“I’m not going to GIVE my house away!”

Blaine leaned back in his seat, laced his fingers behind his head and closed his eyes. This appointment was over. It was over before it started, in fact. A humorless smile played at the corners of his mouth.

“Something funny,” the would-be seller demanded.

“No, Mr. Davis, nothing funny. It’s just been awhile since I’ve heard that one,” Blaine replied.

Opening his eyes, he was surprised to find his red-faced counterpart had gone an even angrier shade of crimson. The lone stop remaining in the color palette of denial was purple. He’d only seen purple once, and that poor bugger had stroked out right in front of him while discussing the merits of a leaky faucet in an inspection report. One more comparable sale placed upon the glass top of the breakfast table between them and he’d be calling Mr. Davis an ambulance.

“Goddamn Realtors. I was dealing with guys like you before you were born. You just want to slap the lowest price you can on a house so it sells fast,” the now twitching homeowner spat.

“I’m just showing you the data, Mr. Davis. Do you want to see the rest of it,” Blaine asked.

“Waste of time, I can see where you’re going. You want me to list my house at the same price that all of those bank and short sale properties sold for, but my home IS NOT DISTRESSED, you nitwit,” Mr. Davis railed.

“It’s awfully hard to propose an opinion of value without first presenting the background data, Mr. Davis,” Blaine countered. “I put two days into the analysis, but if you want me to cut straight to the chase, I will.”

“About time,” the seller scolded. Even his hair looked pissed.

“Five hundred thousand.”

“FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND?! I paid five fifty for it!”

“Yes, you did. Two years ago. In a declining market,” Blaine finished.

“But, but …,” Mr. Davis sputtered, “but then I have to pay commissions and closing costs on top of that?”

“Yes, sir.”

Blaine looked at his watch and fiddled with his briefcase. He knew exactly what was coming.

“Well, I’m not paying you to sell my house at a loss! Your commission will be whatever we get over five hundred,” Mr. Davis decreed.

“You don’t understand, Mr. Davis. Five hundred thousand is my recommended list price. I anticipate you will actually sell closer to four seventy five,” Blaine answered.

That did it. Mr. Davis turned purple.

“FOUR SEVEN- you want me to sell seventy five k below what I paid, and to pay you for the f&%$ing privilege,” Mr. Davis bellowed.

The sudden rise in octave caused a stirring behind one of the barnyard-themed curtains in the adjoining bay window. A black form exploded past Mr. Davis’s shoulder, leaving a tornado of paperwork in its wake as it shot across the table and out of the room.

“What the hell …,” Blaine mustered, absently pawing his face for blood.

“I guess Mordor doesn’t like your price, either,” Mr. Davis opined, cracking his first smile as he gestured in the direction the previously unseen cat had fled. His face receded to an animated pink, and the whites of his eyes returned, liberating the inquisitive green irises that had first greeted Blaine at the door. A deep sigh punctuated the sudden shift in disposition, and resignation washed across his creased features.

“List at five and sell for four seventy five, you say,” Mr. Davis asked.

“Yes, sir. That’s the best we can possibly hope for.”

“I suppose you have something for me to sign?”

“I do,” Blaine confirmed and withdrew the listing forms from his briefcase. He stooped to gather up his strewn paperwork while the seller signed the agreement, but was stifled by a light palm across his chest.

“It’s my mess, son. I’ll clean it up.”

———— <BEEP> <BEEP> <BEEP> <BEEP> <BEEP> <BEEP> ———–

Blaine blindly groped the nightstand for the shrieking alarm. Finding it, he pressed random buttons until the dark room returned to silence. Once fully immersed in the wakeful world, dread began forming in the pit of his stomach.  Yet another day of unlistable listing appointments. A quick shower and quicker breakfast, and he was out the door, for once hoping to cross paths with a few black cats.


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