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From any perspective, an observer could tell what the house represented. This one room shack sat on land that covered twenty acres. The architect, Giles Durcak, had gone mad and made a large house built for only one person to to inhabit. Outside of the domain existed the regular facets of a property worth two million dollars; a swimming pool remained resplendent despite it lacking any water because of the time of year; huge gates rose up to halt any unwanted traffic; shrubbery continued to be well-kept and trimmed. Camera crews from the show Flip...A Little arrived at exactly 6:30 that morning. Still dark out and the autumn wind hinting at winter, the producers and director all tugged their jackets a bit tighter to resist the onslaught of the gusts. Stars of the show, Joceyln Badie and Anwar Scanlan, prepared for sound check and rehearsed their lines in their trailers. They returned outside to face the cameras.
“Well, it’s a house,” said Jocelyn.
“It is a house constructed in the nineteenth century, here in Newark, Delaware, a time before anyone on the planet was born. You can check that on the Internet.”
“It features a one bedroom, zero bath composition.”
“Zero baths, Jocelyn?”
“No baths Anwar.”
“Not even an outhouse?”
“So, how did the people–”
“Improvise, Anwar. They improvised.”
“Well, now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s meet our owners.”
A tracking shot glimpsed at Mark and Fiola Presant. They lived currently in a three bedroom two and half bath home. They had bought the Round Room as an investment. Mark held the look of a man the color of the dark part of marble. Fiola possessed the skin the color of yellow cake. They both held top positions in their fields. Mark owned stores that sold rocket ships for school projects that dotted the Delaware Valley. Fiola ran fourteen centers on the East Coast which trained aspiring stringed instrument musicians called Miss Fiola’s Viola’s. They specialized in the viola but also the violin, cello, guitar, sitar, mandolin, and lyre. They had amassed quite a significant fortune from their productive endeavors.
A mortician named Thornton Whitford, a distinguished gentleman with gray hair and enough cash to buy the place, stepped up as the sole buyer. What was so ironic about the name of the show was that the “flip” was usually quite handsome compared to other shows and offered larger estates, like this one. The "little" part just meant that they had a small window of time to furnish the house and have it ready for purchase.
Shots of the interior astonished most of the crew from the show. Inside, a space as wide and round with one room brought the attention of any onlooker. One bedroom, the sole room in the house, featured an oven and cookware as if the architect had intended for the kitchen and the sleeping quarters to be combined. Yes, the irrational actions of a single man, Giles Durcak, brought about a wonder in the house and it experienced a moderate celebrity. That attracted the cameras today. Crews set up to take in the sites of this most unusual, nearly unlivable living space.
The mortician had just buried his wife and sent his children to college. He was alone, completely. Whitford sought out this property to live in alone and to attend to his affairs in Wilmington, Delaware, which was about thirty miles away. He didn’t look morose. He had a buoyancy about him. A slight touch of humor resided in his eyes. Most suspected that he comforted the families that he encountered the most out of all of his staff. He stood at six feet four inches. He ducked his head upon entering the room to the estate.
“We will showcase the wide room that this house is famous for. Durcak didn’t believe in steps or stairs so the entire house has no higher levels, nor a basement,” Anwar said into the camera.
Around the room, Whitford touched the loveseat and sofas. He appraised the dining area.
“With the additions to this living space, the previous owners are looking to entice this buyer with the fact that the room befits a single person but with so much space.”
Mark and Fiola shook hands with Whitford.
“I’m glad that you could make it to this episode that we have going on,” Mark said.
“I’m usually not the one for television, but I’m rarely one of the subjects of it, anyway. This house represents my new life. My new way of viewing the world and what it has to offer.”
Cameras pounced on the trio, speaking with the ferocity of a voracious tiger; the assistant director hungered for the best shots. The rest of the crew shot B-roll footage of the domicile and prepared to send it back via digital means. A slight chill existed inside the house as well, but without any heating for the coming winter (only the stove served as a means for warming up the place, and you had to have the bedroom door open), the thirty or so people crowded around this circular-styled house. Gold leaf enveloped the walls and splashes of red and amber highlighted the gilded space.
Whitford leaned on a chair. “I’ll give you a half a million for it.”
“But we’re asking for two million, sir,” Mark said.
“We can iron out those differences in a few moments. Let us finish taking a tour of the place, honey,” Fiola said. Her eyes averted and she leaned her shoulder, indicating the parts of the home that had not yet been explored by the cameras.
“This is the single bedroom. As you can see, a commercial oven can heat this room to a toasty ninety degrees,” Jocelyn said.
“That’s right Jocelyn. Without a bathroom and no kitchen area to speak of, this is a rather unique choice for Mr. Durcak to make.”
“It’s more like psychopathic,” Whitford said, winking.
From the master bedroom, one could surmise that a few appliances could be hooked up to provide for cold. It was too bad that the freezer in the room wouldn’t be able to keep the occupant cool during those sweltering summer months.
“Alright, one million,” Whitford bargained.
“No, sir. We remain firm at two million,” Fiola now spoke up. Since it arose to the conversation again, she thought that it would be apt to remain staunch on the price.
“You’re obviously not going to use this house for your funeral business, Mr. Whitford. You are seeking to employ it as your final stop before the great unknown and unknowable. We get that. But you see, we’re seeking full price because once we'd purchased this place, we kept it intact. In Mr. Durcak’s will, he said explicitly to not change a single thing about the place, except to upgrade the refrigerator and oven that’s been keeping us warm for the past forty five minutes.”
“I understand. But you see, I’ve dealt with the coldness of death. I’ve had to go through years of schooling to comprehend the way to deal with people, so I hope that you know that I’m not trying to 'wheel and deal' here. I’m simply asking for a price that is most suitable for this estate.”
Anwar and Jocelyn ate this up to the fullest. They let the cameras role, knowing that, in the editing bay, they would make this scene appear to be like a grudge match; opposing sides would exhibit their will to keep the price or lower it.
“The house needs no upkeep or renovations. There needs to be no new additions to the place,” Mark said. “We’re just going to have to keep our initial offer. Now, sir, if you do not abide by our price, we can look elsewhere for our buyer.”
Whitford stroked his clean-cut, gray beard. He pulled out a pipe and began to light it.
“Oh no,” Fiola said. “Is that a vaporizer? Wait, is that tobacco?”
“No and yes.”
“There is no smoking in this house, sir. Mr. Durcak willed it.”
“I’ve read Mr. Ducak’s will. It was part of the prospectus. And I do not recall seeing anywhere that I cannot smoke in this household.”
“You can re-read it, sir. No smoking. Please.”
Whitford acquiesced and returned his pipe and tobacco to his pocket. He walked into the singular room. He observed the paintings on the wall which must have been placed there to entice buyers. The room itself was about thirty feet long and twelve feet in height. Warmth from the oven allowed Whitford to ease his nerves.
“Mr. Whitford, what are you looking for in this particular house?” Jocelyn asked with a peppiness in her voice.
“Oh,” Whitford said. “I’m interested in the seclusion. The roundness is intriguing. This room is rather eccentric and reflects the possible erratic mental state that Mr. Durcak may’ve been in when he designed this house. But I think that it would be an ideal place for me to hang my hat after work.”
“That’s right, an eccentric home indeed, sir,” Anwar said. “And we’ll be right back after these messages.”
Jocelyn and Anwar retreated to their trailers for a short break in the production.
Mark and Fiola watched Whitford survey the place.
“We’ve been offered more, Mr. Whitford. The show wants us to do it in a short period of time. We are asking that you respect our offer,” Mark said.
Whitford paced the large room for a moment. He stopped upon an antique vase that must’ve been included in the asking price as well.
“I like you people. You’re good people. I’m a businessman, as are you, businesspeople. My clientele have some to say, others very little. Other facets of my work, as you can sense, require no speaking at all. At least my subjects voice no words. They only lay there in repose waiting for my staff and me to coiff their hair, paint their fingernails, shave their mustache, or affix a favorite broach or tie clip to their favorite dress or suit.”
“I would really love to hear the details of the mortuary science, Mr. Whitford, but can we contain our dealings to the sale of this property?” Fiola asked.
“Ah, yes. You don’t want to listen to me converse about my work as much as I would care to hear about sitar lessons and model spacecraft. No offense.”
“We just want to get this thing sold. We’re not trying to pressure you or make you do anything that you don’t want to do.”
“Thank you for that.”
“But we must stand at two million or there’s no ten million dollars in it for us.”
“That’s how the show goes, eh?”
“That’s it. We sell the house at the price that we asked for and we get ten million dollars. If we fail to sell it at that number, we get nothing and the house is turned over to the state.”
“Flip...A Little becomes the possibility to make a lot,” Whitford said.
“Yes, so if we can agree on this figure, we can talk business with you. Otherwise, let’s keep it pushing.”
Jocelyn and Anwar returned from their brief break.
“Hello, and we are back at the Newark, Delaware estate designed by architect Giles Durcak. Now, this property has been valued by its owners at two million dollars. Can they sell their prized possession at their asking price, or will they go bust?”
Lights illumined the space. It seemed stylish rather than cozy. Neither tactless nor tacky, the space appeared to breathe. Mr. Whitford presented himself to the two owners again.
“Forgive me for my prying, but how long have you two been married?”
“A year. We bought this house together before we married. Where are we going with this?”
Cameras soaked up the exchange of questions and answers.
“Yes, and in that time period, how long did you live in or rent out this place?”
“We’ve been renting this property out for the five years that we were engaged. Why?” Fiola asked.
“Good to know, good to know. I just was looking into why you wouldn’t want to continue to rent it out instead of selling it outright.”
“We’ve plans to let go of the house because it no longer is economically viable to maintain it and keep up with the upkeep.” Fiola smiled in the camera, then turned and scowled.
“You thought that flipping it would engender more buyers, and yet I’m the only one still standing. How can that be?”
Mark fumed through clenched teeth wrought as a smile. “Mr. Whitford, the deal is for you to purchase this house at the two million dollar level. We will not negotiate for anything less.”
Whitford paced the room some more. He lifted up a lampshade and then returned it to its original form. His steps became measured, as if marching. He positioned himself in the center of the wide, circular space.
“I’ve got just the thing,” Whitford said. “We can settle at your price and get this place flipped. That’s the name of the show, as we all know.” Whitford continued. “I will give you your two million dollars if you agree to give me half of the earnings in your pot for selling this house.”
“Sir, I don’t think that that is the–” Anwar started.
“No. that is the way that I do business. I will make a three million dollar profit from this property.”
“Okay,” Jocelyn said with a tinge of awkwardness and as if a line that she had not been able to see crossed was smudged and distorted.
Fiola spoke up. “Mr. Whitford, we will not agree to your terms. We will only take the final offer of two million without giving you the five million dollars.” Fiola thought about the whole affair. She considered the accord with the reality television show. She thought of the day that the producers came to her and her husband with a proposition to be filmed on their property, trying to flip it. Her mind ran wild, but she reigned in her thoughts by taking into account all of the money that was at hand. There’s a pain here, she thought. At the time, she stood with a stance that made her seem taller, her exterior belied the fury that remained in the recesses of her brain. Her mind became like the refrigerator in the bedroom. A coolness settled over her and she enabled herself to be calm—confident.
“Mr. Whitford, the only way that we can flip this house is if you agree to our terms. If you don’t, everyone loses. We’re out of a ten million dollar profit and you’re out of a house.”
“I see your point, my dear.”
“Please don’t call me ‘dear,’ sir.”
“Ah, yes, Mrs. Presant. Forgive me if I’m being too forward.”
“Yes. Let’s stick to business.”
Mark moved in closer to his wife and stood beside her, but Fiola stood like a mountain; her frozen stance made anyone that looked upon her see admiration—fearlessness. His mind remained on the dollar signs. He thought about the money involved and also the respect levels involved in the whole matter. Thoughts of what to do with the prize money swirled about in his consciousness. Then he considered Whitford as the vice grinding away at his skull.
Mr. Whitford’s pacing stopped. He looked down at the floor as if a pit of vipers lay at his feet. He gathered himself and looked straight at Mark.
“This is not going to work for me. I’m out.”
“And just like that, our potential buyer has now relinquished his stake as owner of the Durcak Round Room. This means for our sellers that they will have twenty four hours to find another buyer before the deadline for them to win ten million dollars,” Anwar said.
“That’s right, Anwar. The couple has about a day to round up some buyers, or they’ll be going home with nothing,” Jocelyn said.
Mark and Fiola looked as Whitford opened the door and walked out into the blustery day.
“We’ve got to do something, Fiola. There’s got to be some way for us to get those potential buyers back on the playing field.”
“It’s going to take some doing, but I think that if we contact those who were interested before Mr. Whitford, then we might have a shot at the money.”
“Yes, I’m on it,” Mark said. He put a somewhat reluctant but still interested buyer on his videophone.
“Hey, Dewey. How’s it going?”
“Mark, how’ve you been? Are you still shooting that home improvement show?”
“Yes, as a matter of a fact we are,” Mark panned around the room to show Dewey Jacks the cameras and crew and hosts. He stopped on his wife.
“Look, I’m just going to give this to you straight. We’re in need of a buyer and we thought that since you at one time thought about buying Round Room, then you would be the ideal candidate for buying it.”
“Didn’t that funeral director take the position?”
“Yes, but he has since removed himself from the competition. This is where you come in. We would like to have you back on board. We’re still shooting the episode, so you have fleeting moments for the show to be finalized. They’re probably going to edit out all of Mr. Whitford’s footage.”
Fiola looked at her husband with a twist of apprehension and glee. The apprehension arose out of the tight time schedule that the production imposed on them. Glee sprouted from the way that Mark handled business.
She acknowledged her man’s acumen and shared it, too. She thought of what had just transpired over the past few hours. From the perspective of the sellers such as Mark and herself, she could view Mr. Whitford’s departure as a speed bump, not a roadblock. Her mind centered on what occurred now.
“Yes, Dewey, we’ve got the Round Room up for you, if you’re up to it.”
“I’ve got to make some calls but I should be over there in about an hour. Hey, thanks for considering me, Mark.”
“My pleasure, Dew.’”
Anwar and Jocelyn stepped in front of the cameras once more for their thoughts on the recent events.
“With Whitford out and a potential buyer on the way, the Presants may have a gift in Mr. Dewey Jacks, retired industrialist and agricultural expert in genetically modified organisms,” Jocelyn said.
“I see what you did there, Jocelyn. Anyway, the sellers are now anxiously awaiting the arrival of Mr. Jacks. Stay tuned to find out if the Presants will be graced with Mr. Jack’s ‘presence.’”
“Yes, you’ve got the pun game going now, I see.”
“We’ll be right back.”
The director said "cut" and the producers of the show all swarmed around Jocelyn and Anwar.
“Break, you two,” producer Felix Pill said. He then went over to the Presants.
“Look, you might’ve had a fish off the hook, but this Jacks guy seems like a winner. We’ll be gearing up to shoot his reaction upon entering the house.”
“Okay,” Mark said. His mind centered around the idea that Jacks would not be able to fully understand in exactly what he was involving himself. He lived with his fiancé in a modest mansion in Hockessin, Delaware. From that abode, he had wished to seek just to live with her, as their children both had reached adulthood. The Round Room presented a keen place to inhabit. Mark thought about all of the tangles that could go into the decision for Jacks to purchase the property. He thought of the seclusion, the one floor plan, and of course, the oven in the bedroom.
Fiola’s thoughts remained on the idea that, if this thing sold, they would have twelve million dollars to their names. She thought about the weight of the money. The thought of stepping into this somewhat considerable fortune beguiled her. Dollar signs meant options. Those options would allow her husband and her to make a better life in Alapocas, Delaware. She envisioned the indoor swimming pool and the large fireplace and the spiral staircase which no one would use because she would have an elevator installed. What crashed in her mind the most, however, remained the fact that whether they sold the house or not, she would still need to get back to work and provide lessons. The money would make an impact, she thought. But the reason for making the money from the house would be to upgrade from their current living situation and elevate their overall well-being.
Jacks arrived at the house. Cameras zoomed in on his entrance.
Marks extended his hand and shook Jacks's hand and Jacks hugged Fiola.
Jocelyn and Anwar took their places before the camera lens.
“In a twist of fate, maybe, our sellers have found a new prospect. With Mr. Jacks, the couple has breathed a sigh of relief in selling their property,” Jocelyn said.
“Round Room welcomes you,” Mark said.
Jacks took in the wide ring-shaped room. He darted his eyes about to soak in all of the amenities.
Jacks got down to business. “And you want two million for this place, you said?”
Fiola announced, “Yes. Final offer.”
“I’ll take it.”
Mark and Fiola's eyes lit up like the windows of skyscrapers at night.
“Wow, what a turn of events for the couple who has now taken a buyer for the Round Room Estate,” Jocelyn explained to the camera.
“With this potential sale, Mark and Fiola will enjoy the benefits of not only selling the house, but will receive the grand prize,” Anwar said.
Jacks stood with his chin reaching for the ceiling. "I've heard you two talk about this place, but it's different when you're actually standing in it. Yes, I very much like this place. As stated, I am to not alter the structure in any way. I’m okay with that.”
As soon as Jacks went to sign the documents for handing the property over to him, Mr. Whitford stormed through the doors.
“Who are you?” asked Jacks.
“In a strange twist of events (how did he even get in here), Mr. Whitford, the former prospect for Round Room, has resurfaced. As inexplicable as it is, there are still a few hours left before the house is turned over to the state for it to be converted into a museum.
Fiola and Mark floated over to Whitford.
“But Mr. Whitford, pardon us, but we have just sold this house,” Fiola said.
“Quite the contrary, my dear lady. I've got another offer."
Jacks stepped to Whitford. “But sir, don’t you see, I've stepped up to be the owner."
Whitford turned to Jacks. His cheeriness vanished. The happy mortician now became sullen and almost snappy.
Jacks clutched the tablet as if it were a football and he ran away from Whitford. The security personnel of the reality television show advanced toward Whitford. They restrained him as Mark, Fiola, and Jacks all looked on in shock.
“I’ve got it, unhand me.” The two security officials withdrew their hold of Mr. Whitford.
Whitford paused. "I am willing to make a deal with you…Jacks. Dewey Jacks,” he said without feeling. “How about if we each put up a million, split the time to be here by six months, and maybe after a few years, rent it out to people who seek solitude. How’s that sound?”
Jacks pondered Whitford’s proposition. “Let it be.”
Jocelyn and Anwar both shuffled out of the way of the men removing Mr. Whitford from the house. The two hosts returned to their posts to deliver what just happened.
“In a strange turn of events, the potential buyer previous to Mr. Dewey Jacks, a Mr. Thornton Whitford, has come back to strike a deal with Mr. Jacks. Let’s find out what they’re going to settle for now.”
Mark and Fiola remained befuddled, confused, yet somehow relieved. Fiola thought about the timeframe from which Mr. Whitford had crossed the threshold out of the house until this moment where he negotiated with Jacks. She also considered the business deal that the two men struck in order to stave off the state from owning the property.
Mark looked at the two men incredulously. He could not believe what had just transpired. He thought about the will and the words that Mr. Durcak had written to keep this house within good standing and to never let a man or woman unworthy of the house take it. In his mind, he could see the two men trading off on the months of the year; he envisioned one of them taking the beginning and the other the middle.
“This is one of our first, if not only, complete twists of fate on this show,” Jocelyn said. "We’re so excited for all of the parties involved. But we’re not done yet. Stay tuned for the final negotiations on the Round Room.”
“I’m glad that you came back, Mr. Whitford. I had hoped that we could meet on some later date to hash things out and make things as comfortable for you as you comfort your clients,” Fiola said.
“Yes, well, there are no hard feelings on my side. I look forward to the future months and years where this place will be implemented for not only my use, but Mr. Jacks's.”
“With the camera crew and the hosts, we should have this moment broadcast to the country and the world and keep it for our own records,” Whitford said.
Jocelyn and Anwar once again found solace in their trailers. Hair and makeup teams jostled to put up hair, clear up skin, and bring about a freshness to the face of hosts who have been at this for more than ten hours.
Mark’s thoughts soon came to the point at which he signed the documents on the tablet, granting the production company to see his image and hear his voice on national and international television. He wondered what it would look like broadcast on Internet sites and if this story would warrant appearing on late shows and podcasts. He turned to Fiola. Her comeliness calmed him down a bit. His agitation arose from the fact that he could not understand what it was that drove Mr. Whitford back to the house. Did he have some other personal connection to the property? Was he going to use it to turn a coin? Mark admired this last thought. He thought about the will devised by Mr. Durcak. While the man was brilliant during most of his career, his mind careened off of the deep end and so this house resulted. Mark, lastly, considered the moment that Fiola and he would cross the threshold to their new estate in Alapocas. With their salaries, they would be enabled to keep up with the mortgage and forgo foreclosure.
The team of cameramen and Jocelyn and Anwar now prepared to address the final pieces to the Round Room.
“We have come this far by reason. Disagreements, shouting matches, and a near removal by security have been at the crux of this episode. But now, we see that our sellers are about to finish a deal with two prospective buyers,” Anwar said.
“That’s right, Anwar,” said Jocelyn. “The Round Room may be jointly owned by a funeral director and a retired GMO farmer. This show, for the most part, is unscripted, but could we find a better script than how these events played out on this episode?”
“I don’t know, Jocelyn, but this one sure seems like a sitcom and a drama all wrapped into a reality television series,” Anwar said.
Jacks visited the master bedroom with the oven in it. He inspected the place like a detective picking up clues. He looked at the massive bed with burgundy sheets and gold trim. A nightstand with a pitcher and bowl the color of turquoise tied the room into a welcoming place. The high ceiling that extended throughout the house made the room appear larger. And the oven seemed like a warm reminder that the architect had at least had enough sense to keep the place temperate.
“Where do we sign?” Mark asked Jocelyn and Anwar.
They pointed to the tablet that Jacks held onto in his hands.
“With the signatures of all parties involved, these digital documents certify that Mr. and Mrs. Presants and Misters Whitford and Jacks will hand over the rights to the new owners, respectively,” said Jocelyn.
The one woman and three men each picked up the stylus and jotted down their autographs on the electronic handheld board.
Fiola had misgivings. She thought about the money and the upgrade from the house from which they came, but she didn’t know about what it would all mean. Would she see the Round Room turned into a widower’s pad? Would the farmer convert the acres to a place to grow vegetation? The land had not been specified in the will and could receive as many alterations as the owner saw fit. How well would each man follow the letter of Mr. Durcak’s vision? Her thoughts ran until she could take no more. She stopped her stylus mid stroke.
Fiola turned to Mr. Whitford and Jacks. “Do you men commit to preserving this household?”
“Yes,” they almost said it in unison.
“You’ve nothing to worry about, Fiola. We’ll take care of this place like it’s our own because it is our own. Now,” Jacks said.
Mark continued to think as well. He ruminated over the details to the deed. He wanted to make sure that the money that he and his wife would receive would all go into their new home. They had no children yet so they planned to fill their next home with the sound of their offspring. His thoughts swayed back and forth like a broom whisking away dust. Thoughts intruded his consciousness. He wondered what the furniture and the one bedroom would look like. Mr. Durcak had outlined that no other furniture or appliances (besides the refrigerator) could be altered. Not even the oven. He went back and forth in his mind about whether these two men represented the best candidates for the house. This happened in seconds. As the television show geared up again to shoot the final scenes, Mark looked concerned yet receptive to the lights and cameras again.
Jocelyn pointed the mic that snaked its way through Mark’s shirt and reminded him to speak clearly into it. Anwar stood beside her and prepared to field questions along with his co-host.
“So, Mark. You’ve got two offers on the table to combine each man’s money and sell the house at the asking price of two million dollars. What do you think of this turn of events?”
Mark straightened. “I think that both gentlemen will be more than capable of taking care of this prized possession of ours. We have been putting a lot of love and care into this house and I would love to hand it over to these deserving men.”
Anwar asked the next question. “Mark, you’ve been diligent about ensuring that Mr. Durcak’s legacy be not tainted by any other homebuyer. How well do you think that Mr. Whitford and Mr. Jacks will hold to the deed that the architect had signed so many years ago?”
“To me, I think that they both will maintain the unusual and distinctive features of the place. I think that they understand the legal ramifications of forfeiting or going around the ‘Rules of the Round Room,’ as Mr. Durcak liked to put it.”
“Thank you, Mark, now let’s hear from the lady of the property,” Anwar said. “Fiola, how did it feel to be the caretakers of this estate?”
“It was a tremendous honor to look after this house. This house meant so much to Mark and me and I’m just glad that it will end up in the best hands possible.”
“Do you have any parting rituals that you would like to perform before handing the house over to these men?”
“No, actually. I think that I’ll just leave the house as it is and trust that Mr. Whitford and Mr. Jacks will be able to keep this property in good standing.”
“Here is where it all gets special. The money that you received upon accepting the offers of these men and their million dollars each grants you a total of twelve million dollars!” Jocelyn said.
Mark and Fiola hugged and kissed.
“We’ll get the tablet and we can sign away the The Round Room to the new, rightful owners," Anwar said.
Mark and Fiola each grabbed the stylus and signed. They passed it over to Whitford and Jacks.
“This is quite a turn of events, wouldn’t you say?” Whitford said.
“Yes. The entire course of actions over these past few hours have been nothing short of a difference maker in the lives of everyone involved here. I mean you’ve got this great couple, this camera crew, two committed television hosts, and we couldn’t be more pleased at accepting the keys as owners of this most unique domicile,” Jacks said.
“Alright, Mr. Whitford. You seemed to have bumped heads a bit with the now previous owners. Why did you decide to come back into the mix and land the deal with you owning this house?”
Whitford stroked his thin, grey beard. “It all came down to price. I had in mind to do a quarter of what was offered. The Presants balked at this price. Once Mr. Jacks came into the picture, I saw an opening for us to split the cost of what they had put on the table in half. I intend to take great care of this house during the months that I will inhabit it. I will commit to the upkeep, maintenance, and overall well-being that the Presants had intended from their prospective buyer or buyers in this case.”
Anwar moved to his place in front of the cameras. “There you have it folks, proud and happy buyers and sellers all around.”
“That’s right, Anwar,” Jocelyn said. “There were twists and turns and and almost collapse on the part of the sellers. But their steadiness got the house sold and now they move on to even better living conditions.”
Whitford, Jacks, and the Presants all posed in front of the only room of the house. The warmth from the oven became like a signal of the close bonds that the Whitford and Jacks and the Presants would experience heading into the future. Each of them knew that the state would have converted the house into some abhorrent global warming outpost or something not a museum as they had claimed. None of them wanted to see that come to fruition. Everyone involved in the sale reflected on the save that they had made with just a few strokes of a stylus.
For the Presants, they rejoiced at being eight figures richer. Prior to appearing on the show, they had remained hesitant because they believed that they would receive few offers for the house that everyone viewed as the results from a crackpot. They knew that Mr. Durcak’s design resonated with an almost alien weirdness. But for the years that they maintained it, they knew that this show could bring some attention to the place and that it did.
Fiola felt a twinge of sadness. She felt like she was letting go of a relative to be cared for by others. She understood that the money would mean new opportunities in Alapocas. Visions of balustrades popped up on her mind’s screen. She saw the island kitchen and the eight rooms and the home theater and elevator in the mansion that she and her husband would fill with children and laughter and love.
Mark knew that he would give Fiola the dream home that they had planned on even before their marriage. The children that would follow would make for the mansion to be all the more a home to him. He thought of the future where he would help his children with their homework and enjoy working on his model rocket ships and expanding his business from the comforts of his mancave.
Jacks continued to picture spending the months in the Round Room researching and writing on genetically modified organisms and the positive outcomes that arise from growing your own. He put in his mind that he would spend his days at this house crafting new ways to explain to people the virtues of GMO’s.
And Mr. Whitford just wanted to be in a place to spend his final years. He wanted the solitude and the sanctity that this house provided. He would cherish the moments of silence before drifting into his final sleep. He thought that, anyway.
Jocelyn and Anwar gave a last salute to the buyers and the sellers.
“For Flip...A Little I’m Jocelyn Badie.”
“And I’m Anwar Scanlan. And we wish the best to all parties involved in the sale of the Round Room."