Billy and the eBay Caper: Part One
It may be a few months since I last worked.
I struggle to remember exactly; the days since the termination of my employment to the present have smeared together, a result of interminable daily routine and unbranded whiskey from the mom & pop. All I'm aware of now is that the weather outside is finally warm enough to justify walks through the local park, but I lack interest. I need money, and I've heard it doesn't grow on the trees over there. It doesn't arrive in the mail anymore either, so I don't look in the little box attached to the house. In fact, in the spirit of independence, I removed it from the brick entirely and dropped it in my shrubs. To my relief, this ended the daily arrival of pizza coupons. I reasoned that I saved a tree. I celebrated with a whiskey.
I spend my days watching television and surfing the internet. My roommate Billy, though an ineffectual nincompoop, actually has a job, so I can change channels free from dispute during the day. But when he returns from his shift, we are forced into the uneasy kind of co-operation familiar to jail-cell occupants:
Billy: Change the channel! My show is on!
Me: Nonsense, it's not even 7 o'clock yet. I think a boob will be on soon.
Billy: Change it! The show might be on already!
Me: Silence, you ass. Your show is on at 7:30 anyway.
Billy: No it isn't. (pause) Okay, there was no boob, can you change it now?
Billy: Hurry up, goddammit!
Me: All right, I'm done. (channel flip)
Billy: We missed the beginning!
The entertainment of the argument is worth it, frankly. Boobs, in prime time? They come on after eleven, the silly bastard. I just like to watch him squirm about in his seat.
But to my amazement, it turned out that Billy actually does have a use. Last night, we were hammering out a verbal contract to keep the television tuned to the channel "Fear Factor" would appear on, something I didn't feel like watching, when we saw a snippet of news:
"...and the man has taken a picture of a grizzly bear in his backyard, which he posted on an eBay auction page. In his description, he claims that he will execute the bear with his high-powered rifle should the bids not approach his desired price. The current bid for its life is $3,000, with no reserve price set..."
"Brilliant!" I exclaimed. I had been scheming for weeks to summon a way of earning easy dollars from an eBay sale; to my dismay, none of the potato chips I purchased resembled the face of Jesus. Nor did any slice of toast I carefully browned in my toaster. No, I had to think of an original idea, and finally I had one. It took some barefoot yahoo in America threatening to kill a stray grizzly unless somebody paid his ransom to set the wheels in motion for me.
"Hey, we could do something like that," said Billy. "We could threaten to blow away Spark unless we get enough money. He's pretty old anyways."
Spark, Billy's old blue-tick hunting hound. I was grateful for the sacrifice, but I suspected the scam was working for the chum with the grizzly because for some reason it's not animal cruelty if it's a wild animal. Some kind of loophole like that, had to be. Batter a cow into submission with a sledgehammer, bleed it, quarter it, and you get roasts for your family reunion. Woo! More meat? Pass the ‘slaw! Do that to your cat, and you get a mug shot and a jail sentence.
Out in the backyard, Spark snored the evening away, unaware that the shadow of death had passed over him a moment ago.
No, entertaining though it might be, I didn't want to hold the gun to Spark's head. Animals, it's been done. And besides, who knows what John Law might do to me if I threaten the life of an old hunting dog. The beauty of the plan I cooked up was, it's completely legal. All I needed for it to succeed was a little media exposure and some human stupidity, of which there is an abundant and inexhaustible supply. I finished my drink, slamming the highball glass on my end table.
"Billy, I've decided to kill myself," I announced. "Get me your digital camera. I'm going to need lots of photographs."