This article is part of the Fur Trapper Saga series.
A CHALLENGE TO MY COMPETITORS
I am an efficient man by nature. I need no machine to make me as such, for the Lord Above has gifted me with an industrious nature unrivaled in the St. Louis area. I trust that you, too, have been gifted similarly. That is why we are more than business partners. We are kindred spirits united in the bonds of THE NOBLE TRADITION OF FUR TRAPPING.
When you look at my rivals you will no doubt wonder why they need two eyes to accomplish their tasks. I, with my one good eye, readily realize twice of what they do half of. You will no doubt notice that I pass this efficiency onto you in the form of lower prices and higher payouts.
I thus ask my competition to prove their commitment to this great industry. J. F. Swanton and A. P. Brown, have you the courage to pluck out an eye for your customers? Anything less would be an insult to the millions of trappers and shippers that call this nation home and look to us for their business needs. Fur trappers and shippers, I ask that you HOLD THESE MEN TO THIS CHALLENGE. If they are not ready to serve your every whim as I am, then I ask you: are they worthy of your business? I AM HERE FOR YOU and I am willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that the Fouke Fur Company serves your every need.
THE NEWEST FOUKE FUR COMPANY FAMILY MEMBER
In light of my recent health woes, near-constant incapacitation and the increased competition in the St. Louis region, I have taken on a new employee to serve as my second. I ask you to welcome my new Vice-President, Captain H. W. Grieves. Although this man is a relative newcomer to the fur trade, his skill, knowledge and tenacity have impressed me greatly. By his hand shall come new markets and profits for the Fouke Fur Company to seize and share with its customers. I felt that upon shaking it.
I include, unscathed, the introductory words of my newest element:
To the customers of this outfit: I promise you continued success. Any trapper will tell you that these are interesting times for the trade. I am an interesting man.
I have worked in many trades. I have gotten my hands bloody. I have never smiled and I lack the muscles with which to do so. You can take from me another promise: I will remain eternally serious about the task that I have been given by P. B. Fouke.
The competition is weak and flowery. A gentle breeze shall sway them in their commitment and a strong gust shall uproot them entirely. I will act as a cyclonic wind for this outfit. I will eliminate the competition from the earth and spread the seeds of P. B. Fouke far and wide across the land.
I do not know A. P. Brown by person, but I know his type. His manicured hands show no signs of sacrifice. He may claim his mind and his machines are the instruments by which he maneuvers, but neither one shall provide him any comfort when my hands are wrapped about his neck. I lament that I have only two hands with which to strangle him, but this disappointment shall be between me and my Lord.
On the two occasions that I have met J. F. Swanton I was not impressed. The first time I hoisted him above my shoulders and spun him around until he evacuated upon himself. The second time I merely broke his arm in three places. A sickly cask of flesh such as he poses no challenge, yet his vile agency serves purpose in keeping the perverted souls away from our fair outfit. In that regard he may find some business left to conduct in his time.
I will, however, personally tear that beard from his rotten face.
And so it is.
Captain H. W. Grieves
I welcome Mr. Grieves aboard and look forward to his efforts. Though his enthusiasm may sound positively murderous, I assure you that his violent pronouncements are merely common business metaphor.
A PARTING WORD
Any man who works hard sacrifices a part of himself. I, P. B. Fouke, work harder than any man to make the Fouke Fur Company the most outstanding and loved fur company in the nation. This is a simple fact that any one of my hundreds of thousands of customers would gladly attest to. The competition is full of colorful proclamations and little substance. They may well believe what they are saying, but that does not render it any less false. Such men are no more than glorified footpads looking to rob you of your wealth and dignity. I promise to you respect. I PROMISE TO YOU GREATER SAVINGS AND HIGHER PAYOUTS. To prove this, I ask that you please deduct an additional seven and a half per cent (7 ½%) from all catalogue prices. This, in addition to the above-mentioned discount. I am conducting business for a higher purpose. I'm asking you to to be a part of that purpose.
P. B. Fouke
President & Gen. Mgr.
Fouke Fur Company.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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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.