Quick Sale (Page 4)

Quick Sale (Page 4)
Jasper wanted to tell her the baby was real and not a robot pc (personal companion). But he just couldn’t say the words. He was tired, hungry, and desperate for a sale. He didn’t want to drive her away but he wanted to have a clear conscience. Perhaps if he quoted a ridiculous price she’d be less interested in the baby and look at the other pc’s again.
“$15,000. It’s the only one in town. An experimental model. I don’t really want to sell it. Wouldn’t you rather look at something else?”
Daira surprised him with her answer. “It’s a little higher than I thought it’d be, but I’ll take it. I want to have the first one in town.”
Jasper tried halfheartedly to discourage her. “This is strictly a cash deal. We haven’t figured out the terms on this item yet because it is a prototype. We don’t want to repossess it.”
She looked into her handbag. “I don’t think I need credit. I may have enough cash with me. There’s no sense letting this pc get away after it took so long to find one that I like.”
Daira pulled a stack of crisp one thousand dollar bills from her purse. Carefully she counted out $15,000. The rest she hurriedly stuffed back inside while Jasper stared wide-eyed.
“This must be a dream,” he thought. “This can’t be happening.” But the money was in his hand and it was real.
Nervously he glanced around as he presented her with a sales form. He knew selling the baby was wrong and illegal but the transaction was out of his hands now. There was no turning back.
While she filled in her name and address Jasper cautioned her on the baby’s upkeep. “This baby pc is highly unusual. If it is not fed, burped, and changed like a real baby then its inner mechanisms cause it to wail and scream. In effect, I don’t think your friends will be able to tell it from a real baby. Be careful with it. The entire mechanism is fragile and can be easily broken.”
Smiling at him she said, “Sounds perfect. I’ll be the talk of the town.” Daira scooped up the baby and hurried outside, stopping once to give Jasper a friendly wave. Then she was gone.
Jasper ran his hands over his head and muttered, “What have I done? What kind of trouble did I get myself into?”
The young couple appeared with their son trailing close behind them. The mother glanced about casually and then her expression changed. She started shaking and crying, “Where’s our baby? What have you done with him?”
At first Jasper felt trapped. As the woman wailed and cursed him his shoulders sagged lower and lower. He listened to her accusations for a few minutes before he realized that the young man was standing to one side, not participating in the tirade. Jasper tuned her out and thought quickly. There was more to this situation. Suddenly Jasper raised his hands and said, “Stop! That’s enough of your carrying on. I just remembered that you’ve got a problem here. If you report me to the authorities you could be fined and also go to jail. Your son will be given to the state. I don’t know how you’ve managed to get away with it but you can’t legally have two children. Now I ask you, is that what you want? Your baby has gone to a nice home and I think we all can benefit from this deal. If you’ll just cooperate I’ll pick out a nice pc for you. Not only will you have one big worry off your hands but you’ll also have a personal companion to free you of many chores and be a babysitter for your other child. Now talk it over and decide. You can go to jail with me and lose your two children or you can give up your baby for everyone’s mutual benefit.”
(To be continued)

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