Two Different Sorts of Holiday

Clara Zappoire's engagement made her so forgetful that it was only as she swayed in a silk hammock in Antigua while sipping rum that she remembered that she should probably have mentioned her daughter. Then again, why spoil the mood? Anyway, she had such aterrible headache from that awful racket nearby that she could hardly think. She could hardly concentrate long enough to pick which of her engagement rings she wanted to wear for the afternoon. So you see, it had to wait, at least for a few cocktails more.

Of course, Clara quickly realised that she had also forgotten to get a babysitter. Now this, as you can imagine was slightly tricky: the thing about Antigua is that it's much further away from Teeside, England than she had previously been. Furthermore, it's an awful lot nicer. And, it was an awful lot hotter. Poor, poor Clara couldn't stand that infernal heat, much less lift anything heavier than a glass of Malibu and diet cola. However would she have the strength to pick up a big, heavy phone? It would just have to wait. Lauren would be fine. She was tall enough to reach the microwave by now.

Trouble ahead, however. You see, the issue with leaving an eight year-old child in her own child-sized hands is that people (even in Teeside) tend to look down on that sort of thing. So it quickly emerged that Lauren Zappoire would be enjoying a holiday period in foster care while the authorities tried to get hold of her mother. Yet great tragedy followed, for when Lauren sat down in the social worker's car, she took her mother's HandGadget with her. And Clara was forced to buy another as Lauren began her adventure to find a new home with artist, race-car driver and indie darling Evelyn Vair. It was this woman hom Mr Dogerby insisted that Lauren must be extremely careful of offending, not least due to a terrible, awful medical condition.

"You must be careful not to upset her, you see. She has... Erm... Well, she has a slight deformity. you will be sensible, won't you."

"Yes!" Lauren screeched, waving her fist in the air - kicking her short legs - bobbing her blonde head. Smiling, Mr Dogerby leaned back in his chair. How lovely to see an eight year-old so non-judgemental when children could be cruel.

"Great," he beamed, striding to the door. Perhaps he could learn something from this child, and push aside that funny feeling he had about the woman. "Are you ready to meet her?"

"No! No! That should so have worked!"

"Lauren?" the social worker probed. "Lauren?" Gingerly he tapped her shoulder, sending a headphone tumbling out of her hair. He glanced down at her screen to see a great, blobby, fatal message: GAME OVER.