Given his extraordinary wealth, it would be hard to believe that Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets could be penniless—or in his case, since he’s British, tupenceless. Long time readers of this column will remember Sir Jeremiah as a tightfisted billionaire who hooked up with Nosey Nelida Nocamora to form a business in the United States.
He had been on the verge of a fatal heart attack when a physician friend who lived on the next estate, taught Sir Jeremiah to laugh loudly instead of getting cranky when something enraged him. Everyone said that his laugh was scarier than his outrage.
Following an election, the new British government raised taxes, especially on the wealthy. Sir Jeremiah groaned, then laughed That scared everyone within earshot.
After researching his options Sir Jeremiah decided to move to the United States. In his research he came across Nosey Nelida Nacamora’s name, reputation and U.S. government connections.
Sir Jeremiah contacted Nosey Nelida and—and after protracted and scary laugh-filled negotiations—hired her to obtain an immigrant visa and green card for him. Sir Jeremiah decided to travel incognito and crossed the Atlantic by ship. Nosey Nelida met him on Ricker’s Island and helped get him through customs. The landing fees nearly caused him apoplexy, but true to his therapist’s counsel—he laughed instead of going into a rage. The sound of that cackle panicked dock workers, custom officials and travelers.
Once in New York City he had another siege of outrage and unloosed a cackling laugh that frightened everyone including the pigeons picking up crumbs in the street. A cloud of pigeons flew away, never to return to that part of New York.
That fiendish laugh had frightened Nosy Nelida. But being resourceful, she recovered quickly. She had soon devised a plan to utilize that fearsome sound.
Within weeks Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpets and Nosey Nelida Nacamora had created a pest control company called N and T, Inc. The firm specialized in frightening pigeons and other pesky birds and animals away from hotels , businesses and chic residential neighborhoods.
Then they obtained a copyright on Sir Jeremiah’s horrific laugh and developed a nationwide chain of pest control centers.
The company prospered immediately. Animal protecting organizations looked on N and T Inc. as a humane business that didn’t hurt creatures. City Chambers of Commerce got on board because the method made them appear benevolent. The mass media picked it up as a good news story to help balance all the bad news they often published.
Soon Washington politicians took notice. Here, they realized, was a phenomenon that they could embrace—one that wouldn’t come back to bite them.
At the White House the chief of staff put the matter on the president’s agenda.
“Sir, he said, “we have a win-win situation here,” and explained the situation.
“Get those people in here at once,” said the President. “Give them a private tour, make them up a certificate and schedule a press conference. I’ll sign it personally. Heaven knew we could use some good news around here.”
That was the high point for Sir Jeremiah’s visit to the U.S.
So how did “Sir Jerry” lose his shirt? It’s complicated. During the tour of the white house Sir Jeremiah visited the center where visitors buy mementos.
He asked the price of a trinket, and when he heard the price, he was about to go apoplectic, but recovered and followed his physician’s protocol. Instead Sir Jeremiah unloosed a frightening cackle. A member of the Secret Service heard it and came to investigate. The Agent asked about “that British gentleman” and was told that it was Sir Jeremiah Teancrumpts, the British billionaire.
“Call Customs and the Internal Revenue Service,” said the agent. The cackle had gotten Sir Jerry in trouble, again.
It turned out that Sir Jeremiah, true to his fight-fisted practice, had lied on his immigration form. The IRS smacked him with a fine the size of Manhattan Island. So that’s how Sir Jeremiah lost his shirt.
Fortunately for him, he still has a couple billion pounds lying around.