This article is part of the Fur Trapper Saga series.
Warding off boredom became increasingly difficult as I lay among the stones and corpses. Though I have little trouble creating entertainment for myself in most circumstances, the very limited nature of my predicament left me with new options for amusement. I became briefly annoyed on the twelfth day when I attempted to whistle a song of my own composition ("The Woonsocket Testicle Mauler Waltz") only to find that it was quite impossible with only one lip. Regardless, I kept trying, and was soon quite amused to learn that my ragged gurgling resembled the mating grunt of my most precious livestock, the Tennessee combat badger. Though fearsome and difficult to contain, I find that the combat badger is the only animal wily enough to ensure a satisfying test of my cruelest traps, and I have killed hundreds over the years. I normally keep the creatures caged so they don't wander into my traps, but a few of them have sprung loose over the years and now live in feral bliss upon the lawns of my estate. I kept up the gurgling for hours, finding endless enjoyment in my childish mimicry.
As I lay content in my reverie, I suddenly heard my grunting doubled. I opened my weary eyes and looked to the top of the well, only to see the distinctive striped face of a badger peering back at me. I grunted again to taunt the animal, and its reaction was more dramatic than I could have hoped: in a fit of erotic rage, the beast leapt down upon my chest! The thud knocked the wind from my lungs, and I felt the animal's bones buckle and snap against my body, and now we were two.
The animal lay broken atop me, but it was still very much alive. It lay with its head at my waist and its hindquarters in my face, and I struggled to remain conscious under the heavy fumes of its musk glands. With what little strength its tattered muscles could muster, it tore at my belly with its fearsome claws, and I bit fiendishly at its haunches and its stubby tail, tearing out great cubes of flesh with my lipless, efficiently exposed teeth. I could feel the great beast chewing at my abdomen, but its decency seemed to prevent it from latching its razor-sharp teeth upon my urinary hose, which was now turgid from combat and mere inches from its snout.
And so for days we struggled, each gnawing the other to the bone in a combination of desperate hunger and pure enjoyment of the fight. On the fourteenth day, once again the Sabbath, we finally rested. As our fight wound down to mere grunts and nibbles, my black heart was warmed by a familiar emotion: just as when I gazed upon the endeavor of the orphan who began the well, I felt a kinship with this beast. This beast, I decided then, would be the heir to the Swanton fur empire!
But the matter of survival was still at hand. Our long fight had left us both panting with thirst, but I came to a terrible realization: with this great beast atop me, I could no longer arc my issuance into my own face, as I had grown so accustomed to doing. It took but a moment's pondering to formulate a risky gambit: if I arced my urine into the jaws of my friend, the Tennessee combat badger, would he accept it as nourishment? And furthermore, would he, out of respect for our shared situation, oblige me in passing it through his hindquarters and into my waiting mouth?
And so I uncorked my bladder, and immediately I felt the toothsome suckle of the beast upon my urinary hose. In mere moments, I was repaid in kind: a hot splash of musky badger issue shot forth into my face, stinging my eyes and burning my ragged, lipless mouth.
We continued in this fashion for many days, perhaps weeks. For the first time, I was fully content with my situation. I did not want for meat, for a boundless ration of badger haunch was at my disposal, and my friend the badger could dine on my ample abdomen. When I was thirsty, I needed only urinate, and the badger would return my deposit with musky interest.
So complete was my domestic bliss that I scarcely felt release when I awoke one morning to hear the familiar voice of my longtime friend and rival, P. B. Fouke. As his lilting falsetto echoed down the well, I knew that I was saved, but at the same time I knew that I might never again experience such a truly complete life.
As I write this, months after my ordeal, I am a stronger and more evil man than ever before. My lips and beard have grown back fuller, the meat of my abdomen has regained its former fullness and my bones have healed into stalks of iron. My badger lies serene at my feet, the only creature ever to truly understand me. He is quite dead, of course.
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.