Sale of the Century –

Cathal is a big fan of making quick decisions. I know this because he’s been staring at the table for the last 45 seconds in complete silence. I’m not sure if he’s fallen asleep with his eyes open, daydreaming, or just trying to make up his mind.
The office is small, adjacent to the medium size garage and Cathal’s in his mechanic’s overalls but seems to think we’re on the verge of a major Wall Street acquisition.
He asked me to save him money this morning. I took a look at his current bill and came back this afternoon told him I could save him €30 a month. He seemed to like that but –
‘What about the contract with the other crowd?’
‘Hang on, I’ll ring them and find out.’
I rang them and found out. No Contract.
‘Hmm…’ Said Cathal. ‘And what if I lose service, who’ll fix it?’
‘The same people that fix it now. Every company is served by the same technicians and they don’t discriminate because of who you’re with.’
‘Hmm…’ He said again. ‘And will it take long?’
‘About ten days?’
‘Ten days.’
‘Ten days.’
‘Right. Will anyone come here and move anythin around or switch anythin off?’
‘No. It’s all done through computers. Nothin changes except the name on the top of your bill and the price at the bottom – which will be €30 lower.’
‘Hmm…’ He looked out the window, then asked. ‘Are ye busy besides?’
‘Kept goin.’
‘Do you like it?’
‘What?’
‘Workin for these crowd?’
‘It’s ok….when I don’t spend all day on one sale.’
‘Hmm…what did you do before this?’
‘I’m also a writer. I do this too.’
‘Hmm….’
‘Hmmm…and what’s it you need from me?’
‘Proof of address, your signature, and bank details.’
‘Bank details?’
‘Yeah.’
‘Hmm…I don’t like givin out bank details.’
‘Why not?’
‘People might use them for…anythin…’
‘Like saving you money?’
‘Or robbin me?’
‘We’re safe. It’s secure. I wouldn’t worry.’
‘Hmm…I don’t like that now.’
‘Well, I’m sure you don’t like losin €360 a year with the other crowd either so you’ll have to take a hit somewhere.’
‘Hmm…’
‘Hmm…will we sign so?’
‘I’m a man who like to do things my own way…’
‘Ok…’
‘I don’t like rushin into things…’
‘Ok, but it’s done. This is my second time here. It’s been going on since nine o’clock this morning. It’s now 4pm. I’ve gone and worked everything out. Filled out your paperwork, called the other company, got you a special discount. I think it’s a done deal. It’s just up to you to meet me in the middle here a bit…there’s been no rush at all…’
‘Hmm…’
And this is where he started starring at the table.
Fingers intertwined.
Chin to his chest. Contemplating fuck knows what.
There was welding going on outside. And spanners falling and sun coming through the misty windows, bouncing off the scattered gearboxes and the cans of WD40. I was getting ready to hand Cathal the biro so he could sign and the deal would be finally done.
Then he blinked and said: ‘I won’t do it today.’
Which I know means he’ll never do it.
And the sale is gone, along with a lot of my day, but I chase him anyway and ask: ‘Why not?’
‘I’m awful busy.’
‘It’s a signature and some details. It’ll take less that three minutes.’
‘I know. But. Just. Not today.’
‘Tomorrow?’
‘Maybe?’
‘I’ll call in the morning?’
‘I mightn’t be here.’
‘So do it now and we’ll get it over with.’
‘I won’t. I’ll have to ring the other crowd and make sure.’
‘Make sure of what?’
‘Just. I won’t do it today. That’s all. That’s it, now. I’ll ring you tomorrow when I’m ready and we’ll do it.’
‘And what if I can’t come back tomorrow? I might have to go somewhere fifty miles from here….’
‘Oh sure we’ll leave it altogether so if that’s the case.’
A fella from outside stuck his head in the side door. His face was streaked with black grease. Curly scattered hair. Check shirt. He asked: ‘Did you hear anythin about that yoke?’
‘I did. We’ll go down.’ Said Cathal.
‘Will I bring the van around?’
‘Do.’ Said Cathal. Then turned to me and said: ‘I’ve to go.’


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