I’ll be the Czar of the Lime Cartel.

Picking limes down South of the Border.
Picking limes down South of the Border.

Blimey, Limey.

British Royal Navy sailors were given the Limey tag a few kings and queens ago.

The sailors sucked limes and other citrus to guard against scurvy, their scourge of life on the high seas.

Eventually, some referred to all Brits as Limeys.

Being a multi-decades Anglophile, I have come to think of myself as a Limey.

Soon, I may have even more cause to do so.

Reason:

The current shortage of limes.

Goodness, what will this do to the flourishing margarita business?

And the guacamole business?

A world with not enough limes?

Unthinkable.

But I choose to think positive; I see a niche business opportunity.

Think I will corner the lime market.

Here’s how:

We get lots of limes from Mexico.

Or did, before the lime shortage.

So my plan is to hire an operative in Mexico and give him/her some money and get said operative to pay all of those many illegals who slip across our borders each day to fill their pockets with limes and bring them to me.

So I will have a guaranteed, never ending supply of limes.

Be the lime czar, kingpin of the lime cartel.

(And, by the way, I spot a way Uncle Sam can make a stash of cash from the illegal immigrant flow. Instead of spending bunches of time and money trying to catch them, which doesn’t seem to be working, just put some entry gates along the border, invite them in, and charge them a fee to enter. But that’s another story for another day.)

Once I get the limes, I will sell them at a greatly inflated price – isn’t that the American way? — to the countless bars that make margaritas seemingly in containers the size of oil drums as they attempt the impossible job of trying to quince the insatiable thirst of margarita drinkers.

My profit possibilities are as limitless as the dollars that flow in perpetuity into the campaign war chests of entrenched incumbent politicians.

I came across my business acumen long before I became a Limey.

Learned it at school – and the proverbial school of hard knocks.

It dates to my grade school days.

Back to that time when the nation was trying to catch its breath and return to normal, whatever that was, after that second world war. Back when we still called them wars and not police actions or some such.

Back to the truth-in-wars days.

Not sure I even knew about limes then. Or Limeys, for that matter.

No, what caught my attention was bubble gum.

All of us kids wanted bubble gum.

But in the aftermath of the war, there still were lots of shortages.

Including some of the ingredients for making bubble gum.

So there was a dearth of bubble gum.

But one day I discovered the little store on the edge of the school ground got one box of maybe 100 pieces of bubble gum a week.

On Wednesdays.

About 10 a.m.

So shortly before 10 a.m. on Wednesdays I would volunteer to go outside the classroom and “dust” the erasers from the chalk board by pounding the erasers against each other.

The teacher appreciated my taking on that dusty job.

Glad to do it, I would tell her.

I would hurriedly clean the erasers, then race to the little store on the edge of the school ground. I knew the bubble gum would be delivered about 10 a.m.

I would buy as many pieces of bubble gum as the nice lady in the store would sell me.

Paid a penny a piece.

I would peddle the bubble gum to classmates for two cents each.

Then, as my supply ran low, for three cents each.

Or, if I were feeling charitable, two for a nickel.

I quickly came to appreciate the free enterprise system and the possible profits thereof and sometimes – along with some of my siblings – would make the rounds of the neighborhood knocking on doors and selling everything from copies of the Grit to Cloverine Salve to sparkling pictures of Jesus. Just doing the Lord’s work, I told myself.

I didn’t know the word entrepreneur and if someone had told me I was one I’m sure I would have been frightened to death, thinking it meant I was some sort of criminal, destined for lockup – the one where they throw away the key.

Now I know better, of course, that all is fair in love and war – and the business of lime futures.

Blimey, just need to move fast – like I raced to the store to get first dibs on the prized bubble gum – to corner the lime business before the bubble pops.

Roger Summers is a journalist and essayist who spends time in Texas, New Mexico and England and in a world of curiosity and creativity. He is the author of The Day Camelot Came to Town and Heart Songs From a Washboard Road. He can be reached at wrs_author@summersights.com

Washboard Road

Please click the book cover image to read more about the short story collection of Roger Summers in Heart Songs from a Washboard Road.

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