By MICHAEL BUCKINGHAM GRAY.
HE STANDS IN front of the whiteboard in the manager’s office and snorts. Marches out into the yard. The sun shines off a row of cars and he shields his eyes. Walks up the hill and halts at the top. Pulls out a cigarette and lights it. Takes a drag. Traffic passes by. Then a car pulls in. He flicks his cigarette to the ground and runs down the hill. The car comes to a stop in front of the showroom and he puffs as he chases it and opens the driver’s door.
“Good afternoon,” he says.
A woman wiggles out from behind the steering wheel and frowns. “I don’t need any help,” she says.
“Of course, you don’t,” he says, and guides her over to a row of cars. “What type of car are you after?”
“A four-wheel drive.”
He points to the end of the row. “We have two.”
She walks over to the car at the end of the row. “Seven seats?” she says.
His eyes widen, “Yes.”
“Yes,” he says again, and gestures towards the showroom. “Let’s step inside and see what we can do for you.” Just like always, his teenage self appears from the shadows wanting to make a big impression.
She turns. “Okay,” she sighs.
He leads her through the glass doors to a table and sits her down. Fetches her a cup of coffee and makes himself one too. Swings by his desk and slips a blank sales contract under his arm. Then returns to the table and is about to sit down when another salesman walks by and asks him where the manager is.
Before he can reply, the woman jumps to her feet. “Excuse me,” she says, “but I think I talked to you over the phone about the seven-seater?”
“Yes,” the other salesman says, extending his hand with a smile, “yes, I think you did – “
He steps forward. But their smiles fade and backs turn, and they waltz off.
He plonks the two cups of coffee and the sales contract down on the table. Walks to his manager’s office. Stands in front of the whiteboard. And snorts.
Michael Buckingham Gray is a writer and creative writing tutor. His fiction has appeared in various magazines including Meniscus and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine. He holds a Masters of Creative Practice in Creative Writing from Curtin University in Western Australia, and has tutored at the University of Notre Dame Australia and elsewhere.