My name is Ty and I’m a successful Realtor. In fact, I’m the highest grossing Realtor in the state, which is saying a lot considering the massive commercial Renaissance that’s occurring here.
What’s my secret? Well, I’m a psychopath. Yep, I’m a real life, one percenter psychopath. That one in a hundred brain structure that prevents empathy from intruding on my decisions. People ask me all the time what it’s like being a psychopath. Actually I just lied, no one has ever asked me–I’m too good at hiding it for anyone to know. But then again to be a successful psychopath, you have to be convincing as a “human”.
Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of psychopaths out there who aren’t successful at hiding their nature. Those are the ones you occasionally hear about in the news; the psychopathic killer, the psychopathic rapist, the psychopathic dictator, cop, soldier…those guys (and women) obviously haven’t embraced the full range of their gifts. And yes, it is a gift. More over, many sociopaths often get labeled as psychopaths because of their hot headed tendencies. But don’t be fooled by ignorant news reports and over emotional police. If an act of violence occurs out of anger, it’s highly unlikely the perpetrator was a psychopath. More than likely it was just a garden variety sociopath or someone suffering from a psychotic break. Those occurrences are far more prevalent than even law enforcement would like to admit.
Psychopathy is the rare and wonderful gift of having no conscience or empathy at all. Nope…That’s actually a falsehood as well, but it’s a common misconception among mental health professionals which they then pass on to an uninitiated public as “experts”.
The general consensus among psychiatrists is that psychopaths have no empathy. But the truth of the matter is, we have taken the empathetic awareness to the extreme (some of us anyway. The others apparently weren’t bright enough to figure it out before exposing themselves). Empathy as defined by mental health professionals is the ability to understand or feel the emotional response of another being…the capacity to place one’s self in another’s position. Psychopaths (good ones anyway) excel in that regard. We are so good at it, in fact, that we have a nearly clairvoyant quality when it comes to anticipating other’s reactions. Scary, huh?
The difference between us and “humans” is, we aren’t moved by that emotional knowledge. Instead, we use it to our benefit. Whether sculpting our persona, setting up a client for closing a deal, creating a marketing campaign to attract college freshmen, or tracking a suspect through an abandoned building, we instinctively know what others feel and how they will respond to certain stimuli. We don’t care how they feel about it, but make no mistake, we are very aware of how they feel.
There are some sick people out there; Sociopaths–the hot heads. Those guys are the ones you usually hear about on the news. Most sociopaths are created out of some environmental anomaly (like abuse, neglect, war, etc) and they are truly nuts. Some are psychopaths as well which makes them doubly dangerous. But unlike the pure psychopath, the sociopath often (too often) lets that nasty temper get the better of them. That’s when they get caught.
Why am I telling you this? Did I just need to get it off my chest? No. I want you to understand the story I’m about to tell and you just won’t be able to fully embrace the beauty of it unless you understand me…the psychopath.
This story started a few months ago when I landed a cherry property on the upper east side. That’s a story in itself but it’s not nearly as interesting as how I sold it. The development company that owned the property suddenly found themselves in need of cash and I was in the right place at the right time to represent them. It wasn’t a beautiful building or even a very notable building, but the property had just been reclassified for high rise development…a fantastic stroke of luck for the seller who would be able to get top dollar with the change in status.
I got calls almost immediately. The first came from a conglomerate of foreign investors represented by Nikko. I knew Nikko. He was young, hungry and liked representing the foreign investors because he could call a lot of the shots without clearance from them. These guys were the new kids on the block and they were pushing hard to scoop up property all over New York. They were offering five percent over the appraised value. Quite a nice chunk of change and a fast offer to head off any bidding war. All they wanted was the full commission percentage due to the buying agent. Standard.
I had actually been looking forward to having a bigger slice of the pie and decided to juice the game up a bit. I called an independent representative of certain dark money developers. These guys were the big movers in the city and more new blocks of development had gone to them in the last few years than most other developers. I reached out to John Keller, a hard charging, adrenaline fueled sociopath with a nasty coke habit.
“That’s quite a gift,” John said to me. “Giving us a crack at that corner.”
“The seller is looking to move quickly and the other offer on the table is five percent over appraised,” I replied, not impressed by John’s seeming gratitude…I knew it was fake.
“Five percent,” he said, pensive. “I’ll have to get back to you.”
Just as I had anticipated. It was only a few hours later that he called me back with an offer six percent over appraisal…but was also asking for full buyer agent commission.
Hmm, I thought with a grin.
“I’ll get back to you,” I replied and ended the call. I smiled as I sat in my corner office and looked over the city. I already knew what I was going to do. I just wanted to savor the quiet before the deal.
After making an appointment to meet with Nikko, I called John back and arranged for a meeting ten minutes later at the same restaurant.
“We gave you the best offer to head off any competition,” the foreign agent said as our drinks arrived, disgusted he had been out bid.
“I’m sorry,” I replied sincerely (not really but it fooled him.) “But one percent is one percent.”
“I’m willing to play my commission to make up the difference,” he said in a quiet voice. “I’ll sacrifice two points…one and a half to beat the other offer and half a point to make it worth your while.”
Hmm. He had gambled their top offer to get in first. Interesting. I cocked my head to the side. “You’d be willing to do that?”
“It would be an important purchase,” Nikko said. “But you can’t go back to the other buyer. That’s all the room I’d have to maneuver.”
I took a deep breath and held it for a second before nodding. “Okay,” I replied. “I’ll have to get the final go ahead from the seller but I’m certain they’ll agree to it.”
I pulled out my phone and dialed John Keller’s number as I stepped away from the table.
“Hello,” John answered.
“John, it’s Ty,” I said in a quiet voice as I exited the restaurant.
“I’m almost there,” John said. “I’ll just be–”
“I’m sorry, John. The other buyer came up with a much stronger counter,” I replied. “We’re going with their offer.”
“Bullshit,” John snapped. “We’ll match it.”
“They want it more, pal,” I said, grinning. “The agent is willing to take a slice out of his commission to put them over the top, no matter what the percentage is.”
“This is bullshit, Ty,” John said.
“I’m sorry, John… They won this one. Let it go.”
I ended the call and went back to the table. “We have a deal,” I said, shaking his hand. “Do up the new contract and have it to me by nine o’clock and I’ll get the owners to sign it.”
“Thank you,” Nikko said. “I’ll bring it out myself in the morning.”
Moments later, John sprinted into the restaurant and looked around briefly before spotting us. He stomped toward our table as the next round of drinks were delivered. “You are a piece of shit,” he snapped at me, ignoring Nikko.
I plastered an expression of pained regret on my face, adding to it a twitch of fear. “It’s just business John. They had the better offer,” I said. “If you want to submit a back up offer on the off chance this one falls through, you have until morning.”
He grabbed me by my favorite blue and white tie and shoved me into the back of the booth. “You know who you’re messing with…you know what we do. Why would you be so stupid?”
“John, it’s business,” I replied, feigning fear at his physical prowess as I grabbed at his coat.
Our waitress backed away several steps, still holding our tray of drinks.
Nikko grabbed John’s arm yanking his hand from my tie and spinning him around, leaving the inner pocket of his coat liner in my palm. John, being the hot head he was, took a swing at the Nikko, but the smaller man ducked the swing beautifully. He jumped up, shoving John backwards to the floor and knocking over drinks on the neighboring table.
“John, calm down pal.” I said, rising and stuffing the torn strip of fabric into my pocket.
A beefy male server rushed over and grabbed John by the arm, pinning it behind his back.
“John, I’m sorry man,” I yelled to him as the waiter shoved him through the front door. “Seriously. Bring the backup tomorrow.”
“You’re dead!” he yelled as the large waiter propelled him to the sidewalk outside. He got up and stared at the waiter for several tense seconds. For a beat or two, I thought John was going to have a go at him. But when the waiter refused to budge from his angry glare, John stormed away, his long coat flapping behind him.
I took a deep breath as the waitress leaned over and placed our drinks on the table. “Well that’s something you don’t see every day.”
I shook my head. “I don’t need that kind of stress.”
“The drinks are on me,” Nikko said taking the bill folio and tucking a couple hundred dollar bills inside. “I like the way you held your ground.”
“A deal is a deal,” I said, raising my glass to Nikko.
He tapped his tumbler to mine and nodded. “Integrity…you don’t find that often in our line of work.”
“I’ll bring you some more drinks,” the waitress said.
Nikko stood as she left. “That’s enough excitement for me for one night,” he said, pulling his coat on. “I’ll see you in the morning with the contracts.”
I stood and shook his hand. “Despite the tense moment, this is a good deal. I think everyone is better off.”
“Except for Keller…that psychopath.”
I grinned at the mischaracterization but nodded. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
He left through the front door and I started my silent count. While I was waiting for the other drinks, I pulled out my phone and typed out an e-mail to John Keller, copying his “dark money” bosses, reaffirming the back up contract status for the morning.
When my drinks arrived, our waitress leaned over. “Is your friend coming back?”
I shook my head. “He’s had enough excitement for one night.”
She nodded and took the folio. “Do you want me to take the drinks back?”
I shook my head sharply as I reached for them. “I’ve had enough excitement too…need my tonic,” I said and smiled at her with a wink.
She smiled back, patting my shoulder sympathetically and left. I slid out of the booth leaving my coat behind and headed toward the bathrooms in the back, slipping my gloves on as I went. I turned the corner bypassing the bathrooms after a quick glance over my shoulder and loosened my tie as I left through the back door.
When I returned fifteen minutes later, no one seemed to have noticed I had been gone…nor that I now had a pale green tie on instead of my favorite blue and white.
The next morning, John and his buyer were sitting in my waiting room when I arrived. John didn’t stand to shake my hand but his boss did–they must have really wanted that property.
“I’m glad to see you made it Mr. Giacalone,” I said. “The other buyers have until nine o’clock to get their offer to me. If they aren’t here by then, I can look at your contract.”
He nodded, though with a terse expression. “I don’t have to tell you I’m not happy about being the backup on this deal, but I understand business is business.”
“Thank you sir,” I said smiling genuinely. “Your offer was very generous. If this doesn’t work out, I’ll be happy to address it.”
He nodded and sat. I went to my office and began organizing the paperwork for Nikko’s contract neatly in the center of my desk. At shortly after nine o’clock, I heard my outer door open. I stepped out and saw a man in a dark suit and two uniformed officers.
“Ty Golden?” The man in the dark suit said.
“I’m detective Foreman with the NYPD,” he said coming toward me. “Would you mind if I had a word with you?”
“Sure. Come on in.”
I ushered the detective into my office and closed the door.
“I’ll cut right to the chase,” Detective Foreman said. “Do you know a Nikko Petinos?”
I furrowed my brow. “I do. I’m actually waiting for him to bring a contract to me this morning,” I said, gesturing to the paperwork on my desk. “He’s running late.”
“Very late,” the detective said. “He was murdered last night.”
I cocked my head to the side and reached back to my chair, sitting awkwardly. “I saw him last night,” I said. “We had drinks at–”
“Bartons Pub,” the detective said, cutting me off. “The waitstaff there said there was an altercation with another man.”
I looked toward the door of my office. “It was a…yes, but it was just hot heads over a real estate deal.”
“Do you know the name of the other man involved in the altercation?”
I looked at him wide eyed. “John Keller.”
“Would you know where I could find him?”
I nodded toward my office door. “He’s sitting in my waiting room with a back up offer in case Nikko doesn’t show with his contract.”
The detective snapped his head around to the door and then back to me. “Out there? Right now?”
I nodded, my jaw slightly ajar.
He opened the door and stepped into my outer office. “John Keller?”
John looked up, confused. The detective nodded his head toward the two officers who accosted John by the arms.
“Open his coat,” the detective said to the officers.
When they did, Detective Foreman walked over and held up an evidence bag to the torn inner pocket–it was clearly a match.
The detective squinted into John’s face. “This pocket was found clutched in the hand of Nikko Petinos after he fell six stories from the parking garage he was parked in last night.”
“But, I wasn’t…I didn’t…”
“John Keller, you’re under arrest for the murder of Nikko Petinos–”
“What the hell are you talking about?!” John roared.
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say–”
“Ty, what the hell is going on?” John asked.
I just stood wide eyed and gap mouthed at my office door. After the officers had read John his rights, the detective came back to me. “I’ll need a statement about what occurred last night at the restaurant, but you can come down to the precinct anytime today to do that.”
I nodded slowly, letting confusion shape my face. “I’ll…I’ll be down as soon as I can.”
He nodded and left without another word.
Mr. Giacalone stood holding the folder with his contract, looking at the door of my outer office after it had closed. “Now that’s dedication,” he said and turned to me. “Looks like the other group won’t have their contract in today.”
“Mr. Giacalone, I’m certain Nikko’s company will still present a contract,” I said, walking toward him. “Under the circumstances, I feel I need to wait for them to reorganize.”
Giacalone tipped his head to the side, nodding it back and forth a couple of times. “Or, we can match the offer and you could be the representative on both sides,” he said with a sly grin. “You could have the buyer’s and seller’s side commission… That’s upwards of, what… fourteen million?”
“Fourteen point three five,” I said, stone faced.
“That is of course if it turns out John is responsible for the murder,” Giacalone added.
Oh…he will be, I thought. His DNA is all over my favorite blue tie which is now around Nikko’s neck in the city morgue. Sociopaths…so predictable.
I nodded slowly. “He did miss the deadline,” I said with pause.
“Business is business,” Giacalone said.
“Indeed it is,” I replied as I reached for the contract folder Giacalone had tucked under his arm. “If you’ll give those to me, I’ll have them retyped with my name as buying and selling agent.”
He nodded and smiled. “Smart man.”
“I’ll also need to get you to sign a waiver, acknowledging that I’m acting on behalf of the seller as well.”
“Whatever,” he said. “Let’s get this done. My car is parked downstairs and I still have to swing by the lawyer’s to make sure John’s sloppiness doesn’t splash my shoes.”
“Of course,” I replied and looked at my secretary who was busy trying to pretend she wasn’t paying attention to us. “Maggie, can you fill out a buyer-seller waiver for Mr. Giacalone to sign?”
“Yes sir,” she replied as she took the contracts for retyping.
“Thank you, and please put a rush on it…Mr. Giacalone and I both have other matters to attend to this morning.”
She nodded. “Yes sir.”
I smiled genuine thanks and nodded, crinkling my eyes at the corner as any good psychopath would have learned to do.
If you liked this post, then please like this post 🙂 S.L. Shelton is the author of an Amazon Bestselling Political Thriller Action Espionage Series, (The Scott Wolfe Series). Follow him here on WordPress, on Twitter @SLSheltonAuthor or Facebook. He will love you for it. And if you like the posts, click like (likes, follows and reviews are the best way to get authors to write more.)