Tales of Chiswick. Chapter 2. The Kitten Has Claws!


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Jun 24, 2008
Chapter 2 - The Kitten Has Claws!
Roberta pulled herself up to her full height and stepped into the room, allowing the doors to swing closed behind her. She tossed her hair dramatically, her eyes flashed like Diamonella as she gazed round the room one by one at her colleagues. And then her gaze rested on one person and she said quietly but in a voice no-one recognised….
“I want a word with you…..”
Silence filled the room. You could have heard a pin drop as people looked at Roberta and followed her gaze to the table where Taffy and Jenna were sat.
“yes, you” said Roberta, “the person who’s trying to ruin my life”. Her gaze was steadily and unmistakably on Jenna Fryman.
“Roberta what’s the matter? I don’t underst….”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about you little viper. Yes we’ve all see you, doing your sweetness and light act with those big eyes and scrunched up nose, but I know the truth and I’m going to make sure you never work in broadcasting again if it’s the last thing I do!”
Jenna was staring in horror at Roberta, “Roberta this is a mistake, you talking to the wrong person, it wasn’t me”
“Wasn’t you? WHAT wasn’t you? If it wasn’t you then how the hell do you know what I’m talking about? I haven’t even told anyone. I hope you all heard that…?” she addressed the rest of the room ”you might be called to give evidence in my grievance case against little miss bully here”
“Grievance case? Roberta I am SERIOUS I haven’t done anything to harm you, I would never never…. I’ve always admired you so much! you would never believe how….” She was visibly shocked and tears were beginning to well in her big brown eyes
“Save it for the hearing sweetheart” said Roberta. “your scrawny arse is going to be off the air so fast your feet won’t touch the ground!”

Jenna stood up, her chair scraping noisily on the canteen floor. “Roberta you have got this so wrong. But as usual you’re too full of your own self importance to listen to anyone aren’t you?” Jenna swiped at her eyes with the back of her hand. She was deathly white and her eye make up instantly smeared across her face. On the next table Frances Jilks thought to herself “that’s not Minny Bullet Proof” but managed to bite her tongue.
“You just carry on with the Queen of the Channel act and everyone has to bow down to you. Have you ever looked around Roberta? Ever stopped thinking about yourself long enough to wonder about who your REAL friends are here?” Jenna was almost shouting by now, her body was ramrod straight, her head high and she was looking Roberta straight in the eye. Jenna Fryman was standing up to the queen of shopping tv.
“Oh so now we see the real Jenna. This is it everyone, look at her! finally the claws are out for all to see. Not so meek and mild as we thought eh? How DARE you, you little snake. You’ve only been here 5 minutes and most of that’s been spent up HER arse” Roberta gestured at Taffy. “What can YOU possibly know about anything? I’ve been here for 19 years through thick and thin, and you have the damned nerve to tell ME who my friends are at the channel? I’ve seen more untalented wannabes come and go than you’ve had Ryvitas darling. Can you hear this everyone? She’s ****** demented!”
“Oh really? I’m demented am I? so demented that I know who it’s is whose been playing all those awful practical jokes on you when you don’t have a clue? You’re so stupid you can’t see what’s under your nose Roberta!” she looked pointedly around at the rest of the people in the canteen.
“LIAR!” screeched Roberta. “You vile little LIAR! And if you’re not lying then tell me everything you know now! at once!”
Jenna smiled wryly “Oh yes you’d love that wouldn’t you. If you think I’m going to spill my guts here then you’re even more stupid than I thought. But look around Roberta, look at the people in this room. Are you really sure that the person who’s been doing all things isn’t here? One of your so-called friends? No I don’t think so. I’ll keep what I know to myself... for now. And after your performance here today Roberta I’ll be looking forward to seeing YOU at MY grievance case hearing! Now get your FAT arse out of MY sight!”.

Roberta was shaking with anger as she flicked her hair, turned, opened the double doors and flounced out, her head high. For a moment the room was silent, the occupants shocked at what they had witnessed. After what seemed like an age, the silence was broken
“Jacky, where’s my black coffee and Muller Lite Babe?”

Roberta reeled along the corridor back to her dressing room, clutching at the wall for support, crying with anger and embarrassment at the scene she’d just been involved in. As she rounded the corner she saw Holly Faraday outside her dressing room, her ear up to the door, tapping lightly and whispering “Roberta? Roberta? Are you in there?”
“Oh God Holly!” Roberta sobbed “ thank Christ you’re here. You wouldn’t believe what just happened!”
“What on earth’s the matter Roberta you look absolutely terrible!”
Roberta fell into Holly’s motherley arms and thanked the lord that her oldest colleague and friend at the channel hadn’t witnessed the scene she had just left in the canteen.
“Holly I have to tell you something. I don’t know why I didn’t confide in you before but it’s been hell for the last few months. And now, in the canteen oh my GODDDDDD you wouldn’t believe what happened. What have I done? Come inside, quick…. ”. They went into Roberta’s room and she locked the door behind them. Then Roberta spilled her guts to Holly. About everything.

The Next Day
After a sleepless night Holly Faraday could have done without an Essential Cookery hour with Robin Green. These shows required a high level of interaction between the host and the guest. Tasting, stirring, passing things to Robin, it was incredibly complicated. She couldn’t just go onto autopilot and trot out her stock phrases “selling very very quickly…. Jump to the phones for this one…… incredible value ” so a night without sleep after hearing Roberta’s story was the last thing she needed.
As she made her way through the hour she did her best to keep her attention on the job, but there were so many questions spinning around in her head about Roberta.
“Now Holly, this next item is the biggest roaster we’ve ever done and with just 6 months to go until Christmas this is going to be essential for that family turkey…..” Robin chirruped away, telling the audience about the non-stick coating, the rack to keep things healthy and how the roaster could handle the biggest of birds. “We’ve got one in the oven Holly, so if I clear some of these pans away would you mind getting it out of the oven?”
Holly donned a pair of silicon oven mitts and took the massive roaster containing two family sized chickens out “Goodness its heavy! Now jump to the phones for this one its selling very very quickly and I don’t want you to…….. oops OUCH!!!!”. There was a hideous clatter as the silicon gloves slipped and the heavy pan smashed down to the floor. Holly squealed and started to hop around behind the demo counter “Oh my… oh.. oh OHH my foot! Ouch!!!! Oh my ohhhhhhhh my FOOT I think I’ve broken my foot!”
The audience at home had a final gratifying few seconds to devour the catastrophic scene before the director switched to the emergency broadcasting recording, usually used for fire alarms. Dawn Hanson, the channel’s Glaswegian presenter popped up on screen, a nicotine stained finger wiggling a gold-plated hoop earring in her hairy lobe. “Noo at twelve poonds and forrrty pee and 4 easy pays, dinna ye be tellin’ me ye canna afford these, Ye canna even buy forrrty ciggies for twelve poonds and change these days!”

In the live studio Holly couldn’t walk. She was helped to a chair supported under either arm by the floor manager and a producer. If her foot wasn’t broken then it was clearly very badly damaged, not helped by those ballet pumps she insisted on wearing all the time. It was an accident waiting to happen. She was deposited into her dressing room, her leg supported by a large cushion and her foot wrapped tightly in a cloth with ice cubes to reduce the swelling. The producer went to get some Nurofen from his man-bag.
An earlier than scheduled presentation of that days Amazing Special Value was quickly set up and the channel’s live transmission was resumed, starting with the promo for Finton Terry Professional Nails, and Finton’s unmistakable Bradford accent:
“Me professional range 'as won 'undreds o' awards. It’s a reet favouri' o' pop stars 'n 'ollywood celebrities. Ah travel t' world ta fetch thee t' 'ottest colours, inspired by t' latest runway fashions or t' sunbaked beaches o’ Marrakesh…. Ha haaaaaa *cough* haaaaaa”
Yorkshire lad Terry Finton had started working life on a building site but spent his evenings manicuring and painting his sisters and Nan’s nails. He soon realised that he would never make a fortune hod carrying, so ditched his job and went to beauty school. One week later he emerged, qualified in all things nail related, found a job in a Bradford salon called Nailz-4-Thee and set off on his journey to beauty super-stardom. Switching his name around was the final key to starting his own range. He had built up a massive fan base on the Channel, winning over viewers with the common-touch approach which belied his inner Diva. His ASV was a collection of miniature nail polishes and an equally tiny handcream. Abigail Jeung, the channels resident beauty expert began the process of whipping the audience up into a buying frenzy.

Elsewhere in the building, in the presenters lounge Dawn Hanson, Pepper Gorman and Bill Lapwing were gossiping over recent events. Holly’s accident had overtaken the previous day’s events in the canteen as the main subject of conversation.
“I mean, shouldn’t we be insured for this kind of thing? There’s nothing about taking items out of the oven in MY contract” said Pepper to the room in general.
“Contract? You have a contract?” said Bill
“Och I wouldnae worry yeself Hen” said Dawn Hanson through a cloud of Lambert & Butler smoke, “No-one would be fool enough give ye anything to carry, ye haven’t the strength dear! Not with those teeny arms and legs!”
“Err, yeh thanks Dawn but I’m quite capable of lifting heavy objects. Anyway I think being a teeny weeny size small has been a boon for my career. Let’s face it anyone with a few extra pounds looks hideous on TV” she looked at Dawn, up and down. “How’s that diet going? Was that you I heard earlier doing your KarrUmba class? I thought the ceiling was going to…..”
She was interrupted by a startling crack which echoed round the lounge.
“What the feck was THAT??” said Dawn.
“It sounded like a gun! or a pistol?” said bill, eyes wide “Who the hell is firing a gun in a TV studio? we’re not selling guns now are we? Do you think we’d better go and find out what’s happening?”
They left the lounge and looked down the corridor. One way lead towards the canteen, the other towards the presenter dressing rooms. “Let’s look down here” said Bill, surprising himself with his own bravery. Clutching each other the three crept along the corridor, tapping on each door as they went
“Roberta? Are you ok?....... Abigail? Are you ok?”
“Abi's on air , ye dimwit” hissed Dawn "these are all empty"
They arrived at the junior presenter’s rooms, the door of the one shared by Jenna and Taffy was ajar.
“Taffy? Jenna? Are you in there?” Bill asked as he pushed the door further. There was a worrying acrid smell emanating from the room. “Jen? Taffy?.....” Bill continued to open the door and peered round into the dressing room.
“Oh my God… I think you should stand back a minute…. No Dawn stand BACK!” his voice was panicky and raised, Pepper and Dawn instantly obeyed, retreating back into the corridor and holding onto each other as Bill entered the room.
“Oh my Christ….. call the police!” called bill from inside.
“What’s happened? Bill? Bill? Look, we’re coming in” replied Pepper. As they entered the room the scene they found would remain engraved in their memories for ever. Bill was bent over a body. They couldn’t see who it was, Bill’s back was obscuring the top half of the torso. A pair of slender shoe-less legs could be seen, twisted hideously but with toe-nails jauntily painted in Finton Terry’s UltraModel lacquer. The victim's skirt had been pushed up too high around her thighs as she’d fallen to the floor. Dawn noticed a pair of red platforms laying higgledy piggeldy in the corner as if they’d just been kicked off.
“Bill what is it? What’s going on?”
Bill turned to Dawn and Pepper. “Call the Police. Now…” and as he moved away from the body he revealed the horrific sight. Brown doe-eyes staring glassily to the ceiling, mouth slightly open in a frozen expression of surprise or shock, and in the centre of her forehead a small red circle.
“It’s Jenna….. she’s dead. I’m not kidding…. She’s been MURDERED!”

The Battersea Years

The Chiswick Years:
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So according to her blog Debbie Flint is now writing a novel. I see!

I hope it's not a satire based around the presenters of a well known shipping channel or there'll be trouble!

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