(Episode 9)

When last we left our dear readers, it was Barbie's 50th birthday, and all her friends and well-wishers were waiting for her to grace the festivities at the Daily Grind Coffee Shop, where they had been throwing surprise birthday parties for their beloved Barbie for the past fifteen years.

Of course, that was back before Swine Flu reared its piggy head to frighten the world. Back before torture was officially called torture.

Back when Plasticopians were still innocent, and the world was a kinder, softer place.

Barbie's birthday is history, now. Just another story in the Book of Barbie.


It's a dark and stormy night.

The wind is raging and wailing at the Ratchet home, deep in the Northern Hemisphere.

But inside, all is calm. Supper is over, the dishes neatly tucked away.

Betty is planning the next week's meals while America plays nearby.

Baby Adam is snuggled in his bed.

The older children are doing homework -- good obedient Anna in the livingroom.

The other two in the quiet of their rooms...

Oh, my. That doesn't look like homework. Poor dear sweet little Alice, so easily distracted from the straight and narrow path that her sister trods with such a sure tread. What is to become of her?

And Henry? I'm afraid he finds school entirely irrelevant; that term paper seems very dull indeed when his latest love interest is only a phone call away.

Yes, it is life as usual in the Ratchet household as the clock strikes eight.

None suspecting that their very ordinary lives are about to change, for at that very moment a stranger stands upon their doorstep, seeking shelter from the storm.

To be continued....