The Huffy Agent
It was already mid morning, just past eleven and Julie was still in bed. The throbbing in her head had awakened her an hour before, but her body was in pain. “Have I fallen down the stairs?” she asked Adam, but it was her drinking. Under the steadily growing pain she managed to recall patches from last night; wine, vodka, Prosecco and a shot of Tequila. How did she manage to get home? That’s right, she fell of her bike.
Adam burst into the room one more time before Julie dragged herself out of bed. They had an appointment in an hour to see a flat in upper Kreuzberg next to Victoria Park.
The estate agent didn’t greet them when they arrived fifteen minutes late. He turned his back, slid the key into the dusty keywhole and led them up to the forth floor. The building had no elevator and the agent could barely conceal his irritation when Julie reached the top.
He wore coal coloured pointed shoes made of fine leather and a matching jacket with a dropping handkerchief draped out of his pocket. “What a fop,” she thought. He was slim and well build, taller than her, but shorter than Adam. His teeth were stained from smoking and even the use of excessive perfume couldn’t silence the disturbing smell of fags he carried about. He never introduced himself and they did not bother to ask. He spoke in German and since Julie only knew how to order her double espresso, she had to wait for Adam to translate.
The flat had two adjoining rooms one overlooking the backyard, the other had a balcony with a splendid view over Victoria Park. The building was a few meters away from a small cemetery that could easily be mistaken for another small park if it wasn’t for the cross at the front. The flat ticked all the boxes and the agent noticed the growing interest in their voices. Julie and Adam spoke French between them and the agent wandered around waiting for Adam to say something. His cold blue eyes became softer and his row of stained teeth formed a vague smile.
But he lost interest as soon as he heard that Adam was jobless. What the agent said, Julie did not know for sure, as translation was delayed, but when Adam tried to interpret the conversation, his voice was trembling with outrage. The softness in the agent’s face was replaced with impatience. Adam felt the urge to defend himself, but the agent kept shaking his head and talked along with him.
“What’s the problem?” Julie asked impatiently, her head pulsating from the pain.
“If we want the flat we need to pay it for a year in advance” Adam retorted.
“What? This is ridiculous!” she exclaimed.
The man with the leather boots suddenly put a few words in French to tell Julie that he was in the business for twenty-six years and he heard a lot of promises. “Promises,” she snapped. “We are not here to promise anything. You let the flat and we need to show that we can afford it.”
He asked her how much she earned, a directness she rarely experienced in England.
“Enough to afford the flat on my own,” she said crossly.
“Ordnung! I’ll wait for your documents.”
He escorted them down to the entrance in silence where he spoke to Adam for another moment. Adam stretched his hand to say good buy, but he ignored him and reached for Julie’s instead. He bowed slightly and gave her enticing look from below his eyebrows as if they shared a secret. He held her hand with the tip of his fingers and just before he landed a kiss on her hand, he whispered “Аu revoir.”