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Craigslist’s just a great way to make new friends

By Jason Offutt

My wife is fixated on money. Not the kind of fixated that shoves our house payment into slot machines one quarter at a time, but the kind of fixated that figures out how to make money out of stuff we don’t use anymore.
I like that kind of fixated.
But sometimes she frightens me, like the announcement she’d found a buyer for toys the Boy and the Girl have outgrown.
The phone rang at work. The phone ringing at work is rarely good. This usually means I have to do something and, like every normal American, I don’t like to do anything.
“I’ve found someone to buy (insert junk here) on Craigslist,” my wife said.
My first thought, “that’s great,” was suddenly replaced by abject terror when my brain caught up to my ears.
Craigslist is an online classified section for people who’ve forgotten how to use a newspaper. I’m sure Craigslist is a reasonably safe way to sell unwanted objects, but when I hear “Craigslist” I think of newspaper headlines that involve serial killers.
It just takes a few violent, psychologically unstable people to spoil a perfectly good party.
“I want you to make the exchange.”
I’m not sure what kind of guy would feel comfortable with his wife meeting a strange man in a parking lot, but it’s not me. To keep this from happening I’d be perfectly willing to meet a slathering homicidal maniac with a meat hook for a hand and sell him children’s toys.
“Uh, I guess I could,” crept out of my mouth.
“Good,” she said. “Meet him in the shopping center parking lot at 3 p.m. I told him what your truck looks like. His name’s Bob and he’ll be driving a white four-door something.”
“Something?”
“I forgot what he called it,” she said, not knowing having the make and model of a car is exactly the thing police would want later in order to find my body. “He said it has tinted windows. And he’s kind of weird. He kept using ‘yo’ in his emails.”
Red alert. Weird guy buying children’s toys in a parking lot from a vehicle with tinted windows, yo.
I grew up in a house where Mom used to send Dad back inside to check the oven even if she hadn’t cooked that day. I’m paranoid, and my paranoid-sense tingled.
“OK,” I said. “But let’s do this my way.”
An aluminum baseball bat leaned on my leg in the truck as I sat in the shopping center parking lot. I’d dialed 9-1 on my cell phone and my finger was on the one button ready to hit it again, just in case. I could see my wife’s vehicle nearby. She was backup.
Darn. I forgot the camera. Oh, well. I guess a witness’s description of me being thrown into the trunk of a four-door white something by a man with a hook would have to suffice.
Five minutes went by. Then 10. Then 15. He never showed.
I sighed, then put the truck in gear and headed home. Yes, maybe I am a bit paranoid, but at this point in my life the score’s Jason 1, Imaginary Serial Killers 0.

Follow Jason on Twitter @TheJasonOffutt.

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