Land of Milk and Honey

Setting the receiver back in its cradle, the receptionist offered a full view of her pearly whites outlined in shocking fuchsia. “The Housing Coordinator is ready to see you now, Mr. Forbes.”

Bryan unclasped his hands. His lips remained pressed as he followed her directions to the office down the hall. Mr. Van Sant was waiting for him with an outstretched hand. “Welcome, Bryan! May I call you Bryan?” He had the grip of a roustabout. “Come right in.” The tug on his hand pulled Bryan in front of a chair. “Have a seat and let’s get started, shall we?”

Mr. Van Sant wasted no time. He sat behind the desk, dulled the lights with a remote and began the slide show on the wall.

“As you can see, the community is perfectly situated in between the hills of New Canaan. The valley is exceptionally beautiful. And, of course, the houses are built with superiority in mind—all are completely modernized, with every technological advance you can think of and more, let me assure you.”

Mesmerized by the lush, green valley and view from the crest of the hills, Bryan nodded. “It’s perfect.”

“Indeed, it is. You’ve looked over the floor plans already, I assume?” The next slide in the power point showed Plan A. “You should have received these images in the introductory packet emailed to you.” Clicking all the way through to Plan E, he stopped, looking expectantly at his client.

“Oh. Yes. I’ve chosen C.”

Mr. Van Sant clicked backwards. “Excellent choice! And what about the family? Plan C for them as well or would you care to look at our upgrade options?” A few more clicks and the wall now displayed a lovely blonde woman of medium height, two children—a boy, age ten and a girl, age eight—and a buff-colored cocker spaniel, fully trained.

“Oh, I think the included options will be sufficient.” He got up and walked closer to the wall, touching the images of each person. He didn’t pet the dog.

Thrilled with the assured sale, Mr. Van Sant left the image up as he set his printer humming. “Just a bit of paperwork and then we can move you in.” While Bryan was signing, the housing coordinator paged the receptionist. “Joanna, please bring in Mrs. Forbes and the children. Leave the dog for now. We’ll have someone bring him over later.”

On cue, as soon as the paperwork and payment were complete, the office door opened and Bryan was engulfed in the limbs of his children.

“Daddy!”

Mrs. Forbes waited her turn then leaned in, pecking his cheek. “Shall we go home, Dear?”

In a daze, Bryan assented. The children skipped ahead and good-natured bickering could be heard about who would get to name the dog. Mrs. Forbes watched Bryan’s stunned face for a moment. She took his hand, leading him home with her ice cold fingers interwoven between his.

LKT © 2015

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