There are reasons most dealerships keep their inventory outside. For one, a parking lot is generally less expensive than a large industrial warehouse—but even setting that factor aside there are a number of reasons why outdoor storage is considerably superior. The smell, for instance. Warehouses smell of whatever is inside them, which in the case of a yacht wholesaler is a sickening combination of waterproof sealant and linoleum finish, sprinkled with lemon air freshener.
The temperature, too, is much more difficult to manage inside of a warehouse. Nobody expects a parking lot to be warm. Unless it’s summertime, in which case nobody expects a parking lot to be cold. But a boat wholesale warehouse that’s inside—people expect there to be climate control. Which means no fewer than thirty industrial space heaters during the winter, and a summertime A/C bill more expensive than a 10-star Dubai superhotel.
But hey, if you want to sell boats wholesale, you’ve got to have a warehouse.
And, more importantly, if you actually want to sell any of those boats, you’ve got to have boat sales people. Stellar boat sales people.
Sales people like Mickey.
Mickey worked the sales floor like a shark—some rumored he could smell the blood of a sale from over twenty boats away. A monument to pushers and peddlers of all types, Mickey had in his head written, rewritten, made sequels to, and had an anniversary publishing of the all the rules contained in the “Art of the Deal” long before the real book was made a reality by that dundering fake-haired executive. Not to mention Mickey’s mental rulebook was way better than the real one.
So when some old bearded dude in a black hooded sweatshirt walked into the front door of the warehouse, Mickey didn’t pay him any attention. Why? Because while Mickey could smell blood, he could also smell cash, and this guy? Zip. Zero. Cero. Nada, zilch, nil. Big fat goose egg. This guy was dirt broke and Mickey could tell from a mile away.
But, in some bizarre twist—as if sensing Mickey could sense him—the old man immediately turned to face Mickey, and began walking purposefully in his direction.
Mickey tried to dodge behind a boat. But as if from out of a horror film, he suddenly found the old man standing beside him on the other side of the boat.
“Hello there,” said the man from under his black hood. He gazed down at Mickey with glazed, hollow eyes, and spoke in a voice like a reverse echo. “I was wondering if you could help me.”
Mickey’s mind reeled as he thought of all the normal excuses. If he went on break, he might lose that pea-coat-clad couple that just ambled in the side door over there. It was far from closing or even lunch, so he couldn’t say that. ‘Be right with you’ might work, but Mickey got the feeling this guy would only follow him around if he said that. And there were no other employees on the floor, so…
Mickey heaved a visibly annoyed sigh as he realized there’d be no shaking this creepy old dude. It was either deal with him now or deal with him later when it might be even more inconvenient. So Mickey brushed on his smile and looked up at the pale, black-hooded man.
“Why of course sir!” Mickey chirped—still obviously pestered. “What can I do for you?”
“I need a boat,” the old man responded, his voice whispering as if it came from some distant location.
“Well,” said Mickey with terse, false laughter, gesturing broadly all around him, “you’ve certainly come to the right place! Any specific kind of boat?”
“Large,” said the man. “Open concept design. Easy for carrying large numbers of people.”
“Aha! Perhaps a pontoon then?”
“Classier. Pontoons won’t do on Styx, much less Acheron.”
Ok, this guy is weird, thought Mickey. Whatever. Just show him the price tag on the most expensive yacht and get him to go away.
Mickey walked the hooded old man over to one of the largest floor models on display—an enormous, pearl-striped yacht with gold trimming and a wide wooden deck. Mickey showed the man the exorbitant, nine-figure price.
“Hm,” the old man mused, his eyebrows furrowing over his dead gaze. “Do you have anything… less pricey?”
Yeah, that’s what I thought. “I’m afraid not sir,” Mickey lied. “This is our base model.”
The old man looked at Mickey, then back at the yacht, then back to Mickey. His eyes were judging, piercing.
“Very well,” the old man finally said.
“Wait,” Mickey stammered, “very well as in—you’ll take it?”
Mickey was floored.
“Um,” Mickey stuttered, “very well then. I can take you to the back and we can work out a payment plan.”
“Do you take gold?”
“As in the MasterCard? We take all major—”
“No. Actual gold.”
“Well—” Mickey wasn’t actually sure, but—well of course they took gold, it was cash, right? “Yes, I suppose we can take gold. We’ll have to add on some extra interest though.” Nice.
“Of course. I understand. Thank you for your help.”
The old man dug into his pocket and removed two small 1oz gold coins. He handed them to Mickey. “Those are for your help,” the old man creaked, “the remaining 74,500 you’ll find in a chest that’s already been deposited in your main office.”
“Wait, what—” Mickey turned to look in the direction of the main office, but then quickly turned back toward the old, bearded man.
But the man in black was gone, as was the boat. All that remained was a small, smoldering scrap of paper. Picking it up, Mickey read the inky words—
Thanks for the new ferry. See you when I see you… -CHARON
With a flash, the note erupted into flame. The warehouse fans blew away the ashes.
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