Toast, Henri Fontaine

By Alan B. Combs. I posted this one to alt.callahans a couple of years ago (1998, actually). I don’t find it in my shaggy data base, so here it is, again.

Instead of the sadder tributes found elsewhere in the Place, Alan wants to propose a happy toast, a toast to one of the Lesser Lights who may not be so well known to the Patrons, but who should be more famous — Monsieur Henri Fontaine.

Henri was born a French Canadian in one of the small towns in the Province. His rearing was unexceptional, but as a young man, he saw a chance for success by moving into a niche market. Henri decided the existing purveyors of ethanol containing-products were disorganized and that there was room for more effective competition. It became his mission in life to provide that competition.

Over the span of a decade, Henri slowly bought up all the beer delivery trucks, then all the liquor distributorships in his town. During the next decade, he purchased all the bars where alcohol was served. Finally, he completed the last leg of his monopoly when he took over the breweries and distillers. His plan was complete. Everyone in the vicinity was dependent upon Henri to satisfy their thirsts. Henri was able to resist the temptation to greatly raise the prices, something that lesser folks certainly would have done under the circumstances. As a consequence, Henri was looked upon as a benefactor, as well as becoming quite wealthy.

“Therefore, it is to this man that I propose a toast,” says Alan with a wide and wicked smile. “I give you


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