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The Money Reform Party

Star Woes

Chapter 8

At much the same time, across the trackless emptiness of galactic nothingness, the colony of Bacchanalia was also receiving its second visit. Here there was no expectation of such a return, but the craft held no surprises as it was the same one that had arrived the previous year. Even so, its arrival would be the highlight of the year, so most people stopped their work and gathered around as it came into land. The door opened and out emerged the familiar great slug.

"Greetings, people of this fair land of Bacchanalia," boomed a self-satisfied Barcla.

"G'day, mate," returned Howie. "You decided to stop by for a beer after all?"

"I have not, but I have brought something that may interest you."

A large hatch in the rear of the craft opened. Howie, Brucie and several other guys stepped forward to gaze inside.

"Streuth, mate! You've got enough kit in there to fit out a brewery!" cried Brucie, gazing at the piles of piping, valves, and tanks. "What is it?"

"It is enough kit to fit out a brewery. I thought you might be interested."

"You thought right, matey! We keep running out. It's a hard job to keep up with demand!"

"Strange how beer is regarded as desirable when it has to be paid for," mused Howie, casting a knowing glance at Brucie.

"Certainly is, mate!" agreed Brucie. "Its only in order to buy the stuff that half these bastards do any work!"

Laughter echoed around the group of men there who, hard drinkers and proud of it as they were, would never have thought that they were work shy drunkards.

"So, you wish to purchase it?"

"I certainly do!" affirmed Brucie. "It'll really get business booming!"

"Then Mr er..."

"Call me Brucie."

"Then, Brucie, I suggest we retire to a place where we may conduct our business with discretion."

Bruce Brewsterson looked around at his friends.

"I think he wants a bit of privacy just now, fellers. But don't go too far away, I'll need help to unload this lot. Then it's free beer this evening for every man that helps... until it runs out!"

When the others were out of earshot, Barcla spoke in a low undertone.

"The price for this equipment is two hundred Imperial Credits."

"Two hundred?!"

"You seem surprised?"

"No, no. That's about right, I guess, for a complete brewery, but I've got a bit of a cash-flow problem right now. I just had to pay out quite a bit for hops and barley. I didn't realise you were coming, Barky..."

"You have no means of off planet communication."

"That's true enough."

"But do not worry my friend, I can advance you a loan to cover the cost of it and I can lend you more."

"More? I don't follow."

"You will need to build a substantial building in which to house this equipment."

"Yeah, that's true."

"And once erected, it will do no good unless it works to capacity. You will need even more of whatever you use to make your brew."

"Hops and barley."

"Working capital."

"No, hops and barley, and a bit of yeast, and pure spring water."

"Working capital is what we businessmen and business-slugs call the money used to buy the material which, as it were, passes through our particular processes and comes out as profits at the other end. Once this is all erected, you will be able to produce two thousand litres a day. Think of the profits on that."

"Wow! Yeah, streuth!"

"So, I lend you two hundred Imperial Credits as payment for this equipment, another, shall we say three hundred..." He produced a wad of crisp Imperial Credit Notes. "... for your building and your working capital. Five hundred Credits in all, at 20% interest for each galactic year..."

"20%?"

"A drop in the bucket of the profits you will make on two thousand litres a day!"

"Yeah, sure! No worries, mate!"

So the deal was made. Brucie called up the guys to help him unload all the gear, and then started spending some his new money with people who would provide him with building materials, labour and tools. With new money spreading through Bacchanalia, Barcla the Hoard found himself the centre of other aspiring purchasers.

"Certainly my friends, on my next visit, I can bring what you will. What would you have?"

"Surf boards!" a number of the newly recruited brewery labourers called out.

"Surf boards?"

"Yeah. What better to go with a few beers? The chance to surf!"

"I don't remember surfing being a popular activity on Tattoo One."

"No, but out here we have the freedom to live as we like!"

"Surf boards, it will be then. Farewell, good people of Bacchanalia. Enjoy your... enjoy your drinking!"

"G'day, Barky!"

Next: Chapter 9

Previous: Chapter 7

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