A brief history of extortion

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It’s a little known fact, and possible filthy lie, that Captain Lucifer Von Ahab was the first person in recorded history to adopt the practice of “lumping,” or, as it’s commonly referred to in any instance other than the unloading of freight, “extortion.”

comics-charactersCaptain Lucifer terrorized the Southern seas during the heydays of piracy. His terrifying “Grocery Warehouse” flag became fodder for nightmares of cargo ship captains far and wide. Scuttlebutt at every port whispered of horrors like being detained for days at at time, afloat at sea, waiting for Captain Lucifer to have an open rope to throw over the bow and commence his heinous pirating.

Recently unearthed reports given to the British Navy describe the harrowing account of Captain John Jacob Brake, and his encounter with the pilfering pirate.

Captian’s log, stardate 1736 — Our ship was lured to the aid of the nefarious Captain Lucifer Von Ahab with a false appointment time, and we were snared in the grasp of his safety ropes before he viciously raised the grocery warehouse flag. I made the mandated Qualcomm alert, and my crew and I laid in for what was to be a twenty-six hour wait.

Captain Lucifer finally boarded the vessel, took inventory of our cargo hold, and informed me there would be a charge to unload the contents of my ship. My protests that he had not only lured us to moor with false appointment times, but was the pirate who desired our cargo, and should therefore shoulder the burden of labor cost himself, were met with the suggestion that I go pound sand and find the three hundred quid it was going to cost me to have my cargo unloaded. My counter argument of having my own crew unload the cargo, just to be free of the safety ropes and avoid the exorbitant and ridiculous costs, were met with requests for wizardry and black magic called “insurance” that requires intervention from the Holy Father himself to initiate or circumvent. We were not only forced to surrender our cargo. Myself and the crew were forced to empty our company parrot fund, and have since had to put our resident ship Macaw on permanent layoff status.”

Captain Brake survived his near-broke experience and went on to perfect a mechanism for wind-powered ships that involved a blast of counter-balanced air into the sails that not only slowed heavily laden vessels quickly, it made an awesome noise that was later banned in residential areas along the trade routes. His obituary simply read, “Screw you, Bimini, do you want me to come in hot, or quiet?”

Captain Lucifer’s practices went on to be adopted by various shady institutions, including almost every villain in the Marvel Comic archive, but is only recognized as fully sanctioned and legal in the trucking industry. (Unfortunately, this is the only part of the story that isn’t a filthy lie.) Yay.

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