This is the fifth part of a fiction serial, in 680 words.
It was nice to have a lie-in and then casually wander up to the corner where I worked. Mason and Walker sounded like a good name for an estate agent, though of course there was no real Mason, or Walker. Just another gimmick of the huge property company we worked for, along with the stylish dove grey paint work, set off by the pale yellow pinstriping. Although I was on time, I was the last one in that morning.
It was often mentioned that I lived the nearest, but was the always the last member of staff to appear.
John the manager was at his larger desk at the back, and grinned as I walked in. “What did you do to upset Her Highness, The Lady Janice? She rang first thing to tell me she doesn’t want you back at Dockside View once sales start again”. I shrugged and told John that she probably fancied me, and wanted to resist the temptation. Junior was already on the phone hustling. Standing up as normal, which he claimed energised him. His pink shirt and lime-green tie combination looked like a kid’s sweet.
I doubt the bosses would have been so keen on his new braided hair look, if he hadn’t been the top salesman at Basildon branch.
Kelly asked if I wanted coffee, and I nodded. Then I forced myself not to look up her skirt as she leaned over to get the mugs out of the cupboard. She was only eighteen, and I was far too old for her. So I had to keep telling myself. Behind me at the window desk, Penny was jingling the keys to the company Mini. “John, okay if I take the car? I have an early valuation in Wickford”. John nodded, adding “Come straight back though. Darren will need the car for a job later”.
I didn’t much care for driving around in that grey and yellow mini, with the company name and number plastered all over it. But it was a better option than using my own car and having to pay extra for business insurance. At least it was only six months old, and had a great satnav in it too. I liked to get out in the country lanes and give it some stick around the bends. When Kelly brought my coffee over, I thanked her and fixed my gaze on her face. Anything rather than be distracted by how low-cut the front of her top was.
When she got out of the admin side and into sales, she was going to sell a lot of property, no doubt.
John dropped a folder on my desk. I could tell by the buff colour it was another commercial. I only got the crap jobs. “Mr Coughlan, midday. The address is in there, a vacant lot with no residential planning. He reckons it might be ideal for used cars. He wants it priced for rental, or selling complete. As usual, he will do a good deal for cash”. I flicked through the folder, and pulled a face at the photo of the lot. On the corner of a busy main road, what looked like a half-sized field of mud surrounded by a mostly collapsed wire-mesh fence.
Coughlan was a nasty bit of work, who used our company all the time. He was a so-called Traveller. Or in my words a Pikey, an Irish tinker. He did all sorts of wheeling and dealing, just barely the right side of the law, and the wrong side too. I had no time for Pikeys. They didn’t pay tax, cheated old people with dodgy roofing jobs or tarmac drives that never got finished, and many of them were notorious fly-tippers, shitting up the few nice areas of countryside we had left. That was his main business, disguised as waste removal contracting. But as far as the company was concerned, he was a good customer.
When I checked the address where I had to meet him, I spat a mouthful of coffee all over the paperwork.
317, London Road.