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The Replacement

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Humiliation burned Spike as he made his way back to the crypt with his shopping cart. He couldn't believe that the Slayer and Company had caught him scavenging at the rubbish dump. Out of all the nights that they desired a stroll in the dump -- because it was such a common activity -- they had to pick the night he was there. He hadn't felt this embarrassed since... Monday. Bugger, his unlife sucked.

Spike shoved the cart full of scrounged goods into the crypt and slammed the heavy door shut, with him still on the outside. Pivoting on his heel, he stalked towards the university. He needed to distance himself from the physical reminders of his most recent moment of glorious humiliation.

It was horrible enough that Spike had to use the city dump as his shopping center without witnesses. Vampires rarely "shopped," but when they did it was by killing the owner of whatever was desired. With the chip, however, Spike was severely limited in his ability to procure goods. Mugging only got him so much money, and it was becoming a very iffy game with everyone taking self-defense and mace was available at the local drugstore.

Kreske Hall computer lab nearly full when Spike arrived. He found an open seat in the second row of terminals. Removing his duster and draping it over the plastic chair, he took a seat, pushed the blue disk he removed form his coat pocket into the disk drive, and brought up the Internet log-in screen.

As he waited for the Internet to connect, Spike leaned back in his chair and surreptitiously looked at his neighbor's screen.

It was a Guido the Astro-Physicist original luxury tub, ergonomically designed to provide the most comfortable bath possible. So comfortable, many would happily be chained to it for inordinate amounts of time.

The back and bottom of the tub was made of a spongy material that cushioned and formed to the contours of the body. Adjustable arm rests that folded away added to the relaxing comfort of the tub. Special amenities included a nozzle drink dispenser with disposable cups, a mini-cooler, and a splash-proof caddy for a television with a universal water-proof remote.

Both affordable and available in any color desired, the Guidonomic Tub was a must-have for all households.

Spike snorted softly. More Guido the Astro-Physicist. The vampire had seen and heard that name a lot in the past few weeks since the fall semester started. It was interesting.

The computer beeped, indicating Spike's email was finished downloading. The blond returned his attention to his own screen and spent the next several hours visiting cyber-worlds much less humiliating than his own.