Flash Fiction—The Big Sale

20130731-001028.jpgThe penultimate day in Flash Fiction Month, and here’s another story in traditional narrative form, more or less. Sort of Eleanor Rigby meets Penny Lane minus Strawberry Fields, with a very weak hint of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Only I’m not John Lennon or Paul McCartney. So, it’s just another suburban story of people passing each other by because they think someone else out there will fill the dream, passing their dreams by in the hope of another big score. Here’s to the peace talks, my friendly readers.

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The Big Sale

A clean day, she thought, on her way to work. Perhaps it’s a sign that her big customer would come in today. The train clacked its way through busy suburban mornings, workers on the platforms under waiting skies.

Her life of a realtor, a bedroom community commuter, bored her. She once wanted to paint. She wrote a bit now, mostly in the evening after supper. She dreamed of becoming a sculptor, forming metal with her torch in hand.

Perhaps, when the big customer came, the sale that would let her walk away from real estate, then she would rent a studio.

She adjusted her skirt as she shifted in her seat. Out the window she saw an anonymous street, people waving good morning. She didn’t know the low down on the characters or what tea the men’s wives found okay, but she could read the pantomime. The train moved out of the indistinguishable station, closing the show before the reviews came in.

The man across the aisle nodded at her before turning back to his cell phone updates. Apparently he had observed her watching the street, imagined a shared consciousness. She wondered what went through his mind, what was different from her own musing, if any one thought was the same or even similar.

He didn’t seem like much: rumpled suit, standard smart phone, suburban-dead eyes that might hold a small glint of fantasized adultery. She figured him for an accountant or insurance adjuster.

At her stop she saw him getting up, too. He smiled. She restrained from giving him a grimace, but couldn’t bring a smile.

Drinking her coffee at her desk a short while later, she checked her email again. Nothing new.

The man from the train came into the office. They recognized each other, of course.

“I’m, um, looking for Amanda Moyer?”

“You’ve found her,” she went into full professional mode. “How can I help you?”

It turned out he had found her name in a listing for a high-end condo overlooking the river. He wanted to see it.

“I guess most people call. I like to see the person I’m working with, though, before they know we’ll be working together. Old fashioned, I guess.”

“You didn’t follow me on the train, did you?” She tried to laugh it into a joke.

“No, no. I’m living out in Glendale temporarily. Until I find a new place.”

Divorced, it turned out, and he’d been renting. Now he wanted to settle in, buy a place. Financing wouldn’t be a problem, he assured her.

He didn’t like the first condo, but agreed to see another one she told him about.

“The price is higher. What range are you looking in?”

“Price isn’t a problem.”

He wasn’t an accountant or insurance adjuster. He had sold a high tech start up for a number with more zeros than Amanda could count.

He bought the fifth condo she showed him, a very expensive one, so he indeed was her big customer. She could have walked away and lived on the commission for many good years.

But she didn’t. She thought another two or three like this sale, and she could retire for good, if she invested right.

They started dating a few weeks after the big sale closed. But he found her dull, a mere realtor, she guessed. He wanted someone more exciting—a painter or a writer. It only lasted another few weeks.

“You know,” he told her over their last coffee together, “I always thought I’d be with someone creative. Maybe a sculptor, a woman who could form metal into art. Someone like that.”

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