After what seemed to be an eternity, the car stopped abruptly. "I will call my mechanic," he said as he alighted. And he coolly strode into a nearby bustling wedding hall, never to be seen again. It didn't take me long to realise that the man had literally taken me for a ride circumventing a public transport strike in order to attend the wedding.
The next client faded into thin air even before I fetched the car key. Or that was what I thought until a humanoid creature suddenly crawled out from beneath the vehicle and there he was, the habitual nit-picker who overplayed the flaws in the undercarriage and dealt a body blow to my soul by car-ping at the bodywork. But when he strode roughshod over the car's braking, I sent him packing.
Then came the congenital wrangler. "Your quoted price is too high," he complained. "Right now there is a car of identical model available for much less." Why then, I enquired, he didn't go for it. He paused for a moment as if to digest what I said.
"Well, because it had clocked up mileage comparable with that of a space shuttle," he finally conceded, "its tyres reminded me of a baby's bottom, smooth and shining. Besides, its horn didn't honk which, in any case, didn't matter because the body rattle could be heard for miles." So the deal was still alive, I thought.
Finally, when the gap narrowed down to a thousand bucks, he came up with a compromise formula by which he would shell out an extra 500 bucks provided I delivered the car with a tankful of petrol! But his attempt to double his money in double-quick time was foiled as I stuck to my guns and shot down his bid.
At dusk, just as my clientele dried up, my neighbour John entered the fray. As though by intuition, he made an offer which matched my expectations to the last dot. Concealing my astonishment at his sixth sense, I closed the deal with him.
It was only later that I caught up on the secret behind John's 'intuition'. For, earlier in the day, it struck me as odd that his ten-year-old son kept hovering around the scene of negotiations ostensibly in search of his lost (imaginary) ball every time a prospective client bargained.
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