Monday, 6 April 2020
E is for Estate Agent #AtoZChallenge
"I'm sorry, you what?" Elena asked. She hadn't been paying attention, wondering what her children were squabbling about in the background.
"Just wondering if I could have a bit of help with the rent this month, Miss...?"
Elena sighed. "Elena, just call me Elena. Hold on one second," she said, muting the video call. She turned around and yelled, "Five minutes you miscreants! Just shut up for five minutes and I'll get you lunch!"
"You said that an hour ago!" Julie, her eldest yelled back.
"I promise. Last call before lunch. Now take Tommy to your room and keep quiet!" There was some grumbling before the door slammed and all was quiet again. Elena turned back to the video call and unmuted it. "Sorry about that. Kids. You know how it is."
The young woman nodded, eyes wide.
"What's your house number again?" Elena asked, buying time as she stared at the woman's details on her second screen.
"A-22-8," the woman said, "it's just that my husband's lost his job, and my freelance work isn't enough to--"
Elena knew that. "Rachel, is that right? You've been at A-22-8 for five years?"
"Yes. We've always paid on time. If we could delay it by a week? It's just till--"
Elena looked again at the email from the head office. She swallowed her discomfort and said, "Unfortunately, management has issued a directive that all rent is due per normal and we can't give any discounts or allow delays. I would really like to help, but..."
Rachel's shoulders slumped. "Well, thank you anyway."
"I'm sorry, Rachel. We've been trying to lobby management but we haven't made much headway yet. If anything changes, I'll let you know immediately."
Elena ended the call, leaned back in her chair and massaged her forehead. These days, she really hated her job as an estate agent.
This story has been brought to you by the Oxford Dictionary, Twitter, and COVID-19.