The edifice was paid for, with cash, by an old, distinguished-looking gentleman. The financing was arranged through a local banker, the only man who knew the stranger’s real name. While the bank itself would see unprecedented prosperity in the years to come, the banker was dead of cancer inside of a year.

Working from exactin plans and a scale model given to them by the mysterious man, the best and most experienced builders in the county still took two years to complete the work. That was fine by them, since they’d quoted the old man double just to make sure he was serious, and they always finished their jobs. In the Rust Belt, without much call for their art except building fast food restaurants and carving tombstones, the builders and artisans took it as a regular holiday.

The only other person who ever saw the financier, the head of the construction company, dropped dead of a heart attack eighteen months to the day after the first ground was broken. All other comunications were by letter, with each new missive bearing a new and different return address.

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