Forrest Gump Chapter Sixteen
After they done finished cookin big Sam’s tribe, an shrinkin they heads, the pygmies slung us between long poles an carried us off like pigs into the jungle.
“What do you spose they intend to do with us?” Major Fritch call out to me.
“I don’t know, an I don’t give a shit,” I call back, an that were about the truth. I’m tired of all this crappola. A man can take jus so much.
Anyhow, after about a day or so we come to the village of the pygmies, an as you might expec, they has got a bunch of little tiny huts in a clearin in the jungle. They truck us up to a hut in the center of the clearin where there is a bunch of pygmies standin aroun – an one little ole feller with a long white beard an no teeth settin up in a high chair like a baby. I figger him to be the king of the pygmies.
They tumped us out onto the groun an untied us, an we stood up an dusted ourselfs off an the king of the pygmies commence jabberin some gibberish an then he get down from his chair an go straight up to Sue an kick him in the balls.
“How come he done that?” I axed Grurck, who had learnt to speak some English wile he was livin with Major Fritch.
“Him want to know if ape is boy or girl,” Grurck say.
I figger there must be a nicer way to find that out, but I ain’t sayin nothin.
Then the king, he come up to me an start talkin some of that gibberish – pygmalion, or whatever it is – an I’m preparing to get kicked in the balls too, but Grurck say, “Him want to know why you livin with them awful cannibals.”
“Tell him it weren’t exactly our idea,” Major Fritch pipe up an say.
“I got a idea,” I says. “Tell him we is American musicians.”
Grurck say this to the king an he be peerin at us real hard, an then he axe Grurck somethin.
“What’s he say?” Major Fritch want to know.
“Him axe what the ape plays,” say Grurck.
“Tell him the ape plays the spears,” I say, an Grurck do that, an then the king of the pygmies announce he want to hear us perform.
I get out my harmonica an start playin a little tune – “De Camptown Races.” King of the pygmies listen for a minute, then he start clappin his hans an doin what look to be a clog dance.
After I’m finished, he say he wants to know what Major Fritch an Grurck plays, an I tell Grurck to say Major Fritch plays the knives an that Grurck don’t play nothin – he is the manager.
King of the pygmies look sort of puzzled an say he ain’t never heard of anybody playin knives or spears before, but he tell his men to give Sue some spears an Major Fritch some knives an let’s see what sort of music we come up with.
Soon as we get the spears an knives, I say, “Okay – now!” an ole Sue conk the king of the pygmies over the head with his spear an Major Fritch threatened a couple of pygmies with her knives an we run off into the jungle with the pygmies in hot pursuit.
The pygmies be thowin all sorts of rocks an shit at us from behin, an shootin they bows an arrows an darts from blowguns an such. Suddenly we come out on the bank of a river an ain’t no place to go, an the pygmies are catchin up fast. We is bout to jump into the river an swim for it, when suddenly from the opposite side of the river a rifle shot ring out.
The pygmies are right on top of us, but another rifle shot ring out an they turn tail an run back into the jungle. We be lookin across the river an lo an behole on the other bank they is a couple of fellers wearin bush jackets an them white pith helmets like you used to see in Ramar of the Jungle. They step into a canoe an be paddlin towards us, an as they get closer, I seen one of them is got NASA stamped on his pith helmet. We is finally rescued.
When the canoe reach our shore, the guy with NASA stamped on his helmet get out an come up to us. He go right up to ole Sue an stick out his han an say, “Mister Gump, I presume?”
“Where the fuck has you assholes been?” hollared Major Fritch. “We been stranded in the jungle nearly four goddamn years!”
“Sorry bout that, ma’am,” the feller say, “but we has got our priorities, too, you know.”
Anyway, we is at last saved from a fate worse than death, an they loaded us up in the canoe an started paddlin us downriver. One of the fellers say, “Well folks, civilization is just aroun the corner. I reckon you’ll all be able to sell your stories to a magazine an make a fortune.”
“Stop the canoe!” Major Fritch suddenly call out.
The fellers look at one another, but they paddle the canoe over to the bank.
“I have made a decision,” Major Fritch say. “For the first time in my life, I have found a man that truly understands me, an I am not going to let him go. For nearly four years, Grurck an I have lived happily in this land, an I have decided to stay here with him. We will go off in the jungle an make a new life for ourselfs, an raise a family an live happily ever after.”
“But this man is a cannibal,” one of the fellers say.
“Eat your heart out, buster,” says Major Fritch, an she an Grurck get out of the canoe an start back into the jungle again, han in han. Jus before they disappeared, Major Fritch turn aroun an give Sue an me a little wave, an then off they go.
I looked back to the end of the canoe, an ole Sue is settin there twistin his fingers.
“Wait a minute,” I says to the fellers. I go back an set down on the seat nex to Sue an say, “What you thinkin bout?”
Sue ain’t sayin nothin, but they is a little bitty tear in his eye, an I knowed then what was bout to happen. He grapped me aroun the shoulders in a big hug, an then leaped out of the boat an ran up a tree on the shore. Last we seen of him, he is swingin away thru the jungle on a vine.
The feller from NASA be shakin his head. “Well, what about you, numbnuts? You gonna follow your friends there into Bonzoland?”
I looked after them for a minute, then I said, “Uh, uh,” an set back down in the canoe. Wile they was paddlin us away, don’t you believe I didn’t think bout it for a moment. But I jus couldn’t do it. I reckon I got other weenies to roast.
They flown me back to America an tole me on the way how there was to be a big welcome home reception for me, but seems like I have heard that before.
Sure enough tho, soon as we landed in Washington bout a million people was on han, cheerin an clappin an actin like they is glad to see me. They drove me into town in the back seat of a big ole black car an said they was takin me to the White House to see the President. Yep, I been there before too.
Well, when we get to the White House, I’m expectin to see the same ole President what fed me breakfast an let me watch “The Beverly Hillbillies,” but they is got a new President now – feller with his hair all slicked back, puffy little cheeks an a nose look like Pinocchio’s.
“Tell me now,” this President say, “did you have an exciting trip?”
A feller in a suit standin next to the President lean over an whisper somethin to him, an suddenly the President say, “Oh, ah, accually what I meant was, how great it is that you have escaped from your ordeal in the jungle.”
The feller in the suit whisper somethin else to the President, an he say to me, “Er, now what about your companion?”
“Sue?” I say.
“Was that her name?” Now he be lookin at a little card in his han. “Says here it was a Major Janet Fritch, and that even as you were being rescued she was dragged off into the jungle by a cannibal.”
“Where it say that?” I axed.
“Right here,” the President say.
“That’s not so,” I says.
“Are you suggesting I am a liar?” say the President.
“I’m jus sayin it ain’t so,” I says.
“Now look here,” say the President, “I am your commander in chief. I am not a crook. I do not lie!”
“I am very sorry,” I says, “but it ain’t the truth bout Major Fritch. You jus take that off a card, but – “
“Tape!” the President shout.
“Huh?” I says.
“No, no,” says the feller in the suit. “He said ‘take’?Cnot ‘tape’ – Mister President.”
“TAPE!” scream the President. “I told you never to mention that word in my presence again! You are all a bunch of disloyal Communist swines.” The President be poundin hissef on the knee with his fist.
“None of you understand. I don’t know anything bout anything! I never heard of anything! And if I did, I either forgot it, or it is top secret!”
“But Mister President,” say the feller in the suit, “he didn’t say it. He only said – “
“Now you are calling me a liar!” he say. “You’re fired!”
“But you can’t fire me,” the feller say. “I am the Vice President.”
“Well, pardon me for saying so,” says the President, “but you are never going to make President if you go aroun calling your commander in chief a liar.”
“No, I guess you’re right,” say the Vice President. “I beg your pardon.”
“No, I beg yours,” the President say.
“Whatever,” say the Vice President, kinda fiddlin with hissef. “If you will all excuse me now, I have to go pee.”
“That’s the first sensible idea I have heard all day,” say the President. Then he turn to me an axe, “Say, aren’t you the same fellow that played ping-pong and saved the life of old Chairman Mao?”
I says, “Yup,” an the President say, “Well what did you want to do a thing like that for?”
An I says, “Cause he was drownin,” an the President say, “You should have held him under, instead of saving him. Anyway, it’s history now, because the son of a bitch died while you were away in the jungle.”
“You got a tv set?” I axed.
The President look at me kind of funny. “Yeah, I have one, but I don’t watch it much these days. Too much bad news.”
“You ever watch ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’?” I say.
“It’s not on yet,” he say.
“What is?” I axed.
” ‘To Tell the Truth’ – but you don’t want to look at that – it’s a bunch of shit.” Then he say, “Look here, I have a meeting to go to, why don’t I walk you to the door?” When we get outside on the porch, an the President say in a very low voice, “Listen, you want to buy a watch?”
I say, “Huh?” an he step over close to me an shove up the sleeve on his suit an lo an behole he must of had twenty or thirty wristwatches aroun his arm.
“I ain’t got no money,” I says.
The President, he roll down his sleeve an pat me on the back. “Well, you come back when you do and we’ll work something out, okay?”
He shook my han an a bunch of photographers come up an start takin our picher an then I’m gone. But I’ll say this, that President seem like a nice feller after all.
Anyhow, I’m wonderin what they gonna do with me now, but I don’t have to wonder long.
It took bout a day or so for things to quiet down, an they had put me up in a hotel, but then a couple of fellers come in one afternoon an say, “Listen here, Gump, the free ride’s over. The government ain’t payin for none of this anymore – you’re on your own now.”
“Well, okay,” I say, “but how bout givin me a little travelin money to get home on. I’m kinda light right now.”
“Forget it, Gump,” they say. “You is lucky not to be in jail for conkin the Clerk of the Senate on the head with that medal. We done you a favor to get you off that rap – but we is washin our hans of your ass as of right now.”
So I had to leave the hotel. Since I ain’t got no things to pack, it wadn’t hard, an I just went out on the street. I walked a wile, down past the White House where the President live, an to my suprise they is a whole bunch of people out front got on rubber masks of the President’s face an they is carryin some kind of signs. I figger he must be pleased to be so popular with everbody.