BLACK TUNA DIARIES

The True Adventures and Misadventures of the Black Tuna


Chapter-1. Death by Firing Squad

Everyone knows a black cat has nine lives, but a Black Tuna only seven. The "Black Tuna Diaries" opens with the true story of how the Tuna lost his third life in the equatorial jungles of Columbia. The Tuna tells of his capture by Colombian troops on a mountain airstrip, while loading five thousand pounds of marijuana into an ancient DC-3. Bobby Tuna, ex CIA pilot Captain Beercan, former NFL player El Gigante, and their crew of fierce Guarjirans are herded into the rusting step van that will transport them to the town of La Cienega to face a Columbian firing squad. Once free and out of the jungle, the Tuna has to spend a long night hiding in the linen closet of a small resort hotel on the Caribbean coast to evade the search parties.

Chapter-2. Authentic South Philly Cheese Steak/The South St Gang

There are two secrets to producing an authentic Philly cheese steak, and Bobby Tuna knows both. Raised on Philadelphia's legendary shopping street, Bobby, his future smuggling partner Robby Meinster, and Cookie Baumholtz, forms the nucleus of the notorious South Street Gang. In no time they recruit Pretty Boy Levin, Norman Spector, Shaya Block, Tony Ordile, Alfred, and Pedro to help take over the neighborhood.

Chapter-3. Return to Columbia

Bobby almost flies a twin Piper Navaho into a mountain in Haiti, on a return visit to Barranquilla and Santa Marta. Once on the ground, Bobby and Robby are wined and dined until, at the urging of their Columbian partners, they agree to give up airplanes and begin smuggling boatloads. They return to Miami after an armed stand-off on the streets of Barranquilla with El Loco, an egomaniacal pot lord.

Chapter-4. The Early Criminal Depravities of the South St. Gang

Once old enough to cross the street, the South St. Gang began their reign of terror. Starting small they first try to sneak into the local movie house. Not deterred by failure they move up to shoplifting from the toy counter at Woolworths. Their criminal forte was repeatedly breaking and entering the shuttered Rexy Theatre, a perfectly preserved relic of the golden age of movie houses.

Chapter-5. Fishing Fools

The Tunas begin collecting expensive sports fishing yachts to use as smuggling vessels. To legitimize the boats, they fulfill a life long dream. They form a fishing team and go out on the big game sports fishing circuit. Unexpected success on the Island of Bimini puts the crew of the "Fishing Fools" on the sports pages and incites a jealous challenge from the "Fishing Nazis."

Chapter-6. Death on Lombard Hill

Bobby Tuna loses the first of his seven lives, riding a broken down bike called "old Pepsi", down the Cobblestones of the almost vertical Lombard Hill. The South Street Gang watched as Bobby has a head-on collision with an oncoming furniture truck. Thanks only to a warm pile of horse shit, that the author lived to pen this tale.

Chapter-7. Two Yachts, No Waiting

The Tuna flies out to "Hole in the Wall" on Great Abaco, to coordinate the transfer of thirty thousand pounds of Santa Marta Gold, from a Columbian trawler to two of the Black Tuna yachts. Piloting his single engine Piper Cherokee Six, the author locates the trawler and stewards his boats to the rendezvous. Everything proceeds as planned until a storm inflicts serious damage on the heavily-laden fifty-three foot Hatteras, Miss Dorothy. Bobby is forced to fly through dangerous weather, to race the boats home in time to find a new offload site and avoid the prying eyes of Marcy the Yenta.

Chapter-8. On the Boardwalk of Atlantic City

The off-Broadway production Bobby has been performing in folds for lack of funds. His nascent acting career then takes a left turn when he decides to become a "pitchman" on the Atlantic City boardwalk. For the next seventeen years, he appears at state fairs, home shows, two World Fairs, and in TV commercials, hawking knives, blenders, frying pans, slicers, dicers, and art shows. Meet Joe Magee the Fiddling Farmer from Tennessee, some of the world's most famous pitchmen, and the insatiable Miss Dolly.

Chapter-9. Starring Robert Redford and Donald Trump

The Tunas send the hundred and ten foot yacht Senator to Cape May New Jersey to offload thirty thousand pounds of Columbia's finest herb. The planned landing site turns out to be too shallow for the big yacht. Bobby and Robby have to quickly find a new place to unload without attracting unwanted attention. Through the help of an old Boardwalk associate, Bobby is given the choice of using the Atlantic City Marina in front of Trump's Taj Mahal, or renting the defunct Atlantic City Tuna Club to offload six hundred bales of pot. As cover, the gang arranges to "film a smuggling adventure starring Robert Redford."

Chapter-10. The House of Rothschild and the Bloomsbury Ghost

On a three-week holiday in London, Bobby joins with a local barrister and a solicitor to found Dynamic Reading Limited. Beginning with a few speed reading classes in a small London hotel room. Within two years, Platshorn has fourteen schools in three countries, and is developing a new shorthand system called Tee Line. He attends board meetings at Rothschild's bank, travels across London with Baron Rothschild, and with the help of Astrid the Jewitch, learns the secret of the treasure hidden beneath his office floor that is guarded by the Bloomsbury Ghost.

Chapter-11. Quick! Catch that Colombian!

After missing the rendezvous with a Colombian trawler off the New Jersey coast, Bobby and Robby race back to Miami to arrange for a new pair of yachts to intercept the trawler on its return journey. They have only seventy-two hours before the Columbian Captain will dump the load of marijuana and flee. That leaves the boys only fort-eight hours to buy two yachts, set new crews, sea trial, and provision the boats for the hundred and fifty mile dash to "Hole in the Wall" on the far side of the Bahamas. Captain Randy on the Big Glo comes home with half the cargo, but Captain Elm returns empty for the second time in a row. This leads to a near fatal confrontation between the Tuna and Elm.

Chapter-12. Death in the Bull Ring

It was meant to be a fortnight's holiday in sunny Spain. A break from the dreary damp of London. A horseback ride into the mountains of Andalusia leads Bobby and Astrid to a small farm where an elderly Matador is training his son for the Corrida. The Tuna is invited to try his hand with the cape. Two days later he finds himself dressed in the tight costume of a novice Torero facing an angry ton of charging bull in the ancient bull ring in Malaga.

Chapter-13. Frank Sinatra, Redd Foxx, and Jimmy the Weasel's Flying Bordello

Against the advice of their partner Big Gene, Bobby and Robby are lured to Las Vegas by an offer they can't refuse. Gene's cousin Scratch has offered to introduce Lynne to the one man she has wanted to meet all her life. Frank Sinatra! Scratch's real agenda is to "mob up" the boys with a few "nice people." Lear Jets, the Red Carpet, suites at Caesar's Palace, Frank, Jilly, Redd Foxx, Joe Luis, and a parade of mobsters from all over the country, introduce the boys to the Neon City! Before it's over, Bobby and Robby manage to violate a secret government air strip and later, thinking they were buying a Lockheed Constellation for a smuggling mission, end up with the title to a Nevada whorehouse

Chapter-14. Back in the U.S.A.

After three years in London, Bobby throws the mother of all goodbye parties and boards the Q.E.2 for a storm tossed crossing to the U.S.A. He marries his first wife and together they travel cross country with "The Collectors and Investors Art Show." The gipsy life wears thin quickly. Bobby and Elen move to Key West where the Tuna takes over the waterfront concessions at the Pier House hotel. Fishing, diving, water-skiing, and a float-plane that took tourists to the Dry Tortugas. When Elen becomes pregnant and complains of the heat, they move back to New Jersey. Their daughter Hope is born and Bobby opens "The Ice Cream Factory" on South St in Philadelphia, across the street from where he was born and raised. With the help of his buddy Jerry Crowley, they devise a new type of pushcart to sell fresh dipped Breyers ice cream cones on the city streets. It is an instant huge success. Within two months Kraft Foods offers to finance a national chain of pushcart depots to introduce Breyers as a national brand. When the deal falls through and Bobby's marriage falls apart, he marries Lynne and moves to Miami to attend law school. However, it is the 1970's and marijuana smuggling is rampant on the south coast of Florida. Bobby and Robby open the South Florida Auto Auction and the rest is history.

Chapter-15. Kidnapped on the steps of the Fontainebleau Hotel

After a hard day counting money at their headquarters in the famous Fontainebleau Hotel, Bobby is taken at gun point as he leaves the hotel. Driven to the private compound of Fello Santana, the Tuna is surrounded by a dozen armed and angry Colombians. Fello, a leader of the Cuban Anti-Castro community and a major drug smuggler, has lost a huge shipment of Colombian marijuana. The Colombians are there to collect. Fello claims that the Tuna Gang swiped it from a deserted fish house in the Keys. With a phone call to the Public relations department of U.S. Customs, Bobby turns the tables on Santana. This tale has two amazing twists.

Chapter-16. A Promise Kept

At the age of six Bobby promised to take his mother on vacation on a big yacht. The hundred and ten foot yacht Presidential presents the perfect vessel for a promise kept. A trip to Bimini with Captain Elm and Barry the Stoner turns into a major adventure.

Chapter-17. Death over Walkers Cay

Bobby Tuna loses his fourth life after the plane he is flying runs out of fuel while flying blind in the fog shrouded sky over Walker's Cay. He's been searching for the missing yacht Presidential. Last heard from not long after taking on her cargo of thirty five thousand pounds of golden herb. Damaged while loading in a fierce storm, the yacht is believed to be sinking. Bobby flies out alone in his single engine Piper, to try and rescue the crew before the authorities can reach them.

Chapter-18. Ambush on Abaco/Machine Gun Alley

With the help of Chip Grant and a chartered helicopter, Bobby finally locates the missing yacht. Fearing involvement, the copter pilot flees. The Tuna in his Piper flies over the missing Presidential which is beached on a shoreline crawling with Bahamian cops and American DEA. Spotting the crew hiding in a nearby mangrove swamp, and unable to land his Cherokee on a nearby dirt road, the Tuna drops a note to the crew promising to return in twenty-four hours with a rescue boat. He flies to Bimini to convince a reluctant Captain Randy to dump his charter party. Bobby wants him to hitch up and travel all night to get to the stranded crew of the Presidential. Randy manages to scoop up the crew, but attracts the attention of a dozen Bahamian Marines who loose a hail of machine gun fire. Bobby flying cover overhead gets a share of the flying lead. Randy has to flee, leaving Bobby and the yacht crew stranded on Chub Cay. The Piper has been confiscated and government search parties are enroute to Chub to arrest the gang.

Chapter-19. Escape from Chub Cay

After nailing shut the front door of the island's Custom officer. Bobby and the crew spend an uncomfortable night hiding in the Mangrove swamp beside the Chub Cay airstrip. The Bahamian Marines will arrive at dawn and the Tunas are waiting for Big Gene to fly in with a rescue plane. As the sun begins to rise the Black Tuna makes a decision. Steal a boat or steal a plane? Bobby Tuna decides to "borrow" a Beachcraft Queen Air belonging to fugitive financier Robert Vesco, to fly the crew to safety. Landing at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, he talks the Custom agents on duty into admitting six fishermen who have "been robbed of all baggage and I.D." Oops! Barry the Stoner has gone missing?

Chapter -20. The Streets of New York

A brief and humorous accounting of how Bobby and his pal, the famous pitchman and TV Chef, Jerry Crowley, would sometimes work as street peddlers on Wall Street. Paying and sometimes time dodging the cops, peddling Roses on Fridays, sparklers on the Fourth of July, and classical records in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

A Special Photo section with pictures of the airplanes, boats, places and people in the book. This is followed by a section of newspaper and magazine clippings telling the story of the indictment, the long sensational trial, and the shocking sentences handed to Robby, Bobby, and Big Gene.

Chapter-21. Just Like in the Movies

The Tuna is in the can, after a seven week odyssey across the federal prison system. Beginning in Miami and ending at the super max penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, Bobby, in double chains, leg irons, black boxed and handcuffed, arrives at the Warden's office in America's toughest prison. From never having been in jail, directly into the "belly of the beast," is a frightening, and sometimes funny, ride. The Tuna gets the "We know how to deal with tough guys", speech from the Warden. Bobby's cell house is filled with well known convicts like Nicky Barnes the heroine king and Billy Ray Dawson, leader of the south’s most feared gang of bank robbers. While doing a stint in the hole, the Tuna runs afoul of "Footy", and finds out to his chagrin, why the convict is called Footy.

Chapter-22. Death in the Federal Pen

Bobby Tuna loses his fifth life in the "black hole of Calcutta," better known as the segregation unit of Lewisburg Penitentiary. After his confrontation with the Mad Swede, the Tuna is locked in a cell with Benny "The Bed Shaker." Bobby is forced to set Benny's mattress on fire as the only way to stop "The Bed Shaker's" twenty-four seven masturbation.

Chapter-23. Dead Dentists Don't Lie

A young dentist, doing a year for tax evasion, dies unnecessarily after he's denied his medication. The cover-up defies belief!

Chapter-24. Redd Foxx and Red Dillon

The heroin king of Harlem is dying of cancer, so his old pal Redd Foxx brings his entire stage show to the prison at Otisville in upstate New York and leaves a dying man a gift.

Chapter-25. Death under the Expressway

Bobby Tuna loses life number six under an expressway overpass on the Virginia state line. As the only convict being transferred by a multi-vehicle high security prison transport, Bobby is convinced the government has set him up for assassination, when he's unchained, pushed from the prison van and made to walk alone up a steep dark embankment.

Chapter-26. Bare Butt Witness

The truly bizarre tale of how Bobby finds four hundred dollars in quarters while working in the prison laundry in Petersburg, Virginia. Bobby and his buddy Zev keep the money and only months later, after a well publicized local trial, find out where it came from.

Chapter-27. Only Six More Prisons

From the strange, "Politically Correct" human warehouse in Elkton, Ohio, to Club Fed in Florida, Bobby recalls some humorous and some not so humorous experiences behind bars in the last six of the eleven prisons in which he resided for twenty-nine years.. Riots, work strikes, strange characters, garnishing a banquet for the President of the United States, and time spent in the country's most infamous county jail.

Chapter-28. April Fool

Scheduled for release on April 1st, 2008, everything goes wrong! It appears that after twenty-nine years, Platshorn's release will be put off, when a video crew is spotted in the parking lot. He has been warned and threatened there must be no publicity. They could legally delay his release for up to six months. Spend those anxious hours with Bobby in the tiny holding cell within sight of the front gate.

End.