UNITED STATES—His bosom buddy, who’d dubbed him “the incredible Yanqui,” the exiled Miguel Padilla, retorted, “Well, compadre. I’ve heard of a White House being turned into a bawdy house, my friend.”

Phineas Cox sure had inadvertently done a heap more than any soul to stir up a hornet’s nest, that fussy corporate lawyer and former Attorney General, had been the one to send the Secret Service agents to monitor every move of Sam Delaney since being apprised that the banana man had purchased the former U.S.S. Marlin, a decommission naval ship.

Something was afoot in New Orleans: it’s not every day that a private citizen buys a decommissioned naval ship. Phineas Cox knew perfectly well what was up, the fussy diplomat himself had himself had ridiculed Sam and belittled his “banana business,” thus inspiring Sam’s audacious plan to save Chamelecón, the company he put his soul and blood into. There was no way through this except all the way. At all costs he must launch of a government overthrow from U.S. Soil, Sam realized. At all costs an overthrow must be avoided, Phineas reported to President Taft; meanwhile within the diplomatic coterie it was well known that the adipose diplomat wanted to let at happen and teach the uppity Russian immigrant a lesson.

The four conspirators and the aide-de-camp to General President Padilla Ortiz were chauffeured by one of Joe Holly’s people to Bayou St. John where Sam Delaney’s own personal yacht was moored. They then sailed through the mists of Lake Pontchartrain and cruised through the dark, sleepy Mississippi Sound to finally coming to a fisherman’s shack on Skull Island. Sam Delaney greeted them with his calming hallo. It was good having your employer standing there alongside you, and in the free-lance war trade it was certainly uncommon. On the island crates of munitions and rifles were stockpiled. It was hard work ferrying them to the waiting Marlin.

“Didn’t know we were in for so much. . .” said one.

“I’m up for it,” said Machine Gun Kelly.

“It feels good to be out here.”

“Sure does. And the pay ain’t bad, neither.”

“You can thank Delaney.”

In the October of 1910, General Padilla, Delaney and Joe Holly met in fetid downtown New Orleans, where the French had had the good sense to build on high ground. It was the perfect place to go undetected by the soothing stagnation, where intrigues like smoke blown out of a mouth turned into irrefutable true things. So was Delaney’s audacious plan to save Chemelecón Fruit. He saw what had been built, scrimped, for seated over and most of all pondered—crumbling to dust. All the sacrifices of Ma to get them here and the illumination of Selma, Alabama and that peddler selling little Gros Michel bananas, so sweet and creamy.

The Secret Service and half of Crescent City know the effort was underway to overthrow the government in one of the four republics of Bananaland. Waiting for Joe Holly and his co-conspirators a few miles off the gulf coast. The told Delaney on no uncertain terms that the old surplus Navy ship would, that had hovered for days just outside the three-mile edge where international waters began, would be grounded.

That is, only if the former yacht was submitted to inspection for by federal officials and certified to be carrying no arms or ammunition. With his benediction, Sam Delaney invited them aboard to carry out an inspection. They found some beeves aboard, in the galley and vast amounts of dairy, Coca-Cola and butter and collard greens –no bananas—99 tons of coal, 11 men aboard.

Sam was a bit nervous that the Feds might deduce that there was enough food in the galley to feed a small army. The uncaring bureaucrat is no match for a caring man. At the end of the day the enforcers of the law were functionaries with weapons. The authorities could not prevent the ship from sailing. On December 22, the Marlin sailed from Point Algiers and its plotters aboard.

Though nobody was complaining that Brennan’s restaurant invented a dessert in honor of the Crime Commission Chairman—they had nothing for dessert. In frustration and panic, she grabbed a bunch of bananas –Damn you–! Grabbed ‘em, sauteed, caramelized.

Flambeau it like Antoine’s baked Alaska. Thus was born Banana’s Foster. So that was plus for the banana chic.

Instead of setting course for Bananaland, however, hovered at the three-mile edge where international waters began.

That was the plan and stick to it. To bide their time the plotter in this scheme could lose the Secret Service detail. This happened to a ‘T’ on Christmas Eve in the ruby-red-light District of Storyville. Just before dawn on Christmas day the Marlin set sail, laden by cases of rifles, grenades, bullets, and Machine Gun Kelly’s beloved Hotchkiss machine gun, the ship’s compass set on the Costa Norte of land of the lempiras.

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Hollywood humorist Grady grew up in the heart of Steinbeck Country on the Central California coast. More Bombeck than Steinbeck, Grady Miller has been compared to T.C. Boyle, Joel Stein, and Voltaire. He briefly attended Columbia University in New York and came to Los Angeles to study filmmaking, but discovered literature instead, in T.C. Boyle’s fiction writing workshop at USC. In addition to A Very Grady Christmas, he has written the humorous diet book, Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet and the popular humor collection, Late Bloomer (both on Amazon) and its follow-up, Later Bloomer: Tales from Darkest Hollywood. (https://amzn.to/3bGBLB8) His humor column, Miller Time, appears weekly in The Canyon News (www.canyon-news.com)