“How well do you know the realtor?” Niles said flipping his hand at a real estate office across the street.
“Best agency in town,” Lute said. “Tom Shepherd.”
“The only agency?” Niles said.
“Yeah,” Lute said. “the other agencies have their offices on the mainland. He’s a good guy.”
“Let’s find out how good,” Niles said.
“You going to take the job?” Lute said.
“Either way, I’m moving here,” Niles said.
“Wednesday is a council meeting,” Lute said. “Can you stay for that. They have to approve.”
“I brought a suit,” Niles said.
“Don’t wear it,” Lute said.
A buzzer sounded as Lute opened the door to the realtors office. Behind a desk sat a buxom red head with hair piled thick like a pile of unraveled ropes and enough makeup to cover the wear of many occasions heavy drinking and smoking. The odor of perfume wafted heavy. Niles left the door open.
“Hi, Lute,” she smiled while gazing upon Niles. “What can we do for you today.”
“This is my friend, Niles Quinn,” Lute said
“Pleased to meet. I’m Lucinda La Rue.” She smiled flirtatiously and pulled her blouse tight to her waste, stood, and held out her hand. “Any friend of Lute’s is a friend of mine.”
“I’m looking for a home,” Niles said politely shaking her hand. “I’m a simple guy with simple tastes. Two bedrooms.” He pulled his hand back. “And if possible, on or near Main Street and I’d like a view of the harbor.”
“You know, we might have just the thing,” Lucinda said. “I can lock up and show it to you now. It’s unoccupied. It would be just a darling place for you and your wife to cozy up.”
Niles smiled. “It’s just me.”
“Oh,” Lucinda smiled, “You’re not married?”
Niles smiled. “Been there, done that.”
“Now mind you,” Lucinda said. “I’m not licensed to sell, but I can certainly show.”
Lute cleared his throat.
“Well, if I like what I see,” Niles said. “Well, you know the rest.”
“I do,” Lucinda said.
“We’ll have a licensed realtor make everything legal, is what I mean,” Niles said. “I’d hate to see you lock up here, so if you can, give me the key, the mayor and I can take a look at it.”
Lucinda smiled coyly. “Sure, I think that will be okay.” She smiled again and turned to a key board and removed a set of keys. She handed them to Niles. “Down the street to my right. There’s a For Sale sign in the window.”
“Thanks Lucinda,” Niles said. “I’ll bring the keys back within an hour.”
They left the office and walked in the direction of the house.
“Is every conversation like that with her?” Niles said. “Everything word becomes innuendo instantly.”
“Only you, you handsome dog,” Lute quipped and nodded down the street. “I know the house, we can walk, it’s not that far.”
“I could use the air,” Niles said.
“She likes you,” Lute said.
“She’s carrying more baggage than a 747,” Niles said.
They were there three minutes.
The ordinary two story pale green house rested on a street corner overlooking the harbor. Two flower boxes hung outside the two top floor windows, giving a stylish cottage look. The first floor at street level and a basement floor opened into the harbor on three sides. Wooden decks hung out the back of the house for both the first floor and basement.
Niles placed the key in the lock and opened the house. They walked through the ground floor of house; kitchen, dinning room, laundry room, and living room. The upstairs had two bedrooms. They made brief positive remarks.
There were two passages to the basement; stairs behind a door on the ground floor and an outside stairway on the side. They stepped down to the basement through the upstairs access. The basement was a fully functioning apartment; kitchen, living room, bath with laundry closet, and bedroom.
Niles stood at the front room window of the lower apartment and looked out over the harbor. “This is it.”
“You could rent out the upstairs during the season,” Lute said.
“Nah,” Niles said. “I don’t want the hassle. I’ll leave it empty. Anybody comes to visit, that can be their place.”
“It’s on the corner,” Lute said, “lots of traffic.”
“I’m from New York,” Niles said, “traffic is like a lullaby.”
Niles locked up and they walked back to the real estate office. By the time they reached the office Tom Shepherd, the realtor, stood waiting inside. Lute made a brief introduction, ensued by some small talk.
Niles tugged a checkbook from his pants pocket and wrote a check for $1,000. He handed it to Tom. “What ever the listed price, my offer is five percent less,” Niles said. “Will this hold it.”
“I need you to sign some things,” Tom said. “And I’ll call the folks who own it, with the offer.”
“If this goes through,” Niles smiled, “see that the commission goes to Lute; he had to sit on me before I’d say yes.”
“Thanks a lot, Mr. Quinn,” Tom said.
“There’s this old man from Hoosick Falls, New York,” Niles said. “He will be visiting now and then, he’s Mr. Quinn, I’m Niles.”
“Sure thing,” Tom said.
“And that old man will probably tell you his name is Kirk,” Niles said. “Mr. Quinn is no longer alive.”