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  • Jennifer Marks

Not to mention Charlie's Angels

Summer is the time for pure mind candy — especially at the local cinema, where there's enough pulse-pounding action to titillate the most immovable ticket-buyer.

Of course, the same could be said of the home textiles industry, which has been churning out its own share of thrillers in recent months. From the Pillowtex nail-biter to the super scary prospect of a September (!) home textiles market, textilians have been given plenty of goose-bumps. Here's a sampler of some recent hits:

"SARS Attacks!" The world awakens one morning to find a mysterious disease hopscotching countries at a lightening pace. Fearing epidemic, governments quarantine entire groups of people, and citizens in some parts of the globe dare not leave their homes without donning surgical masks. Other citizens dare not allow their fellow citizens to leave their manufacturing dorms, lest they never return. But just as suddenly as it came, the epidemic is declared to have been contained. Has the world of medicine actually slain the beast, or will it return for a sequel come winter?

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Horrors." Harry ignores warnings not to return to Minneapolis, only to find himself locked in a room with his enemies and forced to play a deceptive game called Reverse Quiddich in which the object is not to fly higher, but to determine who can drive himself deepest into the ground.

"The Hulk." Bruce "Bentonville" Banner is a brilliant retailer who discovers an unbeatable strategy for growth that ultimately turns him into a mammoth creature that scares the hell out of everybody. Hulk must grapple with his desire to do good in the face of his limitless capacity to destroy.

"2 Fast 2 Furious 2 Bad." A slick team of international agents who will do anything for shelf space perform spectacular stunts bringing to market a bedskirt that has been sourced from 18 countries. Will they complete their multi-national trek in time for the big Memorial Day weekend blow-out sales event? It's great, mindless fun — especially when the protagonists deliver their order half an hour late and find themselves hit with a $50,000 charge-back. Dude!

"Tex-terminator 2003: Rise of the Machines." A group of fugitive buyers sends a cyborg back to 2003 from a future world in which machines have enslaved humanity, making all buying decisions based on spreadsheet data. In this dystopian future, all humans sleep on 5,000-count sheets that cost a nickel. While they appreciate the fabulous value, they're being driven mad by their inability to produce a 10,000-count sheet for a penny.

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