First impressions are everything they say, I recalled, weaving down the walkway past a rusted rake that leaned precariously against an old dog crate. An old chair covered with dog hair stood before me, as I made my way up the shaky porch stairs.
Listing houses for sale is never as simple as the public’s perception, but this particular one would offer a completely new challenge. “HellllOOOO,” I bellowed through the screen door. “Anybody home?”
Rounding the corner with a tooth-missing grimace, Darlene appeared. “Sit, Sit,” she commanded, her hands in a palms down accompanying gesture, to insure I’d pick up the cue. I pulled my chair up to the dining room table, wedging my paperwork between a hamster in full throttle on his wheel, and a few rabbits energetically fornicating in a cage beside him. The smell of soiled cedar chips wafted past my nostrils with the wind of the hamster’s spinning wheel.
Trying to appear politely undaunted by the unusual centerpiece, I inquired nonchalantly as to Lou, Darlene’s husbands, whereabouts, so I could begin my presentation. Darlene informed me that he was in the shower and would be here shortly.
Being an animal lover (though not partial to housing them in my dining room) I was able to make small talk with Darlene until the sales spiel commenced. I heard a noise and glanced upward only to see Lou at the balcony, beer belly protruding grossly beyond his towel wrapped waist, he promised his attention in a matter of minutes. His hairy back slipped behind the door, and I sighed deeply as the reality of this appointment began to take hold. Warm up, break the ice, pose a problem, offer a solution, ran the steps of sales training through my head. Oh, to get to step one, I thought. “My Lou, that towel so becomes you, as thank God, it covers some of your ape-like physique.” Sensing my impatience, Darlene graciously offered up refreshment, but the cleanliness factor had long since precluded my judgment.
Soon Lou stood before me, belly first, his hands busy cracking open a can of beer. I stared at the cold droplets of condensation on Lou’s beer can, and wondered where this was going. “So what’s the place worth?” Lou burped. Before or after we move the sexually active rabbits out of the dining room? I thought sarcastically.
“Well Lou, I began, let’s start by looking at your present competition, should you decide to list.” I moved through the presentation with greater than usual speed. Meanwhile, Darlene remained adoringly fixated on Lou. I noticed there was music escalating from the next room and quietly assumed we were not alone. “Now let’s look at the comparable sales,” I shouted, as the music began to crescendo. It sounded like something from a “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” horror flick.
Finally, it was so loud, I couldn’t comfortably pretend I was okay with this any longer. “What is that?” I blurted out in blend of puzzled frustration.
“What, oh that,” said Lou casually, “that’s The Night of the Living Dead; it’s my mothers’ favorite movie.”
“YOUR MOTHER! YOUR MOTHER IS WATCHING THAT?” I uttered in disbelief.
“Yeah, let me see if she’ll turn it down a bit.”
Curiosity, moving me forward, I followed Lou into the family room next door. There, her back to us, arthritic fingers curled over the arms of the rocking chair, just like the movies, was dear old Mom. A hot flush of fear ran through me as my next question was “Is she alive?” but I reminded myself that someone had turned up the volume. She never did turn around, but I quickly did, and never looked back.
We resumed our respectful positions at the table, me, next to the prolific rabbits, Lou before his beer, and Darlene looking adoringly at Lou.
I decided to bypass a few steps of the normal sales presentation, as there was not a whole lot of normal going on around here. Apparently,I had long since lost Darlene’s attention to some subliminal influence from the rabbits, coupled with Lou emerging fresh from the shower. Therefore, I dove right into asking Lou what he would do with the money from his proceeds, should the house sell.
“I am going to open a biker bar, he said. You know, a place that only motorcyclists can gather.”
“Wouldn’t that be expensive to get a liquor license?” I asked.
“Liquor license? I wouldn’t get a liquor license,” he stated firmly.
“You wouldn’t? Why not?” I asked.
“Want to keep the riff raff out,” said Lou.
Riff raff, I pondered. Who might that be? Who might that be?