An uninvited guest barged into the Venable house during the Ice Age.
His name was Murphy. Claimed he was famous for some law about how things go wrong at the worst time. Could be. All I know is he trashed our place faster than the “mayhem” insurance hustler on TV.
Three days after the snowstorm, I screwed up the courage to venture outside and attempt digging through the igloo in our driveway. I was pretty sure a truck was down there.
It was. I managed to push sufficient tonnage off the hood, windshield and doors and gained entry. Happily, the engine started on the first crank. I turned the defroster to full blast and retreated for a respite.
Mary Ann and I crept out moments later, doing our best imitation of geezers dancing on marbles. Our destination was (surprise!) the grocery store. I assumed 4-wheel-drive would get us out of the neighborhood, which it did, and that the main roads near us were passable, which they were.
We arrived at the store, along with 14,837 of our closest friends, and began roaming the aisles. Murphy followed our every step, chuckling to himself.
At the checkout, he laughed riotously when my credit card was denied. Tap, swipe or insert, all ixnay.
I said, “Prithee, dearest wife, I do believe some nefarious rapscallion has made illicit use of our card.” Or words to that effect.
I didn’t have enough cash to reconcile the ledger. Fortunately, Mary Ann had a debit card in her billfold. Unfortunately, her billfold was at home. I marble-danced back to the truck and drove off to fetch it.
So as not to further delay and irritate our 14,837 friends in line, Store Guy cleared the cash register and gave my bride a computer code that would reactivate when I got back. She pushed the groceries to one side and stood there, facing the inquisitive mob. At least Store Guy didn’t make her wear a scarlet “S” for “scammer.”
I returned, her debit card worked, and we drove home. As I put up the groceries, Mary Ann called Visa. Murphy just sat there, grinning devilishly.
Yes, we had been hacked. The company had sent a text, but to our old landline phone number. New cards were issued, giving Mary Ann the fun of reworking our auto-pay accounts.
This was the third time in the past decade that Murphy has toyed with our credit card. He certainly has exotic tastes.
The first time was for offshore betting in Greece.
The second time was for $700 worth of scuba gear at a shop in Key West, Florida.
This time was for an online dating service, prompting Mary Ann to call our lawyer and request that he draw up a divorce.
Just kidding. What she really did was help me grab Murphy and sling him out the door. I hope he froze his butt off.
Sam Venable’s column appears every Sunday. Contact him at email@example.com.