The potential for profitability was enormous; seven hundred square feet of outdoor cedar deck surrounding a large 'swim spa' and partially covered by a glassed in room with a gabled roof.
He called at 6:30 in the morning on Wednesday. Of course, I don't answer the phone at that uncivilized hour, but after a shower and hot green tea I returned his call.
A meeting was set for the following morning at, choke, 7am? Alrighty then.. that's what I said to myself in my best Ace Ventura after we hung up. Funny I thought... we still say "hung up." I haven't hung up a phone since pre Y2K.
Not being one for tardiness once a committment is made I arrived at the gentleman's residence at seven sharp.
Rang the doorbell... nothing.
Knocked; maybe the bell doesn't work (and is there really a bell anyway?)... nothing.
Paced a coupla circles in the yard, the dogs of the neighborhood still too sleepy to sound alarm.
Decided to dial him up... genius! VOICE MAIL.
By this time my ears were turning red. What the hell? The epitome of rudeness!
I nearly turned around and left then, but decided at the last moment to at least walk around to the back to put an eyeball on the layout... and there he was, 300 pounds of well marbled lawyer sitting in a steaming spa on the perfectly good deck that he wanted torn down to make room for his newest pet project.
He invited me up, apologizing.. a bit. I could tell straight away that this was a guy that didn't apologize often. Arrogance rose around him with the steam. He had the aire of "aristocracy," immediately bringing to my mind some character from the ancient Roman Senate, maybe the emperor himself... possibly re-incarnated. I thought, 'shouldn't this guy be in Washington?'
He remained seated in the tub for our meeting, immediately informing me that he was gymnós, yeah, no trunks, no nothing but the mat of salt and pepper body hair, head like a medium sized pumpkin- wider than tall, no neck.. jowels.
His wife appeared from the kitchen and offered him some proper swim wear.
He sent her away rudely- "I don't need trunks to talk to this guy! Could you get us some coffee... hunny?"
She rolled her eyes and retreated back into the house as I feigned a cough, covered my mouth, and muttered under my breath... "alrighty then. Please, not the balls."
I stood there attempting to pay attention as he told me how much the rock garden and waterfall in the back of the yard cost. He was an airline captain before being a general contractor-homebuilder, before becoming a fat attorney.
Yawn and blah blah blah.
Act interested! Stay focused! Remember, you too are a whore for the almighty dollar! These were my mantras.
But, BUTT, then he.. what? Why? Stood up!
The hot tub lid was doubled over on the half closest to me creating six inches of view barrier, luckily. That, and the fact Mr. Caligula was short saved me from the dreaded full exposure... barely. Still, it took full concentration to keep my professional salesmanlike demeanor about me. Hands behind back, palms sweating, strong coffee to which I am not accustomed taking full nervous effect.
Whew.. all good I thought, but this is weird, beyond weird. If becoming a tub mate for this guy is part of the deal then I am out. OUT! I have no Roman in me.
After a good forty five minutes the meeting concluded. I wiped my palms on my jeans and said "good bye, get back with ya later" with a sigh of relief.
Then he did it. I suppose he had to. It's built into his genome. He jumped out of the tub like he was light as a feather, exposing hairy ass before I could snap my head away, although I nearly broke my neck trying.