Once reality set in, she had a change of mind. "I went to a pay phone at Schnucks and started dialing Southwestern Bell 800 numbers until I got a live human. I gave them my credit-card number and said, 'Turn it back on.' But I'll tell you," she adds, "I'm not going to let this drop, because this is beyond out of bounds. It is too much."
Twelve thousand miles away, in the island country of Vanuatu, a shadowy figure lounges on a resort patio, gazing out on the azure Pacific, nursing his fourth mai tai -- all at Terri Ayres' expense.