A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 86: First Profit
Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran
Pete and his men left to trade their furs, while I schmoozed Leavenworth some more until Lt. Douglas, the Quartermaster, showed up. I had planned to gift him some bourbon, but wasn’t going to waste it on him now; I did, however, accept a glass of his proffered scotch. This guy was definitely living it up. I also garnered a dinner invite, which I politely declined, explaining that I was not in proper health just yet.
Lt. Douglas was the prototypical example of a quartermaster. He was non-descript and lacked any professional appearance or bearing. He looked like what he was, a corrupt banker.
He got straight to business, making Colonel Leavenworth grimace at the poor decorum displayed by one of his officers. Added to that, Douglas turned out to be a self-important jerk with an over-inflated value of himself. Give us two minutes alone and I could fix that for him.
“Henry tells me you want to trade some gold. We pay a standard fixed rate with US Dollar coin.” God, this guy was a dick.
Leavenworth scowled and I simply stood up to leave.
“Mr. Narrater, please sit back down. I truly believe we can reach an agreement to your liking. The Lieutenant may have spoken a bit rudely and rashly. I apologize to you, sir.” Henry wasn’t happy at all and Douglas looked surprised.
I paused for dramatic effect and then pulled one gold and one silver nugget out of my pocket and placed it on the desk in front of Henry.
“These were a prize from the Derna campaign during the Barbary War. Well earned, I might add.” Then I slowly sat down.
The nuggets had their attention. Pure ore will do that to a greedy person and I had the feeling these two were experts at creative accounting.
“I’m asking $60 in US coin per ounce.” Simple and to the point.
Douglas was outraged, “The US Government has set the price of gold at $20. What you ask is unmanageable!”
“Control yourself, Lieutenant!” Leavenworth warned him, “Have you never heard of haggling?”
Turning back to me, Henry said, “I’m afraid Douglas gets carried away sometimes. However, sir, he is correct in that $60 would be completely unmanageable. Perhaps something in the range of $30 would be acceptable. We also have to consider the coinage we have on hand sir.”
“Colonel, I do understand the constraints that you face and I also understand the abilities of a good Purser, such as Douglas. Perhaps $45 would be within your abilities?”
Leavenworth considered that for a strategic minute and came with the expected $40 offer at which point I simply stuck out my hand. “Colonel, sir, I do believe we have a deal. I can exchange ten ounces of each immediately and return with an additional seventy ounces of each at the end of the summer. Each ounce nugget is the same high grade ore on my word as a Marine and a gentleman.”
We shook and the deal was done, I had just doubled my money and converted it to spendable cash. Leavenworth and his lackey would make out well on the deal. Douglas left to get my currency and I had a bit of time to curry favor with Leavenworth.
I pulled the unopened bottle of bourbon out of my bag.