An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Three

Above, German Ships, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Eighty-Two

Andrew Stevens, December 1915

John smacks his hand down on the Colonel’s desk. “On top of everything else, now we’re subjected to insinuations of wrongdoing at our copper mines.”

“People forget,” says the Colonel, “that the United States remains neutral in the European conflagration. There are no laws prohibiting us from selling Germany anything we choose. And trading originates from our holdings in Mexico anyway. It is tempting. Kaiser Wilhelm’s willing to pay above the going rate in his desire to keep the pace of production of shrapnel shells matched with his army’s rapid deployment of them. American withdrawal from Vera Cruz leaves the port wide open for merchant ships sailing under the German flag.”

John shakes his head. “Even if we wanted to engage in trade with the evil Kaiser, we couldn’t. There’s no way possible to safely extract our copper from Coahuila. President Wilson might have recognized General Carranza’s declared presidency, but what of others within Mexico’s own borders?”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Three”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Five

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty-Four

Andrew Stevens, July 1914

Whack! Andy slaps his notebook on Mr. K’s desk in a futile effort to smash the pesky mosquito that has been sampling blood from all of them.

The Colonel smirks at his miss. “Colonel Chapa thinks the hundred goldfish he donated for the concrete basin at San Pedro Springs will cure the mosquito problem. The goldfish will just wind up as appetizers for the alligator contributed by Henry Landa.”

“That poor specimen of a reptile has been rendered too helpless to snap them up in his jaws,” says Mr. K. “The cruel schoolboys torture the poor creature. Every time he surfaces to sun on the banks, they harass him with sticks and rocks. Poked one of his eyes out. No. The solution for the mosquito problem is bats. We need bats.”

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Two

Above, Gathering the Dead in Vera Cruz, Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty-One

Andrew Stevens, April 1914

“Failure to fire a twenty-one-gun salute to the American flag?” fumes Mr. K. “After all the damage to property owned by American interests in Mexico? After all the seized assets?”

The Colonel interrupts. “After the continuous transgressions all along the border from Brownsville to El Paso? Governor Colquitt has begged and begged Washington to let him take action. Secretary Bryan kept telling him to turn the other cheek.”

Mr. K strides back and forth, back and forth. “Now President Wilson,” is using the flimsy excuse of the Tampico incident, tantamount to nothing, to invade Vera Cruz. The seven seized sailors were released as soon as the Mexican commander realized the error of his subordinates. He sent a formal written apology to Admiral Mayo. But the war-hungry admiral demanded the American flag be raised and a twenty-one-gun salute.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Two”