The people in the room were looking at me encouragingly. I cleared my throat. “Hi. My name is Davey, and I’m an… I’m a…” but before I could finish the sentence I found myself suddenly short of breath. My heart was racing. It didn’t take long to determine the cause of this distress. It was my feet. Possessed of an irresistible will of their own, they were locomoting me out of the addiction center, down the stairs in one frantic leap, and across four lanes of irritable traffic. I was carried up one street and down another until the feet propelled me through a front door, down a hallway and into an office. They gently guided me toward the office chair that sat invitingly in front of a computer monitor.
Coming to my senses, I lowered the front door and leaned it against the office wall before sinking contentedly into the chair. I swiveled around to face the monitor. Taking several deep breaths, I rubbed my hands together and turned my attention to the keyboard.
a-m-a-z-o-n-.-c-o-m, I typed quickly, my fingers flying over the all-too-familiar keys. Come on! Why doesn’t the stupid page load! I wanted to hurl the monitor across the room. Two seconds passed. I belatedly hit the “enter” key and the page appeared on the screen. In the search box I typed o-u-r-w-i-t-c-h-d-o-c-t-o-r-s – Arggggh. I had told the publisher the title was too long! – a-r-e-t-o-o-w-e-a-k… enter.
And there it was. I navigated to the Amazon Bestseller Rank: #105,577. Now, where was that paper I had written the previous ranking number on an hour ago? It wasn’t on the desk. I grabbed the trashcan and scattered the contents across the floor. Getting down on hands and knees, I began searching frenetically. Eventually I found the number, written on the palm of my hand. I pushed myself up off the floor, but not before a sinister shadow fell across the carpet.
“Hi Babe,” I said nonchalantly, straightening my back and clothes. “Maybe you could knock next time.”
“Maybe I would, if this weren’t my house. And if you’d leave the front door on its hinges.”
“Well, there is the doorbell,” I said.
“What are you doing?” she asked icily, my logic rolling off her consciousness like raindrops off a duck.
“Just cleaning up some garbage. Hey, I like your outfit. You look great! We should go out.” I tried gently coaxing her out of the office but it was too late. Her eyes were fixed on the monitor behind me; I could see the gears turning. “Are you–” her face softened a bit. “You didn’t go to the addiction center, did you.”
“I did. I did go, but…” my voice trailed off.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Honey. I knew it would be difficult. I should have been there for you.” She took my hand in hers, and with the other hand she riffled through her purse until she found her reading glasses. Putting them on, she ever so gently rotated my hand, studied it briefly, then shifted her gaze back to the monitor.
“It’s improved,” she said hypnotically. “Our ranking has improved,” her voice grew louder. “People are buying our book! What is our ranking among memoirs specifically?” she asked excitedly. A few mouse clicks and our ranking had increased significantly.
“How do we rank among books that are about South America, the Amazon, Missions, Anthropology, Linguistics, and Religion – oh, and that are authored by married couples who happened upon each other in the jungle?” she continued. “Quick, type it in. Type it in!”
In her excitement she slipped on the papers strewn across the floor, but bounced back up giddily. “Now let’s see how our ranking compares to that other book we read last week. But wait, first check to see if our ranking has changed since the last time we checked it.”
“You mean –”
“Yes, yes. Hurry, before it changes again!” she shouted.
I refreshed the page and we both stared at the screen. “How did that happen? Did everybody cancel their orders?” I wondered aloud. “Here, let’s see what happens if we type in…”
The next day Marie and I were at the addiction center, bleary-eyed and yawning uncontrollably. “Hello. We’re Davey and Marie, and we…” we looked at each other and knew the time had come. “We’re Davey and Marie, and… we’ll be right back,” we yelled over our shoulders.
*** Do you have any tips that might help Davey and Marie overcome their Amazon obsession? ***
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