Mike Mullett was fresh-faced and sweaty. Two days after joining Robson Pierre, Estate Agents he found himself waiting nervously outside 57 Pine Tree Approach, Penge holding tightly onto both a set of newly-minted particulars and the contents of his rumbling stomach. His boss, Kevin Pierre’s final words were ‘This couple are time-wasters. Show them around, make polite noises and come right back. Sell this heap of shit and I’ll marry your granny.’
The Trollopes were notorious among south London Agents for both being choosy and constantly bickering. Mike spotted them from 100 yards: Melissa with what Kevin described as her CBA – compulsive bosom adjustment – and Ebenezer with his expression like he had swallowed a wasp moments before. Mike did his best to ooze charm but it remained essentially waterborne.
‘Got the details? Yer man said it met our criteria.’
‘Criteria?’ Already Mike felt he had been driven onto the back foot.
‘Christ. Are you another gormless cretin? Come on, let’s see what we have.’
Mike led the way, reading as he went. The semi was utterly unexceptional which oddly seemed to please the Trollopes. They had worked their way from the top down with Mike turning the pages as he read the details.
‘That it?’ Mr Trollope sighed.
Mike flicked over to the final side. ‘No, there’s a…’ He stopped.
‘I think it must be a typo. I…’
Mrs Trollope put her head round the kitchen door. ‘There’s a door here. Is there a basement?’
‘Er…’ Mike stared at the sheet of paper. ‘It says…’
But Mr Trollope already had the door open and the couple were descending some rickety wooden stairs. Mike followed.
No one spoke. The enormous space, the fan vaulting, the smooth Portland stone paving, all lit with a strange sepulchral glow rendered them speechless. Eventually Mr Trollpe said. ‘What’s this place?’
Mike shook his head. ‘It says ‘crypt’.’
‘Bloody Hell.’ Mr Trollope turned to his wife. ‘What do you think, Mel?’
‘Perfect.’ She replied. ‘Mother will be very happy down here.’
Mike Mullett accepted the handshakes from Mr and Mrs Trollope with a detachment born as much from the stunning splendor of what he had seen as from the realisation that he had some difficult explaining to do to his grandmother.
This story is prompted by Sue Vincent’s #writephoto