Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Unreal Estate Agent

She had walked by this little storefront on her way to work in the haberdashery. When she'd applied for the job, she'd no idea what a haberdashery was. She thought it had something to do with meat. A flyer was posted on a lamp post asking for an assistant. She'd called the number and been offered the job before the call ended. The owner thought her voice was perfect for saying, "Good morning, Uptown Haberdashery, what kind of hat does your head need?" He had very specific ideas about how to get wrong numbers interested in hats.

Today was the 3 month anniversary of that conversation and her life had settled into an almost dreamy state of bliss. The haberdashery smelled fantastic, the pay was decent, and she could walk to and from work in less than 10 minutes. To top it all off, single men always seemed to crave something to cover their heads.

But in those 3 months of pedestrian commuting she'd never noticed this particular storefront. A dark green curtain hung behind the glass. An old fashioned globe sat immaculate on a dark wooden pedestal. In lettering so small she had to frost the glass with her breath, the words "The Unreal Estate Agent" was stencilled.

Her nose twitched and the faint scent of mesquite disappeared before she could place it. A discrete speaker drizzled some sort of clazzical elevator crap. Kashmir by Zeppelin? She couldn't say. Voices inside grew slowly louder as they approached the door. She had the strange impulse to shrink away, hide. Pulling her shawl around her she angled herself to the next door window and pretended to inspect religious pamphlets.

"Thank you so much for stopping in," a voice rumbled. "And I can't tell you how glad I am that you are happy in your new home."

Smoke and flute mixed in the reply. "A woman finds it difficult to trust. The thanks are mine."

Heels moved away.

"You don't really want to be reading that, do you?"

As she turned, she saw the buildings across the street in the window glass, a man stepping out of a shower through curtains, a cloud peeking over a fire escape, the globe on the pedestal behind those reflections, and finally the rumbler in the doorway.

"Come look at something before you go to work..."

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