Posts : 834
Join date : 2013-08-25
Age : 45
|Subject: Cat and Mouse Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:28 pm|| |
Cat and Mouse
“I’m sorry, gentlemen, but this is much too gamey.”
Hannibal Heyes and Jed “Kid” Curry glanced at each other with raised eyebrows. Turning their attention back to one J. Bellamy Pierpont, Curry spoke. “You said you wanted buffalo, so we brought you buffalo. The bigger the game, the wilder the taste.”
“I’m sorry, but we’ll need something milder,” Pierpont huffed.
Heyes quipped, “Maybe the fox should raid the henhouse.”
“Or maybe the fox should be next.” Pierpont brightened.
“Fox’ll be too gamey for you too. When you figure out what you want, let me know,” Curry said before turning on his heel.
Kid again faced Pierpont. Heyes glanced at Curry and gestured he would respond. “Mr. Pierpont, we’ve tasted most of what’s out there, and barring people being used to camping and the outdoors, there’s a reason they mostly eat farm animals. The wilder tastes take some getting used to. What’s the sense in supplying meat to a hunting camp anyway?”
J. Bellamy Pierpont rose. “Ah, precisely the point, Mr. Smith. Well-heeled Easterners will pay handsomely for a big game hunt here in the West, but I’m afraid most of them haven’t the stomach for what they’ll shoot. They’re only interested in bagging trophies for bragging rights and probably do expect everything to taste like chicken, so therefore the need for something authentic but also suitable for their palates. That’s how we’ll be different from other such hunting outfits.” He regarded the partners. “As you said, you gentlemen have had experience with various tastes in the wild. What would you suggest?”
Curry scrunched his brow in thought. He could suggest many things, but he also did not want himself and Heyes to find themselves on a wild goose chase. Wait – goose? Nah. Other birds? “How about turkey?” he heard himself say.
Heyes nodded. “That might do it. We saw a few in the area.”
Pierpont smirked. “Turkey? That sounds so … common!”
The dark-haired partner sighed. “You’re right. It’s more common than any game you’ve mentioned so far. Tourists paying a lot of money want something different. They can hunt turkey anywhere. Now this whole thing really makes no sense.”
Pierpont was aghast. “With insubordination like that, you’ll find your employment terminated quickly. How dare you!”
Heyes continued. “No, how dare you, Mr. Pierpont. What you don’t know is we’re really here as a favor to Colonel Harper. He wants to make sure any investment he makes in your operation would pay off. So pardon me for saying so, but this won’t work. You can’t have guides going in two directions – helping the paying customers find what they’re looking for and running off to feed them something else. You lose the authenticity for them right there, never mind running us ragged. ”
“Ah, Mr. Smith, your argument loses validity when there are two of you – Mr. Jones to guide and you to hunt dinner. It makes perfect sense.” Pierpont’s smile had smug written all over it.
Curry rolled his eyes and pursed his lips. He would leave this to his partner.
“Mr. Pierpont, I’m not going to argue the point. We’ll let Colonel Harper know we don’t think you can make this work, so it isn’t worth his investment. Your lack of experience shows in spades.” He paused a moment to let the words sink in. “With all due respect, Eastern dudes will pay big money for their trophies, yes, but they’ll want the whole experience of getting them, warts and all.”
Pierpont challenged him. “What are you saying?”
Kid jumped in. “If my partner wasn’t plain enough, they wanna eat what they shoot. We have some experience leadin’ a hunt, and you have it all wrong.”
Heyes shot back, “Well water, no. They’ll drink from the stream, same as everyone else.”
Pierpont’s voice rose. “Stop twisting my words! If you thought the premise was bad from the start, why did you go traipsing off after buffalo?”
Heyes shrugged. “For the Colonel’s sake, we had to give you and the idea the benefit of the doubt. You admitted you didn’t know what game tasted like, so we gave you that, but it sounded strange. Your backers back East want in on a good idea, but they need someone tougher than you and who’s done this before to make it work. Colonel Harper wants to invest in Western tourism, but not with the likes of someone so inexperienced running it. Odds are it’ll fail right out of the gate.”
Pierpont’s countenance turned a bright shade of scarlet. He stammered and opened his mouth, hemming and hawing to find the right words. None came.
Curry stood with arms folded as Heyes continued. “Face it, Mr. Pierpont, you might be able to fool your Eastern syndicate, but you’re really just a grifter trying to con your backers. The Colonel’s smarter than that, and so are we.” He winked. “And remember, it takes one to know one. Good day.”
Kid tipped his hat as he followed Heyes out.
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp