Gwendolyn Sharp and Vibaldina Aguilera have offices in the same building. They were only nodding acquaintances before someone tried to sabotage their businesses. But after everything turned out for the best, the two became good friends. Dina and Gwen are college-trained event planners who serve a very different clientele.
Gwen puts on potty parties for mothers whose toddlers are ready to ditch their diapers. The events she stages are always happy. Gwen festoons the homes where she holds her potty parties with lots of balloons and colored streamers. She furnishes party hats for everyone, toddlers and adults. Gwen gives sock monkeys and Dr. Seuss books to the kids, and tie dye tee shirts and bottles of homemade jams to the moms. The recipes for her refreshments are often featured in potty party trade magazines. She always puts up yard signs at her potty parties. The signs declare: “Today Is No Diaper Day!” Gwen has many imitators in the potty party business, but she has no equal.
Dina is also tops in her field, but her clients are way at the other end of the emotional needs spectrum from Gwen’s. Dina’s clients are people who throw pity parties for themselves, so it helps that she has a masters degree in clinical psychology. Most of her clients suffer from “Poor Me Syndrome” or some other depressive condition. Dina’s clients can’t even imagine themselves at something as lively and colorful as a toddler’s potty party. They are mostly referred to Dina by their spouses, family members, physicians, employers, co-workers and friends.
There are no decorations and no refreshments when Dina shows up at someone’s pity party. Dina deals with people whose energy has all drained away. Her clients have typically been let down or smacked down by something, or someone. For them, life seems too much to bear.
It’s still not clear who hatched the sinister plot designed to cause Gwen and Dina serious problems. Perhaps it was someone in the potty party business who was jealous of Gwen’s success. Or perhaps it was someone who resented Dina’s success with a pity party client. Maybe the perpetrator wanted the client to remain permanently down and out. No one knows.
What is known is that someone hacked into both Dina’s and Gwen’s company computer systems and switched appointments on them. The hacker scheduled legitimate-looking appointments for Gwen and Dina on the same day at the same time, and, as it happened, in the same neighborhood.
Dina’s bogus appointment sent her to a home where, at the insistence of her husband, a first-time mom had scheduled a potty party for her two-year-old son.
There was a long silence after Dina rang the doorbell. Then a woman with a tear-streaked face opened the door. The baby in her arms wore nothing but a diaper.
“I’m sorry,” said the woman, “but I called off the potty party and sent everyone home. My baby is growing up too fast. I just can’t stand it.”
Dina realized there had been a serious mistake, but she also realized that the woman needed her.
“I think I can help,” said Dina.
The woman stepped aside. By the time Dina left an hour later, the baby was dressed and the woman was smiling. They had agreed to chat again later.
Gwen, on the other hacker-generated bogus appointment honked her horn loudly as she drove her potty party van up the driveway of a house in the same neighborhood. Inside was a disheveled woman wearing a grunchy looking house coat. The woman had finally gotten up enough courage to kick her good-for-nothing boyfriend out of her house, but she had felt rotten ever since. When she hear honk and saw Gwen’s brightly painted party van, the woman felt a surge of pure joy. With a yip, she dashed out the door. Gwen was pounding a sign into lawn. It read “Today Is A No Diaper Day”
“You got that right,” said the woman.
“Is everyone ready to party?” asked Gwen.
“You bet your booties,” said the woman.
Larry Day is the author of Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia(ISBN 978-1-100-18422-2 ) available for Kindle on Smashwords.com. Hard copies are available for purchase on Lulu.com. Retailers e-mail Larry: firstname.lastname@example.org