This article is part of the Fur Trapper Saga series.
REPORT ON THE ENEMY
I shall take this moment to address the weaknesses of our two chief rivals: Swanton Furs and Brown Fur Amalgamated.
Brown's outfit is a disgrace to mankind as a whole. That he should seek to remove good men from the workplace is a bold declaration of his incompetence. Certainly, fire the good, smart men and replace them with machines. Let the machines make reasoned judgments and ascertainments as to the quality of fur and the needs of the marketplace and its patrons. Let the machines also grow tired and fatigued of the scarce few imbeciles manning them, and make short work of their brittle bones and thin skin. Machine, after all, does not differentiate the splendor of man from the squalor of the opossum, and will eat either indiscriminately.
Please, A. P. Brown, let these good men of St. Louis be the imbeciles manning your machines. Automate them. Make them the interchangeable and expendable parts of your great and terrible apparatus. Let the hand pulling the lever become indistinguishable from the bloodstained rack and pinions grinding bone to dust. Let their blood give way to steam and ire and their souls evaporate in the aftermath. What need does man have with Hell when his own body and mind act in concert with the Devil's machinations?
I know machines all too well. I watched my parents die beneath the might of an indomitable machine hungry and slavering for raw flesh. I saw their faces and bones mangled in the killing wheels. I saw their blood spray out and felt it spatter against my youthful skin. No machine that cannot be readily crushed by human hands has any right to existence.
To those wondering what my business response to A. P. Brown is, it is thus: I shall deliver squarely to his craw a reckoning fist. I shall spit back the bile he spits on me and stare him in his blackened pits until he openly weeps with whatever tear ducts he has left. I shall delve my hands into his chest, bludgeoning each finger through skin, burrowing between the ribs so that I might clasp his crooked heart and deliver to it the fatal clenching. Should he be so bold as to attempt uttering any parting words to me, I shall bite off his tongue and head butt him with such force that his skull collapses. I will show his mind and body Hell before his spirit even gets there.
J. F. Swanton, I shall never understand the Colonel's fondness toward you. Under his stead you were a sporting rival and treasured friend. Under my reign you are a lowly crustacean. You are a bottom feeder and while you may serve purpose in sucking upon the filth and refuse of humanity, your sight is an insult to me. You may be a Christian man by claim, but by action you are a sodomite. My loyalty to the Colonel is absolute. I will thus not cave in your face until it resembles the cavernous birthing maw that vomited you into this world. However, as a matter of public service, I shall routinely break each and every limb protruding from your gross center.
As a further matter of respect for the Colonel and his faith in you, I shall do so using your own traps.
A COMPANY THAT RESPECTS YOU
The Fouke Fur Company remains the only viable choice of the North American fur trapper and shipper. The products this outfit sells are at a quality unparalleled by its weak and sickly competitors. The prices it pays for your furs are fair and honest, and you may not dispute this. P. B. Fouke has given this outfit a solid reputation through his hard work and sacrifice. I will see to it that this reputation does not wane, even in the face of betrayal and subterfuge. If you feel that this outfit has done you wrong or does wrong in its actions, then I will not hesitate to show you how mistaken you truly are.
The monstrous machine future of A. P. Brown's twisted imagination will not provide for your well being, but rather rend it to pieces. J. F. Swanton's perverted practices may appeal to the common deviant, but to the tempered man who has worked hard all his life they are no more than the gross rituals of an opium-addicted sodomite. Between the two of them, there are enough mental deformities to poison any industry's reputation. It is because of the overwhelming integrity of the Fouke Fur Company and its customers that this trade has any respect left at all. Under my leadership, that shall not change.
And so it is.
Captain H. W. Grieves
Acting President & Gen. Mgr.
Fouke Fur Company.
As the 19th century diver approaches a giant clam, a flash of brilliant golden light flares from within the shell. I emerge in a swirl of bubbles and do the timeless universal underwater hand signals for the following: ZODIAC KILLER, KKK, BLOOD OF YOUTH
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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.