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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Season(s) of a year or life (01/13/11)

TITLE: Sign Here Sucker
By Virgil Youngblood


Linda rubbed a finger quickly back-and-forth across her nose. Collapsing into a faux-leather recliner she sniffed loudly, clearing the congestion caused by cedar pollen. She squinted weepy-eyed at her husband. “Reggie, I can’t take much more of this drippy nose. I’m ready to put Texas in the rear view mirror. Sign that contract.”

“I want to Linda, as much as you do.” Reggie tossed the magnifying glass he had been using onto the coffee table. “But a secluded Maine waterfront property that we can afford seems too good to be true.”

“You heard what Mr. Duncan said. He inherited it. He just wants to get his father’s estate settled. I think it is a God thing that you bumped into him at the men’s retreat.”

“I don’t know – but it could work for both of us. He finds a quick buyer and we get our dream acreage.”

“So, sign it. Let’s do it.” Linda snatched a Kleenex and honked loudly. “I’ll start packing.”

Reggie shook his head. “This paragraph in the contract bothers me: ‘In the event of a subsequent sale or transfer of ownership of the property in Exhibit A by the purchaser’s or their heirs, seller shall have first right to purchase the property. A residential building of at least 1,800 square feet meeting all local building and occupation codes must exist on the property on December 31, 2026 or ownership of the property reverts to seller.’

“I’m okay with that first part but why is that last part in there?”

“Did you ask him?”

“He said it was just a carrot to keep his kin happy. They live on adjoining land but couldn’t afford to buy the tract. It will help their property values when this acreage is improved.”

“You think otherwise?”

“I don’t know Duncan well enough to know what to think? I just know when things don’t pass the smell test you better leave them alone.”

Linda snorted into her tissue. “I can’t smell anything. Sign it. We can live in a tent or a trailer; I don’t care which, while we are building our house.”

“Let’s sleep on it, and pray about it. We will decide one way or another in the morning.”

“Is that nasal spray in the bathroom? I’m finding it and turning in.” Linda blew Reggie a kiss and threw it to him over her shoulder as she headed for their bedroom.

The next morning Reggie was sitting at the computer desk blowing across his Superman coffee mug to cool the steaming java.

“Well, look at what the cat drug in” he said, greeting Linda as she stumbled into the room in a rumpled pink fleece robe.

“Do I look that bad? I probably do, I tossed-and-turned all night. Are we going to Maine?”

“Nope. Well, at least we’re not buying Duncan’s property.”

“Reggie, I’m not in the mood for this. We’ll never find a deal this good.”

“When things are too good to be true, they usually aren’t. I think I know why that date is in there.”


“I studied that survey last night for hours. I finally realized there wasn’t any place to build that was over twenty feet above mean sea level.”

“That’s what we want isn’t it, up close and personal with a beautiful ocean view, tall eastern white pines, black capped chickadees – all that and more?”

“Most of the time twenty feet would be alright. Last night I researched tides on the computer and read about Proxigean Spring Tides.”

“Wait a minute Reggie, I need coffee.” In a minute Linda returned and folded up in her chair. “Okay, what are you trying to tell me?”

“Tide levels can be observed by seeing where shoreline vegetation begins. Normal tides wouldn’t affect anything we might build. A Proxigean Spring Tide occurs about every year-and-a-half. It’s a much higher tide. That would still not be a problem.”

“So why are you telling me this?”

“Because an Extreme Proxigean Spring Tide occurs every 31 years. One of those babies could wipe anything built on that lot into the sea.”

“When did the last one occur?”

“March 7, 1995.”

Linda blew on her cup and did the math in her head. “Bingo. Nice church-going man, that Mr. Duncan.”

“Sorry, babe. We may have dodged a bullet. We’ll keep looking.”

“Well, my hero man, I want to move where the cedars don’t grow.” Linda jerked a Kleenex from the pocket of her robe. “Sooner rather than later.”

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This article has been read 484 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Henry Clemmons01/22/11
Haven't read a good real estate mystery in ... why never. This was my first. I enjoyed the story and the wisdom. I hope the Mrs. gets to feeling better, they find some land in Maine and would like to hear what they told their friend about the "offer". Very good story.
Laury Hubrich 01/22/11
Good lessons here - pray before acting; if something's too good to be true, it probably is; and not all Christians are honest. Nice story.
Allison Egley 01/22/11
Oh, sneaky, that man... Glad they figured it out before it was too late!

You have one misplaced question mark towards the middle. "I don’t know Duncan well enough to know what to think?" is s statement, so it needs a period.

Great job on this one, and very creative!
Connie Dixon01/22/11
I enjoyed this. You really had me going, I couldn't wait to find out what happened. Buying sight unseen? Not a good idea. Great writing.
Brenda Rice 01/22/11
Thanks for sharing this interesting take on the topic. The Lord protects us, if we allow HIM.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/22/11
This shows how important it is to read the small print. Your story kept me in suspense and was a fun read. I wasa bit confused about Linda wanting to live where the cedars don't grow I thought cedars grew in Maine too. But now I'm going to google it. I love it when an article makes me think and lean new things.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/22/11
I learned that the bigger cedars grow in the Southern states, but the smaller ones do grow in the Northeast Like I said, thanks for making me think, think, and I'll assume literary license makes the MC allergic to the big cedars!:)
Colin Swann01/23/11
Very interesting - good lesson of not rushing in where angels fear to tread!
Great job!
Beth LaBuff 01/23/11
I wanted to scream, "Don't sign it!" Thanks for rescuing the couple! You had me totally engaged in your story, and I enjoyed each new piece of revealed information as your story unfolded. And as I read your ending -- I could breathe again. :) ...very creative work for the topic.
Carol Slider 01/23/11
So true... something that looks too good to be true often is. Very clever solution to the mystery! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story about looking very carefully before you leap. (And Texas really isn't so bad... even with the pollen! :)
Rachel Phelps01/23/11
I grew up with a weeklong exile from outdoor air because of the pollen. Great mystery, fun story.
Author Unknown01/23/11
excuse me a minute :honks into a tissue and rubs her itchy watery eye: okay, I'm back. I liked this. I loved the story- the big "mystery" and learning about a new term- and really loved the play back and forth between your characters. Loved the superman mug & the wait- need coffee, too.

just great. really. thumbs up.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/24/11
This is an excellent story--the allergy details adding to the realism. I was really hoping he wouldn't sign. Glad you didn't let me down!
Loren T. Lowery01/28/11
Apt tile for your story line. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and the underlying message rings true to so many things in life that look "too good to be true."