A-Bay

Shopping in your own underwear feels kind of daring. Shopping in your wife’s underwear is nothing short of exhilarating.

I had been in the shower for exactly three minutes, well four, since the hot water felt soooo good. I used a minute to undress before, so that means I had one minute to dry off and dress after. Except all of my dirty laundry is still piled on the floor. My wife is staging a revolt. She calls my plan moronic and stupid. Fine. I will wear her clothes.

Bam, bam, bam.

What is that? I look at the clock. Thirty seconds until the bidding window opens again. The website is called A-Bay. It is the newest, biggest online thing. Based out of Ukraine, it is THE hot new site for the gamblers and big-timers of the online auction world. And it is intense! I’ve been going head to head with a guy named Zoran for almost every item I’ve bid on. Small online world indeed! Clearly, we share similar families because it is like we are going after the exact same stuff.

The screen updates. Damn! The man will not be stopped. Zoran has upped my bid on the knock-off Ipad Mini by twenty-five percent. Still, it is a bargain at that price. Not even hesitating, I bump it up another ten percent and hit the return button with gusto. Even at my price it is almost like we are dealing in stolen goods. The prices on A-Bay are that low!

Now he has six minutes to respond. So I’m living my life on a six minute clock, which is fine, as long as I stay disciplined. No time for a nap. I limit interaction with the kids to three minutes so I can regain my online focus after listening to their litany of problems like homework and boyfriends and illegitimate pregnancy. I can sit on the toilet, as long as I don’t dither. And I’ve been sticking with microwavable meals since the unfortunate grease fire about forty-two hours prior.

Bam, bam, bam!

I look at the speakers on my computer.

No, it is coming from somewhere else.

I glance at the clock. Zoran has four minutes, fifty two seconds to bid. I wander down the hallway. Through the glass in the front door. Someone it there. The delivery man for some of my A-Bay goods? No, silly, they ship them all at one time. It is cheaper that way.

A man. He is yelling something.

I open the door. His mouth moves but the words sound weird. Is he selling something? Door to door? That is pathetically old school! My confusion is understandable. By my count, I have not spoken to anyone outside my immediate family in fifteen days.

“Huh?” I say when he stops talking and just stares at me.

“Pay your damn electric bill!”

“My what?”

“Just go online and pay it! This is the third time in three months. I’m the guy trooping through your crap-hole of a back yard to disable the meter. Then I have to come right back when you pay the reconnect fee. Every time your dogs attack me like they haven’t eaten in weeks.”

To which I say: “I have dogs?”

He takes a step toward me. To shake my hand? To embrace? People get silly right before the holidays and I have no time. I slam the door, double bolt it, and rush back to my bedroom.

The site updates as I sit down.

Winner, winner chicken dinner!!! Zoran folded! That’s it. A perfect Christmas for the family and I had talked to no one. I dealt with no lines or crowded parking lots or obnoxious sales people working on commission. All of it had been done from the comfort of my home in my wife’s lacy slip and thong, which, quite honestly, feels kind of nice. (An image of Zoran’s kids and their destitute tree floats before my eyes. I blink it away.)

A confirmation email comes through. It is all mine! I won every single auction. All I have to do is submit my checking information and social security number to A-Bay.

I’m trying to concentrate, but this crazed barking erupts. A roaming pack of wild animals sound like they are killing something right outside my window. I’ll fill out an online complaint with Animal Control once I’ve finished with A-Bay.

There is a “poof” as I reach for the keyboard. The house goes totally dark, even as the wild animals attack with more gusto.

A power outage? Now? For the unprepared this would be a disaster, however, my tablet is fully charged. And, I have my mobile hotspot.

I toss a credit card onto the table and cut on a flashlight. I begin hunting and pecking out the account number, the security code, the billing address, the email recovery password and my available credit. But they also want social security numbers on everyone else in the house? Huh? Ahhh, it is probably some neat way they personalize the gifts. A-Bay is the best.

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