The Macanudo 1968 Caper: Part the Second

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(From a Private Communique, dated IX XXX MMVIII, found in memorabilia of the
Aloisius Bartholomew Reginald Masterson-Smythe collection. I report with minimal editing; the remainder of the entry follows in two parts.)

The Macanudo 1968 Caper
part the second

    Peddigrew had fastidiously scraped the palimpsest, and so my strokes lay both long and firm along the vellum:

        Esteemed Hasim,

           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.

        I 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 end.

        In Fraternity, sealed,

        Lord Alocious Betram Bartholomew Masterson Wilkinson-Smythe, Esq.

    I gave the dwarf a moment to recover himself and dust his trousers.

    "Peddigrew, 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!"

    I 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 himself comfortable.

    "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."

    "Your 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!"

    "In 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 doubtfully.

    At long last, he rose and walked over to me with great determination.

    "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 revenge."

    "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.

    "Yes, I 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...

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I am hip-deep in suspense! Will our hero succumb to the Teutonic toxin? Will Hasim's taste buds be spoiled by his nefarious narghile?

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