Ted Finch grew up on Rockaway and qualifies as a true local, but if you told Ted when he was 18 that he'd be living there when he was 48, he wouldn't have believed it. Ted wanted nothing more than to escape from the ‘rock’ and he did. After attending Brown University and bouncing around for a while Ted finally hit his stride with his first novel “The Undertaking.” He maximized the success with ten solid years of drinking and woke up broke. When Ted sobered up he took a trip back to Rockaway for some solitude. Upon returning, he no longer saw the “rock” as the dead end, one-street it once was.
Sure, the old blood was still there -- Okono still had his old junkyard. Malik was still the only cab driver on the Island and the fattest man in the world. He drove the same cab with the front seat cut out so he could sit in the back seat and drive with room, and the cab still puttered down the main-street lopsided. Sig Corpsus still hung out at the Second Landing bar. Ted’s old friend Hobbs was still there working as a Private Detective. Mudds Ullin was still in his converted tug boat in the harbor. The old abandoned top-secret, international, radio-listening station remained out by the fort. The rusty radio tower still teetered during storms, and the Rockwell family, still had a house out on the south end of the Island in a private country club.
The only difference now was that Rockaway was on its way to becoming Martha’s Vineyard of the west. The town had become populated with people who had no interest in the town’s history. Software giants, hotshot lawyers, and famous artists all came to claim their haven. The way Ted saw it – having escaped the ‘rock’ in the past… now he could throw a ‘rock’ and likely hit a respectable novelist. His impression upon returning was that Rockaway was a sort of paradise. While he was among the important, successful people, he could still claim Rockaway as his own. He knew the back roads and the town's past. He was there when the Three-T's triple murder went down. Ted felt in a way like a caretaker of Rockaway.
Ted took on ghost writing gigs to make ends meet. He hooked up with Annette, an old friend and admirer from high school and they had two children. Despite Ted's struggle to find the time to write his follow up opus, his life made sense to him. He loved his kids and was up for the challenge of being a family man, which is why it floored him when Annette decided to leave him. He was finally adjusting to a life he could have never imagined. Soon after she left Ted's perspective began to change. He saw himself no differently than the locals he grew up with, destined to be stuck on the rock. As far as throwing a 'rock' and hitting a famous novelist... Ted no longer felt like a colleague among them. If anything he wanted to throw a rock smack into novelist Ralph Gustivson's face. Gustivson was known for "Affair of Spruce Tree." The taste of envy was new to Ted. He needed a change. The disappearance of his uncle and the inheritance of the weird old farmhouse was an opportunity.