Willy Was a Liar

Real Estate Agent with Realty Executives

Willy was a liar.

Not a teller of tall tales, not a stretcher of the truth, but a pathological liar. Whether swearing that his Uncle Doug played cowbell on Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper,’ or assuring an unsuspecting child that one plus one equals purple, weaving extravagant falsehoods came as naturally to the forty six year old Nobel laureate/nuclear physicist/bratwurst-eating champion as breathing.

So it was that Willy found himself speaking with a Real Estate agent one late autumn morning, outlining his very specific criteria for the home he intended to purchase.

“The community must be horse-friendly,” Willy informed the agent. “Did I tell you Starchaser showed at Belmont last year? Would have won if he didn’t come up lame half a length from the tape.”

Harris Burfect struggled to keep up, scribbling in the margins of a notepad already overwhelmed with his chicken-scratch. A cynic by nature, Harris had taken the appointment on the off chance that the Danny DeVito look-alike was legit. He’d learned his lesson about prematurely blowing off prospects as flakes the hard way.

“And no wells,” Willy continued. “Arsenic poisoning claimed his sire at the ranch I used to own in Montana.”

“We’ll certainly have the property inspected for hazar-”

“Wasn’t the well itself that did him in,” Willy insisted, waving off the agent’s placation. “It was old man Monticore. He was always jealous of my stallions, as he was right to be. He couldn’t raise a barn in Amish country, let alone a thoroughbred.”

“Autopsy was ruled inconclusive,” he continued, making air quotes with his sausage fingers. “But he had everyone from the coroner to the constable in his hip pocket. Those thieves had been trying to run me out of that two-bit town ever since I struck oil in the summer of two thousand and two. Greedy pigs would stop at nothing to get me off that claim.”

Harris shook out the cramp in his hand and turned to a new page. Words such as ‘ranch’ and ‘oil’ had dollar bills dancing in his mind’s eye despite his swirling doubts.

“Okay, no wells,” he yielded, eager to steer the conversation back on course. “You okay with septic systems? Most horse properties pre-date the sewer, and not too many ranchers around here have bothered to take on the expense of linking up to it.”

“Well that simply won’t do,” Willy replied. “Septic systems are a biological nightmare. Did you know that the leech field of a typical alternative waste disposal system contains more radioactive residue than a centrifuge that has processed atomic material within the past twenty four hours?”

“I’m not familiar with-”

“It’s true,” Willy assured him. “Over the years, I’ve seen far more extra fingers and missing teeth in remote villages where such waste systems are used than I did during my humanitarian mission to Chernobyl back in ninety eight.”

“Fascinating,” Harris admitted, gawking at the vaguely unhealthy-looking man across the table from him. “How long were you there?”

“Only about six months,” Willy responded. “I wanted to stay, but the intel I’d gathered was deemed too urgent by the powers that be. In hindsight, it was for the best that they pulled me out when they did. Started noticing these … growths.”

Willy rubbed a stooped shoulder as he stared off into the infinity through glassy, brown eyes.

“Powers that be,” Harris wondered. “You mean like CIA?”

Willy pulled back from wherever he’d gone and looked straight at the agent, winking.

“I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you.”

“Got it, moving on,” Harris allowed. “Have you spoken with a lender about your financing options yet?”

He turned his head to follow the scent of rosemary that passed by on a tray, instantly regretting his own order. He found a dismissive smile on his client’s ruddy face when he turned back.

“I’ll be paying cash,” Willy informed Harris, signalling the agent closer.

Harris leaned across the table to steal a glance at the wad of cash Willy produced from the front pocket of his one-size-too-small, navy blue coat. It was bound by an ivory 'W' clip.

“Not that I keep all of my money in greenbacks,” Willy assured him, fiddling with the gold chain around his neck. “If you don’t think ten million will get it done, I’ll prep my assistant to move some bullion. Or maybe a couple of the Rembradts.”

“Very good,” Harris gulped, picturing a humorless courier walking into the title company with an attache case handcuffed to his wrist. His internal crazy alarm had moved to DEFCON-3, but he was willing to play out the string.  He’d already invested this much time.

“So when do you want to start looking?”

“Straight away,” Willy answered, checking his watch as he stood. “As soon as I get back from the Maldives.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me,” he said. “I have a B-2 Spirit to catch.”

Harris made a move for his wallet.

“Please,” Willy said, staying the agent’s arm with his hand. “You insult me.”

He peeled a few bills from his roll and dropped them on the table.

“Have a productive trip, Mr. Stiffu,” Harris said as he extended his hand.

“Can’t shake,” Willy lamented, tossing him a flippant two-finger salute instead. “My attorneys advise it could potentially void the insurance policy.”

“We’ll be in touch. Be ready.”

With that, the squat, little enigma of a man turned on his heel and strolled out of the cafe, stopping once to tell an older couple studying a menu that the eggs benedict were excellent today.

A bemused grin spread across the agent’s face. He was still smiling when the waitress came by to clear the two plates of half-eaten pancakes and settle the check. Who knew? If even a fraction of what he’d been told was true, there might be a sale somewhere in the middle of it yet. Stranger things had happened.


Harris didn’t hear her as he polished off the last lukewarm swallow of coffee.  He was preoccupied with the ornate insignia stamped across the saucer upon which the dainty cup had been resting.


Monticore Fine China.

“Son of a bitch,” Harris muttered.

“Sir,” the waitress said again, louder.

Harris looked up at the fresh-faced server.

“What am I supposed to do with this,” she asked, waving a stack of Monopoly money hidden beneath a one dollar bill. “Buy Park Place?”

“Sucker’s play,” Harris sighed, reaching for his wallet for the second time in five minutes. “Nobody ever lands on Boardwalk.”

Comments (90)

Chrystal Safari Roy
Real Estate Realty LLC - Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Luxury Property Specialist

Ha! You've doscovered your retirement activity/niche. Mine was Roger Polk, the great, great... grandson of James K Polk who couldn't possibly buy the Rose House he did a drive-by preview on from the auto-email results because the long gravel drive wreaked havok on his Ferrari and couldn't possibly be navigated daily.  After a two week 'radio slience' following a visit to the bank to procure the POF required to confirm the appointments to the mandatory over 10,000 square foot waterfront homes, I received a copy of his driver's license, mug shot and conviction record in my email.  Crime? Stalking of REALTORS. True story.

Oct 07, 2015 04:18 PM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

I got played by the story like an agent asleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in his head!!  Touche'

Oct 08, 2015 12:03 AM
Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

If you've been in Real Estate anytime at all, your BS detector would have been ringing loud and clear...

Oct 08, 2015 01:24 AM
John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & RE Developer

Nothing like a little Wierd Willy story to get you off to a good start! LOL! When I saw the title I was thinking of a different Willy the Liar.

Oct 08, 2015 01:36 AM
Larry Hotz
Kentwood Company - Greenwood Village, CO

Great story. Well told. When get a guy like that I call him "Mr. Big". Had one Mr. Big for almost a year until I got a call from a police detective in Washington State looking for him on fraud charges. Dumped him. But, got a call on one of my listings later from another agent. She was surprized when I asked if she was inquiring on behalf of "Mr. Big". She was.

Oct 08, 2015 01:44 AM
Sandra Scott

I had some boyfriends like Mr. Big when I was a single lady in Dallas, Texas.  Oil was a big industry in those years and every guy that wanted to be rich was trying to con everyone they met.  I saw so many of those cons that I think recognition soacked into my DNA.  Anyway, I hope so!

Oct 09, 2015 12:59 AM
David Alan Baker | Laveen & South Phoenix Realtor
Keller Williams Realty Phoenix - Laveen, AZ
Your local Expert

My friend, not sure you missed your calling, but you should be writting.  The was a fun entertaining read.  Not many have the gift to write and keep folks dialed in.

Oct 08, 2015 02:33 AM
Michele Engleman, SRES
Compass - San Diego, CA
San Diego Real Estate Expert

Very entertaining; I loved the ending! Thanks for sharing your  'Willy' story!

Oct 08, 2015 02:33 AM
Dawn Horras
The K Company Realty - Westminster, CO
Your Front Range Expert in Colorado

Haha! Very worth the time it took to read! You truly are a gifted writer! Thanks!

Oct 08, 2015 02:48 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Paul,

Very funny! And sad.

Oct 08, 2015 09:01 AM
Chris Shull
ColumbiaLand Realty - Columbia, SC
Your Realtor For Life!

Great story! Thanks for the smile it produced on my face!


Oct 09, 2015 01:17 AM
Theresa Akin

Heard a story such as this. Went with a coworker to an appointment she was nervous about. Client's criteria was off. He was not happy to see that I had accompanies her at all. Then he gave up and stated what he wanted in the properties. His scenario was all about healing/therapy ranches such as those with disabilities and how riding horses help strengthen their muscles.  Not going into detail but he wanted to use the money he acquired from selling a condo that didn't belong to him. He come right out and stated he didn't like the questions I had asked about his consulting a lender and how he was going to pay for said ranch. I was told to leave but she could stay. She told him we were joined at the hip. Crazy (dangerous ) client who didn't have a dime to buy that piece of paper that the monopoly money was made of.  Always happy to leave them, especially when they have not even a torn piece of paper trail.

Oct 09, 2015 02:41 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Paul!

I included this post in today's "Last Week's Favorites".  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Oct 10, 2015 11:56 PM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  Glad I didnt miss it thanks to Pat's weekly high lights!

Oct 11, 2015 12:24 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Paul Slaybaugh You realize we are going to continue to harass - I mean - encourage you to return to the 'Rain until you do!

Oct 11, 2015 12:55 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

What a fun read! I saw this in Pat's round-up of favorites. You really can weave a tale. The best fiction has truth at it's heart. 

Oct 11, 2015 01:19 AM
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Very funny, although I am afraid to say we all know this guys relatives.... it takes all kinds. 


Oct 11, 2015 01:43 AM
Irina Tibbits
Panhandle Real Estate, Inc - Panama City, FL
Investment, Sellers, Buyers,Relocation

Nice story !  :))

Oct 11, 2015 05:31 AM
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Broker/Owner
Travis Realty - Enterprise, AL
email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846

So far, only one who actually provided PoF for the sale, but he just got too weird, so I sent him packing. Not worth it on a $35,000 sale!

Oct 11, 2015 07:42 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

You have a great gift for telling a tale, Paul. Thanks for the enjoyable read.

Oct 11, 2015 11:43 PM
Anita S. Zahn
Advantage Realty 863-840-1420 - Sebring, FL
Highlands County Real Estate Source! I work 4 U!

Too funny!  Welcome to REAL estate!  There are all kinds out there.  My favorate is DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? Me: No why should I?

Oct 14, 2015 12:46 AM