Lemieux drove down Main St., admiring the vibrant downtown of Parford. She proceeded to her home on the outskirts of town. It was a small bungalow with a crawl space underneath rather than a basement. Her face turned into a snarl as she saw a for sale sign plunged into her front rock garden. She pulled into the driveway and stepped out, clenching her fists. She heard voices coming from the backyard. She silently cursed and strode around the building. “Not again.”
“Oh, Robert. This is perfect,” a woman said. She clutched at her husband’s arm as if at any moment he’d flee to Mexico under an assumed name, live with a Mexican woman who’d feed him until he got fat, never to be seen or heard from again. Robert said nothing, but moved as if being trapped by years of marriage inertia made walking difficult. “Oh, and you wouldn’t have to mow the lawn. It’s all a rock garden.”
“Excuse me,” Lemieux said as she came up to the couple. They were older, in their late sixties. “What are you doing here?”
“We’ve come to make a bid on this home, aren’t we Robert?” Robert said nothing. “Say, you’re the realtor.”
“No, I’m the owner and this home is not for sale,” Lemieux answered.
“But we saw the ad on social medias. Everything on the social medias is true, I read that on the social medias. Anyway, the ad had your face and said you’d be willing to bend over to take a good deal,” the woman said. “Didn’t it Robert?” Robert made no movement to suggest he even heard her. “Robert remembers, too,” she continued.
“You’ve been duped, as I’m sure has happened many times before. Now leave,” Lemieux suggested, her tone becoming more stern.
“No,” the woman said and wagged a finger. “I called you and spoke with you on the phone,” the woman said. “I put you on speaker so Robert could hear you as well. You said you were ready and willing to get… What was the word Robert?” Robert said nothing, just stared vacantly at the wall. “Oh yes; pounded. Pounded for a good deal.”
“I am going to give you two minutes to waddle your knee braced legs off my property before I call the police,” Lemieux said.
The couple slowly left the property, took five minutes to get into their Buick with the woman glaring at Lemieux the whole time. It was a passive aggressive onslaught of stern-lipped wonderment. “We drove here all day!”
“You can drive away all day then.” Lemieux shook her head as they pulled away. She stepped up to her front door. It was open a crack. Her shoulders slumped. Lemieux stepped inside and heard more voices.
“Darling this is perfect.”
“Sweet fuck, what the hell are you doing in my home?” Lemieux said as she accosted another couple. “How did you get into my home? You’ve broken into my home!”
“We called and your salesperson said to come, get the key in the flower pot on the right side of the porch and saunter around, try the toilet and cook a meal. All to make sure we like the home. So Harry and I did,” the woman said.
“Yeah, I like the way you can look out the window while you go to the bathroom,” Harry added. He turned sheepish. “I’m afraid I couldn’t find your plunger.”
“He likes his pickled herring,” the wife said.
“I don’t care what you like,” Lemieux yelled, suddenly aware of an odour wafting from the bathroom. “This house is not for sale. Get the hell out!”
“It’s not like we had sex on your counter,” the woman said. “Like your ad directed us to.”
“Yeah,” Harry chimed in. “I mean, we tried, but she couldn’t climb onto the counter, and even if she could there was no step ladder I could use being as I’m short.” Harry scrunched his reddening face at his poor phrasing and quickly added. “I mean not very tall. Your counter is too high. I was referring to my height… Only my height.”
“Oh darling you’re not short,” the wife said in a kind-hearted motherly way, which made Lemieux so uncomfortable she gagged. The woman whispered again, “you’re not short.” The wife playfully nudged her husband with her hips. A crack from one of her joints sounded and she laughed. “Anyway, after all that struggle we just had a nap in your bed. I like your comforter by the way. Does it come with the house?”
“Get. The. Hell. Out!” Lemieux yelled. The couple almost jumped in fright. They stared at her. “Do I have to get my shotgun filled with rock salt to prove to you that you need to leave now?” They left, but not without muttering how disappointed they were with the showing.
Enraged, Lemieux went to her computer and searched for home sales in Parford. It didn’t take her long to find her fake listing. The picture of her used was one where, classic to media, she was captured in a mid-pursing of her mouth expression. Her face almost looked green and a sheen of sweat covered her forehead. It was the least flattering picture of her possible. She looked at the background, trying to recall when that photo would have been taken. Then she remembered. It was when she exited the city hall bathroom after eating a bad tray of supposedly fresh sushi. It was before the vote to close down the county to chain stores. “Fucking Jesus wept.” She also remembered Councillor O’Shea had treated her to the meal. “Bastard tried to avoid a vote.”
Lemieux turned her attention back to the computer and read the ad. ‘Do you wish for a low maintenance home? 1 storey? No lawn to mow? I’ll take a deal, any deal, to satisfy my selling hunger. Come on in, try it out. The key is under the second flower pot on the front porch. Call 800-Get-Sold now to book an appointment. Or just show up and test any piece of furniture you want in any way.’
She wondered what she should do? Lemieux stood up and paced back and forth. She realized she needed to find out who made the ad. It was someone local, had to be, for they would have had to be to know where the spare key to her front door was hidden. “But,” she paused. “Who?” Councillor O’Shea? Jamison? Wallis? That angry farmer who’s turkey farm the county shut down last year?
The shut down was called for after a farm visitor was attacked by a mentally deranged turkey and, as a result, started suffering from PTSD. Through investigation by the county sherif it was later discovered that the farmer was breeding a particularly aggressive type of turkey, creating attack turkeys for farm security. They had larger claws and more neck skin than normal turkeys. He called them Velociturkeys.
Lemieux shook her head. “No one in town really knows anything about placing social media ads. We’re a backward little armpit full of mindless bacteria. Just the way I like it.” She snapped her fingers and a devious smile spread across her face. “Hello Willard?” she said into her phone.
“Hey,” Willard said. “You have some time?”
“Yes, but first I need a favour, though,” Lemieux said.
“Is this a Squid Hoe Dough thing?” Willard asked. His breathing getting deeper and heavier.
“You do something for me and I do something for you,” Lemieux said. “I need you to make a phone call for me when you get here.”
“That’s a cinch,” Willard said and hung up before she could finish explaining her need. In no time at all Willard crashed through the front door like some kind of sex starved bull. “I’m here woman.”
“Jesus Christ, Willard,” Lemieux said. “That’s the second door this month.” She felt herself being swept off her feet by Willard’s powerful arms. “You have to call a number for me.”
“Yes.” She screamed as Willard flung her to the bed. She pointed to the phone number on the screen. “Dial that number.” He did.
“Hello,” Willard said into his cell. He covered his phone and whispered to Lemieux. “Sounds like you. Ah, yes I am interested in the home. When can I visit it?” Willard nodded and then a smile broadened his lips. “Really? With pleasure.”
“Well?” Lemieux asked in an insistent whisper.
Willard covered his phone and whispered back, “You said, well, the woman on the phone said that I should bring my partner here and test out the bed as it would be part of the sale,” Willard said with a lurid look in his eyes.
“Ask her if she’ll be here?”
Willard’s eyes almost popped out of his skull and his mouth dropped. His stunned face stared at Lemieux for a moment. He looked like he’d just received the best news ever. “Ah,” he said into the phone, his voice thick. “Will you be here to show us the… bedroom?” A pause. “Really? You’re that desperate to sell this house.”
“Where is her office?” Lemieux said, pressing her finger into his chest.
“Where’s your office located?” Suddenly, Willard’s whole body deflated and he sat down on the bed. “Ok. Thanks.” He hung up and looked at Lemieux. “She said her office is here. In your home.”
“You know what that means?” Lemieux said.
“That we’re not going to have a threesome tonight,” Willard flopped back onto the bed and stared up at the ceiling.
“That someone is very good at covering their tracks,” Lemieux advised.
“Why are you smiling?” Willard asked.
“Because, we just eliminated a suspect. It can’t be Councillor Jamison. He’s too stupid to be able to come up with a plan like this. He’s far more direct, in a blundering, imbecilic way.” She looked at Willard and a seductive smile spread across her face.
One thing Willard was keen about, picking up signals of sex. “Can we play hot-dog man?” He asked. Lemieux nodded. Willard gleefully started to disrobe. “You burning incense?” Willard asked, sniffing the air. Within moments the mood was as dead as the pickled herrings Harry had eaten.