Forrest Gump Chapter Twenty
I had a couple of matches after that an won both of them, naturally, an then Mike call Dan an me in his office one day an says, “Look here, this week you are gonna rassle The Professor.”
“Who is that?” Dan axed.
“He comes from California,” says Mike, “an is pretty hot stuff out there. He is runner up to the Western Division champion.”
“Okay by me,” I say.
“But there is just one other thing,” say Mike. “This time, Forrest, you got to lose.”
“Lose?” I says.
“Lose,” say Mike. “Look, you been winnin ever week for months an months. Don’t you see you got to lose ever once in a wile to keep up your popularity?”
“How you figger that?”
“Simple. People like a underdog. Makes you look better the nex time.”
“I don’t like it,” I say.
“How much you payin?” Dan axed.
“I don’t like it,” I says again.
“Two thousan’s a lot of money,” Dan say.
“I still don’t like it,” I says.
But I took the deal.
Jenny is been actin sort of peculiar lately, but I put it down to nerves or somethin. Then one day she come home an say, “Forrest, I’m at the end of my rope. Please don’t go out there an do this.”
“I got to,” I says. “Anyhow, I is gonna lose.”
“Lose?” she say. I splain it to her jus like Mike splain it to me, an she say, “Awe shit, Forrest, this is too much.”
“It’s my life,” I says – whatever that meant.
Anyway, a day or so later, Dan come back from someplace an says him an me got to have a talk.
“Forrest, I think I got the solution to our problems.”
I axed what it was.
“I think,” says Dan, “we better be bailin out of this business pretty soon. I know Jenny don’t like it, an if we are gonna start our srimp thing, we best be on bout it. But,” he say, “I think I got a way to bail out an clean up at the same time.”
“How’s that?” I axed.
“I been talkin to a feller downtown. He runs a bookie operation an the word is out you gonna lose to The Professor this Saturday.”
“So?” I says.
“So what if you win?”
“Kick his ass.”
“I get in trouble with Mike,” I says.
“Screw Mike,” Dan say. “Look, here’s the deal. Spose we take the ten thousan we got an bet it on you to win? Two-to-one odds. Then you kick his ass an we got twenty grand.”
“But I’ll be in all sorts of trouble,” I says.
“We take the twenty grand an blow this town,” Dan say. “You know what we can do with twenty grand? We can start one hell of a srimp business an have a pile left over for ourselves. I’m thinkin maybe it’s time to get out of this rasslin stuff anyway.”
Well, I’m thinkin Dan is the manager, an also that Jenny has said I gotta get out of rasslin too, an twenty grand ain’t a bad deal.
“What you think?” Dan says.
“Okay,” I say. “Okay.”
The day come for me to rassle The Professor. The bout is to be helt up at Fort Wayne, an Mike come by to pick us up an is blowin the horn outside, an I axed Jenny if she is ready.
“I ain’t goin,” she say. “I’ll watch it on television.”
“But you got to go,” I says, an then I axed Dan to splain why.
Dan tole Jenny what the plan was, an that she had to go, on account of we needed somebody to drive us back to Indianapolis after I done whupped The Professor.
“Neither of us can drive,” he say, “an we gonna have to have a fast car right outside the arena when it’s over to get us back here to collect the twenty grand from the bookie an then hightail it out of town.”
“Well, I ain’t havin nothin to do with a deal like that,” Jenny say.
“But it’s twenty grand,” I says.
“Yeah, an it’s dishonest too,” she says.
“Well, it’s dishonest what he’s been doin all the time,” Dan says, “winnin an losin all planned out beforehand.”
“I ain’t gonna do it,” Jenny said, an Mike was blowin his horn again, an Dan say, “Well, we gotta go. We’ll see you back here sometime after it’s over – one way or the other.”
“You fellers oughta be ashamed of yourselfs,” Jenny say.
“You won’t be so high-falutin when we come back with twenty thousan smackeroos in our pocket,” Dan says.
Anyhow, off we go.
On the ride to Fort Wayne, I ain’t sayin much on account of I’m kinda embarrassed bout what I’m fixin to do to ole Mike. He ain’t treated me so badly, but on the other han, as Dan have splained, I has made a lot of money for him too, so it gonna come out aroun even.
We get to the arena an the first bout is already on – Juno the Giant is gettin the hell kicked out of him by The Fairy. An nex up is a tag team match between lady midgets. We gone on into the dressin room an I put on my diapers an dunce cap. Dan, he get somebody to dial the number of the taxicab company an arrange for a cab to be there outside with its motor runnin after my match.
They beat on my door an it’s time to go on. Me an The Professor is the feature bout of the evenin.
He is already there in the ring when I come out. The Professor is a little wiry guy with a beard an wearin spectacles an he have on a black robe an morter-board hat. Damn if he don’t look like a professor at that. I decided right then to make him eat that hat.
Well, I climb on up in the ring an the announcer say, “Ladies an Gentlemen.” At this there be a lot of boos, an then he say, “We is proud tonight to have as our main attraction for the North American Professional Rasslin Association title bout two of the top contenders in the country – The Professor versus The Dunce!”
At this, they is so much booin an cheerin that it is impossible to say if the crowd is happy or angry. It don’t matter nohow, cause then the bell ring an the match is on.
The Professor has taken off his robe, glasses, an the morter-board hat an is circlin me, shakin his finger at me like I’m bein scolded. I be tryin to grap a holt of him, but ever time, he jump out of the way an keep shakin his finger. This go on for a minute or two an then he make a mistake. He run aroun behin me an try to kick me in the ass, but I done snatched a holt of him by the arm an slung him into the ropes. He come boundin off the ropes like a slingshot ball an as he go past me I trip him up an was bout to pounce on him with the Bellybuster maneuver, but he done scrambled out of the way to his corner an when I look up, he is got a big ole ruler in his han.
He be whoppin the ruler in his palm like he gonna spank me with it, but instead, when I grapped for him this time, he done jam the ruler in my eye, like to gouge it out. I’ll tell you this – it hurt, an I was stumblin aroun tryin to get my sight back when he run up behin me an put somethin down my diapers. Didn’t take long to find out what it was – it was ants! Where he got them, lord knows, but the ants commence to bitin me an I was in a awful fix.
Dan is there, hollerin for me to finish him off, but it ain’t no easy thing with ants in your pants. Anyhow, the bell rung an that was the end of the roun an I go on back to my corner an Dan be tryin to get the ants out.
“That was a dirty trick,” I say.
“Just finish him,” Dan says, “we can’t afford no screwups.”
The Professor come out for the secont round an be makin faces at me. Then he get close enough for me to snatch him up an I lifted him over my head an begun doin the Airplane Spin.
I spinned him aroun bout forty or fifty times till I was pretty sure he was dizzy an then heaved him hard as I could over the ropes into the audience. He land up in bout the fifth row of bleachers in the lap of a ole woman who is knittin a sweater, an she start beatin him with a umbrella.
Trouble is, the Airplane Spin have taken its toll on me too. Everthin spinnin aroun but I figger it don’t matter cause it’ll stop pretty soon, an The Professor, he is finished anyway. In this, I am wrong.
I am almost recovered from the spinnin when all of a sudden somethin got me by the ankles. I look down, an damn if The Professor ain’t climbed back in the ring an brought with him the ball of yarn the ole lady was knittin with, an now he done rapped it aroun my feet.
I started tryin to wriggle out, but The Professor be runnin circles aroun me with the yarn, rappin me up like a mummy. Pretty soon, I am tied up han an foot an cain’t move or nothin. The Professor stop an tie the yarn up in a little fancy knot an stand in front of me an take a bow – like he is a magician just done some trick or somethin.
Then he saunter over to his corner an get a big ole book – look like a dictionary – an come back an take another bow. An then he crack me on the head with the book. Ain’t nothin I can do. He must of cracked me ten or twelve times before I gone down. I am helpless an I am hearin everbody cheer as The Professor set on my shoulders an pin me – an win the match.
Mike an Dan, they come in the ring an unraveled the yarn off me an heped me up.
“Terrific!” Mike say, “Just terrific! I couldn’t of planned it better mysef!”
“Oh shut up,” Dan say. An then he turn to me. “Well,” he say, “this is a fine state of affairs – gettin yoursef outsmarted by The Professor.”
I ain’t sayin nothin. I am miserable. Everthin is lost an the one thing I know for sure is that I ain’t gonna rassle never again.
We didn’t need the getaway cab after that, so Dan an me rode back to Indianapolis with Mike. All the drive back, he be sayin how great it was that I lost to The Professor that way, an how nex time I gonna get to win an make everbody thousans of dollars.
When he pull up in front of the apartment, Mike reach back an han Dan a envelope with the two thousan dollars he was gonna pay me for the match.
“Don’t take it,” I says.
“What?” says Mike.
“Listen,” I say. “I got to tell you somethin.”
Dan cut in. “What he wants to say is, he ain’t gonna be rasslin no more.”
“You kiddin?” Mike say.
“Ain’t kiddin,” says Dan.
“Well how come?” Mike axed. “What’s wrong, Forrest?”
Before I could say anythin, Dan say, “He don’t want to talk about it now.”
“Well,” says Mike, “I understan, I guess. You go get a good night’s sleep. I’ll be back first thing in the mornin an we can talk bout it, okay?”
“Okay,” Dan says, an we get out of the car. When Mike is gone, I says, “You shouldn’t of took the money.”
“Well it’s all the hell we got left now,” he say. Everthin else is gone. I didn’t realize till a few minutes later how right he was.
We get to the apartment an lo an behole, Jenny is gone too. All her things is gone, cept she lef us some clean sheets an towels an some pots an pans an stuff. On the table in the livin room is a note. Dan foun it first, an he read it out loud to me.
Dear Forrest, [it says]
I am just not able to take this anymore. I have tried to talk to you about my feelings, and you don’t seem to care. There is something particularly bad about what you are gonna do tonight, because it isn’t honest, and I am afraid I cannot go on with you any longer.
Maybe it is my fault, partly, because I have gotten to an age where I need to settle down. I think about having a house and a family and goin to church and things like that. I have known you since the first grade, Forrest – nearly thirty years – and have watched you grow up big and strong and fine. And when I finally realized how much I cared for you – when you came up to Boston – I was the happiest girl in the world.
And then you took to smoking too much dope, and you fooled with those girls down in Provincetown, an even after that, I missed you, and was glad you came to Washington during the peace demonstration to see me.
But when you got shot up in the spaceship and were lost in the jungle nearly four years, I think maybe I changed. I am not as hopeful as I used to be, and think I would be satisfied with just a simple life somewhere. So, now I must go an find it.
Something is changed in you, too, dear Forrest. I don’t think you can help it exactly, for you were always a “special” person, but we no longer seem to think the same way.
I am in tears as I write this, but we must part now. Please don’t try to find me. I wish you well, my darling – good-bye.
Dan handed the note to me but I let it drop on the floor an just stood there, realizin for the first time in my life what it is truly like to be a idiot.