Chapter Twenty-Three

So here I am, thowed in jail again.


After the security feller corralled us at Giani's, two carloads of cops come screamin up an this one cop come up to the salesman an say, "Well, what we got here?"

"This one says she's Raquel Welch," the salesman say. "Come in here wearin a bunch of banana leaves an wouldn't pay for the dress. I don't know bout these other two - but they look pretty suspicious to me."

"I am Raquel Welch!" she shout.

"Sure, lady," the cop say. "An I am Clint Eastwood. Why don't you go along with these two nice fellers here." He point to a couple of other cops.

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"Now," says the head cop, an he be lookin at me an Sue, "what's your story?"

"We was in a pitcher," I says.

"That why you're wearin that creature suit?" he axe.

"Yup," I says.

"An what bout him?" he say, pointin to Sue. "That's a pretty realistic costume, if I say so myself."

"Ain't no costume," I says. "He's a purebread orangutang."

"Is that so?" the cop say. "Well I'll tell you what. We got a feller down to the station who makes pitchers, too, an he would love to get a couple of shots of you clowns. So you jus come along too - an don't make no sudden moves."

Anyhow, Mister Tribble has got to come down an bail me out again. An Mister Felder showed up with a whole platoon of lawyers to git out Raquel Welch, who by this time is hysterical.

"You jus wait!" she shriek back at me as they turnin her loose. "When I git finished, you won't be able to find a job as a spear carrier in a nightmare!"

In this, she is probly correct. It look like my movie career is over.

"That's life, baby - but I'll call you for lunch sometime," Mister Felder says to me as he is leavin. "We'll send somebody by later to pick up the creature suit."

"C'mon, Forrest," say Mister Tribble. "You and I have got other fish to fry."

Back at the hotel, Mister Tribble an me an Sue is settin in our room havin a conference.

"It is going to pose a problem, with Sue here," Mister Tribble says. "I mean, look how we had to sneak him up the stairs and everthin. It is very difficult to travel with an orangutan, we have to face that."

I tole him how I felt bout Sue, bout how he saved my ass more than once in the jungle an all.

"Well, I think I understand your feelings," he says. "And I'm willing to give it a try. But he's going to have to behave himself, or we'll be in trouble for sure."

"He will," I say, an ole Sue be noddin an grinnin like a ape.

Anyhow, nex day is the big chess match between me an the International Grand Master Ivan Petrokivitch, also known as Honest Ivan. Mister Tribble have taken me to a clothes store an rented me a tuxedo on account of this is to be a big fashionable deal, an a lot of muckity-mucks will be on han. Furthermore, the winner will get ten thousan dollars, an my haf of that ought to be enough to get me started in the srimp bidness, so I cannot afford to make no mistakes.

Well, we get to the hall where the chess game is to take place an there is bout a thousan people millin aroun an already settin at the table is Honest Ivan, glarin at me like he's Muhammad Ali or somebody.

Honest Ivan is a big ole Russian feller with a high forehead, jus like the Frankenstein monster, an long black curly hair such as you might see on a violin player. When I go up an set down, he grunt somethin at me an then another feller say, "Let the match begin," an that was it.

Honest Ivan is got the white team an he get to make the first move, startin with somethin call The Ponziani Opening.

I move nex, using The Reti Opening, an everthin is goin pretty smooth. Each of us make a couple of more moves, then Honest Ivan try somethin known as The Falkbeer Gambit, movin his knight aroun to see if he can take my rook.

But I seed that comin, an set up somethin called The Noah's Ark Trap, an got his knight instead. Honest Ivan ain't lookin none too happy but he seem to take it in stride an employed The Tarrasch Threat to menace my bishop.

I ain't havin none of that, tho, an I thowed up The Queen's Indian Defense an that force him to use The Schevenigen Variation, which lead me to utilize The Benoni Counter.

Honest Ivan appear to be somewhat frustrated, an was twistin his fingers an bitin on his lower lip, an then he done tried a desperation move - The Fried Liver Attack - to which I applied Alekhine's Defense an stopped his ass cold.

It look for a wile like it gonna be a stalemate, but Honest Ivan, he went an applied The Hoffman Maneuver an broke out! I look over at Mister Tribble, an he sort of smile at me, an he move his lips an mouth the word "Now," an I knowed what he mean.

You see, they was a couple of tricks Big Sam taught me in the jungle that was not in the book an now was the time to use them - namely, The Cookin Pot Variation of The Coconut Gambit, in which I use my queen as bait an sucker that bastid into riskin his knight to take her.

Unfortunately, it didn't work. Honest Ivan must of seen that comin an he snapped up my queen an now my ass is in trouble! Nex I pull somethin called The Grass Hut Ploy, in which I stick my last rook out on a limb to fool him, but he wadn't fooled. Took my rook an my other bishop too, an was ready to finish me off with The Petroff Check, when I pulled out all the stops an set up The Pygmie Threat.

Now the Pygmie Threat was one of Big Sam's specialties, an he had taught it to me real good. It depends a lot on suprise an usin several other pieces as bait, but if a feller falls victim to The Pygmie Threat, he might as well hang up his jockstrap an go on home. I was hopin an prayin it woud work, cause if it didn't, I ain't got no more bright ideas an I'm just about done for already.

Well, Honest Ivan, he grunt a couple of times an pick up his knight to move it to square eight, which meant that he would be suckered in by The Pygmie Threat an in two more moves I would have him in check an he would be powerless to do anythin about it!

But Honest Ivan must of smelt somethin fishy, cause he moved that piece from square five to square eight an back again nine or ten times, never takin his han off it, which would have meant the move was final.

The crowd was so quiet you coulda heard a pin drop, an I am so nervous an excited I am bout to bust. I look over an Mister Tribble is rollin his eyes up in the air like he's prayin an a feller what come with Honest Ivan is scowlin an lookin sour. Honest Ivan move the piece back to square eight two or three more times, but always he put it back on square five. Finally, it look like he gonna do somethin else, but then he lif up the piece one more time an have it hoverin above square eight an I be holdin my breath an the room is quiet as a tomb. Honest Ivan still be hoverin with the piece an my heart is beatin like a drum, an all of a sudden he look straight at me - an I don't know what happened, I guess I was so excited an all - but suddenly I cut a humongus baked-bean fart that sound like somebody is rippin a bedsheet in haf!

Honest Ivan get a look of suprise on his face, an then he suddenly drop his chess piece an thowed up his hans an say, "Uggh!" an start fannin the air an coughin an holdin his nose. Folks standin aroun us begun to move back an was mumblin an takin out they handkerchiefs an all, an I am so red in the face I look like a tomato.

But when it all settle down again, I look at the chessboard an damn if Honest Ivan ain't lef his piece right on square eight. So I reached out an snap it up with my knight, an then I grapped two of his pawns an his queen an finally his king - checkmate! I done won the match an the five thousan dollars! The Pygmie Threat done come thru again.

All the wile, Honest Ivan be makin loud gestures an protestin an all an him an the feller that come with him immediately file a formal complaint against me.

The guy in charge of the tournament be thumbin thru his rule book till he come to where it say, "No player shall knowingly engage in conduct that is distractive to another player while a game is in progress."

Mister Tribble step up an say, "Well, I don't think you can prove that my man did what he did knowingly. It was a sort of involuntary thing."

Then the tournament director thumb thru his book some more, an come to where it say, "No player shall behave in a manner that is rude or offensive to his opponent."

"Listen," Mister Tribble say, "haven't you ever had the need to break wind? Forrest didn't mean anything by it. He's been sitting there a long time."

"I don't know," the tournament director say, "on the face of it, I think I'm going to have to disqualify him."

"Well can't you give him another chance at least?"

Mister Tribble axed. The tournament director scratched his chin for a minute. "Well, perhaps," he say, "but he is gonna have to contain hissef because we cannot tolerate this sort of thing here, you know?"

An so it was beginnin to look like I might be allowed to finish the game, but all of a sudden they is a big commotion at one end of the room, an ladies are screaming an shrieking an all an then I look up an here come ole Sue, swingin towards me on a chandelier.

Jus as the chandelier got overhead Sue let go an dropped right on top of the chessboard, scatterin all the pieces in a dozen directions. Honest Ivan fell over backwards across a chair an on the way down ripped haf the dress off a fat lady that looked like a advertisement for a jewelry store. She commenced to flailin an hollerin an smacked the tournament director in the nose an Sue was jumpin up an down an chatterin an everbody is in a panic, stompin an stumblin an shoutin to call the police.

Mister Tribble grapped me by the arm an say, "Let's get out of here, Forrest - you have already seen enough of the police in this town."

This I coud not deny.

Well, we get on back to the hotel, an Mister Tribble say we got to have another conference.

"Forrest," he say, "I just do not believe this is going to work out anymore. You can play chess like a dream, but things have gotten too complicated otherwise. All that stuff that went on this afternoon was, well, to put it mildly, it was bizarre."

I am noddin an ole Sue is lookin pretty sorrowful too.

"So, I'll tell you what I'm going to do. You're a good boy, Forrest, and I can't leave you stranded out here in California, so I am going to arrange for you and Sue to get back to Alabama or wherever it is you came from. I know you need a little grubstake to start your shrimp business, and your share of the winnings, after I deduct expenses, comes to a little under five thousand dollars."

Mister Tribble hand me a envelope an when I look inside it, there is a bunch of hundrit dollar bills. "I wish you all the best in your venture," he say. Mister Tribble phone for a taxicab an got us to the railroad station. He has also arranged for Sue to ride in the baggage car in a crate, and says I can go back there an visit with him an take him food an water when I want. They brung out the crate an Sue got on inside it an they took him off.

"Well, good luck, Forrest," Mister Tribble say, an he shake my han. "Here's my card - so stay in touch and let me know how it's going, okay?"

I took the card an shook his han again an was sorry to be leavin cause Mister Tribble was a very nice man, an I had let him down. I was settin in my seat on the train, lookin out the winder, an Mister Tribble was still standin on the platform. Jus as the train pulled out, he raised up his han at me an waved goodbye.

So off I went again, an for a long time that night my head was full of dreams - of going back home again, of my mama, of po ole Bubba an of the srimp bidness an, of course, of Jenny Curran too. More than anythin in the world, I wished I were not such a loony tune.


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