I have told you of the awful troubles that befell Jenny over the weeks she spent unprotected in South Melbourne. By now you must understand that I simply cannot afford to take my eyes off the enemy in order to make money. Yet, sometimes fate does lend a hand and one day, some years ago now, while gloomily trudging the aisles of a local supermarket, I found myself the subject of inspiration.
Idly, I was scanning the shelves containing herbs and spices, when my attention was caught by a cellophane package containing a single pod of vanilla. The price - in the region of five or six AUD - surprised me. I had not known that vanilla was such an extravagance. And the essence, I wondered next? It transpired that the store stocked only the ersatz vanilla essence - the authentic product being, perhaps, beyond the means of my local demographic, or else too precious to thusly render down.
I sensed opportunity and researched the subject. I learned why fruit of the hermaphroditic vanilla planifolia, a tropical life-form native to Mexico, commands such prices in temperate Melbourne. Then, with the assistance of Robert - the scientist who works in our car-port - we stripped down its genome and shrewdly altered its phenotype - employing techniques I would be a fool to reveal here.
Consequently, I now can supply the needs of my community with a cheaper product that is not only superior in size and vanillin-content, but also a pleasurable CNS stimulant. Though it has some addictive properties, they are mild, on par with caffeine, and, of course, are a useful inducement to purchase. NuVanilla has proved popular with the consumers of my Zone, and allows me to conduct my war efforts in some semblance of comfort.
On another subject, the redemption of my wife goes well, and, though she has yet to return home, her mother, Diane, is now present to protect and nurse her. (Diane and I have formed many a united front over the years, and - though she can be slow to recognise infiltration and is sometimes overly credulous to the wiles of the Deadly Spores - all told, she is a better soldier than I.) The extent of Jenny's recent defeat is becoming more apparent as further bulletins arrive from the front. Doyle, I have heard, claims to have secretly observed her in the company of known collaborators: sly and abhorrent creatures, feared for their blind greed and careless cruelty. I shudder at the extent of her fall. If this was a less complex war, I could act precipitously, drive these vermin out with main force and drag my wife to safety. This I would dearly love - but the Black Spores are subtle, and often a head-on attack will rebound re-doubled upon the attacker. If I am to have victory, for my family, for my friends, I must too be subtle.