As soon as it can clear a backlog of corporate paraphernalia, eBay has reached agreement to begin auctioning off Argentina.
"Whew! Those former Enroners are keeping us very busy at the moment," said eBay spokesman, Benton Gaveleer. "They're selling anything that isn't nailed down. Still, we hope to get to the Argentine consignment by June."
EBay officials are understandably excited at this first-ever auction of an entire country and its assets.
"It will be a first," Gaveleer acknowledged, "at least in modern times, on an official auction block. Certainly there have been any number of national leaders in the past who have sold their countries down the river, so to speak, but proceeds from this sale are designated to go to the Argentine people themselves. If nothing else, they should receive enough to help them relocate should the new owners so desire."
Among the hot ticket items are the city of Buenos Aires, the fertile lands of La Pampa, and the Argentine share of the Andes Mountains. Informed sources say that such luminaries as Bill Gates, Ted Turner, and Warren Buffett have already made discreet inquiries.
"We will, of course, sell off an entire lot or break it down individually," Gaveleer stated, "though we doubt anyone would have much use for, say, the whole of the Andes."
It is a view shared by Buffett spokesman, Ian Berkshire-Hathaway who admits, "while Mr. Buffett can certainly move mountains, push coming to shove, he does prefer to be selective. I anticipate that he will consider each peak on its own merits before bidding."
Privately, Argentine officials have expressed concern that if Gates should acquire the office of Argentine President, the country's national security would be severely compromised. A Gates spokesman countered that if Mr. Gates were to win such a bid, Microsoft would offer border patches within a matter of months, "a year tops." Still other Argentines fear that the country might suddenly and inexplicably come to a standstill at random moments, thereby disrupting both intra- and international trade. It is a fear the Gates spokesman dismisses outright.
"Yeah, right. Like that could ever happen!"
A potential sticking point in the auction, Gaveleer of eBay admits, is the matter of the Falkland Islands. Argentines still insist the island group is theirs to sell as they see fit. The British have a different point of view.
"Perhaps they have forgotten Her Majesty's Armed Forces," said Sir Roland Kicksom-Arse for Prime Minister Tony Blair. "However, they would be well-advised not to think we are too preoccupied with Afghanistan not to be willing to move down the list of nations to Argentina should the need arise."
All concerns aside, Gaveleer and company at eBay look forward to the challenges. When asked how people would know the Argentine auction is imminent, he replied,
"when folks see Enron paper shredders on our site, they'll know we've cleared that backlog and they can get ready for Argentina."