We sped past fields hurtling towards Manchester on the train. Opposite, on the other side of the aisle two be-suited gentleman sat, laptops open with Blackberrys at the ready.
‘That business, yeah they’re nice but I can’t understand for a minute why we’re underwriting it; you wouldn’t believe the numbers. And Tom, what does he do all day? He needs to step up to the plate’. His colleague didn’t respond, choosing to stare out the window instead.
A shrill ring interrupted the flow. ‘Yeah mate, I don’t know where he is exactly, he was trying to get to Liverpool street but the circle line was down – yeah, yeah, alright, later mate’.
He continued: ‘You know whatever you say to him, he says ‘you’re right, I’m wrong’’.
His colleague shifted uncomfortably in his seat and glanced at him, changing the subject. ’ So, how’s the house coming along?’ ‘Well we were lucky to get it! The couple – artists – weren’t married or anything, eccentric by all accounts judging by what they left there… She died and he was left with a massive inheritance tax – put it up for auction and we got it. Yeah, we were lucky alright. Even now people are always putting notes through the door saying what a great site it is and to let them know if we want to sell’.
People went by clutching cups of coffee, swaying from side to side with the motion of the train, grabbing onto the seats as they tried to balance.
‘We’ve got the builders in now of course’. His colleague interjected hesitatingly: ‘You can fashion it how you like then I suppose?’ ‘Yeah, he’s Irish, so you know, he likes to talk. Charges by the hour of course. So, he’s going on and on; a few stories, a couple of witty anecdotes and you’re thinking bugger me that just cost me another £60! Then he keeps putting stuff in, doing stuff I don’t want – like the under floor heating for example. I told him “I don’t want it! (read my lips mate!)” but suddenly – there it is and he fires off another bill!’
I suppressed the urge to giggle, and looking over caught the eye of his companion. No words were necessary; it was all there in our eyes.