This article is part of the Fur Trapper Saga series.
CONCERNING MY DEPARTURE FROM THE FUR TRADE
I am Captain H. W. Grieves. I address this document to my loyal allies, former associates, coworkers, and most hated enemies. It is not my nature to keep secrets from anyone. I endeavor always to be an open book. Friends and allies may take from the pages of my life solace and wisdom. To my enemies: I bid you to look closely at these words. The pages of this open book shall slam shut upon your vulgar face. Your blood is the ink with which I write the story of my life.
As many of you learned from the most recent edition of P. B. Fouke's Trappers' Partner periodical and catalogue, I am no longer in service to the fur trade. It is not hubris or ego when I say that my contributions to the fur trade will long be remembered, but experience. Had I opportunity to do it all again, I most certainly would. However, given second chance, I would not hold back. My efforts to speak in the language of business hindered me. Whereas a more patient man such as P. B. Fouke can say a thousand reassuring words with a handshake, I communicate on a more primal level. I find myself scarcely able to look a man in the eyes without wanting to stab my thumbs into them and pry his skull apart. I suspect that it was a mistake that I did so only in moderation.
My former employer, P. B. Fouke. As a man without work is not truly a man, I have accepted employment from M. P. Knickerbocker's Bowling Alleys, the most reputable of such establishments in the St. Louis area. There I work hard and steady as a pinsetter from early afternoon late into the night. Some may suggest this new profession lacks dignity, but I say there is always dignity in hard work. I have chosen a profession that will always be rooted in blood, sweat, and sacrifice.
While I loathe the game my profession is based around, I can ignore its absurd indulgences. If people wish to spend their money in a scheme as futile and perverse as rolling a ball toward pins, then that is their folly. I will gladly exploit their foolishness to line my pockets. It was the whim of our Great Creator that the strong should reign over the weak and stupid. I follow His example with zeal.
I can tell already that this new career will present me many opportunities in which to excel. My compatriots in this endeavor are a weak and cowardly lot, frail, fickle, and constantly fatigued. I shall use my superior strength to crush them. And from the wrecked pile of bones, blood, and blubber, I shall sculpt an army of hardy and strong youth, molded in my image.
MEN ARE BORN, CHILDREN ARE NURTURED
I was not born a child. I was born a man. Had my parents made the mistake of coddling me, I might have regressed into a hapless little lamb desperate for a flowery teat to suckle upon. Instead, they challenged me at every turn. They worked hard to thwart my undertakings all throughout my youth. These were not the actions of cruel people, but rather of enlightened teachers. They were well acquainted with the true nature of life, and all the horrors and vile indignities it represented. It was for these reasons that they showed me no love. In doing so, they proved themselves more caring than any other parent.
I can fondly recall my father placing his boot heel upon my infant back as I attempted to crawl across the splintery floor of our unheated shack in hopes of catching a mouse and thus feed myself. He called me a weakling, and I yearned even then to prove him wrong. Had I the means to communicate at that age, I might have thanked him. I relish the look on his face the first time I hit him back. He saw success in me. He fathered a man, not a baby.
When I lost them both at age six, I did not cry. I steadied my resolve and set out to work. Every meal I have ever eaten I have caught with my own hands and cunning. I have built every structure I have lived in, save for my place of birth. I have lived perfectly without need for or help from my fellow man. I have conquered all obstacles, and those that I could not conquer, I have beaten down into bloody pulps unworthy of being called obstacles.
I was not born a child. I was not nurtured or loved or cared for. I look at my fellow workers and I see weakness. Some of these young boys did not begin working until age 10. Had I such a luxurious and pampered adolescence, I would not be so strong or determined. The lily-skinned youth of today have become a sick joke. But I am not laughing. I do not laugh.
These millennials have no idea how it feels to really work. They would never think about spending all day in the hot sun with their carapace baking and their dung drying out.
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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.