Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Si Amadon Opens the Valise

The valise was where Mr. Farquhar said it would be, under the red maple tree just past the ".5 miles to summit" sign. Normally, Si Amadon would have put Pierre to the task. But this was a delicate mission. "Discreet, all the way," Amadon told Mr. Farquhar.

Getting his oft-shined boots dusty in the pursuit of contraband was hardly Si Amadon's forte. Dapper as Clark Gable, Si Amadon was a teetotaler and physical fitness enthusiast, the living embodiment of his banking business: tightly controlled, disdainful of G-men and zip-lipped.

On occasion, though, he sought out adventure, as it reminded him of tramping through the woods on his family farm as a boy. Though he'd chosen finance as a way out of the hinterland, he still kept in his heart memories of his favorite book, "The Pirate's Treasure or the Strange Adventures of Jack Adams on the Spanish Main."

And so he walked up the mount, his freshly pressed, Hart Schaffner double-breasted overcoat pulled close to maximize a quick ascent. Before he reached the red maple, he caught a whiff of his quarry. His heart fluttered like a money-counting machine and he allowed himself to skip, just once, before reaching behind the tree and taking hold of Mr. Farquhar's gripsack.

Within the folded red silk of the case, under the Kipling book and bottle of powdered rhubarb, beneath the false bottom, Si Amadon found the prize.

Lifting the box, he looked 'round for interlopers. Seeing none, he opened the lid, bent forward just a bit and let the waft rise to his ample nostrils. It was deep and earthy, but also heavenly and capable of transporting him to an exotic, foreign land. He fumbled in his coat pocket for his lighter. Removing it, he admired its dazzling sheen and likeness of a bathing beauty. He fired it and smiled.

Holding the box steady with his left hand, he carefully removed the cigar with his right. It was a Sancho Panza Molinos, trucked up two days ago after arriving in the port of New London. She was a beauty, hand-rolled in Cuba and stashed in a bag of sugarcane. He lit the cigar and savored it. As instructed by Mr. Farquhar, he emptied the box into his coat pockets and placed it back in the valise with the other items.

Then he turned to descend, back to the bank, back to his wife and children, back to a place where nobody knew his vice. There, standing in the middle of the path stood Bigfoot, who snapped this picture.