Chapter One OK, don't panic. Don't panic. It's simply a question of being organized and staying calm and deciding what exactly I need to take. And then fitting it all neatly into my suitcase. I mean, just how hard can that be? I step back from my cluttered bed and close my eyes, half-hoping that if I wish hard enough, my clothes might magically organize themselves into a series of neatly folded piles. Like in those magazine articles on packing, which tell you how to go on holiday with one cheap sarong and cleverly turn it into six different outfits. (Which I always think is a complete con, because, OK, the sarong costs ten quid, but then they add loads of accessories which cost hundreds, and we're not supposed to notice.) But when I open my eyes again, the clutter is all still there. In fact, there seems to be even more of it, as if while my eyes were shut, my clothes have been secretly jumping out of the drawers and running around on my bed. Everywhere I look, there are huge great tangled piles of . . . well . . . stuff. Shoes, boots, T-shirts, magazines . . . a Body Shop gift basket that was on sale . . . a linguaphone Italian course which I'm definitely going to start soon . . . a facial sauna thingy . . . And, sitting proudly on my dressing table, a fencing mask and sword which I bought yesterday. Only forty quid from a charity shop! I pick up the sword and experimentally give a little lunge toward my reflection in the mirror. It was a real coincidence, because I've been meaning to take up fencing for ages, ever since I read this article about it inThe Daily World.Did you know that fencers have better legs than any other athletes? Plus, if you're an expert you can become a stunt double in a film and earn loads of money! So what I'm planning to do is find some fencing lessons nearby, and get really good, which I should think I'll do quite quickly. And then -- this is my secret little plan -- when I've got my gold badge, or whatever it is, I'll write to Catherine Zeta-Jones. Because she must need a stunt double, mustn't she? And why shouldn't it be me? In fact she'd probably prefer someone British. Maybe she'll phone back and say she always watches my television appearances on cable, and she's always wanted to meet me! We'll probably really hit it off, and turn out to have the same sense of humor and everything. And then I'll fly out to her luxury home, and get to meet Michael Douglas and play with the baby. We'll be all relaxed together like old friends, and some magazine will do a feature on celebrity best friends and have us in it, and maybe they'll even ask me to be . . . "Hi, Bex!" With a jolt, the happy pictures of me laughing with Michael and Catherine vanish, and my brain snaps into focus. Suze, my flatmate, is wandering into my room, wearing a pair of ancient paisley pajamas, with her blonde hair in plaits. "What are you doing?" she asks curiously. "Nothing!" I say, hastily putting the fencing sword back. "Just . . . you know. Keep fit." "Oh right," she says vaguely. "So -- how's the packing going?" She wanders over to my mantelpiece, picks up a lipstick, and begins to apply it. Suze always does this in my room -- just wanders about picking things up and looking at them and putting them down again. She says she loves the way you never know what you might find, like in a junk shop. Which I'm fairly sure she means in a nice way. "It's going really well," I say. "I'm just deciding which suitcase to take." "Ooh," says Suze turning round, her mouth half bright pink. "What about that little cream one? Or your red holdall?" "I thought maybe this one," I say, hauling my new acid-green shell case out from under the bed. I bought it last weekend, and it's absolutely gorgeous. "Wow!" says Suze, her eyeKinsella, Sophie is the author of 'Shopaholic Takes Manhattan', published 2004 under ISBN 9780440241812 and ISBN 0440241812.