Mr. Kelk had been telling the truth all along. The workers who had been embroiled in a tense argument with him over his claim that a woman was living in the cottage next door were too ashamed to ever seek him out and apologize after witnessing with their own eyes that the cottage was indeed occupied. The weird turn of events that had occurred so soon into what was supposed to be a normal three-month construction project had been extremely traumatic for each and every single one of the men working on the Coples’ home. In fact, most of them ended up quitting the job, just like Mr. Kelk had done, and a new crew of unassuming workers had been hired to finish off the project. With intense pushing every day from the project’s foreman - who too had heavily contemplated quitting the job - the home ended up finishing two weeks ahead of schedule. This was a huge accomplishment within itself considering that the entire project had almost been scrapped by Mr. Cople.
Stuart Cople, 34, was Yarmouth’s city planner and a highly successful entrepreneur. As the city’s planner, he had access to drawn-up plans of the town’s entire layout. It was from these plans that he learned of the vast clearing in the middle of the forest that had been created as a direct result of timber theft many years ago. The illegal logging exercise was one that a number of government officials had actually condoned for quite some time. But they wouldn’t get away scot-free. Their involvement in the illegal act was subsequently brought to light and placed on record, and all officials involved in the scandal were forced to resign from their posts and ordered to pay a fine. And now that Mr. Cople had knowledge of the expansive tract of land that had been created as a result of those government officials’ greed, he planned on cashing in on what he considered to be a “virtual goldmine” that they had brought into existence.
Being the astute businessman that he was, Mr. Cople’s mind instantly got to drawing up a business idea for what he thought was a completely vacant tract of land. After giving it much thought, he had decided upon developing an exclusive subdivision that would only be available to Yarmouth’s most affluent residents. His home was supposed to be the first home erected in the subdivision, and the rest of the homes would come one after the other. The idea was a good one, but the hitches in his plan threatened the project’s continuation. When the construction project’s foreman enlightened him of Mr. Kelk’s resignation and his unanticipated neighbor, Mr. Cople went berserk. He was irate over the fact that Mr. Kelk could just get up and walk off a project which he had personally requested that he work on without first getting his permission and was even more pissed that he wasn’t going to be the first person taking up occupancy on the land, which he blamed Mr. Brable for.
“Why didn’t you tell me about this person taking up space on my property, Mr. Brable?” Mr. Cople shouted at him after being apprised of what was going on at the jobsite. “You know that I didn’t have the opportunity to take time out of my busy schedule to come and take a look at this property before building got under way. I trusted you, Theodore. You were supposed to be my eyes and ears. I was gracious and merciful enough to choose a poor man like yourself to work on what I’m sure is your highest-paying project to date and you betray me. Why?”
“I swear that I had no idea that someone was living in that house in the woods, Mr. Cople. I was of the belief that we could just demolish it once we got through with putting up your home or even fix it up and resell it.”
“Well, you should have at least said something to me first, you dumb fool.”
But no matter how many excuses he received from Mr. Brable and no matter how angry he got over the situation, Mr. Cople knew that it wouldn’t change anything. The only thing that prevented him from changing his mind about moving forward with his dream was thoughts of the money. He had projected that he could essentially triple his net worth in ten years’ time as a direct result of his investment. Mr. Cople was young, rich, haughty, ambitious, and had an ego that was as big as the state of Massachusetts itself. He decided to go with another highly regarded carpenter to work on his home and had concluded that he would just get the woman living in the cottage to move by making her a financial offer that she wouldn’t be able to resist.