Henry Brand, self-made millionaire and CEO of the greatly-feared (and much-hated) Mansow Agro-Chemical Company, built a new distribution center 3 miles outside of Blackville for its close proximity to some of Cobblestone County’s most fertile soil, and as a result, came to know about Farmer Mike Carlson. Who couldn’t hear about the most successful man with a green thumb in the entire state, let alone the region?
Upon finding Farmer Mike’s cadaver in swine soup, Brand was apprehended for questioning…why? Because for the last 2 years, he was known to send his “assistants” to “politely” ask Farmer Mike to sell his property to the corporation. Farmer Mike, of course, refused upon the grounds of family heritage, passion for his farm, and disdain for monopolistic conglomerates in general. Also, he didn’t much care for the short, power-hungry man whose eyes shone a keen shade of envy green each time he saw his face. Mike was very vocal about his stance on Mansow, and was even considering aloud whether or not to run for county office to ensure that Cobblestone folks could retain their own property and maintain fiscal stability without the wealthy giant.
Townsfolk say that it was around that time that Mansow began planting an enormous counterattack utilizing expensive media tactics, particularly with the several billboards strewn across the local area. Locals also claim they frequently saw the unmarked vehicles of Brand’s hirelings driving to and from Mike’s farmhouse. After such interactions, when the late farmer was out and about in town, his fellow Blackvillians would note that he seemed more and more agitated and not a little nervous. Rumors began to spread that Mansow was putting the “heat” on Mike, and yet, the stalwart farmer wouldn’t budge.
The last time anyone saw Farmer Mike Carlson alive, he was visibly upset, but at this time, no one can pinpoint whether it was due to the ongoing battle with Brand over his land, daily disputes with his ornery neighbor, or the increasingly vocalized concerns of his friends and family about the conjecture over his wife’s faithfulness.
One last thing to note: when authorities arrived on the scene, the crime scene coroner noted that Farmer Mike was found to have a very expensive fountain pen beneath his left thigh, a pen that matched the type that Henry Brand was often seen signing official documents with.
*Shortly after the corpse of Farmer Mike was discovered, local police reached out to Mansow Agro-Chemical Company to further their investigation, only to find that Mr. Brand had left early that morning by plane for a corporate meeting at the conglomerate’s headquarters in Kansas City. At this time, Mansow’s attorneys have declined to comment on the goings-on at the Blackville Fair.