Page 42 - WTP Vol. VIII #3
P. 42

Ride Share (continued from preceding page) Thinking something else.
You tell me. I show a house and give the usual sales pitch and then leave it alone, let the place sell itself.
I don’t do the full-court press. Inside, she inspects every room like she’s the health department, run- ning her ringed fingers over practically every sur- face. I assumed she was married but didn’t know
for sure. All that glitter blinded me. She complained about one of the bathrooms even though it had been newly refurbished, and when I caught her glancing
at me in the mirror I edged to the door. Then, when we get to master bedroom, what does she do? Sits
on the bed, says it’s comfortable and does it come with the house. I told her the furniture’s staged but could easily be worked into the package. You’ve got to understand that you get all types and you do the best you can. Some clients are easy while others question everything, tear the place down looking for a deal. I tell them they can make any offer they want and I’ll submit it. I didn’t assess her as anything but a poten- tial buyer and I was courteous as always. I mean I was only filling in for Christina.
Sounds like a complicated afternoon.
Yeah, I didn’t know what she was up to. As a profes- sional you follow the buyers lead. They take an inter- est in this detail or that and you talk it up. It‘s all a psychological game.
Was that the end of it?
Oh, man. I’m moving to the front door and she de- cides she wants to see the guest quarters again, and the screening room. You don’t have one of those today and they won’t even look at the place. She said it was quite intimate, and I agreed and left it at that.
Do you think she was messing with you?
That depends. You try to be charming and give the impression that you’re their ally. You try to sense their vibe. A sale is a sale, but with some it’s not worth your time.
Sounds like a delicate dance. But you’ve got a job to do, right?
Not any more.
I hesitated before saying, Maybe she was lonely. You don’t really know her situation.
How could she be lonely with all that money? Loneliness doesn’t carry a denomination. It can take
on many forms. Some come across as vulnerable, oth- ers headstrong.
He thought on this and eventually said, Maybe you’re right.
So what happened in the end?
We wrapped it up and she said she’d be in touch and I went back to the office.
I saw him run his hand through his greying hair, his features etched in defeat.
So Harken, he said, calls me into his office and asks how it went with Trask. I told him that she seemed committed. He narrowed his eyes and said my quota wasn’t anything near what it had been and Christina was out-performing me after only six months on the job. Beginner’s luck, I said, because it can happen. He let me know that it was more than that and told me Trask had phoned him saying she wasn’t happy with my disengagement. You know the competition, he said. You have to court every client like they’re a ce- lebrity. Trask has oil money. You must have known. I shook my head. Christina hadn’t said anything about her. He then says that Trask is pulling the account because I wasn’t attentive enough. When she heard what had happened Christina threatened to quit
and he had to mollify her with a raise and ask her to sweet-talk Trask back into the fold.
My passenger sighed deep and long before saying, Harken then pushed an envelope across the desk and said, Severance. We’re going to let you go. Nothing personal. Right, nothing personal. Bill, he says, the wolves are at the gate. We need the young and hun- gry if we’re going to survive.
You see how this is all effed up?
By this time I was pulling up to his Spanish ranch and he thanked me and got out, straightening his jacket as if going for an interview. As he walked away, I called, Good luck, and he raised his hand without looking back and plodded to the front door. He was fumbling with his keys when a light went on inside before the door suddenly opened. That’s when it started.
I usually don’t begin a conversation with my passen- gers unless they in initiate it, but I had to speak up about the hour when an elderly couple climbed in as I was winding up my shift.
You two are up late. Special occasion?

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