He was talking to me but I wasn't listening. Instead I was looking at him. Not looking in the way we usually do as we go through our daily interactions with the people that cross our paths. This was seeing. As if I had dropped in from another country. I had done this before. I had too. It was part of my job. But I had never done it in America. I mean evaluate the person in front of me as a representative of the people in the country that my assignment took me to. I didn't like what I was seeing.
Why? I knew that some people were assholes. Some days I was one. Hell, everybody has their moments. What I had missed was a significant portion of the people who lived in my country had become full time assholes. Pricks. Cold hearted, shallow at best, hollow where their heart should be, and petty. This all went through my head quickly. Probably because it was just the crystallization of what had been lurking below the surface the past few years.
I tuned back in to hear "...if you can get them out of there as fast as you advertise then we can put the house on the market this week." I held up my hand to silence him. Then I stared at him. He cocked his head an looked at me amused. A move that had probably been devastating on the right person twenty years ago.It wasn't anymore.
I told him "Let me guess. You want to pay me $1000.00 to get these people to move?"
He nodded his head.
I continued "Then you probably have someone in the bank. You're going to buy the house through a straw buyer and then resell it for oh....300k profit maybe?"
He cocked his head again and said "So what are you telling me? You want more money? Is that it?" The "Is that it?" was delivered with more than a hint of anger. God forbid I fuck with his profit margins. I shook my head, smiled at him, and modulated my reply so it came out nice and soft "No. Not at all. Just like to know what I'm getting into." He liked that. He liked the tone. Guys like him always thought speaking softly was a sign of weakness.
"So we all set?" He asked me.
"Yes. I contact you as planned when the job is done." We shook hands again and he headed for his car. I fell in step with him. That startled him a bit so I told him "I think we are going the same way plus I want to make sure we are not being watched." That spooked him. He was twisting his head off looking around the parking lot. I whispered out of the side of my mouth "Be cool." I watched out of the corner of my eye as his posture changed, He probably wasn't even aware that it had.