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Blind windows

Manfred Calamassi, estate owner and agent. Yearly turnover : 22 M FF. Testimony recorded on March 17, 1997.

I have been in real estate for thirty years, and I can tell you that I had never seen such a *** like this fellow. Nobody could figure out what he wanted. We had him visit perhaps forty apartments and fifteen houses. He had a quick look inside, sniffed around a little, looked out the window and then he told us no, no, no. There was always something wrong, too much of this, too less of that. He hardly deigned to give us logical explanations, and those we got were somewhat silly. Dogs he had heard snoring in the alley below and who would disturb his sleep, that kind of thing. We could see that he made them up while talking to us. If I had shown him the houses myself, I would have squared up to him sooner, but my agents did like him, I still cannot see why. When I became aware of this situation, I granted them five days to make him sign on the dotted line. On the fifth day, out of despair, they made him visit the worst of our catalogue, some unsaleable hovel, only one window, no lift, bad neighbourhood. He saw all the dirt, the peeling paint, and he likedit. He said yes yes yes, on the spot. He even added "This is it". He sounded like he just made a grand discovery, a new North Pole, the Eldorado or the secret of the noodle tree. He was looking for something far more important than a simple place to live, in my opinion. Well, this is not my business, is it?

He lived there three weeks, and then he called me. He wanted to sell the flat back to me. He didn't care about losing money. This was an offer I could not refuse, so I took his money and he left. He forgot to give me the keys, we had to pick the lock to get in. This was eerie. The place looked like he had never set a foot in it. The walls were as thick of grime as they were twenty days before. Nothing had changed. Well, I am wrong, something had changed. There was a pungent, earthly smell all over the flat. If you closed your eyes, you would find yourself in a forest, before Winter sets in. Since this could appal our prospects, we tried to get rid of the smell. We spent one hundred thousands FF in painting, to no avail.

I haven't heard of since, but onetime. An agent of mine received a postcard. No name, no return address, a photograph of a door on it and some words scribbled in a hurry : "This is it. Sorry for the last time". If you want that postcard, I'll Xerox it. By the way, you are not interested in his flat, are you? Care to see it?

Gilles Tran © 2001 www.oyonale.com