Chapter 8

After that, it was all over for the Reverend Bakker. One thing led to another, an in the end he gone on to jail hissef - where he can now help rehabilitate the prisoners full-time, not to mention his own pious ass.

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Me, however, it looks like, will be returnin to jail also, but that was not to be.

The national media had got wind that there was a riot at Holy Land, an somehow my picture got into the papers an on TV. I am actually waitin for the bus to take us back to prison, when a feller shows up with a document in his hand, says it is my "release."

He is dressed all nattily in a suit with suspenders an has big flashy teeth an spit-shined shoes, look kinda like a stockbroker. "Gump," he says, "I am gonna be your 'Angel of Mercy.' "

Ivan Bozosky is his name.

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Ivan Bozosky says he has been tryin to find me ever since the Capitol Hill hearins with Colonel North.

"Have you seen the newspapers today, Gump?" Ivan Bozosky ast.

"No, sir, I haven't."

"Well, then," he says, "perhaps you'd like to," an hands me a copy of The Wall Street Journal. Headline reads:

Stooge Shuts Down Important Economic Theme Park

A recent releasee from a Washington hospital for the criminally insane ran amok yesterday in a small Carolina town, ruining economic opportunities for thousands of hardworking American citizens by setting off a chain of events that caused the downfall of one of Carolina's most revered citizens.

According to sources, the culprit's name is Forrest Gump, a man of low IQ who has been identified in similar disturbances in Atlanta, West Virginia, and elsewhere.

Gump, who was serving time for expressing contempt for the U.S. Congress, was on a work-release project at a Bible-oriented enterprise under the tutelage of the Reverend Jim Bakker, a devout entrepreneur of our American way of life.

In his role as the giant Goliath, Gump, who is said to be a large-figured man, apparently began to disport himself yesterday in a manner described by authorities as "inappropriate," at one point hurling his fellow Bible character David over several stands of trees and into a lake inhabited by a mechanical whale, which, in the words of Holy Land authorities, "became distressed by the intrusion," and began to seethe and set upon the guests and visitors.

Somewhere in the confusion, Reverend Bakker and his secretary, one Jessica Hahn, became embroiled in the exhibit's biblical bulrushes, which tore off their clothing, and they were swept up in a police dragnet, which the spokesman described as "unfortunate."

An shit like that. Anyway, ole Ivan Bozosky, he took back the newspaper an turns to me.

"I like your style, Gump," he says, "because way back before all this, you had every chance there was to rat on Colonel North an the President, but you didn't. You covered it all up an took the blame yourself! Now, that's what I call real corporate spirit! My outfit can use a man like you."

"What outfit is that?" I ast.

"Well, we buy an sell shit - stuff on paper, actually. Bonds, stocks, bidnesses - whatever. We don't buy an sell anything really, but when we get through talkin on the phones an shufflin all the papers, we wind up with a shit-pot of money in our pockets."

"How you do that?"

"Easy," Ivan Bozosky says. "Meanness, dirty tricks an stuff, peekin over people's shoulders, goin behind their backs, pickin their pockets. It's a jungle out there, Gump, an right now, I am the big tiger."

"So what you want me to do?"

Ivan puts his hand on my shoulder. "Gump, I am starting a new division in my company in New York, called the Division of Insider Trading, an I want you to be its president."

"Me? Why?"

"Because of your integrity. It took a lot of integrity to stand up there and lie to the Congress and take the rap for that fool North. Gump, you are just the kind of feller I've been looking for."

"What's it pay?"

"Sky's the limit, Gump! Why, do you need money?"

"Everbody needs money," I says.

"No, I mean real money! The kind with half-a-dozen zeros behind it."

"Well, I gotta earn somethin to keep little Forrest in school, an pay for his college someday, an stuff like that."

"Who's little Forrest - your son?"

"Well, sort of. I mean, I'm in charge of takin care of him."

"Good godamighty, Gump," Ivan Bozosky says, "with what you're gonna make, you can send him to Choate, Andover, St. Paul's, and Episcopal High School all at once, and when you're done, he'll be so rich he can send his shirts off to Paris to be laundered."

So that's how I begun my corporate career.

I had never been to New York City, an let me tell you: It was a sight!

I didn't know there was so many people in the whole world. They was millin in the streets an sidewalks an up in the skyscrapers an in the stores. The racket they made was unreal - horns blowin, jackhammers jackin, sirens wailin, an I don't know what-all else. I had the immediate impression that I was in a anthill, where all the ants was half crazy.

Ivan, Bozosky first took me to his company's offices. They was in a big ole skyscraper down near Wall Street. They was hundrits of people workin there at computers, all was wearing shirts an ties an suspenders, an most of em had little round horn-rimmed glasses, an their hair was slicked back. To a man, they was talkin on their telephones, an smokin cigars so much at first I thought the room was on fire.

"This is the deal, Gump," Ivan says. "What we do herein is, we make friends with the folks that run big companies, an when we learn they are gonna issue a big dividend or earnings statement, or sell their company, or start a new division - or do anything else that will make the price of their stock go up - why, we start buying their stock ourselves before the news officially gets in the papers an lets every sonofabitch on Wall Street have a fair chance to get in on the profits."

"How you make friends with them people?" I ast.

"Simple. Just hang around the Harvard or Yale clubs or the Racquet Club or any number of places where these morons do their thing. Buy em a bunch of drinks, play dumb - take em to dinner, get em a girl, kiss their asses - whatever it takes. Sometimes we fly em out to Aspen to ski or to Palm Beach or something. But don't you worry about that, Gump. Our fellers know how to run that scam - All I want you to do is be the president, and the only person you'll report to is me - about, oh, say, once every six months or so."

"What I'm gonna report?"

"We'll figure that out when the time comes. Now, let me show you your office."

Ivan took me down a hall to a big ole corner office that has a mahogany desk an leather chairs an couches, an a Persian rug on the floor. All the windows look out over the city an the rivers, where there is all sorts of boats an steamships goin up an down, an in the distance I can see the Statue of Liberty, shinin in the evenin sun.

"Well, Gump, what do you think?"

"Nice view," I says.

"Nice view my ass!" says Ivan. "This shit cost two hundred dollars a square foot to lease! This is prime real estate, my man! Now, your private secretary will be Miss Hudgins. And she is knock-dead gorgeous. And what I want you to do is, just sit at this desk here and when she brings you in some papers to sign, sign your name on them. You don't need to bother to read them - they'll just be a bunch of bullshit and details anyway. I've always thought bidness executives shouldn't know too much about what's going on in their bidness - you know what I mean?"

"Well, I dunno," I says. "You know, I done got into a lot of trouble in my life doin stuff I didn't know what it was."

"Now, don't worry any about that, Gump. All this is on the big-time up and up. It is the chance of a lifetime for you - and your son." Ivan puts his arm around my shoulder an flashes a big ole toothy grin at me. "Want to ask anything else?"

"Yeah," I says. "Where is the bathroom?"

"Bathroom? Your bathroom? Why, it's right here through this door. You wondering if you got a private bathroom? Is that it?"

"Nope. I got to pee."

At this, Ivan jumps back a little. "Ah, well, that is a rather straightforward way of putting it, I must say. But you go right ahead, Mr. Gump - in the privacy of your own bathroom."

An so that's what I did, but I was still wonderin if I was doin the right thing with this Ivan Bozosky. After all, seems I had heard some of his kind of shit before.

Anyway, Ivan, he gone off an left me in my new office. Big brass nameplate on the desk says Forrest Gump, President. I had just set down in the leather chair an put my feet up when the door opens an in walks a beautiful young woman. I figger this to be Miss Hudgins.

"Ah, Mr. Gump," she says. "Welcome to the insider trading division of Bozosky Enterprises."

Miss Hudgins is certainly a looker - enough to make your teeth chatter. She is tall an brunette with blue eyes an a big toothy smile an skirt so short that I am afraid her underpants might show if she bends over.

"Would you like some coffee or anything?" she ast.

"No. Thank you, though," I says.

"Well, is there anything I can do for you? How about a CokeCola - or perhaps a whisky sour?"

"Thanks, but I really don't want nothin."

"Then perhaps you would like to see your new apartment."

"My what?"

"Apartment. Mr. Bozosky has ordered you an apartment to live in, since you are president of the division."

"I thought I was gonna stay here on the couch," I says. "I mean, since there is a bathroom an all."

"Heavens, no, Mr. Gump. Mr. Bozosky asked me to find you suitable living quarters over on Fifth Avenue. Something where you can entertain."

"Who I'm gonna entertain?"

"Whoever," Miss Hudgins says. "Will you be ready to go in, say, half an hour?"

"I am ready to go right now," I says. "How we gonna get there?"

"Why, in your limousine, of course."

In no time, we is down on the street gettin into a big ole black limousine. It is so big I think it cannot turn a corner, but the driver, whose name is Eddie, is so good that he can even drive right past the taxicabs by goin up on the curb, an in a few minutes we is arriving at my new apartment after scatterin people all over Madison Avenue. Miss Hudgins says we are now "uptown."

The buildin is a big ole thing of white marble with a canopy an doormen dressed up like in one of them old-time movies. The sign out front say Helmsley Palace. As we is goin in the door, a woman wearin a fur coat come out walkin a poodle. She be eyein me pretty suspicious an lookin me up an down, account of I am still wearin my work clothes from Holy Land.

When we get off at the eighteenth floor, Miss Hudgins opens the door with a key. It is like goin in a mansion or somethin. They is crystal chandeliers an big gold-leaf mirrors an paintins on the walls. I see fireplaces an fancy furniture an tables with pitcher books on em. There is a library all paneled in wood an beautiful carpets on the floors. In the corner is a bar.

"You want to see your bedroom?" Miss Hudgins says.

I was so speechless, all I could do was nod.

We gone on in the bedroom, an let me say this: It was a sight. Big ole king-size bed with a covered top an fireplace an a TV set built into the wall. Miss Hudgins says it gets a hundrit channels. The bathroom is grander than that, marble floors an a glass shower with gold knobs an jets that spray in ever direction. There are even two toilets, although one is kinda funny lookin.

"What is that?" I ast, pointin to it.

"That, is a bidet," she says.

"What's it for? It ain't got no seat on it."

"Er, well, why don't you just use the other one for now," Miss Hudgins says. "We can talk about the bidet later."

Like the sign out front announces, this place is a palace, an "Sooner or later," Miss Hudgins says, "I imagaine you're gonna get to meet the nice lady who owns it. She's a friend of Mr. Bozosky. Her name is Leona."

Anyway, Miss Hudgins says we got to go out an get me some new clothes that is "fittin for the president of one of Mr. Bozosky's divisions." We gone on over to a tailor shop called Mr. Squeegee's, an is greeted at the door by Mr. Squeegee hissef. He is a little short fat guy with a Hitler-lookin mustache an a bald head.

"Ah, Mr. Gump. I have been expecting you," he says.

Mr. Squeegee done showed me dozens of suits an jackets an pants an cloth patterns an materials - ties an even socks an underpants. Ever time I pick out somethin, Miss Hudgins says, "No, no - that won't do," an she picks out somethin else. Finally, Mr. Squeegee stands me in front of a mirror an begun to take my pants measurements.

"My, my, what a fine specimen you are!" he says.

"You got that right," Miss Hudgins chimes in.

"By the way, Mr. Gump, what side do you dress on?"

"Side of what?" I ast.

"Side, Mr. Gump. Do you dress to the left or the right?"

"Huh?" I says. "I guess it don't matter. I just put on my clothes, you know?"

"Well, er, Mr. Gump..."

"Just dress him for both sides," Miss Hudgins say. "A man like Mr. Gump looks like he can swing any way he wants."

"Right," says Mr. Squeegee.

Next day, Eddie picked me up in the limousine an I gone on down to the office. I had just got there when Ivan Bozosky came in an says, "In a little while, let's do lunch. I got somebody I want you to meet."

All the rest of the mornin I signed the papers Miss Hudgins brought in. I must of signed twenty or thirty, an even though I sort of glanced at what was in a few, I could not understand a word that was in them. After a hour or two, my stomach begun to growl, an I started thinkin about my mama's srimp Creole. Good ole Mama.

Pretty soon, Ivan come in an says it is time for lunch. A limo took us to a restaurant called The Four Seasons, an we is showed to a table where there is a tall skinny guy in a suit with a wolfish look on his face.

"Ah, Mr. Gump," Ivan Bozosky says, "I want you to meet a friend of mine."

The guy stands up an shook my hand.

Mike Mulligan is his name.

Mike Mulligan is apparently a stockbroker who Mr. Bozosky does some bidness with. Mike Mulligan deals in somethin he calls junk bonds, though what anybody would want with a bunch of junk is beyond me. Nevertheless, I get the impression that Mike Mulligan is some kind of big cheese.

After Ivan an Mike had done some chitchat, they get down to bidness with me.

"What will happen, Mr. Gump," says Ivan Bozosky, "is that Mike, here, is going to give you a call from time to time. He will tell you the name of a company, an when he does, I want you to write it down. He will spell the name out very carefully, so you will not make any mistakes. When you have done that, give the name of the company to Miss Hudgins. She will know what to do with it."

"Yeah?" I ast. "An what is that for?"

"The less you know, the better off you are, Gump," says Ivan. "Mr. Mulligan and I occasionally do each other favors. We trade secrets between us, you know what I mean?" At this, he gives me a big ole wink. There is somethin about all this I don't like, an I am about to say so, but then Ivan, he springs me the big news.

"Now, Gump, what I'm thinking is, you need a proper salary. You gotta have enough to keep your son in school and put yourself in the catbird seat financially, and I am thinking about, oh, let's say, two hundred and fifty thousand a year. How does that sound?"

Well, I was sorta dumbstruck. I mean, I have made a bit of money in my day; but that's a lot of bread for an idiot like me. An so I thought about all this for a few seconds, an then just nodded my head.

"Okay," says Ivan Bozosky. "It is a done deal, then." An Mr. Mike Mulligan, he be grinnin like a Cheshire cat.

Over the months, my executive duties went into full swing. I am signin papers like crazy - mergers, acquisitions, buy-outs, sell-outs, puts an calls. One day I come across Ivan Bozosky in the hallway, chucklin to hissef.

"Well, Gump," he says, "this is the kind of day I like. We done bought out five airlines. I changed the names of two of them, and shut the other three down flat. Them sombitchin passengers ain't gonna know what the hell is happenin to em! They get their asses strapped into a city-block-long steel cylinder an shot up in the air at six hundred miles an hour, an when they come down, they ain't even on the same airline as they was when they left!"

"I reckon they will be surprised," I says.

"Not half as much as those turkeys that was flyin on the ones I shut down!" Ivan chuckles. "We sent out orders by radio for the pilots to land immediately, wherever the nearest field is, an let the bastids off, then and there. There's gonna be assholes thinkin they're headed for Paris, gonna be put off cold in Thule, Greenland. Or those who booked in for LA, they gonna wind up in Montana or Wisconsin or someplace!"

"Ain't they gonna be mad?" I ast.

"Screw em," says Ivan, wavin his hands. "That's what it's all about, Gump! Base capitalism! The old fuckeroo! We gotta consolidate, fire people, get folks scared, an then, when they ain't lookin, get our hands in their pockets. That's what the deal is, my boy!"

An so it went, me signin papers an Ivan an Mike Mulligan buyin an sellin. Meantime, I was gettin my taste of the high life in New York City. I gone to Broadway plays an private clubs an charity benefits at Tavern on the Green. Seems like nobody don't cook at home in New York, but go out to restaurants ever night an eat mysterious-lookin food that cost as much as a new suit of clothes. But I guess it don't matter to me, account of I am makin so much money. Miss Hudgins, she is my "escort" at these affairs. She says Ivan Bozosky wants me to keep a "high profile," an indeed this is so. Ever week I am mentioned in the newspaper gossip columns, an many times they run my picture, too. Miss Hudgins says there are three newspapers in New York - the "smart people's paper," the "dumb people's paper," an the "stupid people's paper." But, Miss Hudgins say, everbody who is anybody reads all three, account of they want to see if they are in there.

One night we had got through with a big charity dance an Miss Hudgins was gonna drop me off at the Helmsley Palace before Eddie took her home. But this time, she say she'd like to come up to my suite "for a nightcap." I am wonderin why, but it is not nice to say no to a lady, so we went on up.

Soon as we get inside, Miss Hudgins turns on the hi-fi, goes over to the bar, an makes a drink. Straight scotch. Then she kicks off her shoes an plops down on the sofa in a reclinin pose.

"Why don't you kiss me," she asts.

I gone over an give her a peck on the cheek, but she graps me an hauls me down on top of her.

"Here, Forrest, I want you to sniff this." With one hand, she dumps a little white powder from a vial out on her thumbnail.

"Why?" I ast.

"Cause it'll make you feel good. It'll make you feel powerful."

"Why I need to feel that?"

"Just do it," she says. "Just this one time. If you don't like it, you don't have to do it again."

I didn't much want to, but it seemed harmless enough, you know? Wadn't but a little bit of white powder. An so I done it. Made me sneeze.

"I've waited a long time for this, Forrest," she says. "I want you."

"Ah, well," I says, "I thought we had a sort of workin relationship, you know?"

"Yeah, well, it's time you get to working!" she pants, an begun to undo my tie an grap at me with her hands.

Well, I didn't know what I was sposed to do. I mean, I had always heard it was a mistake to git involved with persons you work with - "Do not foul your own nest" was what Lieutenant Dan used to say - but at this point, I am truly confused. Miss Hudgins was certainly a beautiful woman, an I had not been with a woman, beautiful or otherwise, in a long time... an after all, you are not sposed to say no to a lady... an so I done made all the excuses I could think of in the time allowed, an the next thing I knowed, Miss Hudgins an I was in bed.

After it was over, she smoked a cigarette an thowed on her clothes an left, an I was there alone. She had lit the fire in the fireplace an the logs was flickerin low an orange, an I was not feelin good, like I reckon I was sposed to, but sort of lonely an scared, an wonderin where my life is headed up in New York City. An as I am lyin there, starin at the fire, lo an behole, there suddenly appeared Jenny's face in the flames.

"Well, bozo, I spose you're proud of yourself," she says.

"Oh, no, I'm not, in fact, I'm sorry. I didn't never want to get into bed with Miss Hudgins in the first place," I tole her.

"That's not what I'm talkin about, Forrest," Jenny says. "I didn't expect you to never sleep with another woman. You're a human. You got needs. That's not it."

"Then what is it?"

"Your life, you big moose. What are you doing here? When was the last time you spent any time with little Forrest?"

"Well, I called him a few weeks ago. I sent him money..."

"And you think that's all there is to it, huh? Just send the money and make a few phone calls?"

"No - but what I'm gonna do? Where I'm gonna get the money. Who else is gonna give me a job? Ivan's payin me top dollar here."

"Yeah? For what? Do you have any idea what those papers are you're signing every day?"

"I ain't sposed to, Jenny - that's what Mr. Bozosky said."

"Uh huh. Well, I reckon you're just gonna have to find out the hard way. And I spose you don't have any idea what that crap was you just stuck up your nose, either."

"Not really."

"But you did it anyhow, just like you always do. You know, Forrest, I've always said you might not be the brightest feller in town, but you're not as dumb as you act sometimes. I've known you all my life and the problem is, mostly, you just don't think  - You know what I mean?"

"Well, I was kinda hopin you'd help me out there a little."

"I told you, it ain't my turn to watch you all the time, Forrest. You gotta start lookin out for yourself - and while you're at it, you might pay a little more attention to little Forrest. Mama's gettin old, she can't do it all. Boy like that, he needs a daddy in his life."

"Where?" I ast. "Here? You want me to move him up to this dump - I might be stupid, but I ain't so dumb I don't see that this ain't no place to raise a boy - everbody either rich or poor, an no in between. These people, they ain't got no values, Jenny. It's all about money an shit, an gettin your ass in the newspaper columns."

"Yeah, an you're right in the middle of it, aren't you? What you're describing is just one side of this town that you're seeing. Maybe there's another one. People are pretty much the same, everyplace."

"I am doing what I am tole," I says.

"What ever happened to doin the right thing?"

To this, I had no answer, an all of a sudden, Jenny's face begun to fade behind the fire.

"Now, wait a minute," I says. "We is just beginnin to get things straight - Don't go now - It ain't been but a couple of minutes..."

"See you later, alligator," she says, an then she is gone. I set up in the bed an tears come to my eyes. Ain't nobody understands what is happenin with me - not even Jenny. I wanted to pull the sheets over my head an not get up at all, but after a while, I gone on an got dressed an went into the office. On my desk, Miss Hudgins had left a pile of papers for me to sign.

Well, I know that Jenny is right about one thing. I got to spend some time with little Forrest, an so I arranged for him to come up to New York City for a few days' vacation. He arrived on a Friday, an Eddie picked him up at the airport in my limousine, which I figgered would impress him. It didn't.

He come into my office wearin dungarees an a T-shirt, took a quick look around, an delivered his opinion.

"I'd rather be back at the pig farm."

"How come?" I ast.

"What's so good about all this?" he says. "You gotta nice view. So what?"

"It's where I earn my livin," I says.

"Doin what?"

"Signin papers."

"This what you gonna do the rest of your life?"

"I dunno. I mean, it pays the bills."

He shook his head an gone over to the winder.

"What's that out there?" he ast. "That the Statue of Liberty?"

"Yup," I says. "That's her." I can't get over how much he has growed up. He must be more than five feet tall an is certainly a handsome young man, with Jenny's blond hair an blue eyes.

"You wanna go see her?"

"Who?"

"The Statue of Liberty."

"I guess," he says.

"Well, good, cause I done arranged for us to take a tour of the town these next few days. We is gonna see all the sights."

So that's what we did. We gone down Fifth Avenue to see the shops an out to the Statue of Liberty an the top of the Empire State Buildin, where little Forrest says he wants to thow somethin off to see how long it takes to land on the ground. I did not let him do that, though. We gone up to Grant's Tomb an down to Broadway, where they was a man exposin himself, an in Central Park, but not for long, account of there was muggers present. We took the subway an come out near the Plaza Hotel, where we stopped in for a CokeCola. The bill come an it was twenty-five dollars.

"That's a bunch of shit," says little Forrest.

"I reckon I can afford it," I says, but he just shook his head an walk on out to the car. I can see he ain't havin such a good time, but what I'm gonna do about it? He don't want to see no plays, an the FAO Schwarz store bores him. I took him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an for a while, he seems interested in somethin looks like King Tut's tomb, but then he says it's all just a bunch of ole stuff, an we are on the street again.

I let him off at the apartment an gone back to the office. When Miss Hudgins brought me in another batch of papers to sign, I ast her what I oughta do.

"Well, maybe he'd like to see some famous people, you know?"

"Where I'm gonna find em?"

"Only place in town," she says, "Elaine's restaurant."

"What is that?" I ast.

"You gotta see it to believe it" was Miss Hudgins' answer.

So we went to Elaine's restaurant.

We go there at five o'clock sharp, account of that's the time most people have they supper, but Elaine's restaurant was deserted. It was not the sort of place I had expected; to say it is nothin fancy is a understatement. There was some waiters hangin around, an at the end of the bar was this big ole jolly-lookin lady doin paperwork. I figger her to be Elaine.

While little Forrest waited by the door, I gone over an introduced mysef, an tole her why I was there.

"Fine," Elaine says, "but you come a little early. Most folks don't start showin up here for another four or five hours."

"What? They eat someplace else an come in here later?" last.

"No, you dummy. They are all at cocktail parties or plays or openings or somethin. This is a late-night place."

"Well, you mind if we set down an have our food?"

"Go right ahead."

"Any idea which famous people will be showin up later?" I ast.

"It'll be the usual suspects, I guess. Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Kurt Vonnegut, George Plimpton, Lauren Bacall - who knows, maybe Paul Newman or Jack Nicholson's in town."

"They all come here?"

"Sometimes - but listen, there is one rule, and you can't violate it. There will be no goin over to these famous people's tables and disturbin them. No picture taking, no tape recording, no nothin. Now, you just sit right at that big round table. That's the 'family table,' an if any famous people come in that don't have other arrangements, I will put them there, an you can talk to them."

So that's what we did, little Forrest an me. We ate our supper an dessert an then a second dessert, but ain't but a handful of people have arrived at Elaine's. I could tell little Forrest was bored, but I figger this is my last chance to impress him with New York, an just about the time I see him squirmin to leave, the door opens an who should be comin in but Elizabeth Taylor.

After that, the place begun to fill up very fast. Bruce Willis an Donald Trump an Cher, the movie star. Sure enough, in comes George Plimpton with his friend, a Mister Spinelli, an the writer William Styron. Woody Allen arrives with a whole entourage, as does the writers Kurt Vonnegut an Norman Mailer an Robert Ludlum. They was all sorts of beautiful people, wearin expensive clothes an furs. I had read about some of them in the papers, an was tryin to explain who they was to little Forrest.

Unfortunately, all of them seem to have other plans, an are sittin with each other, an not with us. After a while, Elaine comes over an sets down, I guess so we do not feel too lonely.

"I guess it's a light night for bachelors," she says.

"Yup," I says. "But even if we can't talk to them, maybe you could tell us what they is talkin about with each other - just to give little Forrest an idea of what famous people talk about."

"Talk about?" says Elaine. "Well, the movie stars, they are talkin about themselves, I imagine."

"What about the writers?" I ast.

"Writers?" she says. "Huh. They are talkin about what they always talk about - baseball, money, and pieces of ass."

About this time the door open an a feller come in, an Elaine motions him over to the table to sit down.

"Mr. Gump, I want you to meet Tom Hanks," she says.

"Pleased to meet you," I say, an introduce him to little Forrest.

"I've seen you," little Forrest says, "on television."

"You an actor?" I ast.

"Sure am," Tom Hanks says. "What about you?"

So I tole him a little bit about my checkered career, an after he listened for a while, Tom Hanks says, "Well, Mr. Gump, you are sure a curious feller. Sounds like somebody ought to make a movie of your life's story."

"Nah," I says, "ain't nobody be interested in somethin stupid like that."

"You never know," says Tom Hanks. " 'Life is like a box of chocolates.' By the way, I just happen to have a box of chocolates right here - You wanna buy some?"

"Nah, I don't think so, I ain't big on chocolates - but thanks, anyhow."

Tom Hanks looks at me kinda funny. "Well, 'stupid is as stupid looks,' I always say." An at that, he gets up an goes to another table.

Next mornin, there is a serious disturbance at Ivan Bozosky's offices.

"Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" shouts Miss Hudgins. "They have arrested Mr. Bozosky!"

"Who have?" I ast.

"The police," she hollered. "Who else arrests people! They have taken him to jail!"

"What'd he do?"

"Insider trading!" she yelled. "They have accused him of insider trading!"

"But I am the president of the insider trading division," I says. "How come they didn't arrest me?"

"It ain't too late for that, bigshot." The voice belonged to a big ole ugly-lookin detective who was standin in the doorway. Behind him was two cops in uniforms.

"You just come along peaceful, now, an there won't be any trouble."

I done what he tole me, but his last line was pure bullshit.

So I am thowed in jail again. I might of known all this couldn't last forever, but I didn't expect there would be such a big deal about it all. Not only have they arrested Ivan Bozosky, but they have thowed Mike Mulligan in jail, too, an various other folks in the bidness. Miss Hudgins is also locked up as a "material witness." They give me one phone call to make, so I phoned little Forrest at the Helmsley an tole him I would not be home for supper. I just could not bring mysef to say his daddy was in the jug again.

Anyhow, Ivan, he is in the ajoinin cell to mine, an to my surprise, he is lookin rather chipper.

"Well, Gump, I believe the time has come for you to do your trained bear act," he says.

"Yeah, what is that?"

"Just what you did for Colonel North - lie, cover up, take the blame."

"For who?"

"For me, you stupo! Why in hell do you think I made you president of my insider trading division? Because of your brains and good looks? To take the heat, in case of something like this, is why I hired you."

"Oh," I says. I might of knowed there was a catch.

Over the next few days, I am interrogated by about a hundrit cops an lawyers an investigators for all sorts of financial agencies. But I don't tell em nothin. I just kep my big mouth shut, which pissed em off royally, but ain't nothin they can do. They is so many of them, I can't tell which is representin me an Mr. Bozosky an Mike Mulligan, an who is against us. Don't matter. I am quiet as a clam.

One day the jail guard come by, say I got a visitor. When I gone into the visitors room, sure enough, it was little Forrest.

"How'd you find out?" I ast.

"How could I not find out? It's been all over the papers and television. Folks are sayin it's the biggest scandal since Teapot Dome."

"Since who?"

"Never mind," he says. "Anyway, I finally got to meet Mrs. Helmsley, who you said was sposed to be so nice."

"Oh, yeah? She takin good care of you?"

"Sure - she thowed me out."

"Did what?"

"Thowed us out, bag and baggage, on the street. Said she don't feature no crook livin in her hotel."

"So how you gettin by?"

"I got a job washin dishes."

"Well, I got some money in the bank. There's a checkbook someplace in my stuff. You can use it to get a place to stay till you gotta go home. Might even be enough to make my bail outta here."

"Yeah, all right," he says. "Looks like you really done it this time, though."

In this, little Forrest seems correct.

After the bail was paid, I was free to go for the time bein. But not far. Me an little Forrest rented a walk-up flat in a neighborhood filled with criminals an beggars an ladies of the night.

Little Forrest was interested to know what I'm gonna do when the trial is helt an, to tell the truth, I dunno mysef. I mean, I was hired to take the fall, an there is a certain amount of honor in doin what you is sposed to do. On the other hand, it kinda don't seem fair for me to spend the rest of my life in the slammer just so's Ivan Bozosky an Mike Mulligan can go on livin the high life. One day, little Forrest pipes up with a request.

"You know, I wouldn't mind goin out to the Statue of Liberty again," he says. "I sort of enjoyed that trip."

So that's what we did.

We took the excursion boat out to the statue, an it was all pretty an gleamin in the afternoon sunshine. We stopped an read the inscription about the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free," an then we gone on up to the top of the torch, an looked out across the harbor at New York, with all the tall buildins that seemed like they go right on up into the clouds.

"You gonna rat them out, or what?" little Forrest ast.

"Rat who out?"

"Ivan Bozosky an Mike Mulligan."

"I dunno - Why?"

"Cause you better be thinkin about it an make a decision," he says.

"I been thinkin about it - I just don't know what to do."

"Rattin's not very nice," he says. "You didn't rat out Colonel North..."

"Yeah, an look where it got me - thowed in the can."

"Well, I took a lot of guff about that at school, but I'd of probably taken more if you'd finked on him."

In this, little Forrest is probly correct. I just stood there on top of the Statue of Liberty, wonderin an thinkin - which is not my specialty - an worryin, which is - an finally I shook my head.

"Sometimes," I says, "a man's got to do the right thing."

Anyways, the time for our trial has finally arrived. We is herded into a big federal courtroom where the prosecutor is a Mr. Guguglianti, who looks like he oughta be mayor or somethin. He is all surly an unpleasant an address us like we is axe murders, or worse.

"Your Honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury," Mr. Guguglianti says, "these three men is the worst kinds of criminals there is! They are guilty of stealing your money - your money - personally...!"

An it goes on downhill from there.

He proceeds to call us crooks, thieves, liars, frauds, an I expect he would of called us assholes, too, if we had not been in a courtroom.

Finally, when Mr. Guguglianti gets finished tar-an-featherin us, it becomes our turn to defend ourselfs. First witness to take the stand is Ivan Bozosky.

"Mr. Bozosky," our lawyer asts, "are you guilty of insider trading?"

We are bein represented, incidentally, by the big ole New York law firm of Dewey, Screwum & Howe.

"I am absolutely, positively, one-hundrit-percent innocent," Mr. Bozosky says.

"Then if you did not do it, who did?" the lawyer asts.

"Mr. Gump over there," Ivan says. "I hired him on as chief of the insider trading division with instructions to put an end to any insider trading, so as to improve my company's reputation, an what does he do? He immediately proceeds to be a crook..."

Ivan Bozosky goes on like this for a while, an paints a pitcher of me, black as a beaver's butt. I am "totally responsible" for all the deals, he says, an in fact, I have totally kept them secret from him, so as to enrich mysef. His line is that he knows nothin about anythin illegal.

"May God have mercy on his guilty soul" is the way Ivan Bozosky puts it.

Next, Mike Mulligan gets his turn. He testifies I phoned him up with stock tips, but he has no idea that I am in the know about insider tradin an so forth. By the time they are finished, I figger my goose is cooked, an Mr. Guguglianti be scowlin at me from his table.

At last it is my time to take the stand.

"Mr. Gump," says Mr. Guguglianti, "just what was your line of work before you became president of the insider trading division of Mr. Bozosky's company?"

"I was Goliath," I answers.

"You was what?"

"Goliath - you know, the giant man from the Bible."

"You stand reminded, Mr. Gump, that this is a court of law. Do not fool with the law, Mr. Gump, or the law will fool with you back - and that is a promise."

"I ain't kiddin," I says. "It was at Holy Land."

"Mr. Gump, are you some kind of a nut?"

At this, our lawyer jumps up. "Objection, Your Honor, counsel is badgering the witness!"

"Well," says the judge, "he does sound sort of nutty - claimin to be Goliath an all. I think I am gonna order a psychiatric examination of Mr. Gump, here."

So that's what they did.

They took me away to a insane asylum or someplace, where the doctors come in an begun bongin me on the knees with little rubber hammers, which, of course, is an experience I have had before. Next they give me some puzzles to work an ast me a lot of questions an give me a test an, to end it off, they bonged me on the knees some more with their hammers. After that, I am taken back to the witness stand.

"Mr. Gump," the judge say, "the psychiatrists' report on you was just what I expected. It says here that you are a 'certifiable idiot.' I overrule the objection! Counsel, you may proceed!"

Anyhow, they gone on to ast me a bunch of questions about what my role was in the insider tradin scam. Over at our table, Ivan Bozosky an Mike Mulligan are grinnin like Cheshire cats.

I admitted to signin all the papers an to callin Mike Mulligan from time to time, an that when I did, I did not tell him it was an insider tradin deal, but just a tip. Finally, Mr. Guguglianti says, "Well, Mr. Gump, it appears now that you are just gonna confess that you, an you alone, are guilty as sin in this matter, an save the court all the trouble of provin it - ain't that so?"

I just sat there for a minute or two, lookin around the courtroom. Judge is waitin with a expectant look on his face; Mr. Bozosky an Mr. Mulligan is leanin back with they arms folded across they chests, smirkin; an our lawyers be noddin they heads for me to go ahead an get it over with. Out in the gallery, I seen little Forrest lookin at me with a kinda pained expression on his face. I figger he knows what I'm gonna do, an that I gotta do it.

An so I sighs, an says, "Yup, I reckon you're right - I am guilty. I am guilty of signin papers - but that's all."

"Objection!" shouts our lawyer.

"What grounds?" ast the judge.

"Well, er, we've just established that this man is a certified idiot. So how can he testify to what he was or was not guilty of?"

"Overruled," says the judge. "I want to hear what he's got to say."

An so I tole them.

I tole them the whole story - about how I was Goliath an about the riot at Holy Land, an about Mr. Bozosky gettin me out of havin to go back to jail an all his instructions about signin the papers an not to look at them, an how, after all, I am just a poor ole idiot that didn't know shit about what was goin on.

What it amounted to was, I ratted out on Mr. Bozosky an Mr. Mulligan.

When I done finished, pandemonium broke out in the courtroom. All the lawyers are on they feet hollerin objections. Newspaper reporters rushed out to the telephones. Ivan Bozosky an Mike Mulligan are jumpin up an down shoutin at the top of they lungs that I am a no good, dirty, double-crossin, ingrateful, lyin, squeeler. The judge be bangin his gavel for order, but ain't none to be found. I looked over at little Forrest an knowed right then an there I made the right decision. An I also decided that whatever else happens, I am not gonna take the fall for nobody, noplace, nomore - an that's that.

Like I said, sometimes a man's just gotta do the right thing.

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