The realtor walks into the municipal office. He wouldn’t have bothered, but he has time to spare and the new girl there caught his eye. Unfortunately, she’s not there when he walks in.
“Are you here to find out about your commission?” The clerk in the office is a frumpy thing, about thirty pounds overweight, too pale with too much makeup and a frizzled mess on her head that has seen too many home perms and die jobs too close together.
Her clothes are a combination of cheap and ill-fitting dreadful articles, which he suspects were designed by a fashion designer who is either colorblind or was drunk.
“She could be pretty if she toned down the effort and went more natural,” he thinks. He gives her his best appealing smile, trying to throw a little flirt into it for good measure. “Hi Sally. The auction was last week. Any bites on the old Bennett place?”
She smiles and shakes her head, instantly hating herself for that unwanted smile. It’s a nervous reaction to feeling bad and embarrassed for him. “That derelict old place? It’s been abandoned for thirty years. I can’t believe you bothered chasing down a commission on that.”
“Beggars can’t be losers.” “You’ve got that completely wrong. They saying is beggars can’t be choosers.” “And? How did the auction go?” Her smile grows, growing crooked too. “That guy showed up at the auction. The only one too.” He raises a questioning eyebrow.
She smirks bigger. She didn’t mean to. She just couldn’t help it. It’s funny in a sad pathetic kind of way. “He bought it.”
The realtor perks up, almost perks up. His reaction is small, but hopeful. There’s a reason he wasted time chasing down a losing sale. He’s not a very good realtor and is desperate for a sale. Any sale. Although he steadfastly blames the housing market being in a slump for his poor sales record.
“How much?” “A thousand.” She tries hard to make her face take on a solemn expression, fighting the embarrassed smirk pulling the corners of her lips up. She’s embarrassed for having to give him the sour news, and for him. She feels bad for him.
“He works so hard and deserves better,” she thinks. She loses and her lips curl up in an awkward smirk. The realtor bristles at her smirk.
“She’s laughing at me,” he thinks. A thousand dollars. The number is a jolt. The commission won’t even cover his gas. He feels sick. He feels sickened too, at the futility, the joke of it.
“I’m a joke,” he thinks. “Sally thinks I’m a joke, judging by her amused smirk. My wife does too.”
“Bastard.” He almost mutters it out loud, managing to keep the oath under his breath. Sally still hears and flushes with deeper embarrassment at having to witness his shame.
He grimaces at her, trying to be polite, burning with the time wasted showing the guy the house. He knew before he approached the municipality about trying to help them offload the property that it would be a waste of his time.
His best chance was finding someone gullible enough to pay more than it’s worth. More likely, he might have found someone who would pay the value of the land without the house.
fees owed on the property. In this case, all they wanted is to write it off their books. “Thanks Sally.” He takes the opportunity to leave.