Authors: Josie Daleiden
Tags: #fiction, #romance, #adventure, #fun, #funny, #temptation, #sell
“Did you, you know... while I was out cold?”
She asked slowly.
“Oh God no! I
an asshole Sarah, but
not a monster. I just made sure you would miss you meeting. That's
all.” He said firmly.
“Well, for your little chemistry experiment
on my behalf, you just earned another two hours stuck to my
client's door. Ta ta, Joey boy!” She sang, as she slipped her phone
back in her purse.
Joe tossed his phone on the broken bag of
powdered chalk. He had underestimated this girl. Part of him was
happy to finally have a worthy adversary, and the other part was
slightly scared of what she might do next.
A couple of days later Sarah straightened her
blouse while she took in the cool morning air. The Nickersons were
a tough couple to please. She knew that she could sell them on this
house though. If she had to hold them at knifepoint, she would get
them to make an offer!
Oh man, what was she saying...?
As the terse, young couple pulled up in their
BMW SUV, Sarah made one more touch up run on her makeup. While the
two got out of the car, Sarah strode over to meet them at the
“Hello guys!” She offered cheerfully. “Thank
you for rescheduling on such short notice. It was crazy yesterday.”
She said with a friendly laugh that morphed into an awkward
“Well, we are very busy people Sarah. We had
heard such good things about this housing tract, and we wanted to
give you one last chance.” Mr. Nickerson said, as he walked up the
path to the large entryway.
Sarah followed behind them, and stared at
Mrs. Nickerson and her perfect little housewife figure. While she
was trying to comprehend how mach Pilates one has to do to keep
that kind of body, she reached into her bag to find the combination
for the lock box that held the house key.
“Just a minute!” She said brightly, as she
thumbed in the combination.
As the key fell into her hands, she could
feel the burning look of impatience on her back like focused
sunlight through a magnifying glass.
“Now as you can see, the large entry....”
Sarah's well-thought out sales pitch was cut
short by a flood of little foam packing peanuts, as they washed
down from the top of the door and settled around the ankles of the
group. The looks of startled annoyance turned to disgust, as the
Nickersons threw their hands up and made a hasty departure. Sarah
turned back to look at the wall of little foam twists, as they
stood packed inside the entry way to her biggest house. She ran
along the side yard to look in another window, only to see another
solid white mass of packing peanuts. The other windows revealed the
same view. The entire floor was packed solid with the little foam
pieces! She held out her phone and counted down in her head. “
When the phone beeped, she answered in her
best happy voice, but it just sounded bile-filled and sarcastic
anyway. “Hey Joe. Nice stunt! I have to congratulate you on this.
It was a little juvenile, but well thought out.”
Joe was ripping along the 210 Highway,
darting in and out of traffic like it was a mass of parked cars.
His Porsche screamed in defiance, as he down shifted and dropped
the clutch. The sound of his squealing tires could be heard as his
car wound down and shot off onto a side street. He slammed the
shift lever into another gear, and smiled to check his teeth in the
rear view mirror as the car screamed like a banshee.
“Juvenile? Ouch Miss Bella, that was harsh.
Do you know how much planning went into that setup? I had to
consult a structural engineer and everything. I'll have you know
that the interior of the whole first floor is filled solid to the
walls. There's actually a five PSI load spread universally
throughout the walls from the packing peanuts! HA!” He bellowed to
himself, as his came to a stop in the gym parking lot. “Look, I
have a spin class to get to, but you have fun finding a group of
guys to sweep up all of those little wispy pieces of foam.” He
silenced his phone and dropped it in his gym bag. His veins were
filled with an almost viscous sort of pride that only came from
besting your true match in battle.
Sarah kicked at the little white pieces as
she held her phone against her head. This made them even for the
last sale. It was all going to come down to the last open house.
She needed help like never before. She was also dreading what Joe
had planned for this last hurrah.
The last week was filled with more planning
than a mass wedding. She pulled out all the stops, and tried to
figure every angle of attack Joe might use. On top of that, she
also had to nail down her own open house, and make sure it was the
best one of her career. While she sat at her desk in the Nelson
Realty office, her boss came over and sat down across from her.
“Hi Mr. Nelson.” She beamed with genuine
happiness. She always loved talking with him, but it had become a
little weird as of late, given that she was seeing him at the strip
club more than at work. They still talked shop at the club, as they
drank from his stash of top shelf scotch that he kept under lock
and key for just himself.
They had become old souls. True friends that
didn't hide things from one another.
“Bella, I'm starting to worry about how this
little wager is affecting you.” He admitted in a fatherly tone.
“It's been great seeing you here at the office again, but part of
me is starting to worry that you're changing for good. Even your
friend Jessica is getting worried. You will tell us if there’s
something wrong won't you?”
Sarah waved her hand dismissively. “I'm glad
you're all so concerned for me, but I've got this. Even though I
might lose everything, and be forced to be Joe's little slave girl
for a while, it's been the best thing to happen to me. Its
uncovered things in me I didn't know I had. If I win this, I'm the
best realtor in the whole basin. Period. It's given me a sort of
clarity that I've never had before. I promise I'll tell you if I
start slipping over to the dark side.” She finished with a little
Mr. Nelson got up and smoothed out his
vintage suit coat. “ Come with me little one, I have something you
need to see.”
Sarah followed him to his office. The wood
paneled room reeked of old whiskey and newsprint, but it held a
sort of warmth that she found comforting whenever she was in
Mr. Nelson wrestled a stack of photos from
under a pile of old real estate listings. As the vintage ads
spilled to the floor of his office, he stepped over the mess and
plopped down at his desk. He then motioned for Sarah to come
closer. She watched his eyes glaze over with nostalgia as he began
explaining the pictures.
“ I bought this trailer park back in the late
sixties, but I could never bear to sell it and make all those
people homeless. This is the trailer park where Joe's mom used to
live. He was much younger in this picture, about eight or nine I
would say.” Sarah took the proffered picture and looked at the
little boy with bright green eyes. He was shirtless, and seemed to
be wearing the bottoms to a Superman pajama set. His hair was a
bushy shaggy mess, and he had the biggest smile on his face. He
seemed to be standing in front of a large travel trailer, and was
holding a big wart-cover toad.
“It's funny how you don't know what poverty
is as a child. His single mother was on welfare, and he almost
never had clothes on. I would buy him some, but he just kept giving
them away to other kids in the park who needed them more. I had to
admire him for being so generous.” He said, as he flipped over to
“This was right after the Los Gatos fire. The
little trailer park was deemed 'unworthy' of CDF protection,
because they had a bunch of million dollar homes to protect up in
the hills. As the park burned to the ground, Joe ran around trying
to save everybody that he could. He ended up getting stuck in an
old Airstream trailer while the fire burned around him. Since he
was never wearing shoes, he suffered severe burns to the soles of
his feet. Once the firefighters finally got to him, he was almost
dead from smoke inhalation. It’s still something that bothers him
from time to time. When he moved in with my wife and I, he had
nightmares for a year.” He brought up another picture. “Here Joe is
as an adult. He just finished college, and he was being recognized
for his fund raising work for the volunteer fire department. It was
right after my wife passed, but I'm sure she was proud of him from
wherever she is.” Mr. Nelson said with a slight quaver in his
Sarah felt all of this information hitting
her like an avalanche. “Why are you showing me this?” She asked, as
a tear slid down her cheek.
“Because Joe is my son. My wife and I adopted
him after his mom died in that fire. We took him in, and tried to
do our best to keep him just as he was; as that happy, generous
little boy who never saw any fault in anybody.”
Sarah just stood there in silence as she
considered all the things she had done to this great guy.
“Why are you showing me this now? We've been
battling like cats and dogs for the last three weeks. How can I
compete against someone like this? I just thought he was another
shallow, vapid guy in a suit who likes material things.” She heaved
a shuddering sigh, as Mr. Nelson patted her on the leg.
“Because, you deserve to know the truth.” Mr.
Nelson said with elderly vigor. He tried to keep this out of the
public view, but when you're a local hero, things just keep piling
It was all Sarah could do to keep from
falling to the floor. “So, where do I fit in all of this?” She
finally asked. Mr. Nelson shrugged and smiled his genuine
“You're going to just keep doing what you're
doing, and put that little brat in his place. I still love him,
he's my son and I know the good that lies within him. I also know
that he's mad with power, and he needs to be taken down a notch or
two.” Mr. Nelson tossed the faded pictures back on top of the
filing cabinet. “Now how about we go drain that scotch bottle at
the club a little?”
Joe sat at his desk while Ernesto looked on
from his. The little office in Westwood almost never got any use,
but he felt the need to gather with his right hand man to go over
“What about a gas of some kind; like nitrous
oxide? Ju know, to knock everyone out?” Ernesto offered with
“Whats with you and the roofies?” Do I have
to stage an intervention or something?” Joe asked with weary
“Well, I don't see ju coming up with any
gems.” Ernesto shot back with a scowl.
“Right. Whatever it will be...” Joe paused to
press his steepled fingers against his chin, “it'll have to be
While they both sat in silence, the clock
ticked incessantly on the wall.
Joe sat up in his chair. “I've got it! Does
your brother still have that big dump truck?”
Sarah was back at her desk later that night.
In the darkened little office, she placed her things in a file box.
She was not one to lose easily, but she didn't want to do the walk
of shame during daylight hours. She didn't know how to process the
information that Mr. Nelson had dropped in her lap. Even if she
knew how to sabotage his last sale, she didn't want to. Every time
she thought back to that little green-eyed boy, she got teary eyes.
The sweet man that she had seen over dinner at his place was not an
act, but it was the real Joe. When he wasn’t trying to be a
competitive jackass, he was a great guy. She was sure that working
for him wouldn't be too bad either.
Sarah hefted the large box onto her hip as
she struggled with the front door. While the alarm system counted
down, she shuffled outside to her waiting car. She dropped all of
her things when a tall figure jumped out of the bushes.
After suppressing a scream, she saw that it
was Roxy. “Oh my God! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?”
She asked, while she picked up her spilled box of office stuff.
Roxy hiked her white mini dress up and knelt
over to help. “I saw you and Mr. Nelson at the club. Did he tell
you that bullshit story about Joe?” She said with anger in her
“What do you mean bullshit story?” Sarah
“Oh, that whole thing about the trailer park,
and the fire. That whole load of crap. He's been doing that for
years. Joseph Blake comes from old money back East. His actual,
living parents got tired of his boozing and womanizing, so they
shipped him out here to finish school. He's just a trust fund brat
that never grew up. He had Mr. Nelson do this little song and dance
to even things up. He's scared of you, so he's playing dirty. More
Sarah sat there stooped over the cold cement.
She felt blood pounding in her veins as her anger broke free from
its reins and issued forth.
“Arhghrhh!” Sarah took the little ceramic
Mickey Mouse figure that used to reside on her desk, and chucked it
as hard as she could. As little ceramic Mickey vaporized into a
thousand little shards against a nearby wall, she balled her fists
up and gritted her teeth in an attempt to control herself.
“Cool off, girl. Look, you guys have one last
sale right?” Roxy said, while she stood back up and pulled her
little dress back over her legs.
“Yeah. I didn't have anything planned though.
I was just hoping to get through
open house unscathed.”
“Well, I heard through the grapevine that
he's hosting some kind of church barbeque to win over the last
clients. It's some shindig that will be full of right wing goodie
two shoes types. If it goes well, the good minister from the
Evangelical Action Bible Church will make an offer right on the
Sarah stood there processing what she was
just told. “Isn't that the ultra conservative Christian church that
always protests gay funerals?”