Monday, June 22, 2009

Real Estate

Real Estate
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 1,078

Raymond Stubbs flicked through the business card holder on his small, student desk in his single room flat. There were sixty or so Real Estate agent business cards, each with a glamorous photograph of the agent taking up a third of the face of the card.

“You’ll do today,” he said, pulling out the card of a middle aged woman, Paula Stark.

Raymond dialled the number of the office.

“Good morning, my name is Dave Parker,” Raymond said. “I am looking for a small three bedroom house in Balmoral.”

“Good morning, Mr. Parker. You are in luck; I have just listed a property in that suburb.”

‘Like I didn’t know that, you dumb bitch,’ Raymond thought to himself.

“When can I see it?”

“I can show you through this morning, at...say, 10.00 am.”

“That sounds fantastic, what is the address?”

“17 Oxford Street, that’s the main road at Bulimba.”

“Great, see you there at ten.”

Raymond hung up, and then went to the bathroom. He opened the top draw of the vanity, pulled out his costume kit and selected a thick moustache and tortoise shell glasses. He doubted that she would remember him, but better to be safe than sorry.
At nine o’clock, Raymond drove to Oxford Street and pulled up in front of the house. Paula’s face was plastered across the For Sale sign on the fence. The house was an old Queenslander with a spacious yard; one of the few not yet knocked down for a block of units in this prestigious part of Brisbane. He walked along the street, checking that the neighbours were all out to work or at least, not home to be witnesses.

The time went quickly and Raymond recognised the Real Estate agent’s car, a SAAB, as she pulled up in front of his old non-descript, Ford Falcon. He was waiting for her at the front gate, smiling like a small child on their birthday.

“Mr. Parker?” Paula said, stepping out of her car.

“Yes, that’s me,” he said, putting out his hand.

Paula shook his hand, firmly, but her grip was soft and feminine. Raymond could tell there was no real strength in her, so this was going to be easy. She then led him into the house.

“Nice,” Raymond said, looking at the security screens and dead bolted doors.

“Yes, the owners have spent a considerable amount of time and money renovating this piece of Queensland history and are reluctant to sell. I shouldn’t be telling you this,” Paula said softly. “But the husband has just been promoted and they have to move overseas by the end of the month.”

‘Just what you probably said to the people you showed through my house,’ Raymond thought. ‘Bet you’ll knock a few thousand off to sell it quickly so you’ll get your commission sooner.’

“So, I’d have a fair chance at bargaining the price down?”

Paula smiled, thinking she’d hooked him. Nothing like sweetening the deal to make the buyer think they have a better chance of securing the purchase. Once she had them hooked, she’d up the ante and lock both the seller and buyer into a deal that neither would be happy with later on.

“Have a look around, and then we’ll put together the paperwork for your offer. I’m sure we can negotiate a good deal for you.”

“What about the seller? Will they get the best deal to?”

Raymond thought, ‘That’s why you have a picture of the house on the sign and in the newspaper, rather than your shameless self promotion by putting your ugly fucking face on all the ads. Raymond bit his tongue. He was losing his cool, the old feelings of rage surfaced.

“I try and match the buyers and sellers as best I can,” Paula said. “If I do my job right, then everyone is happy.”

‘Then why did you take eight months to fail at selling my house. Make me get so far behind in my mortgage that the bank sold my house in a week, leaving me with nothing.’ Raymond thought to himself.

“Fair enough,” Raymond said. He walked casually into the kitchen, leaving Paula in the hallway.

Raymond walked casually around the house, pretending to be interested in its features until he reached the bathroom.

“Excuse me, Paula,” he said, sticking his head out into the hallway. “Can you come here; I have a question about something in here?”

“Yes, no problems,”

Paula walked briskly down the hall and into the black and white tiled bathroom with a large wall mirror above the basin.

Raymond grabbed her and shoved a tissue drenched with chloroform over her mouth and nose. She struggled, but her strength was no match for Raymond’s rage. In less than a minute, Paula was unconscious.

Raymond dropped her limp body to the ground and went to the dining room and returned with a chair to prop Paula up on in front of the mirror. He then pulled a Stanley knife from his trouser pocket and began to work on Paula’s face, careful so as to prevent her from bleeding to death. The cuts were deep and would scar, but she would like. And that is what Raymond wanted, to scar every Real Estate agent vain enough to use their photo on their ads, business cards and signs. He believed that these salespeople were only interested in self promotion, rather than being a professional property conveyor.

“I’ll teach you a lesson about what buyers want,” Raymond said, laughing as he carved away. “And it has nothing to do with your ugly fucking face.”

He sliced both of Paula’s nostrils, then her ears, dropping them into the basin after severing the tough cartilage.

“If you spent that money on promoting my house instead of yourself, I bet you would have sold my house. One thousand dollars on advertising and all I got out of it was being homeless. Don’t see why I should have paid for your publicity, you bitch.”
Raymond stopped butchering and looked at Paula’s face in the mirror. He then pulled a small digital camera from his pocket and took a photo to put on the business card when he got home. Raymond smiled, and then slowly walked to his car, thumbing through a pile of other business cards on his way.


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