Flash Fiction: 'Flat Viewings of the Third Kind'

Green glowing eyes peered through the letterbox at me. I crouched so she could see that it was me. We stared at each other for sometime, I blinked and that was the sign, I was glad I read the whole email she sent only last night. That's just how they do it in some places I'm told. Her right hand slid through the letter box and we shook hands. Neon nail polish, very nice. She turned the handle to let me inside.

'Welcome to your future.' she said, dressed in a monochrome suit, the sign of a professional.

'I sure hope so.' This was my tenth flat viewing that week, I couldn’t believe the state of the many flats up for rent Manchester way, and this one didn't smell of wet dog, a promising start. It smelt of tomatoes instead. A cook, I guess.

'I already know which room you want to see first.' She said, excitedly pointing to the nearest door. Inside hung a sleeping bag, and that was all, the closet didn't have much room for anything more.

'I guess I could fit a hoover or ironing board in.'I said. I sensed disappointment blowing through the cracks. Before we moved on, I noticed how the entrance to the sleeping bag had a fresh patch of drool. At least the closet didn't have any damp or dead rats like the one I saw two days ago.

The open-plan kitchen and lounge was rather spacious, I could have swung a cat inside if I so chose. A dried up trail of what looked like tomato sauce drew a line between the two. The kitchen otherwise looked brand new, as if it'd never been used. The only problem came from the fridge, which rattled and groaned, my old one used to do the same.

'Does it bother you?'

'No, not at all. How spacious is it inside?'

'It's like a whole other galaxy in there.'

'Can I see?'

She slammed her hand against the fridge door.

'Seeing the contents of my fridge is like seeing inside me, isn't that just a little bit rude?'

'Oh, I'm sorry. I guess you're right.'

'Right? Now let's go and see my toilet!'

The tomato stench of the flat was strongest from the bathroom, and I hoped perhaps air fresheners were available in savoury flavours these days. When we entered and I saw the orange liquid spilling from the seat. I nearly vomited. but where would it go, the toilet was full. They only backed down into the stomach once I saw the array of opened tomato soup cans littering the tiled flooring.

'Is there a problem?'

'You could have flushed before I entered... wait, that's not the problem here! What is this?'

'It's what it looks like. Why eat it when it's gonna end up in the toilet, anyway?'

'Yeah, that makes sense.'

We sat on the sofa and considered the flat.

'It's pretty nice, don't you think? But to me it's just a holiday home, and I'm ready to go back.'

'And where is that?'

‘You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.’

‘I think I’m too numb for that.’

None of these oddities of hers would be mine to keep, and the price was good, a real out of this world bargain. Eviction day was coming fast, redevelopment the notice told me, and it was easy to overlook the tenancy agreement being pulled out from her throat with a price like that, the paper still dry.

'All you have to do is sign the dotted line, and I can be out straight away. Just be aware that everything and anything that happens to the flat after that falls on you, I'll be too far away to sort it, a catch if you will.'

Considering how repairs, damages, and deposits have been in the past, the catch was her just being upfront, something I liked to see, so I signed straight away. With the contract complete she smiled and handed over the keys, before starting to steam from the ears and nose. Suddenly she shot up, rocketing through the ceiling, and into the sky, I guess money matters wherever you go. I stared at the gaping hole in my new flat and thought, ‘I’m going to have to pay for that.’

A writer of objects brought to life, in hopes of understanding himself and others. Joe regularly updates his blog at channelstatic.wordpress.com, and has recently written about his own personal struggles due to his disability for a SICK AF feature at clarrisaexplainsfa.com.