"Go with the grace and protection of the Lord." It's the usual mantra for the big hero.
The ticket to the future is always open.
Just as always, every time I get an original idea, I discover that it's not all that original. This time, I tried organizing a stall in the bustling market of San Juan. Amidst burros, goats, chickens, and dirty children I hauled a little timber into town and built a store front with just a little room for some indigo. The first morning sales looked to be going well. A few people stopped by and I managed to get some high quality indigo in stock.
Alas, to my dismay, across the street a competitor had arrived and he seemed to have a little more room than I did. He was selling tobacco and indigo! I caught my pride in my chest and checked my coffers, I had a little cash, but I couldn't afford to get any tobacco in bulk and the cane farmers wouldn't be in the market with their goods for at least another week! All I could do was hope to outsell him in indigo and maybe see if I couldn't set up a coffee roaster or maybe find some higher quality weed than he had, himself.
About midday, I discovered that my competitor was amongst my customers, perusing my indigo. He was an honest fellow with a hearty laugh. He was hard to despise, though I worked very hard at it. He smiled genuinely and offered me some tobacco; it was of excellent quality. And, departing with an honest smile, he wished me luck and apologized for selling indigo himself. Can you believe the nerve of that man? Rubbing his superiority in my face?
I felt a little vindicated when one of the city councilmen stopped by my stand later and I managed to convince him to give me a key to the city's archives. After closing my stand for the day, I went straightaway to the archives to see what research I could do about my business and how to gain the upper hand. Alas, it was of no avail. All of my searching seemed to keep leading me back to the city guilds, all of which seemed organized against me.
In the morning, I was happy to see the governor stroll past, he seemed to walk on my side of the street and that wasn't bad for business. It seemed that customers hardly even noticed when my competitor got in a fresh shipment of goods. I was able to meet a charming fellow who was headed for the hills in search of gold and I agreed to fund him in return for a portion of his earnings.
I was feeling better about the second day, however; it was all over soon. The governor came back through, with his entourage, and this time, he bought some weed from the stall across the street! To make matters worse, I had to listen to an entire discussion between my competitor and an architect designing a hall for the man to conduct his business in. And, to make matters worse, out of the generosity of his heart, my competitor offered to let me buy space from him instead of renting like he would offer to others. I had to turn him down as I didn't have enough money to buy into his new market. I had to even turn away the black market trader who didn't believe that the only item I had for sale was indigo. "Surely, you must have something else? How are you still in business?" I began asking myself the same question.
After some scraping and scavenging, I managed to pull together a few extra gold dubloons. I was already regretting having bothered giving any money to that useless gold digger. I bribed the councilor into giving me a connection to a tobacco dealer. I was so pleased to place my first order that I almost failed to miss the powerful and flavorful aroma of coffee, coming from across the street, no less. Curse that bastard and his devilish ways for always being one step ahead of me!
The next few days didn't go very well either. A silver smelter showed up and started renting a booth. Then a cane salesmen showed up. All I could muster was to dig a well out back so that I could water the animals bringing me my goods. I wasn't having any trouble selling but I just couldn't seem make much more than I was spending. At the same time, all sorts of people were visiting the office of my competitor. The governor, a few traders, a few architects showed up. There was a steady procession in and out of his makeshift office. I noticed that he even had two or three people just selling indigo.
A week or so later, the bustle still hurrying across the street while fewer and fewer customers came my way, I decided to make a trip to the country to see my gold prospecting friend. When I arrived at his camp, I was convinced that he had been eaten by a bear. His equipment, if you can call it that, was strewn all about in a random manner. His tent was knocked over and an untied burro stood at a distance regarding me warily.
I found him drunk in his tent. When I woke him up and splashed water on his face, I asked him what he'd done with my money. He looked about for a little bit and blinked in the sunlight. "I drank it away," he admitted. That no good, lousy, prospector stole my money and my time and wasted them both. I wanted to strangle him but restrained myself. "Listen," he stammered, "I'm good for it. I'll pay you back in work. Do you have a place where I can sleep, meanwhile?" It was then that I realized that gold prospectors are really just homeless people.
By the time I got back to my stall, I discovered that a large podium had been set up, blocking my stall. Indignant, I set about demanding information about the stage and seats. A councilmen approached me and told me that my competitor was going to build the city's first library and that this was to be the ground breaking ceremony. I was just about done. I couldn't take it any more. Still, I had just a little fight left in me and so I invested the last of my money in a silver smelter. As it turned out, it would be of little use, as my competitor had nearly cornered San Juan's silver market.
My competitor approached me one morning and asked me how business was going. I told him that I was about even, losing a little more than making, usually. He shared with me his sympathy and encouraged me to keep working hard because my competition was the only thing keeping his prices lower for the town's folk and helping them to buy goods at a fair price. Finally, I couldn't hold it in any longer and I let loose all of my frustrations about seeing him get all the breaks only to turn around and discover that I was constantly a dubloon short. He listened carefully and then stated that he understood.
Then the leader of the guild hall arrived and he excused himself to meet with him. Apparently, he was going to build a new state of the art guild hall for all of the guilds to utilize. I decided then and there that that was the end for me. He had the government and guilds in his pocket. I was finished.
I scraped up the last money that I had offered to build a statue for the city. I planned a statue to honor the mayor and sent my crews to work as I began shutting down my stall and selling off all of my bulk goods. I had decided to quit before facing financial ruin. When I arrived at the statue to dedicate it to the mayor, to my not-as-surprised-as-I-should-have-been surprise, I saw my competitor sitting in the mayor's seat. "Excuse me," I said as politely and slightly condescendingly as I could, "but this seat is for the mayor and I'm about to dedicate this statue to him."
"Well, fancy that," he said with a big grin on his face, "you built me a statue!" My jaw dropped as I looked at the statute and looked at my competitor and noticed their likeness. My workers had done an excellent job reproducing his winning smile. "I guess you hadn't heard yet, what with how busy you are," he said, grinning widely, "but the townsfolk elected me as their mayor just two weeks ago."
Oh well, there's always castle building France. No one's done that before.