I shuffle my feet across the shag-woven wind as Karen drags me by the arm down the hoverhall. The glow of the solar-flo lights make the white walls glow like a doctor’s office in soft focus, the way the world looks right before or right after you pass out, probably from blood loss but maybe, embarrassingly, just from the sight alone of Nurse Moller clearing out the air from the tip of an intravein as she saunters towards you with the sultry, menacing poise of a large jungle cat even though her floppy, wrinkled skin hides any sign of muscle underneath and you know that she knows that you hate needles and she knows that you know that she’s going to miss the vein three times just because she’s thinks it’s funny.
Which more or less describes the feeling that I have towards realtors. At least with Nurse Moller, I know I’m bleeding because I’ve been stabbed repeatedly, but at least, one assumes, the ultimate outcome is beneficial, some sort of antivirus or brand new trait that lets you breathe underwater for the weekend while also protecting you from the harmful effects of sexual transmitted infestations that you may or may not acquire from a dolphin. No, realtors sell you on the perks of breathing underwater and then smooth talk their way into letting you sign your prints off on some lengthy, incomprehensible, legally-binding clause that allows them to flay you alive while sodomizing you with blades cut from the bones of said infected dolphins.
Karen pushes me through the Grand Oak door with platinum highlights and pushes down into a spinning egg-shaped chair. “Now please, Walter.” She looks at me like a pet chiahualla that doesn’t understand English. “Just give her a chance. This could be a really great opportunity for us.”
I make a pouting sound and spin around and round in my egg-shaped chair until a plastic-faced woman in a power suit with chin-length red hair walks into the room. She’s the supermodel version of Mrs. Potatohead. I hate her even before she hits the button on her desk that abruptly stops my chair from spinning and gives me whiplash. I swear to None I see her pull a smile out of her desk and attach it to her face.
“Welcome to Tachyon Properties,” says a pre-recorded sound from behind her shining teeth. “Where Realty meets Reality. My name’s Barbara. What can I do for you today?”
“Pardon my husband. He has a…slight prejudice towards property brokers,” says Karen with a condescending glare.
“That’s fine,” it responds, unphased. “Here at Tachyon Properties, we’re more than your traditional brokers. We deal exclusively in Unreal Estate.” Then she feeds us the company line: “Because it’s not just where you live, it’s when.”
Cue robotic staccato smile. I can already tell that Karen is hooked. By next week we’ll be moving to somewhen awful like 17th century France. The women talk, and I spend the rest of the meeting wishing I could still spin in my chair.