Bidding volleyed between me and other hopefuls until we had upped David’s value to five hundred dollars, and I wondered how quickly I could transfer my savings into my checking account.
Then Candy’s cry pierced the air. “Four thousand dollars!”
The room hushed in combined reverence and horror. Lauri Gruber at last said, “God, Candy, that’s not fair!”
“Is this an auction or not?” snapped Candy.
The mayor’s face was alight. Four thousand was a more than the past year’s auction had raised altogether. I closed my eyes in middle-class income misery as the mayor declared, “David Delany, going once, twice, SOLD! For four thousand dollars!”
Candy pointed a deadly fingernail at the rather pale carpenter on stage. “You’re mine now!”
“I’m afraid not,” said a new bachelor, stepping lithely from behind the line of disheveled and doubled-over fantasy men. He pulled a badge from the inner pocket of his austere suit. “Agent Smith, FBI. Mrs. Martinelli, I’m taking you into custody.”
FBI-Agent had not worked as hard on his costume as the others, but his tough-guy impact was hard to ignore. His steely gaze was so determined that a ripple of hormones surged through the already-titillated room of women.
“No, take me into custody!” begged Wendy Marstellars. “Two hundred for Agent Smith!”
“Two-ten!” shouted another voice, and the bidding was on again, fueled by estrogen. I glanced at my mother, who shrugged, then to the mayor, who looked helpless. The auction had spun out of his control. FBI-Agent’s value reached three hundred dollars when Candy shrieked out another astronomical sum of money.
“You already got your bachelor!” several women yelled at Candy.
“There is no bachelor limit!” Candy shouted back, indicating with a flourish of her checkbook that she could afford them all.
“Shut up!” bellowed Agent Smith thunderously. The room silenced once again while the glowering agent made his way off stage and stalked to Candy. Only then did I notice that two other dark-suited men had approached her from behind.
“Candy Martinelli,” announced Agent Smith, “you are under arrest, for conspiracy to commit the murder of Carlo Martinelli.”
As if it held her will to fight, Candy’s checkbook dropped to the floor. While the backup agents cuffed her, she whined in dismay, but Agent Smith ignored her. He found Wendy Marstellars in the crowd and passed her a business card. “Call me,” he said, smiling at Wendy’s profuse blush. “No bid necessary.”
Meekly the mayor asked, “Can we keep the four thousand dollars?” And David Delany asked, "What happens to me now?"