“What, his land?” I hear you ask, Dear Reader! Well, YES, my goddamned land! Oh, certainly you cannot hear one of these preposterous Indian names and assume some half naked savage was there first. Perhaps he was. I, personally, as a member of the bar, a representative at the California Constitutional Convention, and a sentient human being, have no way of knowing. My parents, on top of having a deed and a good, Christian home under a solid roof with productive business ventures, were American. Is Ohio not America? Well then, you should be pleased to learn that Tecumseh violated my mother and father's property rights in his capacity as a British mercenary.


So, while I cannot from my current perch obtain one Mr. Tecumseh’s title and deed to the parcel of land on which my parents strove to be upstanding citizens in a nascent community, I can tell you that if the Right Honorable Mr. Tecumseh were ever right or honorable in the entirety of his existence, he most certainly fought and died a traitor and a heathen violator of American treaties and the diplomacy of a democratically elected, sovereign government.


[A wry pause]


And, then, of course, there's that business about victors and spoils. Winning, as I may have mentioned, is largely a matter of picking sides. Losers pick their sides as their poisons; winners have a sweeter taste — and perhaps a better cocktail.


I digress.


The story I have to tell you is one of speed — and, I suppose, one of distillation. The stuff of this story distills a different sort of spirit, and one must go forth with this spirit with speed — as when quaffing the youngest, hottest liquor, a White Lightning of the soul — else the drink will be not merely compromised, but ruined and rendered deadly. My story is about such a group as was possessed with such a spirit, but could not go forth with the dispatch their odyssey required.


And, why? Why, you ask? What shackles bound them to their sipping, piddling doom?


Well, that, Dear Reader, is our story.


[He produces another caipirinha. Perhaps there is some music, such as a reprise of “Loop #1 — Places & Pages.”]

I did not vote for James K. Polk; I cast my ballot for the good Senator Clay. Mind you, the arguments seem musty now, a quarter century gone, but even at the time, one couldn't help but see we were all drunk on the same cocktail. Every drunk fancies himself a king and what better liquor to bring on that feeling than a spirit called Manifest Destiny?