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Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Continuing Adventures of Pepper Bastard

Hello, my dear friends, and welcome back.  In response to my last chronicle, in which I described an evening at Casa Enrique in Queens, many readers sent so-called electronic mails inquiring about the avenging koala bears I referenced.  Many were intrigued by the band of koala brothers and wanted to hear more.  Well there is much more to say, trust me!  First, however, there is something I want to tell you.

I, Pepper Bastard, do not write these chronicles...I tell them.  You see, these chronicles are transcribed by my squire, Patterson, who, word for word, faithfully writes down my adventures, which I dictate to him.  I have never enjoyed the act of writing but I am a gifted orator, so I leave the putting of the words on to the paper to Patterson.  So how did these chronicles end up on the web internet? One day Patterson approached me as I read a volume of Milton in my study.  I remember the evening well.  I had just dined on mutton and roasted carrots, and I had retired to my study to drink brandy and read. A light snow was falling.  Patterson entered my lair, bringing some ginger biscuits, and he mentioned there was a new technology called the web internet, and Patterson proposed that we publish my chronicles on this new medium.  Originally we were compiling my memoirs to be released posthumously in a 50 volume printed edition, but I've always been a trendsetter and so gave Patterson permission to publish some - though certainly not all - of my collected adventures on the web.  The result is what you now see before you.  I myself have only viewed the web version of these tales once or twice, and all electronic mails sent are read to me by Patterson, usually as I have my evening bath.

So now you know the inner-workings of my chronicles, and I do hope it's not more than you wanted to know.  Anyway, the avenging koala bears.  Where do I begin?  It was decades ago and the Ottoman Empire was at the peak of its glory, although, imperceptible to most, it had entered the beginning stages of its decline.  I was working for the Empire as a protectorate on their trade routes, ensuring the safe travel of spices and wares.

One night while traveling in the heart of central Asia, a spice trader named Mozel camped with some curry peddlers I was protecting and me. We dined on clay oven breads and stewed lentils, and finally, after Mozel became a little more comfortable with us, he looked around his shoulders, making sure the coast was clear, and then spoke: "My friends, I have enjoyed these stewed beans with you, and I therefore I want to tell you of the Walter Brothers.  They are a band of 5 brothers, each one more fearsome than the next.  They are great, furry beasts!  They have been attacking traders all along the Ottoman routes!"

Of course, it was my business to protect these routes, and so I inquired more.  As it turned out, the Walter brothers were very specific in the traders they attacked.  I must provide some background.  For centuries, trading along the Ottoman routes was a simple, time-honored venture.  Great spices were traded.  Fragrant oils were trades.  Luscious silks were traded.  Real things with actual purpose for real people were traded.  But not so anymore.  A new era had begun.  Now, traders were trading "spice default swaps" and "fragrant oil derivatives" and all other manner of abstract nothings with the sole purpose of creating money to benefit the rich!  I have the mind of a genius raptor and I couldn't understand these things, these "instruments" and "products."   A good rule of thumb in business and in life is if something is too hard to make sense of it's probably not a good thing.  It was these traders, the ones selling these pretend things, whom the Walter brothers attacked.

"Pepper Bastard!" said Mozel.  "You are charged with protecting us.  You must do something!"

To be continued next time in the continuing adventures of Pepper Bastard.