Crystal usually spends most of her time exchanging tidbits with the potential clients over home-made cookies in the kitchen. Subtly, the feature of arguably the most important room in the house would be shown off. The potential-client’s responses would be monitored adeptly, and finally, a natural procession to the other rooms of the house would be made. All would unfold as it has for the nearly ten years now that Crystal had been “selling.” And we all do something well. At least one thing, as Crystal was apt to say on occasion.
If there were good lighting, as there always seemed to be in Mill Valley, that fact would be mentioned. Casually, as one would address a confidant, she would ask if the person was a neighbor or, searching on behalf of a friend considering a move into the area for a job or such. “Are you working with an agent?” “Where they searching for something specific? Any must-haves?”
…and then her eyes would twinkle in anticipation. Never would this experience grow stale for her.
Parallelograms of light on the hard wood floors, originating from the windows on all sides -a quite home centered in a preternaturally quiet town. The omniscient hue of green grass lent the light the subtle magic of a forest. Staged, as the home was, with furniture from mid-century-modern, the décor seemed to reinforce the feeling of out-of-time-ness. It may have been the early 21st century, but, no-one knew that here.
A stillness ensued between Crystal’s attaching the last pink balloon out front and the arrival of the first would-be client.
How much of life boils down to a mere transaction? -thought Crystal as she appraised the curb appeal of the Mill Valley bungalow, wrap around porch with hardy plank siding, Denver Green was the color -she could tell that now.
The Vanilla Soy candles would be arranged in a careful semi-circle on the coffee table. The disclosure statements would be neatly stacked on the rectangular dining-room table, by the cylindrical glass vase filled with star-gazer lilies. A Summer breeze was sure to waft the scents, especially with the opening and closing of the doors -front and back. Shall she heap selling points upon all the others?
Open houses in Mill Valley were all but redundant for all but attracting new clients. There was one last gaze towards the picket fence with its balloon -no breeze to speak of, as she waited in a manner similar to that of a spider -in its lair -and as softly, in the living room. The street view was charming, but, not busy. Then, he walked by, paused, as he took in the front of the house, and then walked up the front walk-way -a series of stones, up the wooden stairs, and to the front door. And, predictably, it opened.
Crystal, already, had forced herself to forget what had obviously been bloodstains in the storage room upstairs. She was an expert on the varying levels of cleanliness left behind by previous owners. Despite the ready sale-ability, due to the location, the previous owners, two very strange men, thought Crystal, had obviously been keen on removing all traces of the stains. The locations and size of the stains suggested violence. This, she realized, even without the use of her sixth sense; her ability to see beyond the present moment. She had her own private and powerful view of the past. It would haunt her always, and not just because of what she had seen in the storage room, windowless, and, presently, without furniture.
Later that day, Crystal’s thoughts would fall back to that first would-be client, by the looks of it, an Iraq-war veteran. He had no hands, or, more correctly, prosthetic metal hands. Although she was impressed by how well they worked, and how well he worked with them, despite herself, she found herself helping him with simple tasks such as opening doors and cupboards. ‘Larry’ -was his name.
And, he was unassuming, and, otherwise, unremarkable. Crystal had a capacity for remembering small details as well.
Despite the unusually warm morning in Mill Valley, Larry had worn a long-sleeve plaid shirt, perhaps to hide where the prosthetics joined the remainder of his fore-arms. Where one began and the other ended Crystal never could discern despite the stolen glances taken whenever the opportunity presented itself. Larry tended to look into Crystal’s eyes when not casually inspecting the house.
With some disappointment, the briefest conversation with Larry revealed how weak his finances were. Apparently he had a wife, although she would not be present for some vague reason that even Crystal seemed to have forgotten. It had something to do with working overtime as a school teacher for a school play or some such thing. Larry was between jobs.
The loan application would take some creativity. But, everyone understood that the days of buying a home you could actually afford in Northern California were long gone. It would be best to keep certain facts under wraps and present the best of their combined incomes from the previous year. Still current enough for the bank, it was a matter of not mentioning facts. This would be the most reliable form of lie.
The changing market required changing methods -she would muse while locking the door to the back deck after the open-house had ended and the last client had left. Crystal had things down to a checklist at this point. This would be a Mill Valley sale with the attendant size in commission.
Copyright Protected Work. All Rights Reserved. – by James Legare 3-20-17
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