#AtoZChallenge April 19, 2018. Quick Sale Realty
26 posts. 26 days. And 26 letters of the alphabet, one post beginning with each letter, in April.
Follow me as we visit the not-quite-normal retirement village of Twilight, Arizona, where reality clashes with the unexplained.
Quick Sale Realty
Amy Zimmerman shoved the For Sale sign into the dry, Arizona dirt and hoped today’s open house resulted in a sale. She, or rather, her bank account, needed a quick infusion of funds.
Dusting off her real estate license and signing on at Quick Sale Realty in Twilight, Arizona hadn’t been in the plan. Retirement, golf, mahjong, and pool laps—that had been the plan. But Alan had ruined it with his cockamamie scheme to fix the air conditioner.
She couldn’t file a claim for his life insurance because he hadn’t left a body when he died. Instead, she’d had to lie and report him as missing. Her lawyer had said she might have to wait seven years before declaring him officially dead.
Her head pounded as she walked the short distance to her car and drove to the Phelps’ house. She parked in the drive and set out additional signs in front. By the time she’d popped orange slices and rosemary sprigs in the microwave to scent the house, a raging migraine obliterated every thought.
She still didn’t understand Alan’s death. After returning from visiting their daughter, she’d come home to discover him as a moving, talking block of ice. Before she could ask him the why and how of his transformation, their furnace and the Arizona heat had melted him.
Try explaining that to the life insurance company.
Her 401K covered the mortgage and utilities, but incidentals like food and the car nibbled away at their dwindling savings account.
Fingers crossed for a quick sale, she thought as the front door opened and the first lookers entered the home.
Three hours later, she glanced at the nine names in the guest book. Two couples expressed genuine interest, four were noisy neighbors, and three had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon.
She closed up the house, picked up her signs and drove home to a lonely dinner.
Her phone rang two days later as she warmed up a rice casserole for the fourth night in a row.
Fingers crossed. She’d left messages with all nine parties who had visited. None had returned her call.
“Amy Zimmerman, Quick Sale Realty.”
“Mom, you don’t have to do this real estate thing.”
No “hello” or “how are you,” from her daughter, just straight to condemnation of her mother’s choices.
Amy sighed and sat down at the kitchen table, her gaze on Alan’s collection of first-edition books, and her mind calculating which ones to sell.
“Julie, good to hear from you,” she said with false enthusiasm.
“Mom, you know Paul and I want you to come live with us in Savannah. How many times do we have to ask before you’ll believe us?”
“I believe you, but I don’t want to move.” She’d weighed the pros and cons about taking them up on their offer. On one hand, she’d see them and her granddaughter every day. On the other—she’d lose her independence. Damn it, she wasn’t that old.
They debated, each too sensitive of the other’s feeling to escalate the discussion into an argument. Amy hung up dissatisfied and questioning her decision to stay in Arizona.
Less than five minutes later, the phone rang again.
Amy abandoned her professional greeting. “Julie, I don’t want to talk about it further.”
Silence met her remark, then a man said, “I don’t either, but can I ask you about the house on Hutchinson?”
Embarrassment flooded her. “I’m so sorry, I thought you were my daughter.”
He laughed, a clear, welcoming sound. “I don’t think I want to go there.”
Amy smiled, the first time since Alan melted into a pool of water at her feet. “No, you don’t. What do you need to know about the house?”
“I dropped in the other day when you had an open house.”
“I’m sorry, which one were you?” Stress and the lack of interest from the visitors blurred her memory.
“Bob Burton. The golf pro at the Eventide Rec Center. We spoke a bit about golf, then someone interrupted us.”
She remembered. He’d been tall and tan and sported a brush cut and the bluest eyes she’d seen since visiting the Aegean Sea.
“My sister and her husband are moving to Twilight, and I told them the Phelps’ place would be perfect,” he continued. “They’re in town tomorrow through Sunday. Any chance they can see it?”
“Of course. The house is empty. Name a time, and I’ll meet you.” Hope stirred in her breast. This might be the breakthrough she’d waited for.
“How about Thursday at nine in the morning?”
She didn’t need to consult her calendar, an empty wind whistled through its pages.
“Perfect. I’ll see them at nine.”
“Of course.” Why did a little thrill rush through her?
It has to be the prospect of a sell.
• • •
Bob Burton’s sister and brother-in-law liked the house and put in an offer for full price.
More exciting and unexpected, Bob Burton liked her and called daily on mundane matters. When was the inspection scheduled? Did she think he should enclose the porch? What was she doing for dinner on Saturday?
As the closing date arrived, Amy discovered another reason she wanted to stay in Twilight—Bob’s companionship. Oh, she couldn’t tell him about Alan’s mysterious death yet, if ever, but she trusted him, laughed with him, and realized he might become part of her future.
He accompanied his sister and brother-in-law to the title company, where they’d sign papers to assume possession of the house on Hutchinson Ave.
“A quick closing for Quick Sales Realty,” he whispered to her as the title officer explained the pile of papers to his relatives.
“Quick in more than one way,” she said, an unexpected warmth spreading through her as she looked at him.
He nodded toward his sister. “Fast turnarounds and good luck have been part of Anna’s life since she married Tom.”
Amy chuckled and moved to get a better view as they signed the first of their signatures.
Anna Marie and Thomas Joseph Quick.
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Twilight, Arizona, all the stories now available on Amazon
Quick! Run to Amazon for a “Sale” on the complete Twilight volume.
Don’t want to wait until April 30th to read all twenty-six Twilight stories. For a limited time, they are available on Amazon for 99¢. From Arizona Heat to One-Zero-Zero, read and enjoy twenty-six stories set in the strange retirement community of Twilight, Arizona.
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Tomorrow’s #AtoZChallenge April 20, 2018 Recycle Wednesday
If in doubt, throw it out.
Until then, blessings,
p.s. Amy Zimmerman also appears in Arizona Heatby