Vol. 2, Issue 21, May 25, 2004
Think Difference (Engine).
Perplexing Times

Zounds! I am Unmasked!

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

Downtown, just after Dark one gusty evening last week, I was enjoying the twofold luxury of Meditation and a Meerschaum, in company with my friend, C. Julius Lupin, in his little back Library, or book-closet, over on St. Germain street. While to any Casual observer we might have seemed intently and Exclusively Occupied with the curling eddies of Smoke that oppressed the atmosphere of the Chamber, I was mentally discussing certain Topics which had formed matter for conversation between us at an earlier period of the evening; I mean the responsibilities of Journalism, and whether silk Gloves are inappropriate Attire for the Movies.

But I was startled out of this Manly Reverie when the door of the apartment was thrown Open and admitted our old Acquaintance, Allen Garamond, bon-vivant and fellow Publisher.

"I say, Watley," he gushed with an unaccustomed Twinkle in his eye; "the Cat is very much out of the Bag. Why did you not Mention you are on the Taurus Board?"

I was so Shocked that indeed my Meerschaum dropped right into my Drink; which distracted me only Slightly from my discomfiture by bursting into Flames. Unmasked! Revealed! The startled Eyes of the good Mr. Lupin bespoke his Astonishment, and he absently essayed to refill his Glass, unfortunately pouring some very fine Ardbeg Ultimate Islay on the table in the Process.

The Taurus Board, for those unaware, is an Old and secret Society of Philanthropists dedicated to Charitable causes and the seemly Improvement of our fellow Man. It is known for its tendency to deliver large bags of Coinage in the middle of the Night to seemingly random Benificiaries: a favorite Coffee-House in need of a Rent payment; a Widow in need of new School Uniforms for her Children; a Stable-Boy in desperate need of a new Curry-Brush and Knickers. Its members move Unknown through the town, secretly taking note of worthy Recipients and, very occasionally, sending Letters exhorting Reason and the values of Free Speech where appropriate to various News-Papers and Policymakers. It is a worthy Group, which seeks no Reward or Publicity for its members.

But alas! - it transpired that I carelessly left a Calling-Card in my most recent Taurus Board missive to Garamond's worthy evening News-Paper, neatly tucked into the Envelope below the anonymous Seal which is the Taurus trademark. Undone! I must refrain from conducting Correspondence late into the Evening: it is clearly contrary to my Digestion and Clarity of Thought.

And so naturally, Garamond and Lupin pressed, eager for Information on this most reclusive of organizations; which I declined as Politely as I could. A score more Inquiries awaited me when I returned to my Office: the Tobacconist asked whether the Board could re-shoe his Horse; the Haberdasher had a Daughter in need of a new Prom-Dress; the Shoe-shine lad had a good Stock Tip. Ephram, of course, had an entire "Power-Point" projected Picture show with Many, Many Reasons why he needed Great Quantities of money.

It was with Regret that I subsequently Resigned from the Board, unable to pursue my function in the Secrecy demanded by the organization. I have no-one to Blame but Myself for this lapse: indeed, Anonymity can be difficult to Maintain. It shall be a While before the shock of this Un-masking passes, but perhaps it is for the Best. The Taurus Board is a worthy organization, but I am really too Old for back-room dealings. We all, eventually, must come to deal with the World as Ourselves. Now, if you will Excuse me, I need to see the Shoe-shine lad about a hot Stock tip.


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