A Thoughtful Viewing #shortstory #flashfiction

This week at the Ranch, Anne Goodwin has taken the reins and has prompted us thus.

You’ve probably guessed it already, I’m inviting you to compose a 99-word flash on the theme of showing someone around a property. Who’s showing whom, and how do they feel about it? Is it a country house, a garden shed or something in between? Is it even a building or is it a piece of land or a virtual property like website or blog? Don’t let your imagination be constrained by four walls.

I’ve bought and sold a few properties in my dusty years. I’ve seen more than enough properties too in my life as a real estate lawyer and had experiences a plenty in that time, most notably when visiting a property with a prospective buyer and asking the selling agent ‘what’s in there?’

It was a room in an office basement, next to the car park entrance. ‘Don’t know,’ said the terse, slick-oiled salesprick as he fingered his key collection. We waited as he checked the labels attached to each key, the client and me. Finally the client got tired and tried the door handle. It moved a fraction and was then yanked open. ‘Yes?’ The man facing us was pale, as in Casper the Ghost pale with translucent lips. Behind him, stretching into the gloom was a glory hole, like an old fashioned ironmongers. Somewhere past the tool set sat a bench with a stove and behind that the outline of a bed. A TV flickered in one corner. Wires hung from holes in the ceiling from which he sourced power, telephone and TV signals all at the owners expense. A strange contraption, like a funnel attached to an exhaust pipe tapped into the air-conditioning system. ‘Who are you?’ asked the sharp-suited shitehawk and see-through man simultaneously. A furious row ensued as we, the client and me, reversed away, partly so as not to be embroiled in this dispute and partly so we could seek out some oxygen. We went and checked out the boilers and the back up generation while the other two established some ground rules. The building is now the main editorial offices of a major national newspaper and was a department store in its previous life. From what we heard later, the squatter, apparently at one time on the maintenance team, had been there for 15 years, 11 of them illegitimately. For food he popped into the car park and raided the rubbish bins. From the smell I’m not sure where he popped for his ablutions.  Ah me, I miss my old job. Not.

And this week’s flash has Mary revisiting her doubts about her half-brother, Rupert.

There’s close and there’s too close

Rupert hopped from foot to foot. ‘Well?’

To Mary he was like a child asking a parent for approval. ‘It’s fine.’

‘You don’t like it? The bedroom? Too small?’

‘No…’

‘The kitchen?’

‘Really, it’s good.’ It was delightful so why wasn’t she saying so?

‘I’ll tell the agent to keep looking.’ He turned and ran his finger along the built-in bookcase. ‘Shame really…’

Looking at his slumped shoulders and thinning hair she saw, not just her half-brother but their father. He turned, surprising her. ‘I’m determined to move close. You’re my only family now.’

She nodded, her question answered.

And here you can catch up on Mary and her family

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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15 Responses to A Thoughtful Viewing #shortstory #flashfiction

  1. Um. Wow. That’s some story. At first, I honestly thought it was your fiction. O_o Though it’s nice to see Mary again (and always in some sort of pain dumped on her by you). Rupert living nearby? That’s going to be lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ritu says:

    Another great take! 😀

    Like

  3. Well. Close family living close is always nice, if they get along.
    Great story. Lots of punch.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charli Mills says:

    That scene from your life reads like a forgotten episode of the X-Files! What a disturbing discovery. Rupert on the other hand, good on him. He’s making a stand for family which he always has in this story. He’s consistent and Mary is learning.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Showing Someone Around « Carrot Ranch Communications

  6. Annecdotist says:

    Fabulous stories, both the real-life and fiction (although we’re getting to know Mary and her family so well she seems real). I can see you opening up many more possibilities with Rupert just around the corner.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Norah says:

    Brilliant fiction as usual, Geoff, but I think your factual tale tops it this time. It’s a beauty. What a caring neighbourhood! Not. But what an innovative squatter. I hope he went on to more salubrious accommodation.

    Liked by 1 person

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