Occasionally in these last few weeks the search to find a buyer before the shop is closed on me has felt very much a race against time. Ahead a deadline has loomed forbiddingly, a dark shadow which blots out the future beyond it. The challenge for me has to been beat the deadline, to slip through the gap before it closes on me. To that end I’ve done everything in my power to finagle the situation, to source and convince potential buyers, to get the deadline extended bit by teensy-weensy bit.
In my prosaic moments the old western trope has come to mind: “we’ll head ’em off at the pass.” Of course I’m the one they’re trying to head-off, it’s poor old H who has to get to far side before they do. It also presumes a malevolent intelligence actually trying to do me down – which, believe me, often feels the case. Something wants to get to me before I get to the pass.
This evening the metaphor is different. For some reason the chariot race from Ben Hur comes to mind. Here I’ve been steering my chariot helter-skelter around the Circus Maximus, urging my white chargers on while competitors around me edge ahead or fall by the wayside. My competitors in this cheery scenario are the potential buyers out there trying to squeeze me for the best deal, and the landlord snapping at my heels like a bookie I owe.
To my chagrin this afternoon at least one thing came to a head. I made contact with the guy who was interested this morning to check what time he would be here. He responded by saying that he was caught up at work and decided he probably he couldn’t go through with the purchase. This set me back on my heels a bit, as you understand. I was pissed off, but not as downhearted as you might have expected.
On the face of it it’s odd that having been interested this morning – to the extent of booking a massage for his partner in the venture – he would then choose to casually opt out. In his message to me he said he would send me an email. My immediate thought was that he was playing silly buggers with me, and I was pissed off.
That seems to be the case. He’s since sent that email, which was heavy with detail about why he wasn’t able to go through the purchase in this timeframe, with the sly kicker at the end of the message saying that he couldn’t really justify spending more than $25K for the shop. That’s not an offer, something he has been careful to avoid, but something left deliberately dangling in front of me.
Essentially he’s calling my bluff, I think. The problem is that I am bluffing, or at least I’m puffing out my chest. The bigger problem I have is if I go back to him and say, ok then, let’s do it for 25 he knows he has me, and can play me. What’s to stop him from then saying “well actually…”, and putting in a lower bid? I have to play it smart, which takes some time.
Do I have time? That’s up to the landlord. I’ve been trying to get onto the agent all afternoon. I wanted to get some clarity on my tenure here. Sure, I’m bluffing with the buyers, but is the landlord bluffing me too? I expect so.
In any case I’ve withheld this weeks payment until I know where I stand – which is convenient as I don’t have this weeks payment.
I have a couple of other interested parties coming tonight, see how they go. I actually feel pretty gung-ho. That always happens when I feel challenged. I hate to lose. If this is Ben Hur then I aim to be Judah Ben-Hur himself, and first past the post, bloodied maybe, but unbowed.