When the room had been emptied all sound within echoed. I walked in and the sound of my heels knocking on the floor preceded me. It was a lovely empty space with so many possibilities. It had one large window with a view of the morning eastern sun settled over the city by the sea. I could stand here endlessly contemplating and meditating about all the beauty of this room but I had things to do and a reason to be here, so I drifted my focus to more earthly endeavors.
I looked at my clock. The hand ticked and holding it in my hand took me closer to the acting moment that had rendered me there. A new hour struck, yet my party was still not here.
My heels paced from side to side by the window. Clonk, clonk, tick, tick, the seconds passed and the tension rose. I was about to walk out the door decidedly leaving the emptiness and the nervousness behind, when he walked in clutching his cane walking on airs of debonair.
“I’m sorry to be late,” he said wiping the sweat from his brow.
“The important part is that your here. Shall we?” I said pretending not to be annoyed, but he did not even acknowledge me with his eyes. He walked as quickly as he could with a firm stride towards the magnificent window.
“As we had previously discussed, you wanted a big open space with plenty of light and a view,” I added expecting some reassurance of having found the right place for him. He however mocked me with the uncertainty of his silence.
He walked around with plenty of ease, inspecting every corner, electrical outlet, sink, toilet, counter and cabinet. His meticulously intimate inspection made the inanimate objects in the room feel they were in some way below his standard.
“The cabinets are handcrafted cedar wood made by an Italian master woodworker,” I said attempting to reassure his level of quality, as well as, ease the cabinet’s downplayed insecurity.
He quickly walked away from me as softly as a cloud and as quickly as the wind.
“The electric was upgraded this past summer and all outlets have been exchanged for more modern ones,” I said quickly before receiving his look of reproach. He rubbed his chin between his thumb and index finger, appearing undecided. I felt their still was hope.
He went into the bathroom and flushed the toilet and suddenly the strong sound of evacuating suction echoed uncomfortably in all the room. I cringed that the toilet was not silent but even more than that, my client would not put up with such a heinous sound, not especially if he was to have guests.
“The room won’t have such a big echo once there is furniture inside,” I said wanting to hide behind the counter with embarrassment, especially when he darted his eyes at me like a whip.
“How much?” he asked piercing the sound barrier with the heavy weight of his words.
“Ten thousand a month.”
“Good Luck!” he mocked as he walked away towards the door showing me for the first time an obvious limp.
I walked hurriedly behind him pleading. “But, but… This is prime space in the city!”
As he turned to close the door behind him, he gave me a smug smile and a bitter taste in my mouth.
The elevator door closed. The reflection of my smug face said it all, as I clutched my cane tightly in my hand like a rolled up wad of bills. I felt like doing a little happy dance, but I did not want to risk savoring victory before holding it in my treasured palm.
Outside, the car refracted the shinny presence of the almighty sun on to the glass of the adjacent building. I walked out greeted by these lights, triumphantly pumping my chest out.
“So how did it go? Does this place work?” said my partner with bulging eyes seeming as expectant as a child at Christmas.
“I left her as upset as needed for you to move in to the second phase of our plan. You should have seen the look she had when I left.” I bragged. We both gave each other complicit smiles as our eyes met one on one in a single track thought.
I hunched back into the car, hiding, with the window open so I could hear and watch them both interact through the reflection of glass on the rearview mirror. My heart thumped expectant.
I cued my partner quickly to look for her walking out, and as soon as those long stems in black high heels strolled out, he quickly yet unassumingly, bumped into her body on the sidewalk in such a careless distracted way that made it appear as if it truly was an accident.
He may have been too forceful in doing so because she fell backwards like a cinder block hitting the paved cement and all the papers she carried from her real estate listings flew up in the sky like unleashed doves from a cage. Her pocketbook contents were all conveniently squandered like pigeon pieces of bread over the sidewalk, in as big a disarray as she was.
The pedestrians walked on by annoyed by the flight of large white snowflakes that crumpled under their hurriedly dirty, yet uncaring feet.
The woman looked as though she just wanted to stay on the floor; she then sighed distraught. This inevitably brought a smile to my face. Her day was quickly moving more unfavorably as the clock dialed up in number.
“I’m very sorry. Please, let me help you.” My partner flashed her a charmingly flirtatious smile, that opened the door of hope to all her calamities. She took his hand and got up smiling back at her handsome and clumsy stranger.
“It’s been a hell of a day already!” she complained rolling her eyes towards the sky.
“I’m sorry to make it worse,” he bobbed his head to the side granting her sympathy.
As she straightened her skirt and hair, my partner quickly gathered as much as he could on the floor before she even acknowledged anything missing in her dismay. She joined him quickly picking up all her belongings as best as possible. The glare from the sun reflected on my partners glasses briefly blinding her enough to have to look down to where her phone was on the floor ringing. She sighed in frustration.
“I have to run. I’m late for my next appointment. Thanks for helping.” She spoke as hurriedly as her steps clonked away before giving him the opportunity to say anything more.
My partner climbed in the drivers seat of the car.
“So? Do you have it?” I asked getting nothing but a very serious straight face glaring back at me through the mirror. My partner sighed as if he had failed in his mission. I cocked my head to the side and closed my eyes in disappointment. I was getting ready to give him a patronizing speech.
“I got you!” he said revealing a playful and immature grin through the mirror as he held up the keys with his index finger and thumb, dangling them noisily against his palm.
I meet his eye in the mirror and once more the complicit single thought united us to continue unto phase three….
All the anticipation was building and getting to me, like a soda pop that bubbles when shaken with excitement. I had to try and calm myself down, of course, I didn’t want to pop the cap before its time.
My partner kept looking at the clock. I could feel his nervous pressure with the weight of his stare, chastising me when he saw my giddy wide eyes. I tried my best to conceal it with veiled pretense, but instead, I just looked away. I took a few deep breaths, touched the cloth on the top of my dress shirt and pressed it all the way down against my chest for a sense of reassurance as I leaned against the glass building.
My partner walked limping in towards the elevator and upstairs to the apartment with the view to wait for our prospect, while I stood outside all eyes. We gave each other one last look and nodded in agreement. We both placed in our ear pieces so we could communicate and listen to one another if need be. Mine looked like I was listening to cool tunes on my phone, while my partners aimed to look as if it was a hearing aide. I bobbed my head in dual purpose, mocking an upbeat music tune and easing out my nervous tension.
The sky began to darken from those bright blinding sunny rays to a dark gray, cloudy-blue. I pursed my lips and continued bobbing my head to an invisible rhythm; all the time attempting to appease the brewing pit of my stomach, that now thumped in suspense.
Our prospect came walking down the street in a cool carefree stride. He paused looked up at the sky and hurried inside the building.
“Lamb walking into slaughterhouse,” I said in a low tone to my partner.
“Copy,” he said coldly back.
The thumping sensation in the pit of my stomach mimicked a heartbeat with an adrenaline rush. At that moment I was overcome by the downpour of the heavens gloom.
The drops prickled on my bare skin forcing my face down towards the floor. All my clothes got blessed, as if floating on a pagan church basin. My socks felt squishy and murky like I stepped into mud. —Ugh!—
“Yea… Wow! I really love this place! The view is magnificent!” I heard our prospect elated over my earpiece. “How much?” he changed his tone, to an obvious penny pinching one.
“I hope you brought your checkbook with you?” I heard my partner say with a smile to his prospect. “Just for being a fellow veteran like myself, I’ll give you a discount on my commission. The rent on this place is ten large, my commission is five, plus one months security deposit.”
“How much do I need today to secure the place?”
“If you can write me a check for ten grand today, we can start the paperwork, and you can move in as quickly as next week if you want.”
I heard a long silent pause where our prospect was thinking about it or maybe just looking out the window, in an eternally suspenseful second. -Gulp!-
“Great!” said our prospect, and I sighed knowing the bird was in our hands.
All around me the umbrellas started to pop open, sharp and taut. The noise from the water splashing the ground and the impermeable material made it hard to hear my earpiece; then again, it was drenched. I shook my earpiece a little but it was laying lifeless floating in a small puddle on my palm. For an instant it didn’t seem to matter, this was a closed deal; however, the angst in my belly was still there, for some reason I was unable to wash the sensation away.
I continued to to bob my head, when I noticed a few feet away what looked more like a wet mop than a graceful swan. It was the woman! I quickly put my earpiece back.
“The dove is coming back to the nest, I repeat, the dove is coming back to the nest!” I said sensing my warning was futile.
I wanted to go in and warn my partner, however it was as though I suddenly stood stoic. The woman noticed me and reacted with a quizzical look. She approached me before I could leave.
“Hey, did you happen to see if I dropped my keys,” she said almost shouting so I could hear her despite Nature’s watery symphony.
I was stuck between wanting to run inside to my partner, run away from the woman or run to the skies in desperation. Instead, I just stood there inert and cold like a marble statue while my insides collapsed and folded over.
My partner was walking out with our prospect, when we all met eyes. Like the key in a lock it all suddenly clicked for the woman. Her body temperature rose in anger, and her feverish face was evaporating the rain around her creating these hellish fumes.
The woman kicked my partner on his bad ankle causing him to dance painfully on one leg. She then slapped me on the face with such might and impact, that my welted check continued to pulse in bloody pain.
The prospect completely oblivious raised his hands outraged and knocked my partner over by accident, as all the fake paperwork and our paycheck fell into the overflowing sidewalk and down the gutter.
(This three part exercise was about using one of any five senses to tell a story.)