(From a Private Communique, dated
IX XXX MMVIII, found in memorabilia of the
Reginald Masterson-Smythe collection. I report with minimal editing;
the remainder of the entry follows in two parts.)
The Macanudo 1968
part the second
Peddigrew had fastidiously scraped
the palimpsest, and so my strokes lay both long and firm along the
I have received a mysterious
package from Einrich the Teuton, borne far over the sea in the
hands of none other than the fastidious Chinaman, Chang. It
contains a single cigar, the likes of which are puzzling to me.
For, while it sports the pedestrian label of the banal Macanudo
brand, this label is yet emblazoned with gold, and the cigar is moreover of promising construction! I am bewildered.
If the traitorous Einrich is duplicitous
in this, it shall bring us at last to a mortal duel; however, if
he gifts this tobacco in sincerity, I must-- as a gentleman-- accept it.
purpose, Hasim, to try this stuff and call the Teuton's bluff! You
are wise in the ways of his treachery, having overcome much in your adventures, and so I call upon you to second me: should he poison me, I leave it unto you to scour the
lands for him, and bring his reign of questionable fashion and pop-music at last to an
In Fraternity, sealed,
Lord Alocious Betram
Bartholomew Masterson Wilkinson-Smythe, Esq.
I gave the dwarf
a moment to recover himself and dust his trousers.
I trust you like no other. Ever have you been my loyal servant,
though I see you suffer from your albinism and muteness. You have
more strengths than man four times your height. Devoutly
devoted dwarf, I task you with this, a most urgent errand: Deliver
this palimpsest directly unto Hasim the Turk, and no other. Though
the journey is long, I can only trust you in this. Be swift!"
believe I saw a tear in my manservant's eye as he slathered on his
sunscreen and bore my message afar. I had saved Peddigrew from great
abuse many years before, when he served the cruel Indonesian warlord
Budi, whose vile plot to combine eggs and pancakes I foiled in the
decisive Adventure of the Dijonnaise Ovum-- but, I have
chronicled that already. I had some sherry to calm my nerve while
I waited for him to get back from next door.
Merely a few
hours later, my manservant returned. He was followed by a team of
large eunuchs bearing a gilt open litter upon which Hasim rode.
The marmelukes placed out many cushions and spices in my drawing
room, along with censers of fragrant incense. They set down the
sedan, and stood facing the walls as Hasim made
"They are very loyal, but they
keep insisting on treating me as an Arab, when I am a so clearly a Turk!",
he exclaimed. "My friend, your letter commanded my attention.
We must attend to this dilemma, and arrive at a solution."
Turkish blood does you right, Hasim", I said, "this is most
vexing. I worry that an attempt is being made upon my life, for
I cannot leave this gift unsmoked as it would show my insincerity,
and yet I cannot smoke it lest it is poisoned. Einrich's Teutonic
plot can only be foiled by your Hunnish cunning!"
this, you are wise", said Hasim. The Turk pondered a
while, gesturing to a eunuch for his hookah.
I showed the
1968 to my friend. As he examined it, Hasim's mistrust grew.
Looking at the mysterious Macanudo and finding, as I had, its very
firm structure and well-colored moderately-veined wrapper
suspiciously remarkable for a smoke of its breeding, he inhaled
At long last, he rose and walked over to me with
"We must smoke it together", he
nodded. "In this way, should the cigar be genuine, it's pleasure shall be diluted, but in the sharing with a friend
re-magnified: it shall be just as if you had it all to yourself.
If, on the other hand, it is a devious trap, the poison shall be
split amongst the two of us, and we shall both live for our
"Fine young Turk!", I
exclaimed, "That's brilliant!"
Being far more correctly
proportioned than the eunuchs for the purpose, Peddigrew was enlisted to bring long matches and sweep the ashes from Hasim's
beard and my Caucasian rugs. Match was put to Macanudo.
We steeled ourselves for the task. I
put on my monocle and jacket, while Hasim swallowed the tiniest dose of his special Turkish Thunder mixture in
preparation. It was a very special mixture which helped him
greatly in times of dire need. The dwarf stood loyally within arm's
reach, and then fire was put to the Macanudo 1968.
"Hm", said Hasim, "Yes.
This wrapper has a moderate flavor, around a fairly mild core. The
draw is very satisfactory, although the taste is a shade bitter."
My brow furrowed with curiosity, I took
the cigar from Hasim, and brought it to my lips.
do detect a subtle acridity on the finish. Perhaps that
is Einrich's sinister poison, but if it is, then he has hidden it
well beneath flavors of light wood, and every now and again a hint
of slight fruit or caramel."
It was not unusual for
the Turk and I to expatiate in this strange way. We found that sometime the details mattered, and this might well be one of those
cases, as our lives perhaps depended upon it...