Saint John — Billionaire land developer Connor Woodside gave an impassioned speech this morning to a very confused audience of would-be condo-buyers. It was supposed to be the unveiling of a new sprawl of waterfront condominiums in Saint John’s south end, the construction of which cost Woodside millions and took a total of two years to complete.
As an ingenious act of showmanship, the successful mogul had covered the three new buildings with massive red tarps to be dramatically pulled off by tugboats waiting in the harbour. But like a magic trick, when the tarps were removed they uncovered nothing but a wasteland of rocks, seagulls, beer bottles and a rusty fence with a discarded brown jacket blowing in the wind.
If this were the first time such an event took place people might attribute it to some kind of corporate tomfoolery, like perhaps Woodside just took those government subsidies and neglected to build the living spaces he’d promised would pretty-up the salty Port City. But not only had residents been watching the construction slowly take place over those two years, they had also seen this kind of disappearing act before.
“They built a shoe factory once, near where the old sugar refinery used to be,” reminisced local resident Steve White. “A few of us applied for work and they told us we all had jobs there, too. But the night before she opened up a thick fog came in, and by the morning when the fog rolled out there was nothing left but more ruins of the old sugar refinery. Somehow there was already teenagers drunk amongst the crumbled cinder and twisted rebar.”
This same fate seems to have met several other endeavours in the past such as a casino that turned into a pile of salt, a retirement home that somehow reappeared in Moncton, and an office building that turned out to be a mirage reflected off the water (despite the $2 million it cost to build, and the three lives that were lost in setting the foundation). Rumour has it that even a gay pride parade foolish enough to traverse those lonesome streets was transformed into a string of battered crack shacks (one brown, one blue, one yellow) which themselves disappeared the next morning.
The Manatee tried to contact Woodside for comment but his assistant said he hadn’t made it back to his office, as his vehicle seemed to have disappeared along with his newly constructed buildings. Some say he’s still trying to walk out of the south end, as the labyrinthine streets fold over on themselves and the fog slowly rolls in.