This article is part of the Fur Trapper Saga series.
J.F. SWANTON RETURNS!
Once again, I must apologize to my loyal customers for the unforgivably long intervals between my correspondence of late, but I boldly claim that your patience is about to be very well rewarded indeed.
You are likely aware, dearest customers, that I have built my reputation on cruelty. My Waccamaw Eyebleed Trap was deemed by the United States Congress to be "so needlessly cruel that Satan himself would turn away in disgust." When I sent my legendary Carolina Razorframe to the White House as a Christmas gift for our President, he very nearly outlawed it, so great was his dismay when it killed his dog and wife.
But those traps were like the playthings of babes when compared to my full ambitions. Though the Waccamaw Eyebleed could coax such suffering from an elk that it would beg for its life IN ENGLISH-- this has been verified by seven major university studies-- no trap I designed could match the cruelty of my own heart.
LOOK UPON THE BRAZEN MAN, DEAR CUSTOMER, AND TREMBLE
Drawing inspiration from the suffering of Saint Eustace, who was roasted alive in the famed Brazen Bull of antiquity, I proudly present the Brazen Man. Though it may appear to the naked eye as nothing more than a hundred-foot brass statue of me, presented in all of my glorious nudity, it is actually a thing of terrible utility: once a sufficient number of animals are drawn into its winding corridors and trapped therein, their weight will trigger an internal gas flame mechanism which will slowly heat the statue to an unbearable temperature. The creatures trapped inside will suffer agony incomprehensible to civilized man as they boil alive in my fearsome creation.
And though the mere thought of their pain should be delight enough for my dear customers, the true selling point of the Brazen Man is still more stimulating: the shrieks and bellows of the contained animals will be amplified by special acoustic chambers, designed with the blackmailed assistance of master scientists and musicians, until it issues forth from the statue's mouth as a bellow both terrifying and ear-damaging. Fully loaded with loud animals such as elk and rabbits, the Brazen Man's scream can deafen a healthy man from over six hundred paces!
Furthermore, at the very moment of the bellow's ecstatic peak, the phallus of the Brazen Man will extend outward most nobly and issue a copious cloud of steam.
As a special bonus to my esteemed customers, I will include with each Brazen Man a five-gallon vessel of my own personal bodily oils, musks and beard vinegars, to which all of God's beasts are irresistibly drawn. I know not why God granted me the power to lure game with my scent, but like unto Francis of Assisi they flock to me, that I might kill them with my teeth in tribute to my Divine Creator. I suggest that owners of the Brazen Man should coat the feet and insides of the structure with these pungent liquids, and the bountiful fauna of nature will innocently traipse to their doom.
I WILL PAY TOP DOLLAR FOR THE AGONY OF LIVING THINGS
If the Brazen Man has a single imperfection, is that the animals inside are rendered quite commercially useless, as their hides, hair and meat will be fully burned away into steam and fine black dust. However, customers who send me the dust-scrapings of each burnt animal will be paid FULL PRICE FOR THEIR FUR, as though it still existed. I am a wealthy man, and I will gladly use my financial resources to subsidize the suffering of animals.
Leave it to me to identify the animal from the dust, as my finely-honed taste buds can discern the burnt remains of over six thousand species, even when mingled.
MY PRICE IS FAIR
Each Brazen Man shall cost my customers EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS-- less than half the cost of producing the terrible statue. My terrible masterpiece must be loosed on the world, no matter the discount required!
So strong is my commitment to pain and evil that I offer this further discount: any customer who has been convicted of murder in the first degree, or who can prove to me that he has killed a man with no reason or remorse, may deduct an additional fifty percent from the previously stated price.
TOUCH THE BRAZEN MAN AND IT SHALL BE YOURS
In my personal trap garden stand twenty Brazen Men, guarding my estate like Hell's own sentinels. Any man who can negotiate the many fiendish traps of my garden and lay his hand on a Brazen Man will CLAIM OWNERSHIP OF IT FREELY!
Consider this offer seriously and solemnly, valued customer, as an attempt to exercise it would almost certainly result in your death. Only two men have ever walked through my trap garden and lived to tell of it: myself, and my dearest friend, the incomparable P.B. Fouke. Countless other have tried, and their mangled limbs festoon my grounds like festive tinsel.
If a man can pass my traps without dying, he is a trapper of the highest quality, and it would be my honor and privilege to offer him a Brazen Man from my personal collection. And if a man should fail, I will not think less of him; he will be a proud addition to my corpse menagerie, and the scent of his decay may even lure further creatures to their agonizing doom among my traps.
With my fondest and most evil regards,
President, Swanton Furs
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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.