Although many individuals never would have suspected it, there was indeed a black market operation in existence in the small, irenic town of Yarmouth. Amongst the recondite activities’ most notable indulgers were high-ranking government officials (who were on average able to add an additional $35,000-plus to their annual salaries by way of their underhanded dealings); wealthy bankers; crooked judges; and nefarious clergymen. Because of the town’s pristine reputation, the underground market there was a highly secretive and organized one, with the town’s administrator, Kiffering Dwelling, filling the role of chairman. The good name of every man or woman involved in the covert crime ring hung in the balance. Discovery of their illegal exploits by any ordinary citizen of the town would be detrimental to their societal and/or political repute. Hence, anybody affiliated with the crime ring had been introduced to the organization by one of its already-existing member. Furthermore, an individual would only be initiated into the organization after passing a stringent test of loyalty and street smarts. As a further method of precaution, a minute number of the organization’s dealings took place within Yarmouth. The mecca for all of the organization’s business transactions was the state’s bustling capital city, Boston. And now that Mr. Sillow was out of work - at least in its legal form - Boston was where he planned on making a trip to in order to make ends meet.
The once well-liked Mr. Sillow had an enigmatic ability to quickly connect with most persons he crossed paths with. He had that special trait that the vast majority of individuals in society disadvantageously lack: he excelled at listening. Persons could blather on about their life’s endless issues to him for hours on end without once being interrupted by the astute listener. Such was the case one day when Mr. Sillow was doing some work at the business place of a particularly unforgettable client of his.
Cora Marshall was a well-off grocery store owner and one of Yarmouth’s most recognizable faces. Each Sunday she could be found in the front pew of any one of the community’s various churches - guaranteed. And on any other given day of the week, she would be either heading or participating in charitable events around town. Her candid outlook on politics made her extremely well-liked by her fellow townspeople, who on multiple occasions had entreated her to join the political arena to conciliate their concerns, which were minimal but still common nuisances nonetheless. In their eyes, she was the “perfect candidate, role model, and human being for the job.” Yet, internally she was hoping that somebody would pick up on the slightest inkling of her “Ms. Goody Two-shoes” facade. Being seen as this irreproachable citizen in the eyes of all was becoming irritatingly deflating to her ego. “Do I have to paint my dark side on a white canvas for these morons in this town?” she once vented to her cohorts during one of the criminal organization’s meetings. “I reckon if they’d lift their heads up out of the soil that they’re cultivating all day and night and wipe some of that dirt off of their faces they’d be able to see things a bit more clearly.” Her desire to be seen for who she truly was would come true as she haughtily decried the residents of Yarmouth during her banter with the unassuming electrician just several days before he would suffer his reputation-damaging plight at the fair.
“…. Please, tell me again, Mr. Sillow, will you be charging me by the hour, or is this a job based upon a flat rate? I’m asking because it’s come to my knowledge that your fees tend to be exaggerated, just like the fees of goods and services on the taxpayers’ competing market,” the duplicitous Mrs. Marshall stated. “Now, I am well aware that you provide some of the best electrical service around town - I’m not disputing that at all - but in all fairness, sir, could you look inside your heart and be lenient with your price for such an old lady as myself?”
No response. Greed was the basis of all of Mrs. Marshall’s actions, and Mr. Sillow had come across many the like. A few things he had learned quickly - and, unfortunately, the hard way - in the world of business were to never allow persons to owe him pelf for services rendered and to disregard the cries of those claiming to be unable to make payments. More times than not, their complaints belied their financial statements.
“Fine,” Mrs. Marshall said superciliously while twiddling her glasses, “nevermind what I just asked you. I’ll see to it that Mr. Dwelling has Shepherd (Yarmouth’s treasurer as well as the treasurer of the criminal organization she was affiliated with) come up with a few new ways to boost up my capital in the capital. If the people here only knew the ochlocracy they were living under….
“You know, Mr. Sillow, as much as I do for this community, as much as I do for these people, how do you think they repay me?” Mrs. Marshall asked rhetorically. “They look in my direction for more help. That’s how they express their appreciation for all that I do. I’m sure that you can relate to what I’m saying. You’re a pretty affluent man. You’re probably just as tired of these bloodsuckers as I am. Each week they store away their earnings and find their way to our doorsteps to beg us for every cent of the money which we work so diligently to attain. It’s hardworking citizens like you and I who have made this town what it is. Our blood, sweat, and tears are the quintessential elements of Yarmouth’s geographical makeup. Homage should be paid to us.
“I don’t know, maybe I’d have an entirely different outlook on this matter if I were to try seeing things through the eyes of these meager peasants; but I’d rather not. I’m just going to stick it out here for a couple more years before I get up out of this here hellhole of a town once and for all. By such time, the investments I’ve made outside of this town will have generated enough of a turnover so that I never ever have to depend on the people of Yarmouth for anything again.
“Oh, and if I haven’t mentioned it already, it’s been a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Sillow.”