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?’
‘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