UNITED STATES—It was not the “constitution” per se that got Allied Fruit Co. back up again and going. It was the energy behind the policies. It was a new deal, and the new deal was an old deal, going back to the lean and small Chamelecón Co. format, the minnow that swallowed the whale of Allied; it was a peculiarly open energy that embraced all, it was a yeast that made the bread rise, it was the garbanzo that plumps up and overflows the cauldron, energy that grew and multiplied, and that made everything bigger and better for everybody.
Of course Sam knew, since he knew pretty much everything, that you must pay for every good deed.
Firing all the deadwood from Allied Fruit Co., he was not oblivious to the impact his massive action –that of an emperor—would have on families and that’s when he turned to the spirit Yaweh, whomever to illustrate that the force giveth and the force taketh, let it serve and benefit those Allied Fruit family members now pruned away.
The lights were on in the bridge of the airship, a steady hand had taken hold of the controls.
“The stock price is stabilizing,” the traders were saying on Wall Street a few days after there was a rally. It was the Fall of 1933.
“AFCO is starting to creep back up…Maybe it will go to pre-Crash levels,” they said with that taint of apprehension and boredom that many Anglo men carry around with them.
As a matter of fact, the stock price had doubled since Sam Delaney took the helm again. The stock price is what the board of directors in Boston focused all their energy on. The stock price was their report card, plain and simple. The doubling of the stock value was enough to get some suckers back in the game, even in the blighted year of 1933.
Indeed the rise of stock price had everything to do with Sigmund Freud. And nothing to do with tangible results of the new Delaney reign. Only two weeks would have been premature, oy vey. Call it investor confidence which is a way of describing a force that possesses a clan of crabs trying to climb up the side of the bucket and get back in. Because of his tour of Bananaland and listening listening listening, Sam Delaney saved Allied Fruit from extinction the first forty days after he got back from his fact-finding tour of the isthmus.
Right around the corner lurked a new threat.
In the beginning, the Fiji fungus occurred in the South Pacific island of Fiji, and the folks in Allied Fruit chose to believe that there it would stay. Major Keene and the other banana men hoped it would stay in Fiji. However, their fervid complacence would be disproved. The clock was ticking, still. It by car, by ship, by airplane, even mud caked on a worker’s boot could carry the fungus. Disbelief in the face, the facts of the Fiji fungus overwhelmed the executive suites of Allied Fruit…If it wasn’t one thing it was another. That’s the way the banana splits…
Bananas were specially at risk to the Fiji fungus, which was not discovered by the lab coats but the old fishermen who had the time and the eyes to not the pestilence. It darkened the leaves to the soil and looked like nothing so much as a fire had blazed through the plantations, singing the leaves blackened. It eventually turned the banana trees into husks. After being noted at the turn of the new century, it finally showed up in Colombia the year after the market crash. An elephant leaf turned black, the rest follower. You’d blink and their a who field dead and dry as cornhusk.
“You know,” explained the eggheads, “the banana is like something from outer space. What we get from the cutting is that same original banana that first appeared on the stems. You’d always get the same results, it’s American standardization at the very pinnacle of glory, gifted by nature. But its very weakness, a gaping Achilles heel, was lack of diversity…So there you go,” said the egghead.
Incredulity filled the offices of Allied Fruit.
Delaney tackled the Fiji fungus problem thus outing his status of yellow empire. It must have been a de facto empire, for Same in curbing the Fiji fungus –which threated to put on end to that privileged banana species, the Gros Michel, the exquisitely sweet small banana that had an oily skin. It was the Gros Michel, the Big Michael that gave rise to the comic trope that a banana peel embodied the height of slapstick and slipping on a banana peel equaled laughter. The Gros Michel lasted to the time that the flickers and the Nickelodeon commenced to duplicate the brand-new century.
The Gros Michel was indeed extended to be wiped out, given the precariousness of the banana crops grown from the plantings and its spot-on link to the first Adam-Eve banana that ever existed, in the present moment it could become extinct and it did. The dead bunches of bananas, and elephant leaves and dried to husks from the leady stems that appeared scorched by a the rustling was eerie and spooky. Nothing so much as a factory that appears alive and echoes with music and party sounds only to turn out to be a radio tuned into the past.
Indeed the great future given by genetics and research of the white lab coats—the future will surely offer to the readers of this novel the next-generation of Gros Michel. To be reconstructed by plant geneticists in a lab.
All is not lost. Truly, it never is.
To be continued…
Graydon is the Wizard of Fiction.