Hundred Million Dollar House

“Do you want mahogany window frames?”

“Shall I varnish this door with pearlescent coating?”

“Do you prefer a seamed metal roof for the garage, or diamond pattern?”

“Which colour siding looks best, dark blue or brown? The brown is eco-paint, which is twice the price.”

“Shall we install a 50 kilowatt diesel generator?”

“Do you want fibre-optic cable?”

“How about a vertical closed loop geothermal field?”

The other workers ribbed David continuously. They kept asking him for decisions concerning the hundred million dollar house. The plans for the house were drawn, stamped and approved already, but it was a game they enjoyed playing.

Sometimes they went too far and David became moody, but it was his own fault really. He had started the joke that he was the owner of the house, and had joined the crew to ensure they did a good job. They had no idea who the owner was, as he was obscured by lawyers and managers, so they happily played along.

They never did what David said though. In fact they often did the opposite, for which he said he would fire them later. This made them laugh.

As the house neared completion, sign-off was needed for various components. The lawyers said that the owner was unavailable, and the builders should just proceed as contractually agreed.

“God damn those lawyers!” said the foreman. “They tell us to carry on as if its child’s play. Sure we know what we’re doing, I am a third generation builder, but we need to confirm they are happy with the work so far. It will be mighty expensive making changes later.”

“Well, why don’t you ask me? I am here,” said David.

“Quit fooling around now. I’m not in the mood. There’s millions of dollars at stake. It’s not a game.”

“Okay,” said David, walking away. “I was just trying to help.”

“Well then shut your mouth and stick your help up your ass!” The foreman was annoyed, but then forgot about it.

Some days later he thought, what if David really is the owner? That would explain a few things. We give him the crappiest jobs: mudding and taping, sweeping and washing, rubbish and recycling, but he’s always smiling. He’s never had a day off and never gets annoyed. He knows a lot about construction, more than any casual laborer should. What if he really is the boss?

The foreman called him over. “Tell me honestly, son, are you the owner of this house?”

A smile crossed David’s lips, but also a look of horror. “No, I am not.”

The foreman could tell when someone was lying. He knew that David was lying.

After that, they did whatever David said. They installed marble steps and copper railings. They lengthened the swimming pool. They built a root cellar. They added gables.

When the house was finished, they met the owner, Daniel, an older man from the city. He shouted at them, saying, “Why the hell did you make all those changes? They were not on the plan!”

Daniel was pleased with the job his nephew David had done. He’d got them to make many expensive changes that he wasn’t going to pay for. He’d also demand a discount on the house, maybe ten percent. David’s commission would come out of that. It would help him finish acting school.

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