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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Submitted: May 15, 2019

Reads: 95

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Submitted: May 15, 2019

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Chapter 1

 

My chin was resting firmly between my cupped hands; eyes closed daydreaming of the good old days. Women were not welcome in this “man’s profession,” because, well it was way too difficult for silly women to understand the complex business of Real Estate.

After signing up for Real Estate School, and with my temporary Real Estate Permit (allowing me to practice without a license) clutched in my fist, I showed up at my new office. Armed with enthusiasm, no knowledge what so ever, the desire to make money, and with three strikes against me; I dove headfirst into the “dog eat dog,” world of Real Estate. I’m telling you, it was the Wild, Wild, West!

My first day was a preview of what was to come! The three agents were real peaches, assuming that, me being a woman, I’d love to cook their lunches, clean, and be their secretary. They sweetly supplied a salmon fillet for “the little woman” to cook. I said, “You guys will get mighty hungry waiting for me to fix your salmon or any other food, I am here to work!” That went over like a lead balloon.

My second awakening was learning what practicing my new profession entailed. I know what you are thinking! In the “Good old Days” Real Estate was a piece of cake! And it was! No cell phones, no lock boxes, and no computer or MLS printouts!

Do you want to show three houses for your client? Call three offices, reserve three keys, drive to three offices, pick up keys, pick up clients, show homes, take keys back, and repeat day after day. The price of a home sold for a lot less than now, and the average closing commission was $300.00 to $800.00, and you worked your ass off to get one or two every month. Damn, it was fun! I loved every minute of it!

When I started in the business, the contract was one long page with carbons, now a contract is 9 pages, thankfully no carbons, plus the addendum and forms to cover all the contingencies, which is called CYA’s (Cover your ass).

Now we have instant access to everything! No keys, no paper printouts, we still have to drive, meet with clients, show houses, and write contracts, but we use our personal computer and voila, print them. You can even have your clients sign over the internet!

Today my problem was; my personal production was as dry as the Arizona desert since my, once in a lifetime, Lake Haverly sale closed escrow. You remember that one, don’t you? We sold the four properties surrounding the Shangri-La lake, better known as Lake Haverly, to my clients from New York, amid murder and mayhem. 

Ed (Fast Eddie) McGinley, my first agent, has evolved into my best friend. We worked together to put the Lake Haverly sale together, and he earned his half of the hefty commission.

His dry humor makes me laugh. To give you an example: I fell off my chair laughing, one day when I overheard Ed talking to a client named Mr. Willoby. He called him several times a day to complain about something wrong with his house. He thought Ed should take care of everything, forever. No matter how many times Ed explained to him, “Mr. Willoby, it is not my responsibility, the inspection doesn’t cover every little thing. It is a resale home, and you will have to do repairs from time to time.” This day Ed reached his breaking point and said, “Look, Mr. Willoby, it’s a UFO!” and with a short pause said, “You fucking own it!” and hung up the phone.

Real Estate is a serious profession but, laughter releases the tension of helping clients with the single biggest purchase of their lives, and kicking back prevents you from burning out.

Sara MacLanahan, my second agent, is a kick in the pants, and a ball of fire. She is a country girl, bright red hair, wears jeans and wild print blouses with a lace-edged hanky in her breast pocket. Sarah came on board amid murder, jailbreaks, and robbery; she didn’t jump ship when she discovered the bloody bodies of her new clients with cross-bow bolts in their chests. It was her first listing, and it hardly fazed her, she re-listed the property with the relatives of her murdered clients. I could see a little of me in her.

George Peterson, a new agent but not to the business, a retired Broker, in the game to keep busy, a tall, slim, with salt and pepper hair, a widower, and the ladies love him. He is a “by the book” agent and doesn’t need a heavy hand to make sure he doesn’t get himself, or me in hot water.

Michael York, on the other hand, is a young hotshot, tall, dark, handsome, and fancies himself a Ladies Man. He will cut corners given half a chance, but so far under my and Ed’s watchful eye, he stops short of stepping over the line. I plan to keep it that way, so he must be watched constantly.

As an example, he thought to hide all the phones in closets at a Title Company hosting a Christmas party for Realtors was a hoot! My private name for him was, “Mikey-Yorky-Dorky!” By the way, I give nicknames to many people, if you are nice, it might be cute, or if you are not, your nickname will fit the crime.

I insist that the whole crew “Preview” a new listing before they hit the MLS and Homes Illustrated, but they do not have to Tour every listing, every week. One of my earlier Broker’s did that, and we hated his long treks and disappeared as soon as we viewed the new listings. We didn’t waste time looking at those OPT’s (Over Priced Turkeys).

He was a piece of work. We didn’t like each other and for a good reason. He declared that we must get 18% interest on our seller carry contracts. The usury was 12% with huge fines; of course, the agents would be on the hook. I got the signatures of both buyers and sellers before he got his greasy grippers on the paperwork. I had a short relationship with his office.

James Crandall used to be my resident hot head client on the Lake Haverly transaction, challenging my patience until his long-lost son, John Kinney showed up. James fell in love with Viv Appleton, my friend, and favorite Escrow Agent.

My best girl-friend, Lavonne Hall, is an interior decorator who hitched her wagon to mine and followed me from Washington State to Arizona. She uses my office for estimates, and plays receptionist, answering the phones when needed. She decorates my office, and once a year kidnaps me; takes me shopping for clothes, making me look successful. When John Kinney and Lavonne met, they fell madly in love and are planning a big wedding. I am happy for them, but he is going to take her to Texas, Dammit!

James Crandall was also Frank Singleton’s and Coroner George Green’s biggest headache! If you recall they identified the body in Lake Haverly, to be James Crandall. He showed up to his own memorial service, alive, well and mad as hell!  Ed and I rescued Frank and George from the Recovery Room, after trying to drink away their troubles, they lived it down after a year; sort of!

Mucho Denaro was sticking out of my files, but none of the deals were mine: Dammit!

I know! I know! There are lots of West Realty signs on properties, but they aren’t my personal listings. No matter how many times I reminded myself of the Broker-stuff I have to do, juggling lots of balls: those weren’t the balls I was longing to juggle. They were attached to Frank, my long-time best friend with benefits, who happens to be a deputy with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department. He was out of town at a month-long conference, and I was missing him more than I wanted to admit to anyone, but myself.

Shaking myself out of my funk; I created advertising copy for two full-color pages in Homes Illustrated, designed to make the phone ring. My Agents were running themselves ragged listing and selling properties in Maricopa County; the least I could do is write ads for their listings. The hours of aggravation got my mind off the desire of the much needed alone time with Frank! Almost! 

My efforts to plan an Open House gave me some much need busy work. I produced a long list of everything required: advertising, flyers, cards, signs, balloons, helium canister, and cinnamon rolls. It doesn’t matter I didn’t make the buns from scratch, the smell of baking gets the juices flowing, the home fires burning, and customers lingering longer with me. I bring enough so everyone can have a warm bun or two in their hands. They always stay long enough to eat them!

The thought of hot buns brought my mind back to Frank, and I fell down that depression tunnel again. The ringing of the phone saved me from hitting rock bottom.

“West Realty, Maye speaking.”

“Hi, Maye, I have the weekend free. Have you got anything going?” Frank asked.

“Are you kidding? I have been up to my ears in book work, the kids are busier than one-armed paper hangers, and Lavonne is in Texas for a month. Help! How soon can you get here?” I ran my sentences together, not taking a breath.

“I am pulling into town and made reservations at that new hotel out in Avondale. How fast can you pack?”

Are you kidding? I’ll be ready in 20 minutes, no make that 10. When you drive by the office peep, open the door and I will jump in. 

“Maye, what’s got you so riled?” 

“I am so bored; I could spit! I haven’t had a sale in so long don’t know if I can remember how to write a contract. Today I am over-planning an open house for a listing that isn’t even mine.”

“Hang on, Hon, I will be there in a few minutes to break you out of prison.” 

After locking the office, placing a “gone fishing” sign on the door, I ran upstairs getting much needed heart-pumping exercise, stumbled into my apartment, and discovered a tornado had struck. “Good God, I can’t let Frank see this mess,” and I turned into a Tasmanian cleaning Devil.

 Frank was knocking minutes later, and I let him in. He looked around, folded me into his arms, kissed my forehead and held me for several minutes, it was heaven!

I looked up into his handsome face showing empathy, I couldn’t wait to be naked in his arms. We yanked his civvies off in seconds; my t-shirt and shorts followed, and I jumped into his arms, wrapping my legs around his slim body, showing how happy he was to be with me. We kiss-walked to my unmade bed; fell onto it, and after the quick hard fast sex we both needed, we came up for air, and Frank suggested I pack while he confirmed reservations. I threw several things in a bag, combed my hair, washed my face and put on lip gloss and away we flew.

Our romantic suite had a view of the mountains to the north, a soft king size bed, and a Jacuzzi tub laid with Red Rose petals and candles. Sliding into the soft scented water, Frank massaged the tight muscles of my neck. He disappeared until the water cooled; appeared again with a big thirsty towel which he wrapped around me, leaving again while I dried my body and my hair. I slipped into a sexy negligee; I entered the room, found our dinner waiting with champagne.

We dined and for the next two days made sweet love. Our idyllic weekend was over in an instant, and we went our separate ways with smiles on our faces.

 

 

 


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