackey's sick ... I know. Well, bye!"

I waited for two more minutes. Then I pressed re-dial again. "Hi-eee!" (My voice sounded like a little kid's.) "Can I pweeze talk to Kaffy Bew?"



"But you'll have to call her bed number."

"Which is what?"


"Okay. Fank you."


I dialed the number. "Hi, Kathy! It's Cyndi! ... Perfect! Well, bored! Carrie's being starved! And Blackey's sick! ... Racquelle's your room-mate? Oh! Can I talk to her? ... Thanks!... Hi, Racquelle! ... I forgot to tell you something ... Blackey's sick. Really sick (You dragged her back to the phone for that?! Depressing much?!) ... I know. Bye ... Hi, Kath! ... Okay. Bye!"

I sighed. My friends were still in the hospital (Blackey, too). (I guess a vet is a "hospital.") And I lost one. Things were horrible. Just horrible!

Chapter Eight

One day, the phone rang.

(My writing skills here just astound me.)

"Hello ... Animal C-care's V-vet? ... Yes, this is the Wellmans' ... My dog! Nice and healthy?! Yippee! ... Soon, oh, soon! ... Bye!!!"

Blackey was better!!!

I put on a pair of tight blue jeans with five dark blue bows up the sides and a light blue International News sweater. Then I put a dark blue bow in my hair. Then I put on some white socks and some dark blue Keds.

(A true late 80s ensemble ... though five bows on her jeans sounds a bit much.)

"Mom, Dad! Blackey's better!"

"Oh, that's great, honey!" said Mom.

"Lucky thing it's Saturday," said Dad. School was resuming on Monday.

(No kidding, school resumes on a Monday? What a weird response from Daddy Wellman...)

"C'mon!" I said.

"Okay, okay."

We drove to the vet.

"Hi," said Dr. Robinson.

"Hi," I said. She walked into a room and came out carrying Blackey!

(That's some fast service!)

"Oh, oh, Blackey!" I grabbed him and hugged him. Mom smiled at Dad. (Snicker.)

"Oh, Blackey!"

"Come on, Cyndi," said Dad.

"Okay!" We drove home.


"Honey?" Dad asked.


"Not you, dear. Shari."


(I think this is the only time Mrs. Wellman is referred to as "Shari"; normally, she's Sharon. Aww, Mr. Wellman has a nickname for her.)



"Come downstairs!"

("Git into that kitchen and make me supper!")


Mom walked downstairs.

"I brought home a list of baby names."

"Oh, good! I like Jeremy," said Mom.

"What does it mean?" I asked.

"God will uplift."


"God will uplift."

I shrugged. "What does my name mean?"

(SNORE! Obviously, I'd been looking at my Names, Names, Names book the day I wrote this.)

"The moon."

"The moon?!"

"Yes. I like Abigail," said Dad.

"Ew," said Mom.

"What about Candace?" I asked. I love the name Candace. Candace Reneé Wellman. Candy Reneé sounds better.

(If you say so, Cyndi.)

"Candace. Nice name," said Dad.

"I like Sara without an 'h'," said Mom.

"What does it mean?" I asked.

"The princess."

I didn't want a sister going around acting like a princess.

(So that's how Sara Crewe got her name! But, relax, "Moon", most people aren't living embodiments of their names. For example, I don't go around acting like a palm tree.)

"I like Emily," said Dad.

"Emily," repeated Mom.

"So," said Dad. "If it's a girl, it will be Candace, Sara, or Emily."

"I like Brian or Dave Jr.," said Mom.

"So if it's a boy," said Dad. "We'll name it Jeremy, Brian, or Dave Jr."

"So," I said, "it will be Jeremy, Candace, Brian, Sara, Dave, or Emily."

(That's what he just said!)

"Right," said Mom.



One day, I woke up and put on a pair of black stretch pants, a yellow T-shirt, yellow push-downs, and black high-tops. Then I put a black bow in my hair.

(Cyndi sounds like a bee.)


"Hello ... Racquelle! Hi! Where are you? ... Home! You're back? ... Oh, good! I'm coming over! Bye!"

I ran to Racquelle's house.

"Hi!" said Racquelle.

"Hi!" I said.

"How's Blackey?"

"Believe it or not, he's better!"

"Oh, that's great!"

"I know!"

"How's Carrie?"

"Dunno. We're in a fight."

"Oh, that's right!"

(Isn't Cyndi going to ask Racquelle how she is? Doesn't she care about her bicep?)


"Hello ... This is she ... Hi, Carrie! ... Sure! ... Bye!"

(I guess Racquelle is too busy talking on the phone...)

"Cyndi, come with me!"



We walked to Carrie's.

"Hey! No fair!"

"Please, Cyndi."


We walked inside.

"Racquelle? Is that you?"


Carrie ran downstairs. "RACQUELLE!"


"I didn't tell you to bring her along!"

"Sorry, Carrie."

(Er, who said that? Racquelle or Cyndi?)

Carrie groaned. It was obvious she didn't want to apologize. But reluctantly, she did. "Sorry, Cyndi."

"I forgive you."

"Come on up!" We ran upstairs.

"Carrie, how much are you?" asked Racquelle.

"Please don't ask! Anyway, I'm sixty-four."

"Sixty-four!!!" Racquelle and I said in unison.


"Um, let's not fight," I said.

"Yeah," they agreed.

(So, in case you're keeping track, Carrie is now down 12 lbs!!! Will she waste away before our very eyes??? It's actually more than that -- in Carrie and the Search for a Friend, Carrie reveals that she downplayed the weight loss from her starvation. Why, I don't know... but she's probably really about 52 lbs now!!!! On that dramatic note, this chapter comes to a close, but I'll leave you with one more...)

Chapter Nine

One day, I woke up and put on a pair of white stretch pants, a baggy white T-shirt, a white bow, white socks, and white flats. Then I ran outside. Stacie was there.

I forgot all about her!

"You!" said Stacie.

I made a face.

(It's a wonder Stacie didn't take to her.)

"Cyndi Wellman, dressed in white! Had a little ball tonight! No one came but Pill Bug Shame, and he danced with her in the light!"

(Now, I'm with Cyndi here ... what in the world? Just, WHAT?)


"Ne-ever mi-ind!"

"You're a weirdo!"

"Hmmm!" Stacie ran inside.

I laughed. Stacia Barnes sure was strange!



"Hello ... Lisa! Oh, you're better ... But you're still home! ... Blackey's better! And Carrie's losing weight, but she's okay ... I know ... Bye!"

Lisa was back! I ran to her house. She didn't tell me to, but ...


I rang the bell. Mrs. McOrrill answered. "Oh, hi, Cyndi!"


"Come on in."

"Okay." I walked in. Then I ran upstairs. Lisa was in a wheelchair.

"Oh, hi, Cyndi!"


"Nice outfit."

(Ha; Lisa's totally being sarcastic here.)

I giggled. "What'cha doing?"


"In your wheelchair?"

"Of course."

"You could read in bed."

(What, Cyndi's telling her friends where to read now? Nothing in this story has rhyme or reason...)

"I know, but Mom said not to."


"What'da you wanna do?"

"Beats me."

"Let's read."

"Nah. I love reading, but I came over to, well ... do something. I can read anyday."

(So go somewhere else and let Lisa finish her book that she was in the middle of before you barged in. Jeez, Cyndi!)

"Then what can we do?"

"We can invite Racquelle and Carrie over, and we can talk."


"Oh, yeah ... Carrie's stupid aunt."

"Well, we'll invite Racquelle over!"


Soon, Racquelle was in Lisa's bedroom, with Lisa and I. "What do you wanna talk about?" asked Racquelle boredly.

"Don't know," I said.

(Boy, did these girls need their little singing group...)

"How 'bout Kathy and Carrie?" asked Lisa.

"Well, okay," said Racquelle.

"Yeah," I said. "How's Kathy?" I asked Racquelle.

"Well, I don't know why, but for two hours, she was in a coma. Then she got out, and they did something and bandaged up her head. She should've been out two days after she came, but her head is really bad. I don't know when she'll be back."

"How's Carrie?" asked Lisa.

"Well, her aunt makes her wear babyish clothes and study three hours and watch T.V. one hour. (The horror!) And she only feeds her every two days."

"Oooh," said Racquelle.

"I wish for the good old days back," said Lisa.

"Yeah, me, too," I said.

"Well," said Racquelle.

"Well," I said.

"Well," said Lisa.

"Well, what?" we asked in unison. Then we laughed.

(Even their gossip is horrendously dull.)

"Well, I guess I'd better go," I said.

"Me, too," said Racquelle.

"Bye," all three of us said in unison.

I ran downstairs, feeling good and bad. I had Racquelle. And Lisa. Carrie, too. But I was worried about Kathy. And Stacia Ann Barnes.


I put on a pair of baggy bleached jeans, a T-shirt that said You Are Looking At Perfection (there's a blatant rip-off if I ever saw one! hi, BSC!), and a bleached jean-vest (with "baggy bleached jeans"? Beyond hideous!). Then I put on some white socks and some blue Keds. I was going to Lisa's. Racquelle had just called and said that Kathy was home. So Kathy, Racquelle, and I were going to Lisa's.

I decided to call Carrie. 274-9820.

"Hi! It's Cyndi! ... Hi, Carrie ... Well, is your aunt home? ... Oh, that's too bad! Lisa, Racquelle, and Kathy are all back. We're going to Lisa's ... Sorry ... Okay ... Bye."

Well, Carrie wasn't coming. I ran to Lisa's.

"Hi, Cyndi!" said Lisa.

"Hi, Lisa! Hi, Racquelle! Hi, Kathy!" Racquelle and Kathy waved.

"Can't you guys talk?", I joked.

"They can," explained Lisa, "but Mary, Cheri, and Donald were telling them that they talked too much. And they went cuckoo and believed them!"

"You really did?" I asked. They nodded.

I rolled my eyes at Lisa, who giggled. "So what do you want to talk about, Lisa?"

"Beats me."

"Do you have any ideas, Kathy or Racquelle?" They shook their heads.

"Gosh," I said. "When our baby comes, if she tells me I have... "

"The baby?!" screeched Lisa. Kathy's and Racquelle's eyes were wide as saucers.

"Oh, I think I forgot to tell you. My mom's having a baby."

"Oh, Cyndi," said Lisa. Kathy and Racquelle smiled. "What will it's name be?"

I sighed. "Jeremy, Candace, Brian, Sara, Dave, or Emily."

"Nice names."

(You're probably asleep by now, anyway, but "sadly", I lost two pages of this masterpiece here. Fortunately, it picks up in a much more entertaining place -- Cyndi and Stacie are at war!)

-- two pages later --

... (do) something about Stacie. So far, although I didn't tell you, she had made me pay for five boxes of chocolates (I ate them, too), thrown dirt in my face, beat me up from behind (I'm not a weakling, it just sort of surprised me), and thrown a pie in my face. Plus, she acts like such a snob. Her nose is always in the air. And she always goes "Hmmm!" like an idiot.

(I love the cartoon violence -- Cyndi got suckerpunched! And she's possibly bulimic, if her five boxes of chocolates are any indication.)

I know! I'll do the exact same things to her.

(How very creative. Talk in the right tense.)

I dialed Markey's Chocolates' number. 535-2101.

"Hello, Markey's Chocolates. May I help you?"

"I'd like to order five boxes of chocolate drops."

"Name, please?"

"Cynthia Wellman." (Uh-oh.)


I gave him Stacie's address.

"Okay, I'll get them over there as soon as possible."

"Okay, thanks. Bye."


("Chocolate drops?" What kind of name is Markey'a Chocolates?)

I hung up the phone, and started to laugh. Stacie Barnes, watch out!


That's all for now, but their feud continues in the next chapter! Coming up ... Cyndi gets tied to a tree!!! Will she survive?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Me and Snobby Stacie, Part Two

I was out of town for most of February (hence the lack of updates) but here, finally, are more adventures with Cyndi and Stacie!

Chapter Four

Blackey at the vet day. Plus, I was going to dog Stacie.

(Clever use of 80's slang there, Cyndi, considering Stacie's hatred of dogs ... actually, did anyone else ever go around saying "I dogged you!" in the late 80's, or was that just my weird siblings and I?)

I put on a pair of black spandex that ended just below my knees, a hot-pink turtleneck with black polka-dots on it, hot-pink push-down socks, hot-pink high-tops, and a black bow. Ha ha, Stacie.

(I'm 'ha-ha'ing, too, at the hideousness of that outfit.)

I found a note on the breakfast table:
Dear Cyndi, I went to the vet already. Please fix breakfast. Maybe lunch. I'm going to run some errands afterwards.
Love, Mom.
P.S. Blackey threw up again.

(Was that P.S. really necessary?)

I sighed. Then I fixed a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. I ate it and decided to go over to Kathy's.

I dialed her number. 273-2983. "Hello ... This is Cyndi. Is Kathy there? ... Well, can I come over? ... Thank you. Bye."

I ran over to Kathy's.

"Hi, Cyndi!"

"Hi, Kathy!"

We ran up to her fourth-floor bedroom.

"Why didn't you call me yesterday?" I told her about Blackey. "Oh, that's too bad!"

We watched two 2-hour movies. "Oh, no!" I said.


"I've gotta go!" I ran home.

"Where were you?" Mom asked.

"A-at Kathy's."

(Don't ask me why Cyndi is stammering ... unless Mrs. Wellman is another Josephine?)

"How come it took you so long?"

"We watched two movies."

"Next time, be here!"

"Wh-where's Blackey?"

Mom sighed. "Cyndi ... Blackey's at ... he's still at the vet."

"What? Still at the vet? I don't understand."

"Well ... the vet thinks he's been fed poisoned meat."

(I love how the vet just knows it was meat, and doesn't suggest that Blackey got into some antifreeze or whatever.)

"Poisoned meat?! But who would do that?!"

"I don't have the slightest idea."

"It had to be someone awful ... I know! Stacie Barnes! Do you think when she mumbled that, she was talking about the meat?"

('that' = "Ihoamemaimick!", which Stacie muttered in the last chapter, and which translates to "I hope that meat made him sick!" -- since of course Cyndi is right about Stacie.)

"Oh, Mom! What if Blackey dies?"

"He won't, baby."

"I'm going over to Stacie's right now!"

I ran next door. Mrs. Barnes answered.

"Yes?" she asked.

"I need Stacie," I said through clenched teeth.

"Stacie, honey. A girl!"

(love how she just dismisses Cyndi, who she's met at least three times by this point, as "a girl"...)

"Oh, it's you!" said Stacie, when we were in her room.

"Who'd you expect?", I asked.

"Someone better."

I stared at her.

"So I see you're in style today," she said sarcastically.

"More than you."

"No way!"

Stacie was wearing a black velvet mini-dress with a pink sash around it, black tights, black flats, and a big pink bow.

"Well..." I said.

(Cyndi must agree that Stacie's outfit is marginally better than her own little polka-dot spandex fest ... although, personally, I think the "big pink bow" is overdoing it a little, Stace.)

"See, I am!"

I just shrugged. "I came to ask you something," I said.


"Did you just happen to be ... well, to feed my dog any kind of ... meat?"


"Poisoned meat?"

Stacie grinned. "No."

"Oh, sure!"

Stacie burst out laughing. "Okay, okay, I did!"

(And I thought Josephine was over-the-top...)

"Stacia Barnes! Why? Blackey could die! Don't you care?! Don't you care at all?!!"

Stacie grinned. "Nope."

"Oh, you are so heartless! I hate you, Stacie Barnes! I hate you!"

(I'm sure the little sociopath is just devastated, Cyndi. And how do you know that her name is 'Stacia'?)

Chapter Five

I was so angry. Angry at Stacie for being so heartless. Angry at Blackey for taking the meat. Angry at Mom and Dad for not noticing me or Blackey (huh?). Angry at everyone!!!!!

I pushed my teddy bear off my bed.

(That part was ripped off from a scene in The Parent Trap 2, when Mary was pouting and pushed her teddy off her bed -- I'm surprised I didn't make Cyndi mutter, "What are you looking at?" before she pushed hers.)

"Cyndi! Dinner!"

I ran downstairs.

"What is it?"

"Fish and macaroni'n'cheese."


"You hay fish?" joked Dad.

"That's not funny. And I said hate! Just like I hate Stacia Barnes!"

"Cyndi, yesterday you invited her over. Did that little argument over the meat really do that to you?"

(Okay, an attempt to kill their daughter's dog equals "a little argument"? Maybe Cyndi has a right to be angry at her parents!)

"You know what? I always hated her! Do you know what she said? She said she didn't care if Blackey died! How can anyone say that?"

Mom sighed and looked at Dad. He just shrugged.

"Cyndi," said Mom.

I squinted. (do you need glasses, Cyndi?) "Yeah?"

"We have some very important news to tell you."

"I knew it! Blackey's dead! Because of Stacie Barnes!"


"The little murderer! I wish I could feed her poisoned meat!"

"Cyndi, Blackey's not dead!"

"He's not?"

"No! We're moving!"

"Again? You mean I have to move away from Racquelle and Kathy and Lisa and Carrie! Oh, this day is the absolute worst ever!!!"

(Oh, look on the bright side -- at least you and Blackey wll be safe from the family of freaks next door!)

"Cyndi, we live on 6th and L, right?"


"We're only moving to 12th and K!"

"Then why are we moving?!!" I exploded.

"Because! And I am also going to have a baby ... due March 10th!"

"What?!! A baby?!! You mean, I have to live with a thing that goes 'boo-hoo' and slobbers and leaves food all over the place!" I burst into tears. "Oh, this day is awful! Just awful!"

I threw down my plate (and broke it), stood up, slammed my chair into the fridge, ran off, and started throwing down chairs and banging on things. "It's not fair! It's not fair! It's not fair!" I ran into my bedroom. (Wow, someone has spoiled-only-child syndrome! Isn't she a little old for it?)

"Cynthia Marie Wellman, you come out here this instant! I'm going to count! One ... two ... three ... "

I ran outside. "Wha-a-at?!"

"You pick up all of these chairs. Ri-i-ight now!"

I groaned and started picking up the chairs. When I was done, I walked over to Dad and Mom. "Do you want me anymore?"

"Yes, we do, young lady!" said Dad.

"Where do I go?"

"The couch! And march!"

I marched to the couch, giggling.


"Okay, sorry."

My parents walked to the couch. "Here is your list of punishments."

"Hey, when did you have time to... "

"Never mind!"

I looked at the list.

Bed Early - 7:30 - 2 wks.
No dessert - 4 wks.
Grounded - 1 wk.
No T.V. - 3 wks.
No Carrie - 1 wk.
No Lisa - 1 wk.
No Kathy - 1 wk.
No Racquelle - 1 wk.
Say sorry to Stacie!

(Okay ... er, when did they have time to make a list of punishments? When Cyndi was throwing chairs down, did Mrs. Wellman rush to grab the nearest pad and pen? Why not just say "no friends" instead of listing them by name? And, really, WHY does Cyndi have to apologize to Stacie for Stacie poisoning her dog?)

"Hey, why all this?!!"

"Because of your mouth and actions!" said Dad.

"I've never seen a child act that way," said Mom.

"Never!" agreed Dad.

I hung my head. "I'm real sorry. Except all of this is so hard on me. I'll take the punishments."

"Cyndi," said Mom. She grabbed my list and crossed out most of the punishments. "How's this?"

No dessert - 1 wk.
Grounded - 1 wk.

(Whatever on Mrs. Wellman crossing out most of the punishments. I wonder why she kept 'no dessert' on there? Maybe she's too lazy to bake. Or maybe she secretly thinks Cyndi needs to lose some of her whopping 77 pounds.)

"Well... "

"Is it okay?"

I grinned. "Yes!"


I was in bed, wide awake. Gosh, I thought. I should make a list of good things and bad things. Today was an awful day! (Well, mostly.)

I made the list. (I made it gladly, too.)

Bad: Blackey, Stacie, no dessert, grounded, dinner today, Stacie in style.
Good: Shorter list of punishments.

Ha, ha!

(That's the end of the chapter. How's that for a cliffhanger?)

Chapter Six

The next morning, I woke up and put on a pair of tight, tight bleached blue jeans, a white cotton long-sleeved turtleneck, and a white sweater with no sleeves. I put on my white push-downs and my white Keds. (Lovely ... especially the jeans.)

Then I asked my mom if I could go to Carrie's. It was the tenth day of winter break, so probably.
(Really? If it was the ninth day of winter break, would you not be allowed?)

"Honey, you're grounded."

"Mom, can you please make that when school starts!"

"Well ... okay."

"Thank you!" I ran outside. Then I ran to Stacie's.

Stacie answered. "How come you're here everyday?"

(Because she's a stalker?)

"Some greeting", I said. "I just wanted to see what you're wearing."

Stacie was wearing a long, knee-length white silk dress with a green bow around it, a matching green bow in her hair, green heels, and white tights. (That sounds very 11-year-old. I'm sure I got it from some Barbie doll.)

"Ha! Beat ya this time!" I said.

"Hmmm!" Stacie slammed the door.

"How rude!"

I ran to Carrie's, laughing all the way.

"Hi, Carrie! How're ya doing?!"

"Not so good. Look." Carrie handed me a list.

If you drop your food, leave the table.
Wear DECENT clothing!!!
Do not watch T.V. for more than one hour!!
Study three hours per DAY!!!

"What happened to your parents?!"

Carrie sighed. "Well, last time you saw me, that day I found out Mom and Dad were killed in a car accident. The guardian is supposed to be my strict aunt Josephine. She's here already!"

"Oh, Carrie!"

You should have seen what Carrie was wearing. It was a blue sailor dress, with an anchor and whistle. How babyish!

(Naturally, Carrie's 'babyish' outfit is Cyndi's first concern. What about an, I don't know, "I am so sorry about your parents"?)

Carrie must be a mind-reader. "This is so babyish!"

"I know!"
(Cyndi, ever the sensitive one...)

"CARRIE!" (uh oh!)



"O-okay, Aunt Jo-Josephine!"

"Why are you stuttering?" I asked.

"I'm not supposed to have anyone over! Hide!"

I hid under Carrie's bed.

Three minutes later, Carrie was back. "Why so soon?"

"Nothing." She paused. Then, "Cyndi?"


"Can I trust you to keep a secret?"

"Um, yeah!"

"Okay. My aunt ... well, every day, she drops my food on the floor. Last time I ate was the day she came, day before yesterday! And that was breakfast!" (GASP!)

"Oh, oh no!"

Carrie sighed.

"Oh, Carrie! Can I please tell Kathy, Lisa, and Racquelle?"


"I'm leaving! Bye!"


I ran to Kathy's. "Can I talk to Kathy?"

"I'm sorry. Kathy's in the hospital with a bad concussion. You see, Kathy, Lisa, and Racquelle, and Carrie Packer's parents were in a bad car accident. Racquelle damaged her bicep badly. And Lisa broke her leg badly. It was broken in three places, plus she got a crushed ankle and got a bad tissue damage. Poor Carrie's parents both died."

(WOW! What a coincidence that they were all together in one car! And Carrie must have been so terrified about Josephine that she conveniently left out their friends' involvement and their random injuries ... a damaged bicep?! I think I watched too much wrestling back then.)

"Oh, gosh!"

"I know. I'm so sorry."

"That's okay. Thanks for telling me. Bye."


(Just who is that telling all this to Cyndi? Kathy's mom? Whoever it is -- considering they're at Kathy's house, you'd think Cyndi would be the one offering condolences for poor Kathy and her head trauma.)

I slowly walked home.


I was bored. There was nothing to do. Blackey wasn't even here. (we know...)

It seemed like everyone had problems. I was bored. Dad and Mom had moving problems. Carrie was starving. Kathy, Racquelle, and Lisa were hurt. Blackey was dying (maybe). Their parents were lonely (my friends's). It seems that Stacia Ann Barnes was the only happy one!

(Poor Cyndi is bored ... cry me a river. How does she know Stacie's middle name?)

Coming up next: Cyndi and Carrie have a fight, Cyndi calls radio stations, plus I blatantly rip off the BSC a few more times...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Me and Snobby Stacie

I'm reaching way back into the vault for this one!

Though I don't remember how or why I decided to write about a girl named Cyndi Wellman, for whatever reason I decided that I liked Cyndi and her friends enough to build my very first "series" around them. But they didn't become Lisa and the Angels right away; that didn't happen until An Old House (book 3 of the series, and my personal rip-off of BSC #9, The Ghost at Dawn's House). These first two books don't even have any singing in them!

What they do have are lots of dramatic fights, lots and lots of bad 80's outfits, and ... not much plot. It was tempting to post My Own Pet first, since it's the first book in the series and all. But Me and Snobby Stacie just has so many classically bad moments that I'm giving you the "honor" of reading it first instead!

So here you go. Enjoy! By the way, I wasn't quite ten when I wrote this (I handwrote it in my blank book with the beautiful pink cover that had Tammy's Book sewn across it in pink and blue letters).

Chapter One

I am Cyndi Wellman. I'm eleven years old. I have long, long hair. It goes down to my knees. I have dark blue eyes. I am four feet seven inches tall and weigh seventy-seven pounds.

(Well, thanks for getting the introduction out of the way right off the bat, Cyndi. Now we can all picture her as we read along. I wonder how many of her seventy-seven pounds is that hair ... knee-length hair? How creepy.)

To start the story, I was sitting on the couch, doing nothing. My one-year-old Yorkie, Blackey, was lying down beside me.

Ring! I ignored the phone. Ring!


"Okay, Mom." I stood up.


"Cynthia Wellman!"

(Note, in later stories, I used too many adjectives for the word "said." In these earlier stories, I barely used "said" -- or anything that means said -- at all.)

I sighed. "Hello ... Carrie! ... Hi! ... Sure! ... Oh, good! ... Terrific! ... Bye!"

"Mom, Mom!"


"Can I go to Carrie's?" Carrie was my friend.



I grabbed my jean-jacket and ran out the door. When I reached Carrie's house, I ran up the stairs.

"Hi, Cyndi!"

"Hi, Lisa! Hi, Kathy! Hi, Racquelle! Hi, Car!" (Car?) I sat down. Then I raised my eyebrows. You see, I always thought that Carrie and I were the ones who dressed in trendy clothes.

First, before I tell you anything, I guess I should describe my friends. (Please don't.)

1.)Carrie Packer. She is eleven. She has curly blonde hair and brown eyes. She is small and pretty. She is an only child with a collie named Tabatha. She is fun to be with. (A tear rolls down my cheek.) She goes to Albany Middle School. She's in sixth grade.

2.)Kathy Bell. She is also eleven. She has long golden hair and blue eyes. She's pretty. She's tall and skinny. She is rich. She has a little sister named Mary. She doesn't have any pets. (Yes, she does, she has a horse! Well, apparently not in this book; and I just now noticed that continuity error, twenty years after writing this...) She goes to Albany, New York Private Academy. She's in sixth grade.

3.)Lisa McOrrill. She has long brown hair and brown eyes. She is also rich. She is eleven. She has a cat, Brownie. She is an only child. She goes to Albany Middle School. She's in sixth grade.

(I love all of Kathy's and Lisa's personality traits. Actually, neither of them really had a personality until they became pop stars. Same with Racquelle. Speaking of...)

4.)Racquelle Arlington. She is thirteen. (Why is she gratuitously two years older than the others?) She has shoulder-length pale blonde hair and pale blue eyes. She is rich. She has a brother named Donald and a sister named Cheri. She goes to Albany, New York Private Academy. She is in eighth grade.


Well, now I'm way off the subject, so let's get back to what we were wearing. (Oh, goody!)

Carrie was wearing a light blue mini-skirt, a baggy white sweater, white nylons, light blue push-down socks, and white high-top sneakers.

(Yawn. That sounds like something Mary Anne Spier would wear after her father "loosened up a little.")

I had on some tight blue jeans with zippers up the sides of the legs, black high-tops, and a baggy black sweater that said International News in white letters across the front.

(Ah, zipper-legged jeans and an International News "sweater" -- how very 1989!)

Racquelle had on some really baggy white pants and a baggy black T-shirt that said Awesome on it. There were white suspenders over the shirt. She had on white Converse shoes and white socks. She had dark red stuff on her lips, magenta stuff on her cheeks, and blue stuff on her eyelids. On her ears were dozens of white plastic zippers.

(Clearly, at this point, Racquelle is the "Claudia" of the group, judging from this atrocious-sounding outfit ... and even the ripped-off-from-Kristy's Great Idea use of the word "stuff" for makeup. Dozens of dangly white zippers?!?!)

Kathy had on a pair of blue spandex that ended just below her knees. She had on a baggy pink sweater, pink push-down socks, and dark pink high-tops. She was wearing no makeup, but her hair was permed and put into a ponytail. On her ears were large blue hoops.

(What, pink socks and shoes? Blue high-tops would have made the outfit even more perfectly matchy-matchy.)

Lisa had on a very short bleached jean skirt, a baggy white T-shirt, denim high-tops, white push-down socks, and little blue bows for earrings.

(Her outfit is too boring to comment on, though I do wonder about that skirt...)

"Gosh," I said. "What happened?"

"We changed!" screeched Kathy.

"I can see that," I said.

"Okay," said Carrie. "We... "

(Shut up, Carrie ... why are you answering 'we'? You were already supposed to be one of the "trendy" ones.)

Ring! Carrie picked up the phone in her bedroom. "Hello ... this is she ... is this Mrs. Wellman? ... why does she have to come home so early? ... oh, neighbors ... bye."

"Cyndi, you have to go. Neighbors."

"Oh." I sighed and left. (Darn, now Cyndi will never find out why her friends decided to become fashionistas...)

Chapter Two

When I got home, the first thing Mom said was, "Cyndi, go change."


I changed into a long black dress with almost no sleeves. (So does it have cap sleeves or what?) Then I put a black lace bow in my hair. I put on some black flats. Then I ran downstairs.

"Mom, you look great!" She had on a long yellow gown. (!) Her blonde hair hung in loose waves around her face. She had on purple eyeshadow, dark red blush, and light red lipstick. She was thirty-five years old, but she looked about twenty!

(Personally, I think she sounds a little overdone. Also, I'm pretty sure that long yellow gown was one of my Barbie doll dresses, and that Stacie and Mrs. Wellman were "played" by the same doll. Yes, I still acted these stories out with dolls when I was 9-10.)


"I'll get it!" I ran downstairs to the door. "Hi, Dad!"



"I'll get it, again!" I opened the door while Dad quickly went upstairs to change. (Just what was he wearing before?) Outside, there was a big line of people. A man with a little girl walked inside. Then, a tall girl about my age walked inside. Next were two little redheads that looked like twins. After that were two little blonde-haired girls that also looked like twins. After that was a tall woman. Finally, a tall tall girl carrying a girl that looked like the youngest in the family.

(An eight-kid family with all girls ... in those days, that would have been my dream family!)

"Come on in!" I said cheerfully.

"Hmmm!" said the girl about my age.

"My mom and dad will be down... "

"Okay, okay," said the girl. (Oh, no, you can already tell Stacie is snobby and evil...) They all sat down.

"Hello!" I heard Mom say. She ran down the stairs, followed by Dad, who smiled.

"Your house smells," said the woman, "like dogs. I hate dogs." (Oh, no, the snobbiness runs in the family!)

"We do have a dog," I said. "Blackey. He's my dog!"

"Oh, that was your dog."

(Don't ask me who was supposed to have said that. I think it was Stacie; you'll see why I think so soon.)

"Let's introduce ourselves," said Mom. "I am Sharon Wellman. This is Dave, my husband, and Cyndi, my eleven-year-old daughter." (You didn't tell them your names before you invited them over?)

"I am Charles Barnes," said the man.

"I'm Teresa Barnes!" (the mean mom, since it's again oh-so-clear who's doing the speaking...)

"I'm Shelley," said the girl the man was holding. "I'm three." She nodded her blonde, curly head. "It's true. Pew. Your house smells like dog, ooh!" She laughed and laughed.

"I am Stacie. I am eleven. Dogs are wicked creatures, you know. I'd get rid of yours." (I knew Stacie was the worst.)


"I'm Angela," said the redhead. "I am five, and I hate dogs!" (But I was thinking about Stacie...)

"I'm Andrea, her twin. I also hate dogs. Twins hate the same things."

"I'm Kristina," said a blonde, piggy-tailed girl. (Please tell me I didn't actually write piggy-tailed...) "I'm four. Guess what I hate?"



I rolled my eyes.

"I'm Kristin, her twin sister."

"And do you hate dogs?"


I shook my head.

"I am Marie. I am sixteen. Dogs are dumb."

"I'm Sheena. I am two. (And remarkably well-spoken for your age.) Where is your dog?"


"I wanna kick 'im." (! ... A little serial-killer-in-the-making?)


"Yes! Wahhh!"

"Let ... my ... daughter ... kick ... that ... dog!"

(Er, for the record, I had a lot of dogs growing up -- including a poodle named Stacy, who was about a year old when I wrote this -- and I never kicked any of them. This family's obsessive hatred of dogs is just meant to illustrate how SNOBBY they all are! Especially Stacie!)

"He's my dog!"

"Cyndi, Mr. Barnes is our neighbor. Don't shout at him."

"But I don't want anybody kicking Blackey!"

"Well, don't shout."

"I'm going to find doggy." Sheena waddled off.

"We're leaving!" said Stacie. They marched off.

"But... " It was too late. They slammed the door. "How rude!"

"Those certainly weren't the friendliest people I've ever met," said Mom.

"No way!" said Dad.

(The chapter ends abruptly here, but I hope Cyndi got up to go save poor Blackey from little Sheena-the-freak's foot. Her parents surely aren't going to do it; it might make a bad impression on the neighbors!)

Chapter Three

The next day, I decided to try and make friends with Stacie. I put on a long denim skirt and a plaid blouse. Then I put on brown cowgirl boots. I curled my hair and put on two plaid barrettes. I looked country, but who cared. (Aw, Cyndi wears what she wants, no matter how hideous!)

"Mom, can I go outside?"


I ran out the door. Then I rang their bell. Sheena answered.

"Mommy! Mommy, it's doggy-girl."

Mrs. Barnes walked to the door, wearing an elegant white silk dress. (?!) "What do you want?" she asked.

"Could I please speak to your daughter, Stacie?"

"Well ... okay."

Stacie appeared out of nowhere, her nose high up in the air. "I heard, I heard."

Stacie walked outside. She slammed the door and jumped onto her railing. "What an ugly outfit. Dress more like me."

"Nice advice."

Stacie was wearing a white turtleneck under a tangerine-colored jumper. She had a wide dark-orange belt around her waist. She was wearing white nylons and peach heels. She had a peach bow in her hair, which was newly cut and curled.

(How do you know her hair is "newly cut and curled", Cyndi? You just met her yesterday. I think I might have stolen Stacie's outfit from Brooke Dennis in Sweet Valley Twins #6, The New Girl.)

"Shut up!"


"Anyway, you don't dress in style at all."

"Wanna bet?"


"Let's go look at my clothes," I said.

"Fine, let's." We walked next door to my house.

"Mom," I said, my voice as sweet as a cherry. (Why?) "I invited our neighbor over."

"Hmmm!" Stacie said. Her nose was so high up in the air, you could hardly see her eyes.

"Well, let's go into my room."

"Cyndi, dear, where's Blackey?"

"Lying down."

"Ihoamemaimick!" said Stacie. (translation: "I hope that meat made him sick!" Stacie ... did something very, very bad to Blackey.)


"Never mind!"

We walked into my room, where we found Blackey on the bed.

"Hi, Blackey!" I said. Blackey whined.

"Ew! Ew! Oh, ew!"

"He's not germy," I said. Then I walked to my bed. I pat the bed with both my hands. "Come 'ere, Black!" He slowly walked over to me and threw up all over my skirt. "Oh, gross," I said, petting Blackey.

Stacie screamed and ran out my door. I heard Mom try and slow down Stacie, then walk into my room. "Cyndi, what happened?"

I sighed. "Blackey threw up." Then my eyes suddenly filled with tears. "Oh, Mom, I've been so worried about him lately! He hardly ever walks or runs around. He's always lying down. Plus, he's had plenty of, you know ... accidents! (Just like poor Louie Thomas...) And now this!"

"Cyndi, it'll be okay," Mom said gently. "I hope."

My tears spilled over. "Oh, Mom!"

Mom hugged me. "I'll take him to the vet tomorrow. Now, go change."


(I'm starting to lose count of how many times people change or are told to "go change" in this book, but in this case, it was warranted, since Cyndi is just casually sitting there with dog throw-up all over her long, denim skirt.)

Coming up: What did Stacie do to Blackey? We'll find out ... plus, Cyndi throws a temper tantrum, and the introduction to mean aunt Josephine!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Grandma's Story (plus an "interview" with Charles Ingalls!)

My dad recently found this short story/school assignment in his garage somewhere and passed it on to me. I have absolutely no memory of writing it. I would say that makes it the best kind of story (a hidden treasure!) but unfortunately this one doesn't quite live up to Lisa and the Angels or Fruitville. Grandma's "story" is kind of lame. Still, it was fun to re-read something I'd completely forgotten about!

I so wish I had access to a scanner, because the "artwork" is one of this story's more entertaining qualities. One of these days, I'll have to visit my old college campus and use their scanner to post all my illustrations (or just take pictures of them or something, since I recently joined the millenium and got a digital camera). Until then, you'll just have to imagine the cover...

First, picture two pieces of "vanilla" colored cardstock stapled together. Now focus on the front cover, and imagine the words Grandma's Story written in large, "girlish", faux-calligrary script (with alternating red-and-blue letters!). Underneath those words, you'll see a red line, and underneath that, a smiling pioneer family stands atop another red line. The family consists of a man, woman, three girls, and two small boys.

For the "dad", you can imagine a smiley-face for his head (with three dots for eyes and nose, and a crooked smile) with a patch of black "hair" on top; he also has a very thick neck, huge (mishapen) hands, and L-O-N-G legs. He's wearing brown trousers, a red-and-black plaid shirt, tall black boots, and a cowboy hat. Next to him, the mother is posed in a stunning, ankle-length orange dress, black boots, and a white apron covered with a hot-pink-and-orange ... floral? (or is it butterfly?) print. She also has three dots for her eyes and nose; however, her "mouth" is set in a straight line. Her curly black hair falls to to the top of her (puffed) sleeves, and for some reason her feet aren't touching the ground (she's floating?).

As for the kids -- first, the eldest daughter (who's supposed to be 14, but only reaches her mother's waist) is wearing a simple, ankle-length yellow gown and black boots. She has waist-length black braids, a big black dot for a nose, a big smile, and no arms. Next to her, the second daughter is also missing her right arm and foot, but she's still smiling widely; maybe because her nose isn't as big as her sister's, or perhaps because she's fortunate enough to still have a (deformed) left hand. She's wearing an ankle-length green plaid dress and plaid boots; her waist-length brown hair is also fixed in braids.

Then we have the third sister. Her facial features are kind of squished together, but it doesn't like she's smiling. Also it's hard to tell what's going on with her hair -- whether it's black or brown or fixed in braids or if she even has hair. But she's lucky enough to still have both of her arms (albeit deformed ones) as well as a lovely outfit of a billowy, ankle-length pink plaid dress and those trusty black boots.

Finally, we have the two boys, who look like miniature versions of their father, except for their outfits. The older boy is wearing black trousers, black boots, a black sleeveless vest, and a brown cowboy hat. The younger boy is wearing black trousers, brown boots, a brown sleeveless vest, and a black cowboy hat. Both boys are bare-chested.

Well, now that I've described the pioneer family (and I know that would have been much better if you could actually SEE the illustration! Which, by the way, mntill helped me with. There's another classic illustration inside the story), I totally didn't plan for this introduction to be so long, so I'm going to skimp on the rest of the cover. But let's just say that the whole cover is ... something else. Basically, it's obvious that I took either a BSC or Sweet Valley book and copied all that cover print verbatim. So the "spine" of the front cover includes a faux barcode and a price ($2.95 in the US, $3.50 in Canada!). The inside front cover includes a list of my other stories (I'm going to save that for another post) as well as a copyright date -- 1992 -- and fake publisher info. In case you wondered, this classic you're about to read is recommended for ages 8-12!

I really, really must scan the cover someday. But in the meantime, I've already gone on about it long enough ... so on with the story!

As promised, this story includes a very special insert -- an interview with none other than Pa Ingalls himself. It's credited to my third period Language Arts (or "L.A." class) and dated June 10th, 1992. That was the same year I wrote Tammy the Little Mermaid, and as you can see, my version of Pa acts quite a bit like Mr. DiBiaz...

Charles Ingalls Interview

(This interview comes to you courtesy of something called "The T.C. Tribune." Apparently not only do they possess the amazing ability to travel back and forth in time, they've also passed that trait on to their interview subjects.)

Hello! Today we're going back into the 1800's and interviewing one of the most famous all-time pioneers, Mr. Charles Ingalls!

(Nothing like a nice, cheery introduction to get things off on the right foot.)

T.C. T: Hello, Mr. Ingalls.

Ingalls: (smiling) Hello. I'm flattered that you want to interview me.

T.C. T: Yes, well, let us begin. What is it like being a pioneer?

Ingalls: (frowns a bit) It's very different from pioneer days -- nowadays, that is. (Nice grammar, Pa.) I think I prefer being a pioneer.

T.C. T: Well, why?

Ingalls: (leans forward) We had to survive on our own. We wouldn't waste time interviewing a ... a Revolutionary war hero or something. We worked.

T.C. T: (huffily) Well, so do we.

Ingalls: Not that I see!

(Okay, why are they talking like Pa has traveled to 1992? I thought "we" were going back to the 1800's?)

T.C. T: (cautiously) Can I change the subject?

Ingalls: You better. (Or I'll punch you in the face like I did Almanzo!)

T.C. T: Are you proud of your daughter Laura?

Ingalls: (bellowing angrily) YES! WHY WOULDN'T I BE?! (calms down) Laura is the perfect example of a good pioneer, honest and hardworking.

T.C. T: What about the rest of your family?

Ingalls: Listen, you good-for-nothing! I'm proud of Caroline, Mary, Grace, Carrie, m'son Albert ... all of them! So mind your own business! (storms off)

(What about James and Cassandra? They're about as "real" as your son Albert. By the way, "m'son" was ripped off from the Animal Inn series; fans of those books might remember how the maid was always, "Blah, blah, and m'son Henry." Anyway...)

T.C. T: (scaredly) Stay tuned for next week's chat with George Washington. See ya then!

Whatever. Whatever that even was. For some reason, my teacher gave me an A on it.

Now here's the story itself!

Grandma's Story

"Grandma, I'm bored," 5-year-old Marcus Zuendel complained. (What's with my old writing and that last name? Is he related to Tami Zuendel from Fruitville?) It was a rainy Saturday afternoon, and Marcus, his 4-year-old brother Bryan, and his three sisters, 14-year-old Jennifer, 11-year-old Shawna, and 8-year-old Lisa were spending the weekend over at their grandmother's house in Portland.

"You're bored?" cried Grandma. "Come on! There's a billion things to do over here! You can watch TV, or read, or bake cookies, or play a game."

(Grandma sounds like she's trying to sell them her house.)

"There's nothing on TV -- it's different times than Tacoma," whined Shawna.

"Reading's boring," grumbled Jennifer.

"I can't COOK!" screeched Marcus.

"You don't have Candywand," groaned Bryan.

"And none of our friends are here," added Lisa.

(What brats, the whole lot of them. Also, in case you were wondering, I'm pretty sure that's not 'Candywand' as in 'magic wand', but stupid Bryan pronouncing 'Candyland' with a "cute" speech impediment.)

Grandma sat down on the sofa. "Well, then," she said, looking thoughtful. "Who's in the mood for a story?"

"Me, me, me!" cried Lisa, Marcus, and Bryan, who loved stories.

Shawna shrugged. "Me, I guess."

"Me, too," said Jennifer. "As long as it's not boring."

The boys jumped up on the couch next to Grandma, and the girls sat around it.

"This story," Grandma began, "is about my grandmother, your great-great grandmother. She was Lisa's age when this happened -- about 1860 to 1861. Her name was Anne.

(Hmm, eight years old in 1861, and merely the grandmother of someone young enough to have a 4-year-old grandson in 1992? I guess it's possible, but the women in that family all must have been on the older side when they gave birth. Why I'm bothering to even think about this is beyond me.)

"Anne lived with her ma and pa -- to you, your mom and dad, or mommy and daddy," Grandma continued. (Thanks for clarifying that 'ma and pa' means the same as 'mom and dad.') She also lived with two older sisters, Jenny and Shawna's ages, and two younger brothers, Marcus and Bryan's ages. (How Wakefields of Sweet Valley!) The girls were Grace and Elizabeth, the boys were Matthew and Billy. Anne's family were pioneers. Do you all know what that means?"

"No," said Bryan. "What's a piponeer?"

"Pioneer," Grandma corrected. "Pioneers lived long, long ago. Their life was not easy. Anne's family lived on a farm in Minnesota (why ever did I pick that state?), complete with pigs and farms and cows and chickens."

("Complete with?")

Lisa jumped up and cried, "Cool!"

"It was cool, alright, but it was a lot of work keeping the farm up. Anne's pa had to do the heavy jobs, like plowing. Well, the oxen helped him with that! Anne's ma had to tend a vegetable garden."

"Were there lima beans?" Lisa shuddered, and made a face. (Spare me.)

Grandma smiled. "Yes, I'm sure there was (sic). But corn was the main vegetable for the pioneers. You could make cornmeal, and corn bread. Corn bread was the main bread. It wasn't very tasty, but it was very nutritious." (Watch what you say about cornbread, Grandma!)

"Were there corn dogs?" questioned Marcus.

Grandma shook her head. "No, I'm afraid not. Pioneers had to hunt for their meat, just like they had to grow their own crops."

"Hunt for their meat?!" screeched Shawna. "How rude!" (Ugh, it's Stephanie Tanner.)

Grandma chuckled. "It may seem rude now, but that was how pioneers survived. You couldn't go to Stock Market and pick up a frozen ham."

"They had a Stock Market?" Lisa asked, confused.

(Okay, these are officially the dumbest kids ever...)

Grandma laughed again. "No, no, no! They hardly had any stores! Anne's family -- like most pioneer families -- had to walk to the nearest town. Anne's pa did that job, but it was only occasionally. A trip to town meant buying weapons, supplies, seeds for next year's crops, sugar."

"So -- like -- what did the kids do?" asked Jennifer.

"The kids? Well, they had chores, too -- feeding animals, milking cows, collecting eggs, helping their ma keep the house clean. Grace, Elizabeth, Anne, and Matthew went to school -- they were all in the same house, with the same teacher -- that's how it was back then. (Notice how she doesn't even bother to use the words 'one-room schoolhouse', which would likely confuse her idiotic grandchildren.) Anne's teacher was Miss Carter," continued Grandma. "I remember her telling me how much she loved Miss Carter. Miss Carter was only sixteen.

"The kids basically enjoyed school, even though the walk was about three miles. They were used to hardships. Their subjects were reading, grammar, spelling, religion, math, geography, and history."

"Did Anne's family stay in Minnesota all their lives?" Shawna asked.

Grandma shook her head. "No, they didn't. They moved."

"Did they have a van?" Marcus questioned skeptically.

"Nope. They had a covered wagon, just like in Little House. (Imagine that!) Only theirs wasn't called a covered wagon."

"Was it a Radio Flyer wagon?" asked Bryan. (Now imagine me banging my head against my computer table...)

Grandma grinned. "Nuh-uh. It was a covered wagon, but it was called a prairie schooner, which meant it was built for long journeys. Lots of things were tied to the wagon, or stored inside, but since the oxen got weak, items had to be thrown away a lot. Anne's family didn't travel alone. They traveled with lots of other pioneer families. All those families together were called wagon trains."

"People got sick on these long journeys," Grandma continued. "The diseases were deadly and contagious. People of all ages caught them. Billy's best friend Johnny caught smallpox ... and passed it on to Billy. Johnny lived ... but Billy died."


"Oh, really?" whispered Lisa. Her cat Fluffball had died. It was awful. (I don't even know what to say to that ridiculousness.)

"Despite Billy's tragic death," said Grandma (who just ignores Lisa), "Anne's family made it to California okay, which is where they settled. They passed through the Rocky Mountains before any avalanches hit them, and no Indians did anything to them. (Whew!) They had a big family reuinion with Ma's relatives, who had already settled in California."

"Yuck," muttered Shawna. "Last time I went to a family reunion, a bunch of strange old ladies that I'd never seen before pinched my cheeks and told me I was their favorite." (Brat.)

Grandma laughed. "Watch what you say about my sisters! Anyway, Anne grew up and married a wonderful man named Lawrence, and became a teacher. But she never forgot her journey, or her brother, Billy."

"That was okay!" said Shawna.

"Yeah, it was pretty interesting," agreed Jennifer.

"It was boring," complained Marcus. (Monster.) He squinted at the window. "Hey, look, Granny, the rain's gone! Can we play outside? Can we?"

"You certainly can."

"Come on, Bry." Marcus and Bryan waddled outside. (Maybe they shouldn't bake so many cookies.)

"What do you want to play?" Bryan asked. "Cops and robbers?"

"Nope," was Marcus's reply. "Let's play ... pioneers!"

The End

Marcus needs to make up his mind. He called the story boring, yet two minutes later he's all "Let's play pioneers"?

For reasons FAR beyond me, I got an A+ on the story part of this assignment!


Finally -- back to the cardstock cover -- the inside back cover includes the following gem:

About the Author

Tammy Tillinghast was born in Tacoma, Washington, in 1979.

A writer since the age of five, Tammy started because she was jealous of her sister, Heather, who is also a writer. Her first short story was "Penny and Reneé"; her first long story was "The Meter Family". She has been to two Young Author's Conferences -- one for "Tammy's Book O' Poems"
(?!?! talk about something I have no memory of writing!) and one for "A Porpoise's Life."

Miss Tillinghast is presently living near Gig Harbor, with her parents; sisters Heather, Angie, and Missy; brother Andy; dogs George, Nicky, Stacy, Courtney, and Howie; and cat Chester.


Needless to say, most of those pets have passed on, although Howie -- the only one who actually WAS "my" pet (as opposed to a family pet) -- is still going strong at 17 1/2!

Last but not least, the back cover features another faux barcode, as well as the Australian and New Zealand prices ($3.95 and $4.95, respectively) and the following preview:

One day, the Zuendel children are bored, so Grandma tells them a story about her grandma, a pioneer named Anne.

"Informative and educational."
- The Tillinghast Times * (a starred review)

"Tells a lot about pioneers."
- Tammy Gazzette

"Good short story for school."
- The T.C. Tribune

How obsessed with my own name was I back then?

Well, I hope everyone really did learn a lot about pioneers. Now I'm in the mood to go play Oregon Trail (and intentionally give my wagonmates smallpox, so they can die like poor Billy did).

Up next ... old-school Lisa and the Angels (before they were rock stars!).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tammy the Little Mermaid - The Finale (plus previews!)

Here you go ... here's the long-awaited ending to this epic drama. As far as endings go, it's pretty disappointing; I must admit that I think that Tammy deserved a different fate, and I suspect others will agree. But read on and see for yourself.

And as an extra "treat", once you're done you'll find two previews from (never written) Fruitville books!

Chapter Fifteen

It was the big day! The morning of the play! It was a Friday, and the orphans and Madison boys would get to miss school again. They would need all day to prepare.

After Tammy's little "talk" with Joan, she had started to come to school again. The popular orphans didn't even say anything to her; they just ignored her. But that was good enough for Tammy. She talked to Joan, and Barbara, and Hollie, and Tyanne. Tammy never thought she'd actually talk to them, but they weren't that bad. (Oh, Tammy, likable as always!)

So on the day of the play, Tammy felt it would be okay if she just watched it, but didn't participate. Watching wouldn't do any harm, and she could see if Stella made a better Ariel.

But she wasn't counting on Brett to be at the morning dress rehearsal. (Um, why WOULDN'T he be, dummy? He's the boy star!) He was in his Erik costume (the costumes had arrived at the orphanage just in the nick of time) helping Mr. DiBiaz move the finally-finished scenery. He looks so cute, Tammy thought wistfully. She was surprised at how much she still missed him. Maybe it would be okay if she just smiled at him or something. Maybe he missed her, too.

But no such luck. When Tammy caught Brett looking at her, she smiled a tentative smile. Brett frowned, turned to Kevin, whispered something in his ear, and laughed.

Tammy felt her heart sink. Brett still thought she was a crazy, psychopathic maniac. (As opposed to just your average maniac?) It would never change. He would always hate her; everyone would. Why did she ever listen to Joan Quackenbush? Joan Quackenbush was a geek. A fat, overgrown whale. How could someone whose favorite hobby was eating understand anything besides food?


Forget the stupid play, Tammy thought sadly. I'm not even in it, so why go? I'll be better off in my room forever.


"Orphans! Boys!" The chattering continued. "Orphans! Boys!" Nobody even turned around.


The kids stopped what they were doing and faced Mr. DiBiaz. "Jeez," Wendy began. "Do you have to yell so loud? We..." Mr. DiBiaz gave her a dirty look and she shut up.

"Thank you," he said, looking satisfied. "Okay, orphans and boys, our play is tonight! I'm pumped up (beyond shut up, Mr. DiBiaz) and ready to have a successful play!" The kids began to screech and cheer, but Mr. DiBiaz didn't stop them. He just grinned and held up his hand.

"Okay, okay, I know you're excited, but we need to begin our dress rehearsal if we want to have a successful play. Listen to these directions, and we'll have a successful dress rehearsal, too. I want each and every one of you to go backstage. There will be no talking whatsoever. If I hear so much as one little peep, you will march straight to time-out, and not be allowed to participate in any more Fruitville productions."

"What if a chick sneaks in?!" Virginia Vaughn cried. She started to howl with laughter, but Mr. DiBiaz screamed, "Virginia, any more of your little jokes, and you won't be in this play!!!"

(Maybe she's trying to get sent to time-out to get away from Mr. DiBiaz's scary every-other-second mood swings?)

"Sorry," Virginia muttered.

"Never mind the sorrys. Don't talk! Okay, as I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted, you will all go backstage and stay quiet. Except for the choir, who will all sit off to the side, and come up onstage when I motion them to. Then I will give a little speech, and the play will begin! Shall we start?"


Mr. DiBiaz grinned. "Okay! Everybody troop backstage!"


"She's our sister, Ari-e-e-e-e-el..." the six sisters sang. (Wasn't it nice of Disney to give them the rights to these songs?)

"ARIEL!" Triton boomed warningly.

It was the scene of the play where Ariel first appeared, and the set changed right after Triton's line. The set movers did their job, then...

"Flounder, where's Ariel?" Mr. DiBiaz cried anxiously. Meg had come onstage by herself!

"I don't know." Meg shrugged under her Flounder costume. "I couldn't find her."

"Uh ... ARIEL!" John Ketchum (Triton) boomed again helpfully.

Mr. DiBiaz gave him a disgusted look. "That won't do anything. Quick, everybody! Look for Stella!"

"Stella! Stella!" everybody started to cry, running backstage.
(Actually, I think Triton's idea was better.)

"Maybe she's in the bathroom!" Scott Kendrick shouted.

"No, she's probably getting her costume on somewhere!" Brenda yelled.

"Stella!" "Stella, it's your turn!" The orphans and boys looked in the halls, the classrooms, the bathrooms. Stella wasn't anywhere!

"Uh-oh!" Brett cried, looking alarmed.

"What?" Everyone swiveled around to look at him.

"Tammy! Oh, my gosh, you guys, Tammy must have killed her!"

Several kids started to laugh. (Who could blame them?) "What are you talking about, Brett?" Mr. DiBiaz asked sharply.

"I'm serious! It said so in her diary! She doesn't like Stella, and she said she was going to put detergent in her drink! I bet she did it!"

"He's right!" cried Kevin.

"She's a maniac," said Scott Lunsford.

"I saw it, too," Wendy added. "Beth showed it to me." (Like you don't know full well your dumb sister wrote it.)

Mr. DiBiaz paled. "Where is Beth?"

"Upstairs," said Belinda. "I'll go get her." Belinda ran off.

"Did anybody else see this?" Mr. DiBiaz asked.

"I did," said Christina.

"So did I," said Janine.

"Me, too," said Tami.

(What lying liars who lie!)

"She has been acting rather strangely lately ... my goodness, we have a murderer on our hands!" Mr. DiBiaz cried. "Come with me, kids, I have to see that diary!"

(And, of course, Mr. DiBiaz just automatically believes them...)

Just then, Belinda and Beth appeared, panting. "What is it?" Beth asked breathlessly.

"Beth Harris," Mr. DiBiaz said slowly. "Is it true that you saw in Tammy Morris's diary that she was planning to kill Stella?"

"Y-yes," Beth stammered.

"My goodness! We..."

"I found Stella! I found Stella!" Megan Bagley ran over the group. "She's in the bathroom on the A-floor. She's really sick. She's throwing up."

"Was she poisoned?!" Brett screamed.

Megan looked disgusted. "No. It's nothing worse than the flu. But she needs help."

"I'll send my wife up there. Megan, go tell Mrs. DiBiaz what you just saw. I need to discuss something with these other orphans," Mr. DiBiaz said firmly.

(Ha -- the only thing better than referring to them as "orphans" is referring to them as "these other orphans." Dismissive much?)

Beth looked frightened. "What do you need to discuss?"

"What you saw in that diary. Frankly, I don't understand what you were doing with the diary, but that isn't important. This is serious business. Somebody wants to murder someone. Tammy could be dangerous. She needs psychiatric help ... and she needs it fast."

(Okay, he is offically not qualified to be running this place! Not that we didn't already know that.)

"Will she have to go to a nuthouse?" Wendy asked.

"That is a big possibility. Right now I have to go up and have a talk with her."

"Wait!" Beth cried. "Before you go, I have to ... I have to tell you something."

Mr. DiBiaz turned to her. "What is it, Beth?"

"Well..." Beth bit her lip. "Tammy doesn't need psychiatric help. She doesn't need it at all. If anyone does, I do." Beth paused. "I wrote those diary entries."
(Aw, not an oh-so-conveniently timed attack of conscience!)

"WHAT?!!!!," everyone screeched.

"I wrote the entries. I'm really sorry. It was a really stupid thing to do. I don't even know why I did it. Well, yes, I do, but I really don't feel like telling everybody. But, Mr. DiBiaz, Tammy shouldn't get in trouble."

"You mean, she's not crazy?" Brett shouted.

Beth shook her head miserably.

"Oh, Beth," Mr. DiBiaz murmured. "Oh, Beth. And..."

"The stuff I said she said about everyone?" Beth interrupted. "Those were lies, too."

"You mean, she didn't call me any names?" Wendy yelled.

"She ... she was telling the truth?" Tami looked amazed.

Beth nodded.

"Oh, man," Brett muttered. "No wonder she quit the play. I was such a jerk. And I didn't even have any reason to be!"

"You hurt her feelings," Joan Quackenbush spoke up wisely.

Everyone looked at her. "How do you know?" Tami asked.

"I know," was Joan's reply. (Poor Joan sure cares more about her BFF Tammy's feelings than the other way around.)

"Uh-oh!" Scarlett Steinberg screamed suddenly.

"What is it? What is it?" the kids cried.

"Tammy quit the play. Stella's sick. We don't have an Ariel!"

"You're RIGHT!" Mr. DiBiaz shouted. He buried his face in his hands. "Oh, no..."

"We don't," Beth said slowly. "Unless..."

"Unless?" Wendy echoed.

"TAMMY!" everyone suddenly screamed in unison.

"Come on, let's go get her!" Beth cried.


About twenty kids ran upstairs to room B-2 and threw open the door. Tammy was lying on her bed, reading.

"Come on," Tami ordered, grabbing her wrist. "We need you. You're coming with us."

"Wait, what are you talking about? I'm not coming with you! Why are you all in here?"

"We need you!" Tami repeated.

"Stella's sick..." Beth began.

"She can't do her part," Wendy added.

"And you're our Ariel!" Brenda finished.

"But I quit!" Tammy cried.

"Who cares? The play was terrible without you, anyway!" Kevin replied. "Come on!"

"But ... but I can't! I can't go out there with Brett..."

"It's okay," Brett said from the back of the crowd. "I want you to be in it. Please?"

"I don't have a costume..."

"Wear Stella's," Beth interrupted. (Ew, is it all covered with vomit?) "Please come with us. Please!"

"We beg you!" Wendy added.

"Well..." Tammy put her book down. "Okay, I guess. I'd better hurry, though!"

"Yea!!!" everyone cheered. (Yes, I spelled 'yea' BSC-style.) They started downstairs. Beth stayed behind, waiting for Tammy. When it was just the two of them, Beth said, "Tammy? I-I'm sorry."

Tammy smiled. "You did write those diary entries, huh?"

Beth nodded. "Yup. I did. I also told everyone lies about you."

Tammy looked surprised. "You spread rumors?"

"Well, no. But sort of. I told everyone you called them those dumb names."

Tammy snickered. "A Thanksgiving ham fit for an elephant?"

Beth looked sheepish. "Yeah. And a mouse, and a geek, an a whole bunch of other stupid things. I'm really sorry."

"It's okay. But ... how come?"

"How come I lied to everyone? I wanted you to lose your part in the play."

"Well, I figured that out when I read your note to Stella. But how come you didn't want me in the play?"

"Um, um..." Beth looked uncomfortable. "Don't get mad or anything, but I ... I didn't really like you. (*snort*)I didn't hate you, but..."

"How come you didn't like wonderful me?" Tammy grinned.

Beth looked pained. "Because ... because I was jealous of you. I..."

"I knew it!" Tammy cried triumphantly.

"Knew what?! I'm really sorry, but that's another thing that bugs me about you. You..."

"Brag too much?" Tammy smiled sadly. "Joan Quackenbush told me the same thing, if you can believe it. I don't mean for it to annoy people. It just does. But it's better than, like, complaining about myself ... isn't it?"

"I guess so," Beth replied. "But do you really think you're that good? Not that you're bad, but..."

Tammy laughed. "Of course not! I definitely don't hate myself, but I don't think I'm God's gift or anything. I know I have my faults, but I have my good points, too, but ... oh, who cares! I've always hated that all that self-esteem junk, haven't you?" (What kind of conversation is this?)

"Yeah," Beth agreed. She grinned. "Tammy, I'm sorry ... again. I really am."

"It's okay ... again. I'll try not to brag so much, okay?"

"Okay. And I'll never, ever turn everyone against you like that again. Honest, I can't believe I did that. Oh, and by the way, I told everyone that I lied, and I'm pretty sure no one's mad at you anymore."

"They aren't?" Tammy grinned. "Thanks, Beth."

"Don't thank me. I don't deserve to be thanked after what I did. Just consider it kind of a ... oh, never mind. Friends?" (Gag.)

"Friends. Come on, though, we'd better get down there before the play starts!"

"The play! I forgot all about it!"

Quickly, the two girls ran downstairs to the auditorium's backstage. Everyone else was already in costume and ready for a last minute rehearsal.

"Tammy!" Mr. DiBiaz cried when he saw her. "Oh, thank goodness you're here. Your first costume is right there, and the costumes for when you have legs are around here somewhere. You know all your lines and everything, don't you?"

"Yup!" Tammy replied.

"Okay. Go change ... quickly! We're running out of time!"

Tammy found her costume, went into a dressing room, and put it on.

"You look ... like the Little Mermaid," she muttered to herself as she stared in the mirror. "Except the Little Mermaid's hair is straight and red, and yours is blonde and curly. Oh, well." Tammy was ready to act!

She went backstage and was just about to walk over to Beth and Tami when she felt a hand on her arm. It was Brett.

"Hi," he said quietly.

"H-hi!" Tammy smiled.

"Um ... Beth told me she lied. You were right. I'm sorry."

"It's okay," Tammy replied. "No harm done."

"I'll talk to you some more after the play. Good luck today, Tammy."

"You, too, Brett." They gave each other a small hug, and walked off. Tammy was so overwhelmed! An hour ago, she was sitting in her room, mourning about everything she had lost, and now she and Brett had made up, nobody was mad at her anymore, and she was about to star in the play! There could possibly be a huge audience in the auditorium, and Tammy hadn't looked at her lines for over two weeks, but she knew she was ready for anything.

Chapter Sixteen

"Hello, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, grandmas and grandpas! (Aren't they part of the "ladies and gentlemen"?) Welcome to Madison Middle School and the Fruitville Orphanage for Girls' production of ... The Little Mermaid!" Mr. DiBiaz cried. The audience, which was huge considering it was mostly the boys' friends and families, clapped and cheered. Mr. DiBiaz grinned and continued.

"Thank you, thank you. Now, the kids have been working on this play nonstop for six weeks and they've been working hard. I must say, it is quite a play. We've had a few problems, but overall, it's been great. I won't keep on talking, though. I think it's time to ... let the show begin!"

The audience clapped politely as Mr. DiBiaz motioned for the choir to come upstage and the red velvet curtain opened. The choir was graceful, and they sang the right song. (I should hope they sang the right song...) So far, so good.

Then John, Kevin, Becca, and Ryan Wilson entered. The only thing that went wrong there was that John's long white Triton beard fell off. (Ha ha!) But he just casually put it back on. Scott Lunsford (Sebastian) was perfect, and the sisters were excellent.

"Are you ready?" Tammy whispered to Meg backstage while the set movers were moving the sets.

"Ready!" Meg replied.

"Okay! I only did the dress rehearsal, so ... don't blame me if I mess up!"

"Don't worry. We barely did anything besides the dress rehearsal," Meg told her. "It's time for us to enter!"

Tammy and Meg didn't have to worry about anything. They were perfect ... the best anyone had ever been! Brandon Douglas (Scuttle) was magnificent, too. If the rest of the play continued to go so well, it could have been on Broadway. (I think my third-person omniscient narrator is overdoing it just a little...)

And it did! Almost. The choir and characters started to sing "Kiss de Girl" when they were supposed to sing "Under the Sea." (The h*ll? Are these idiots using a background tape or what?) But they quickly corrected their mistake. And once, the scenery almost fell right on top of Tammy and Brett. But it didn't. (Too bad.)

The play was definitely a success! At the end, when the cast took their bows, Brett and Tammy received a standing ovation! Belinda did, too, as Ursula.

"You were wonderful!" Mr. DiBiaz cried when they were all backstage after the play. "Magnificent, excellent, wonderful! Oh, Tammy, you made such a good comeback! Brett, son, I was fooled into think you really were a prince named Erik. Belinda ... what a witch! Brandon and Scott, you were both funny, and Meg, you were so cute! John, you were a terrific Triton, and Desi, you were the best chef I could have seen! All of you..."

"We did good?" Beth spoke up.

"Better than good! Marvelous!"

"What do we do with our costumes?" Meg asked. "Can we keep them as souvenirs? Dress-up clothes or something?"

Tami started to laugh. "You still play dress-up?"

"No." Meg looked embarrassed. "Just never mind."

Mr. DiBiaz smiled. "Yes, you may keep your costumes. (What are they supposed to do with them? Use them as Halloween costumes?) Try to keep them in good shape, though."

"What do we do with them right now?" Tami asked.

"Everybody change back into your normal clothes and then come back here. I want to talk to you."

"He probably wants to talk about you," Brett whispered to Tammy as they headed off to change.

"I hope not," Tammy replied. She went into a dressing room, changed back into her jean-shorts and sweatshirt, then joined Brett in a little corner backstage far away from everyone else.

"I just realized something," Brett said.


"The play is over. We won't be coming back, or I don't think we will. How are we ever supposed to see each other again?"

"Oh, yeah," Tammy murmured. "Jeez, I didn't even think of that."

Brett sighed. "How could I ever believe those stupid diary entries? I feel like such a jerk. I'm sorry."

"It's okay. But we did kinda waste a lot of time we could've spent ... oh, well. It's too late for that."

"You could always come over to my house for dinner again," Brett suggested. "That was really fun. And I hope it's not too late to come over here for dinner ... you know, like you offered."

"Of course it's not. Well, if Mr. DiBiaz doesn't mind. He probably thinks we were discussing acting before."

"I'm going to miss you."

"Me, too. But it's not like we live far away from each other. We even live in the same town, and Fruitville's not exactly huge."

Brett smiled. "Yeah, but it still won't be the same. I wish you went to Madison."

Tammy grinned. "I wish you went to Fruitville."

"Sorry, I'm not a girl," Brett replied.

"It's a good thing! Well, Mr. DiBiaz wants to talk to us. We'd better go over there."

Brett sighed. "Yeah, I guess we'd better. Come on."

Most of the rest of the boys and orphans were crowded in a half-circle around Mr. DiBiaz. "Now," he was saying. "I won't be too long, because you Madison kids have parents out there waiting for you. But I just wanted to say that all of you Madison-ites have been a real pleasure to work with ... a real pleasure. I hope we can do it again sometime, and there's a good chance we will ... after all, Mr. Tatum and I are good friends. (WEHT Mr. Tatum? I guess he's just standing there in his gray suit, smiling.) Maybe we'll do Beauty and the Beast next! Well, I just wanted to tell you it's been a joy. Stop by sometime and visit. Orphans, let's give these Madison kids a hand!"

"YEA!!!!!!" the orphans cheered.

(Note, I know I had plans for a "Beauty and the Beast" follow-up, but nothing ever came of it ... not even a preview. Tragic, huh?)

"We will have at least one more get-together ... sometime next week, we're going to have a cast party here at the orphanage. Sound alright to you?"


Mr. DiBiaz grinned. "I thought you. Okay, you Madison kids are dismissed. See you soon!"

The Madison boys started to pour off the stage. Some of the orphans went with them. Tammy followed Brett to the back of the auditorium, where Mrs. Jamison and Brandon were standing.

"Son, you were wonderful!" Mrs. Jamison cried, kissing Brett on the cheek. She turned to Tammy. "And, dear, you were glorious, too! (Glorious?) But Brett told me they found a new Ariel."

"She got sick," Tammy said nonchalantly.

"Oh, well, that's too bad. But Brandon has something for the both of you."

Blushing, Brandon whipped two red roses out from behind his back.
"Here," he muttered, handing one to Tammy and the other to his brother.

"I'm a guy," Brett replied, holding his rose gingerly. "You don't give flowers to guys. What are you, a..."
(Shut up, Brett.)

"Oh, Brett, stop it. He's your brother, and besides, I got it for you."

"Thanks." Tammy smiled at Mrs. Jamison. "It's pretty."

"Yes, well, you always give flowers to the stars," Mrs. Jamison replied.

"It was supposed to be for that other girl," Brandon spoke up.

"Oh, Brandon!" Mrs. Jamison smiled at Tammy. "It was supposed to be for Stella," she admitted. "But you were the star."

"Well," she continued. "We must be going. I'm going to take the boys out for ice cream. Do you think your orphanage leader would let you come with us?"

"He might!" Tammy said excitedly. "Let me go check."

Five minutes later, she was back. "He said no," she said, unable to hide her disappointment. "Sorry."

"Oh, dear, it's okay. Maybe another time. I'm sorry, too, but we really have to go. You can call any time you want."

"I will," Tammy promised.

"Good. Bye, honey. See you!"

"Bye. Bye, Brandon! It was nice meeting you. Thanks for the rose. Bye, Brett. See you at the cast party."

"Yeah," Brett agreed. "And promise you'll call, like, tonight or tmorrow."

"I promise," Tammy said solemnly.

The Jamisons said goodbye again, and they were off. Tammy watched them leave, sadly.

"It's gonna be strange without them here, huh?" Tami said, walking up behind her friend. "You know Tom Hart? I was starting to like him a lot. I know I'm going to miss him, too."

"Yeah. It's too bad I had to make up with Brett today. Oh, well. At least I made up with him."

"Well, a little of that's my fault. I didn't apologize before, did I? I'm sorry."

"Oh, don't worry about that. I almost forgot about that."

"You did really good in the play," Tami said sincerely.

"Thanks. So did you!"

"Yeah, in my huge part," Tami grinned. "It was fun, though. I'm glad I got to be in it."

"Me, too," Tammy replied. "Considering I almost wasn't." (And whose fault would that have been, quitter?)

"What do you say we go sneak some snacks from the kitchen to celebrate?"

"You know," Tammy said. "That sounds really good. We can talk, too."

"About Brett," Tami kidded.

"Or Tom," Tammy retorted jokingly. "Come on, we'd better hurry before Joan gets there first!"



Yes, that's the wonderful ending. I'm sorry.

But look what I found in the back of my notebook! A page that says -- and I quote -- Check for these Fruitville titles! Coming soon!

This first one features some girl named Jill Bray, a character who I don't think made even ONE appearance in Tammy the Little Mermaid, as well as her best friend, Kendra Hogan. (Who appeared as an extra. You might recall earlier in the story, how Tammy told herself how nice and compassionate she really was to associate with not-very-pretty girls like Kendra and Deena Boulder.)

From Fruitville #4, Jill and the Accident:

"You can come on in," the nurse told Kendra. "But be warned. Her appearance might frighten you."

"O-okay," Kendra mumbled. She stepped into the dim hospital room, and gasped. Jill was lying on a white bed, pale as her sheets ... except for the purple bruises on her face. She was hooked up to about a zillion machines. A white bandage was wrapped around the top of her head. But the worst part, to Kendra, was Jill's stillness. She looked like she was dead or something ... hardly the same Jill who was in the car with Kendra that very morning, babbling about the contest.

"Oh, Jill," Kendra murmured. "This is all my fault." If only she hadn't told Jill that seat belt story! Jill would be in her room at Fruitville right now, preparing for the poster contest, not lying in a coma, in a hospital bed.

An image flashed into Kendra's mind, the same one that had been haunting her for the past seven hours. It was two years earlier, and Kendra was in the car with her parents. They were chatting conversationally when Kendra noticed an out-of-control truck weaving toward her, just like the truck that had come weaving toward Mrs. DiBiaz's van. Kendra screamed, the car overturned, and the next thing she knew, she was in the hospital. Kendra was alive. She was lucky. But she never saw her parents again. They had not been so lucky. And it looked like Jill wasn't going to be so lucky, either.


Obviously, I was attempting to channel my inner Lurlene McDaniel when I wrote the above.

Anyway, this next one features good old Joan Quackenbush!

From Fruitville #5, Joan's Diet:

I'm healthy. Not fat. Healthy, Joan pep-talked herself. Somehow she wasn't feeling as confident any more, though. If Hollie was supposed to diet, how was Joan going to get out of it? Joan weighed about ten times more than Hollie!

"Diet," Joan muttered, like it was a dirty word. "I am not going to diet."

"Joan Quackenbush," the nurse called out robotically.

"Here goes nothing," Joan said to Barbara and Tyanne. Feeling nervous, she trudged into the small office. The nurse was writing something down on a clipboard. When she saw Joan, she took one look at her and gaped. That was exactly the word for it. Gaped.

"What are you gaping at?" Joan muttered.

The nurse cleared her throat. "It looks like you've been eating too many Twinkies!" was her reply. "Well, we can't waste time. Onto the scale."

"I hate scales!" Joan whined. But she stepped onto the dumb machine anyway, and the nurse made the adjustments. Her mouth became a big "O."

"I'm not fat, I'm..." Joan started to protest.

"Not fat?!" the nurse interrupted. "Not fat?! Girl, you are obese! Do you know how much you weigh? Do you? YOU WEIGH 140 POUNDS!" (OMG!! *keeling over in shock*)

"So?" Joan retorted.

"So?! So, we have got to get you on a diet! WE HAVE GOT TO GET YOU ON A DIET ... RIGHT AWAY!!!"


I actually DID start this one, but only wrote about ten pages. (Un?)fortunately, it's VERY much long-lost!

Coming soon: The Charles Ingalls interview/pioneer story (it'll just be one post), then back to Lisa and the Angels!

Finally, I wanted to mention my new blog, which you can find here, and which chronicles my "adventures" as a not-quite-30-year-old Stage IV breast cancer patient! If that sounds like a really cheery subject, I promise the blog won't be depressing. At least it's not supposed to be depressing.

(And if you do check on it, try not to confuse me with our favorite self-proclaimed "most wonderful person evah!" heroine, Tammy. Only 13-year-old me would name a character after myself. Even though she was really named after Tommy Morrison.;>)