Chapter 16 With Lyndon Brains
President Lyndon Brains Johnson was on his hands and knees in the Oval Office, his face low over a topographical map of I Corps. Behind him respectfully stood General Ponder, Chairman of the JCS, and a major from protocol in the Pentagon. The President’s jowls hung down like wattles and his rump poked up in the manner of an amorous tabby cat. In his hand was a large magnifying glass. He was selecting targets for Colonel Dravidian to bomb in connection with operation Urgent Thumper.
“What’s this? Looks like an important road junction, except…Lookit here! Gawdam roads run in circles! Look! The damn gooks built six circle roads inside each other. We better bomb’em.”
The major with General Ponder looked over the copious First Hindquarters and said, “Uh, Mr. President, sir, those aren’t roads. They’re elevation lines. That’s a hill.”
The voice from the rug assumed a dangerous growl. The huge face with sagging eye pouches turned on the major like a basset hound.
“Boy, you tryin’ to tell me what a road is? I was readin maps before your daddy gave up sheep, and I know roads when I see roads. You understand, boy?”
“Yessir,” said the major, resolving to get out of the Army and go to law school at the first opportunity.
“What you think, Ginral?”
“Roads, Mr. President. Major, if the President of the United States says those elevation lines are roads, then they’re roads.”
“Ginral, why you think those rice maggots got roads in circles, inside each other?”
General Ponder wasn’t sure how to answer. “Maybe they’re fortifying that hill. You know, maybe they figure they can drive trucks real fast to the other side if we attack. They’ll always be on the other side, so we can never shoot them.”
Lyndon Brains Johnson squinted at the map a moment further. “How those high-yeller peckerheads gonna git trucks onto those roads? They’re just circles. They don’t connect to anything.”
“Airlift, sir,” said the major, who was feeling like being a wiseass now that he had decided to go to law school.
“You pullen mah chain, boy?” roared Lyndon Brains Johnson. “Think Ah don’t know them little coons got no airplanes? How’d you like to git shot?”
“Mr. President, I was thinking about the invisible airplanes, sir.”
The President thought a moment. Maybe the major had something. The President hadn’t been able to get a straight answer out of the Pentagon about those damned planes. He gave them every chance, too. It just showed you could lead a horse to drink, but you couldn’t make him water.
The President suddenly peered more closely through his magnifying glass. His rump rose as his head went down, like a seesaw. Shit! The Central Highlands were just full of those circular roads inside each other! Why the hell hadn’t those ass-kissers in the Pentagon told him? The thing to do was to talk to the right guy direct.
“Get me those intelligence weeners in Danang,” he said. “I want to know about those roads.”
The White House switchboard activated the satellite link to Danang. Soon the speaker phone on the wall of the Oval Office said, “I’m connecting, sir.”
A phone rang far off in Asia and a perky voice said, “Beeboppa Reebop, Rudy T. Toute.”
The President’s eyes retracted another half inch into their pouches and his jowls sagged. A look of unalloyed hatred spread slowly across his basset-hound features.
“What are you, some kind of fucken rock star?” he roared. “Ginral, I want that goddam peckerhead drowned!”