Though some historians
would later refer to the period
as "the Tea Wars,"
it hardly amounted to more than
a tempest in a tea pot.
The Co Hong merchants exported tea,
with the most favorable terms
going to China's long-time ally, Italy.
The British responded
by exporting opium to China
in hopes of crippling the great power.
The Italian famiglie rolled their eyes
and lifted their hands toward heaven
at the sight of such foolishness.
Then they contacted their counterparts in the tong.
Together they procured a quantity of cocaine
from their colonies in the Americas
and directed it to Britain.
The shipments of opium dropped dramatically,
the British suddenly having their own problems.
One might think that tea would
lose some of its popularity,
but as Rome goes,
so Europe goes --
and after all,
tea was habit-forming.
The Chinese and Italian diplomats
shared secret smiles over their cups
and agreed to share Hong Kong.