Drugs and Suicide
Now that I’ve got that off my chest I can go on to more suicides. These are not fun stories to remember or to tell. But they should be told so that readers will know the things that we encounter in the normal course of business. More often than not we are grief counselors, social workers, or mediators in these incidents. Experience has shown that agents just looking for a fast easy commission don’t last long in the business, but that’s a whole other set of stories.
For this one we have to go back to St. Genevieve where all the Legals and Gauthiers live. There was an almost complete tri-level house that Ulysses Legal had designed and built. It was an amazing design featuring (among other things) a mezzanine walkway across the whole second floor of the building. At first blush, it was the ideal building of a dream house and household. I was soon to discover that it was more complicated than that. My first visit was cordial enough as I went through the house in an effort to evaluate its market value. But I had a sense of tension between husband and wife, nothing I could put my finger on, but still it was there. I said I would return after I’d had a chance to determine a reasonable selling price.
On my return there was tension in the air even as I pulled up in the driveway. It only increased when I entered the house. There had apparently been a fight about selling or not selling the place. Lucille apparently didn’t want to sell at all, and he, Ulysses just wanted to be rid of it. It wasn’t very long before he had signed the agreement and she tearfully co signed.
That wasn’t the end of it. Apparently, Ulysses had gone into a depression and had become aggressive toward his wife that I later learned was what happened when he was coming down from a drug binge. I had driven out two days later to put up my “for sale” sign and went in to the house to let them know what I had done. The air was electric. Lucille had a few marks on her arms as well as a black eye. She was in an agitated state and said she was going to stay with her sister in Winnipeg for a few days.
“How are you going to get there?” I wanted to know, realizing the tension in the room.
“Oh, I’ll take the bus tomorrow,” she answered.
“No, get your things together. You’re coming into town with me,” I more or less commanded. I had a feeling that if she didn’t get out of there right away, something dangerous would happen to her. She complied and we left.
On the way Lucille broke down crying – no, sobbing about her situation. Drugs, she said. It was the drugs Ulysses couldn’t kick. Every time he tried he would, after a few days get depressed, and ultimately become aggressive. By the time we got to Lucille’s sister’s place, she had pretty well cried herself out. She thanked me for my understanding and for the ride (which probably saved her life) and left my car. I watched her go to the door and enter the house.
Pretty well rattled by the experience, I stewed over it for days. There were a number of showings on the property and I had a lockbox there so I wouldn’t have to attend each one. When an offer came in from an agent in Steinbach I did manage to close it. I can’t remember if Lucille was back home at the time or not, but suffice it to say that it was a done deal.
Now I could put it behind me and move on to something else. Ha ha, little did I know. A week or so after the deal was completed somebody found Ulysses hanging from the railing of the mezzanine floor overlooking the main entry. It was determined to be a suicide. After checking with the lawyer to confirm that the deal would stand, I promptly turned to happier thoughts when I got a call from the buyer, a machinist at Griffin Steel. He’d heard of the suicide and wanted to know what kind of a discount he could get in the price if he would proceed with the purchase.
Of course I knew that withdrawing from the sale would cost him his deposit (plus other penalties and punitive damages). It’s at times like these that my sarcastic humor automatically kicks in. I told him that the lawyers and I were trying to determine the surcharge there would be for the privilege of buying a suicide home and we would be in touch with his lawyers on determining that. He said ‘Oh’ and hung up the phone.
I don’t know if my response saved any further headaches or not but the deal finalized without any further hitches and I could go on to other things.