Copyright 2009 Trevor Mcpherson
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Castles in the Air
Tovi had no time for coffee and
toast; barely enough to dress and catch the bus.
His accelerated domestic ballet included pulling on his coat,kissing his wife, then his infant daughter Nellie, and grabbing his satchel all in three well practiced steps. He opened the creaking door to their cramped one bedroom apartment, and came to a full stop. In the doorway stood a man in an impeccably tailored dark suit, his hair slicked back, sporting a meticulously curled handlebar moustache.
The man snapped his fingers and produced a business card and thrust it in Tovi's face. "Alistair Peidmont's the name, Surreal Estate's my game."
Tovi gasped and applied a white knuckled choke hold on the tarnished brass doorknob. "I have no interest in your services, Mr. Peidmont."
"Oh, they all say that at first. You'll come around. Whether it's paupers with dreams of mansions, or millionaires desirous of a small piece of peace of mind in the country, they all call upon me sooner or later."
Tovi spun on his heels and slammed the door. Leaning his back against it and pressing his heels into the creaking floor, he protected his modest tenement turf. He and Shelagh had discussed the future last night. How they would need a bigger apartment, maybe even a house as the family grew. It was just pillow talk. He took a deep breath and turned to look through the peep hole. Piedmont was gone. Their apartment was at the top of the 3rd floor stairs. Those stairs creaked and moaned even when Stevie, the three year old across the hall, used them. Tovi realized Alistair had come and gone without making a sound, and his chest tightened.
Shelagh looked at his pale face and dilated pupils. "Tovi, darling - what is it?"
"A dream. Last night I dreamed of a big house. Big enough for all the children we could ever want. It had a yard with a slide, and swing set. Trees, even. I stood at the end of the long driveway and handed a cheque to a man in a suit. While I shook his hand, you and Nellie ran to the door."
"And this is a bad dream why?" she asked, raising her dark eyebrows.
"The man at the door. He was the man I gave the cheque to. Except, I've never met him. Never called him. He just...he just knew."
Shelagh did not sleep that night because Nell was colicky.
Tovi did not sleep for fear of who might come knocking in the morning.