Prose Header

Baby eBay

by Bruce Stirling

“Mummy?” Jilly asked, snuggling close to Mummy and Daddy in their big warm bed. "Where do babies come from?"

Sleepy Mummy was suddenly wide awake.

“That’s a big question for a little girl,” Mummy said.

“Davey says they come from eBay,” Jilly said. “Is that true?”

“eBay?” Now Daddy was awake. “Jilly, do you know what eBay is?”

“Yes,” Jilly said. “It’s where babies come from.”

“Don’t be silly, Jilly,” Mummy said. “Babies don’t come from eBay.”

“They do!” Jilly jumped up and pulled the curtain back. “That’s where Baby eBay came from.”

“Baby who?” Mummy asked.

“Baby eBay. Look!”

Mummy and Daddy looked out the window into the neighboring yard. Yesterday, the Nebs were childless. Today, they were happy as could be playing with a toddler in a diaper.

“Davey told me Baby eBay cost lots of money,” Jilly said.

“Did he, now?” Daddy replied, getting dressed. “Well, we’ll just have to see about that.”

“Daddy?” Jilly asked. “Where are you going?”

“To say hello to Baby eBay.”

“Can I come?”

“No, dear,” Mummy said. “Let Daddy go.”

They watched out the window as Daddy marched up to the Nebs so happy to show off Baby eBay.

“Mummy?” Jilly asked. “Why’s Daddy mad?”

“He’s not mad, Jilly.”

“Why’s Daddy grabbing Mr. Nebs’ shirt?”

“Daddy’s just saying hello.”

“Mummy, why is Mrs. Nebs running away with Baby eBay? Mummy?”

“Jilly,” Mummy said, closing the curtain. “Let’s read a book, shall we? Here’s one. The Firm.”

“I hate books,” Jilly said. “I want a Baby eBay.”


“I want Baby eBay! I want Baby eBay!”

“Jilly,” Mummy said. “Do you even know what eBay is?”

Jilly shook her head.

“Come,” Mummy said. “I’ll show you.”

Jilly sat on Mummy’s lap as Mummy found eBay on the computer.

“In this little search box,” Mummy said, “Mummy will type ‘babies for sale.’ Now Mummy will touch ‘return’ and you’ll see, there are no babies for sale on...”

The screen listed three babies for sale.

“Dear God,” Mummy said.

“Can we get one?” Jilly said. “Please.”

Mummy jumped up as Daddy walked in all sweaty and angry.

“It’s true,” he said.

“See, I told you,” Jilly said. “Babies come from eBay.”

Daddy sat down at the computer.

“I checked,” Mummy said.

“And?” Daddy replied.

Mummy nodded. Daddy shook his head.

“Daddy?” Jilly said. “I want a Baby eBay. Please. Daddy?”

“Jilly,” Daddy said. “Daddy’s on the phone. Please be quiet. Hello?”

Later, they watched as the police took Baby eBay away.

That night Jilly crawled into Mummy and Daddy’s big warm bed.

“Jilly?” Mummy said. “What’s wrong?”

“Why are you crying?” Jilly asked.

“Crying?” Mummy said. “Nobody’s crying. You’re just having a bad dream, that’s all.”

“No,” Jilly said. “Listen.”

She pulled the curtain back. The lights burned bright over at Nebs' house. They listened. Mrs. Nebs began to cry.

“Mummy?” Jilly said, watching the movers empty the Nebs’ house the very next day. “Why are the Nebs moving away?”

“Sometimes people have to move,” Mummy said. “C’mon. Let’s go inside.”

Jilly stayed and watched the moving van leave. She waved but nobody waved back.

For weeks, the Nebs’ house sat empty. One sunny Saturday, Davey came over for lunch.

“Did you hear about Mr. and Mrs. Nebs?” he said.

“No,” Mummy said making sandwiches.

“They got dehorsed,” Davey said.

“They got what?” Daddy asked, pouring milk.

“Dehorsed,” Davey said.

“Do you mean divorced?” Daddy asked.

Davey nodded.

Mummy looked to Daddy. “Oh, dear,” she said.

She went and sat in the living room. Daddy took her hand.

“We did the right thing,” Daddy said. “We did.”

Mummy started to cry. She went and weeded the Nebs’ garden.

“Why are you doing that?” Daddy asked.

“I don’t know,” Mummy cried. “I don’t know.”

Copyright © 2007 by Bruce Stirling

Home Page