This article is part of the Fur Trapper Saga series.
CONCERNING MY HEALTH AND FITNESS FOR DUTY
My personal doctor and shaman, F. Gerald Thornton, insists that I am in no shape to perform the functions of this job and remain living. I tell you this because I believe it reflects strongly on my unwavering commitment to you, the hundreds of thousands of trappers and shippers I live to serve. I DO NOT HESITATE TO FORSAKE MY OWN WELLBEING IF IT BENEFITS YOU.
I believe this commitment shows that I AM STILL A MAN OF INTEGRITY. As a man of integrity, I must also confess to you this: the vastness and scope of my integrity has been greatly diminished by my recent medical procedure. The tumor removed from my skull was largely responsible for my bounty of integrity. Although I no longer suffer as horribly as I did in the past, I am greatly burdened by the knowledge that I am as you are when it comes to integrity. There are positives to be found in this sad turn of events, though. I have always respected my customers as equals, and now it appears that we truly are.
It causes me considerable pain to make such an admission, but if I concealed it I would have even less integrity to offer you. I pledge to you that I will not allow my poverty of integrity to weaken the bonds that I have worked so hard to forge with you over these past fifty years. I trust that you will still stand by me as a man of modest integrity as I once stood by you as a man of exceptional integrity. You will get all that I have to offer, and you may not dispute that.
I am grateful to those who have already committed to remaining with me, such as my wife, A. G. Fouke, who lovingly changes my bandages and SPONGES THE SEEP FROM MY SKULL. Without her gentle hands and constant attention, I would certainly appear less than presentable.
FOUKE FUR COMPANY: A FAMILY REUNITED
I am pleased to announce that the Fouke Fur Company is as one once more. The Eastern Fouke Alliance has been dissolved, and D. J. Halley, S. S. Marks, and C. A. Freeman have returned home. Although C. A. Freeman may never again make audits with his own hands, his years of trusted service have made him an inseparable element of the Fouke Family. Thus, he will remain on board serving as an occasional buttress for our auxiliary fur shed.
S. J. Pingree and G. Donald Gibbins have resurfaced safe and unharmed, though several attempts were made on their lives. The two men report great progress in regards to the annual Alaska sealskin harvest, and we expect the auctions to proceed as planned. You have my solemn pledge, no different from the one I gave to the President of the United States, that THERE WILL BE NO DISRUPTIONS OR SHORTAGES IN SEALSKIN SUPPLIES IN THE NORTH AMERICAN MARKET.
R. J. Heckwolf, loyal friend and ally since our days overseeing the Funsten Brothers Fur Company, remains an invaluable asset. He will remain on as chief grader and my second in command. I have, as a matter of principle, purchased A. Murphy back from H. W. Grieves. She will return to her duties as our trusted treasurer, where she will no doubt prove herself every bit as sharp as a Fouke brand trap.
In honor of the newly reunited Fouke Fur Company, I ask that you deduct an additional twelve and seven-tenths per cent (12 7/10%) from all catalogue prices. Furthermore, we will pay an additional ten per cent (10%) on all listed prices for your quality furs. NO OTHER HOUSE IN THE INDUSTRY VALUES ITS CUSTOMERS MORE THAN THE FOUKE FUR COMPANY.
Sometimes I dream that I'm sitting in the back of the defunct Weinermobile as it careens driverless down the highway. At first I thought this was symbolic of the powerlessness I feel in life, but then I realized it's actually the Weinermobile's dream of being able to drive again.
Three years ago, when we were burying my uncle, Cleaver and some gross lady dog (Solstice???) showed up at the cemetery and starting going at it really loudly. It ruined everything and we had to have a "re-do" the next day and it cost a fortune. I've hated him ever since for that.
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The esteemed P. B. Fouke, villainous J. F. Swanton and technocratic blowhard A. P. Brown battle for fur market supremacy in this series of old-timey dispatches.