I spent six days with five digits on my mind.

More money than I’d ever imagined having in my hands. If I lived to 90 and got a dollar for every day of it, it still wouldn’t come close to $90,000.


Not that I’d accepted the offer or anything. I had a week to think it over.

The money. All I could think about was the money and what I’d do with it. That week was just time wasted thinking about $90,000 when I could have been spending it.

But I was just a kid then, and the decision was too easy. That’s likely why they chose me. Probably thought I was the only one dumb enough. I don’t know.

Participant agrees to remain a permanent resident of Hopeless Bay for no less than 10 years.

I had the contract tucked underneath my pillow all week. I skimmed it once and never showed a single person, not even my grandfather.

It read:

Participant agrees to remain a permanent resident of Hopeless Bay for no less than 10 years. He/she must create a business enterprise capable of employing no less than five residents of the town. He/she must do everything in his/her power to encourage growth in our community.

Participant must attend council meetings and become involved in all public events and matters. He/she must place priority on starting a family and make plans to build a home in Hopeless Bay.

Participant will meet with a secret council on a bi-weekly basis to discuss his/her progress.

I hereby agree to the above terms and swear to never tell a soul about the agreement.

Name:__________ Date:__________

One might ask where the money came from to begin with… What hole-in-the-rocks outport community can offer some kid $90,000 to stay put?

The Orangeman’s Lodge, of all places.

They’d received a large donation upon the passing of their president Jim Kalshed — retired American doctor turned tourist turned resident of Hopeless Bay.

For months after his death the money was just sitting in the bank with nowhere to go, until treasurer Bramwell raised his hand with an idea.

Read Chapter 1.

Read Chapter 2.