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10:16 am | 10 November 2003 | The Legend of Bourgeois Federico

prescript: "Ode on a Jelly Donut" up over at the LJ: check it out

My soon-to-be-ex-work email inbox has, slowly but inevitably, become inundated with spam, but unfortunately only the kind that enlarges dongs and/or sends me painkillers. i do intermittently enjoy the false names it's sent under, however, and have had a giggle over, say, "Elton Bender" and the like. This morning I was extremely stoked to find a message from what must be the greatest name in the world: Bourgeois Federico.

Bourgeois Federico! I couldn't believe I had been emailed by the legendary highwayman. As children we'd gather close to the gas logs as Papa sat us on his lumberjack-sized knee and thrilled us with tales of the brigand who, I thought, lived on only in the yarns spun by doddering grandparents, but this morning's email taught me otherwise.

My favourite story of "Bougie Fred" (as we affectionately called him) is this:

"As legend tells us, a young girl was riding through the Black Forest late at night. Though she was in a fine carriage, with flowers traced in gold on its doors and lined with satin-tufted cushions, her heart was heavy, for she was betrothed to Lord Broomfield, a hideous earl of cruel repute in a far country, and she was sure she would not live out the year by his side. She leaned her cheek against the back of her hand and sighed.

"From the distance, there came a hollow, heavy noise. Thud. And then another, and another, until they became the sound of mighty horse-hooves beating a tattoo on the packed earth of the road. A rider was coming, but such a gallop as this had never before been heard in the world. Frightened, the horses pulling the young girl's carriage drew to a halt, stamping and puffing anxiously through dilated nostrils, their eyes gleaming white-ringed through clouds of steam. Still the hoofbeats came on. The coachman leapt from his stand on the front of the wagon and bolted into the woods. The hooves drew closer, closer, and drew to a thunderous halt outside the carriage. Any other person would have died from fright on the spot. But the young girl, resigned as she already was to a life of misery, pushed open the door and stepped slowly out, her head held high.

"There, in the road, backlit by the full harvest moon, he stood: Bourgeois Federico. Though there was no wind, his black cape swirled about his as though tempest-tossed. The brigand of Brussels, the ravager of the Rhine, the pirate of Peoria: yes: it was he. The young girl looked into his hell-black eyes and said, "Sir, my money and jewels are in the case strapped to the back of the carriage. Anything I have is yours." He looked back levelly and answered, with a voice that made flights of birds take off from surrounding trees, "My lady, I have come only to rescue you from your horrible fate." He swept her up in one massive arm and, tucking her into the folds of his cloak, mounted his horse and rode away.

"The young girl was never seen again, although Bourgeois Federico continues his exploits to this day. Some say that the sounds of thunder during voilent storms are the sounds of them riding across the sky, and that the raindrops are her tears of happiness."

You can understand, then, why I was so elated, upon opening my Microsoft Outlook, to discover a message from Bourgeois Federico himself! Finally, someone had come to take me away from this horrible place, out of my misery! Were those hoofbeats I heard in the distance, or only the groaning of our crippled copy machine? Carpal-tunnel-palsied hand trembling slightly on the mouse, I opened the e-mail.

It would seem that Bourgeois Federico has turned into a different sort of outlaw. No longer does he ride upon the back of night to plunder the noblesse and free the slaves and give 5% cash back. No. This morning, Bourgeois Federico tried to sell me a cable-splitter.

Somewhat regretfully, I declined. clm.

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