Story Go Round 02/21/2004

The Discount Viscount

The time had come. Prices were at rock bottom. Viscount Jacques de Liqueur strode through his demesne with pride. Everything was going - the chandeliers, the vanities, the gilt faucets, spotless white gloves, silvery silk shawls - it was all about volume. As a rule, he bought and sold - only in bulk, a practice that was supported by the lord of the realm. The day he had bought his title, he had been one of several hundred to make viscount. "Money pays-" he liked to say, "but titles count."

And now he was moving on. He was going to elbow them all out of the luxuries trade. They put on such airs - just wait until their tiaras and brooches were available for next to zero!

Just across the border, in the progressive country of NewMarket, where there were no anti-progress laws to reinforce the feudal system, he could be more than a Viscount. He could have his own chain. He could be King - of sales!

The first thing he did every morning was to read the Obituaries and Bankruptcies sections of all the papers. Estate sales were the best places to find antiques and one-of-a-kind pieces. Taking those pieces to his brokers in Belgium, he could have cheap knock-offs made to be sold at murderously low prices.

The first reaction he got - and it was priceless! - was from a beak-nosed duchess cousin of his neighbor who saw a cheap imitation of a locket she kept with an image of her lover in it. The image was the same. She fainted dead away.

As he turned a fan from New Market on the prostrate woman, he knew today would be a good day.

The masses would dole out their hard earned wages for his knock-offs, and the Aristocracy would run up debts with the tradesmen in order to pay him off to keep their precious

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange; Habeeb is grey