The Banana Dilemma – A Slippery Subject

humor, funny short story

Setting: Turtle Island, Fiji Republic.

China rented the entire luxury island for the day of the very important conference. Economic ministers from France, Great Britain, Germany, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Italy were flown to Turtle Island in the Fiji Republic to attend the Banana Summit hosted by the Chinese.

Eager to accommodate the honored guests, the staff set up a conference table with cushioned rattan chairs. Men in suits, floral shirts and shorts, and two women in tasteful sundresses approach the table and take their places. The centerpiece is a large, ornately carved wooden bowl filled with bananas. A tall, tanned Chinese man in a tropical suit stands to gain everyone’s attention. Except for his face, the dapper figure resembles Ricardo Montalbon in Fantasy Island.

“My dear friends.

Welcome to Turtle Island, the jewel of Fiji. I trust your conveyance to this conference was satisfactory. Our department, the Banana Universal Development, or BUD, has been authorized by the brilliant leaders of our glorious country to extend to you these magnificent accommodations for this auspicious day. Did you know the beautiful lagoon on which you look was the setting for the famous American film “The Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Shields? Ah, yes, but to our purpose. Please note the beautiful bunch of bananas on the table before you. These did not come from Latin America, Hawaii or even from the groves here on Fiji. They are Chinkita Bananas from Southern China. Notice the perfection of form and color. Ah, they are flawless.

“We know of the “banana wars” which have crippled the economical import of this most essential fruit to most of your countries. Prices are down and so are profits for the big companies. This trouble has existed since World War II! An answer to that vexing problem was needed, and that is where Bud will come to the rescue of the world. Our plantations have been in place for several years and are at peak production.

“The principal corporations dealing in bananas,

Dole and Chiquita International, have, ahem, voluntarily ceased their banana operations in order to focus on their more profitable lines. Perhaps you have heard rumors of managerial changes and financial troubles within their organizations. Those rumors are true. Therefore, Chinkita Bananas will fill the void left by these incompetent suppliers. We will be the sole, major supplier of bananas from hence forward. Air cargo, processing plants and an unlimited workforce will ensure this essential fruit is delivered fresh to distribution centers around the world.

“Ladies, if you please. Our BUD secretaries are placing before you folders with contracts to conduct exclusive banana business with Chinkita. You will sign those contracts before the day is over. Oh, do not concern yourselves, there is no pressure, be assured. The agreement is most beneficial, you will see. Please return the signed contracts to one of these lovely ladies in order to obtain your tickets to return to Fiji. The BUD shuttle plane captain will be happy to take you to the main island…after he is notified to do so.

“Some of you may question,

what if we do not wish to do business with Chinkita? The answer is simple, my friends. Your countrymen will no longer have banana pudding, banana bread, crepes with banana, banana cream pie, nor will all those millions of smoothies contain bananas. You do not wish to bring this news to your constituents, do you? No more bananas? Of course not. You have BUD’s assurances all trade will be fair and prices will remain low. Preferably, the public will not notice any difference. Do not be concerned. You can trust us. We are your BUD.”

One by one the representatives signed the contracts and gave them to the lovely secretaries. The signal was given by an unseen voice. “The plane! The plane!”

While they waited for the sea plane to taxi onto the beach, the American sighed. “I wonder if that was that little Tatu guy? Oh well. What’s the difference at this point? Nobody cares where their stuff comes from anyway, as long as they can buy it worth the money. I’m just glad I won’t be around in thirty years.”

“Why’s that?” The Aussie asked.

“Two very important things. One: I don’t really care for Chinese food. Two: I sure don’t speak the language.”