The Gump & Co oyster bidness was goin so well, a big man in New York City ast me to come up an talk. He said that there was a Bubba Gump restaurant in New York that served thousands of people every day, an if they liked srimp, they would like oysters too. So I went. They say New York City is “the big apple”, but every apple I saw there was regular size.
Now I ain’t really the type of man who likes seein his name everwhere. Bubba Gump restaurants, Bubba Gump shirts, Bubba Gump hats, Gump & Co this, Gump & Co that. But this man put his name on his apartment buildin, an he lived on the top floor. I rode up a golden elevator to his floor like Willy Wonka or somethin, an there he was. “Forrest,” he said, “You have a nack for the seafood industry.” I tole him that every time I find myself broke or ruint, I go back home to Alabama because things are easier there. “That is tremendous,” he said.
He tole me he would pay me five million dollars if I would let him build a Gump & Co restaurant in New York City. Five million dollars! “Well sir, that is a fine offer, but I don’t need all that money,” I said. “We could split it between my son, Little Forrest, an all my friends who work at the company too.”
“Deal!” he shouted. He would say that word alot.
The big man said we should celebrate at his casino, so we went that night, to New Jersey. Wouldn’t you know, his name was on this buildin too. It wadn’t like any Biloxi casino I’d ever seen. He called it the Taj Mahal, after a buildin in India that looked the same. But alot of the fellers I saw gamblin inside were Russians, not Injuns. Anyways, the big man kept buyin me Diet Cokes, puttin them on his tab or somethin. We were havin a good time an all, but there was somethin about the hole situation that didn’t feel right. So I asked where the bathroom was, cause I had to pee. An one of his Russian friends shouted some gobbledygook at me, so I figured I’d find it myself.
I thought I had found the bathroom, so I opened the door an walked in to a little room an then another room. Sometimes bathrooms in fancy buildins like casinos have a little room first. The bigger room didn’t have a toilet, an all the lights was out, but by this point I was fit to burst so I began to pee anyways. Well, it was another one of these Russian feller’s hotel rooms, an I was peein on his bed! He came runnin in to the room from somewhere else, cussin an hollerin in Russian, until I zipped my thing up. “Who sent you?” he ast me in English, finally. I tole him the big man who’s name was on the buildin, an he calmed down an said “Ok. Ve vill remember this.”
I didn’t want to cause any more trouble so I waved good-bye an foun my way back to the craps table where the big man an all his friends were. All of a sudden they all started talkin to little microphones in their ears like Dick Tracy, an then shoutin at him an each other, until he said “Let’s make a deal.” Turns out, he declared bankrupcy on that casino so he could give them some money to make it all better. “Forrest,” he said, “let’s get out of here.”
Some how it came up in conversation that I use to play a little football, an this cheered him up. So we went to watch a New England Patriots football game at their stadium in Boston. The big man said he knew the guy who owned the team, an the quarterback, an that they all were friends. I was surprised his name wadn’t on the football stadium too. His friend the owner wadn’t there, which must of been why they stuck us way up in the nose bleed seats with a bunch of people from Boston aroun us.
They started playin the national anthem an I looked down to see that the big man’s shoe was untied. “Hey,” I said to him, “Your shoe is untied an the lace fell in a puddle, dunno if it is beer or pee.” I thought it would make him laugh, but he knelt down to tie his shoe an all of a sudden the Boston fans were yellin an thowin they drinks at him, callin him “queer” an “snow flake” an things like that. I think they really hurt his feelins. He grabbed my red Bubba Gump hat out of my hand an slapped it on my head. “Look at him,” he shouted back at them. “He didn’t take his hat off for the national anthem!” Then the Boston fans started thowin they things at me too. “Forrest,” he said, “let’s get out of here.”
“I am sorry what happened back there, Forrest.” he tole me as we was walkin out of the stadium. “I will never forget how that crowd hated me kneelin for the anthem or how your red hat saved me.” I tole him everythin was fine, but I should really be gettin back home to Alabama. We shook hands an he said he would call me if there was another opportunity for a bidness deal. There was that word again.
Wouldn’t you know, some years later, that big man became the President. His hole campaign was about red hats an pissin on a Russian’s bed. An I didn’t hear from him once, not even the five million dollars he promised me that day in New York City. But then one day, out of the blue, he called me. “Forrest,” he said, “Would you like to come to North Korea with me to meet a rocket man?” Now, ordinarily I don’t say yes to these things. But when the President of the United States asks you to meet a astronaut, doesn’t matter what you say, you might as well of said yes.
With apologies to Winston Groom.