by Carl L. Biemiller,
edited by C. J. Carnahan and Eric Biemiller

lightning Copyright © 2005 by Eric C. Biemiller

Please respect the copyrights.
The chapter links are located at the end of each chapter.
Chapter 23

School began. The year had nearly turned over since Woodie’s accident. Dr. Decker Todd reminded him of the fact. They were still in his office.

“It has been nearly a year now since my peerless skill saved your life, you damn kid,” said Dr. Todd. “But I am glad to report that both of you are fine.”

“Both of me?” asked Woodie.

Decker Todd explained. He and Dr. Bailiff had just returned from the West Coast. They had been visiting with the famous psychologist Dr. Roger Sperry at the California Institute of Technology. They had been brought up to date on some recent experiments with the human brain.

“It may be that two different persons live inside your skull, Woodie, and both of them are you. But one of you lives in one side of your house and the other lives in the other side. The brain has two hemispheres. The you that runs the store, the speaking, analytic, dominant you takes up one hemisphere. A mysterious stranger lives in the other hemisphere. Both of you are linked, like Siamese twins, by a thick nerve cable called the corpus callosum.

“You know that old saying about the left hand never knowing what the right hand was doing? Well, it’s true. There is some pretty good evidence that one hemisphere of your brain never knows what the other is doing. Raises all sorts of questions, doesn’t it? If you are two, does one soul cover both of you? See your local minister or priest. How could I commit a murder when I was also out to lunch? See your local judge and jury. Which Woodie Kynwood owns the magic power? And which Woodie runs it?”

Dr. Todd was at the top of his form.

“I can see why Dr. Bailiff would be interested in the experiments you saw,” said Woodie.

“Then you can also see why I’d be interested in them too, you damn kid. Suppose I operate on one hemisphere of the brain and the guy who lives on the other side of the corpus callosum says he won’t pay my bill because I didn’t do anything for him? Suppose that for openers? You didn’t think I ran all the way out to the West Coast just to eat abalone steak, did you? Or to learn more about my business?”

“Yes,” said Woodie.

“Yes, what?”

A clinical thermometer wiggled out of Dr. Todd’s inside coat pocket. It hung in mid-air. Dr. Todd made a grab for it. It darted away from his hand and zipped for his mouth, which was open in surprise. It took Dr. Todd’s temperature before he removed it.

“Getting pretty good, aren’t you? The Beetle also said you were getting pretty fresh, too, as well as careless and dangerous to yourself and maybe others.”

“I’m careful,” said Woodie.

“So am I,” said Decker Todd. “Now, about this football business which I assume you are going to play. I don’t see any reason why you can’t take the normal bouncing around. But I want you to promise me faithfully that if you get any headaches that last longer than a few hours, or any funny stiffness at the base of your neck, you call me. Understand? Don’t bug me with little stuff like broken bones. Okay? What position are you trying for?”

“The coach thinks I can make it at quarterback. Maybe not as a starter this year, but he says I’ll get to play a lot. He likes the way I throw. But anyhow, he’s emphasizing defense. He says he knows how to get points any old time he wants them. We’ve got a secret weapon.”

“He likes the way you throw, eh? I suppose that when you play I’ll be treated to the sight of the ball chasing the receiver all over the field until he catches it.”

“That,” said Woodie indignantly, “would be cheating.”

“It would, eh?”

“Absolutely Watergating,” said Woodie.

Dr. Todd looked sad.

“Already part of the language for the young,” he murmured. “A word meaning deceit, chicanery, evil … and … accepted … He raised his voice. “Get out of here, Woodie,” he said. “Tell my receptionist that I’ve gone for the day.”

Materville wasn’t much interested in football. It was going about the business of daily living still groggy from absorbing the Washington news of August. The President had come out of the hills at Camp David on August 15 to make a nationwide television speech about Watergate. The New York Times commissioned a Gallup poll to see what folks thought about it. The poll revealed that 44-percent of the President’s viewers didn’t believe a word he said. The President’s press secretary, the man supposed to give honest answers to questions asked by radio, newspaper and TV people, gave so many booby answers, that the President had to hide him in another part of the White House. There was lots of room as most of the President’s main assistants long ago gave so many funny answers that they now had to go to court, and maybe to jail, if the judges didn’t find the answers so funny.

The President got a new press secretary. He also decided upon a strategy of defense. He would now refuse to answer point-by-point charges. He would dribble out partial answers, if he had any, over many months. He would try to discredit those who asked the same old boring questions. Sooner or later the public would find other things more immediate to think about than Watergate. All his trouble would go away.

Instead of that, just about the time that classes in Marterville High School were working out a truce between teachers and pupils the Vice President of the United States started to go away with his own personal Watergate type of mess.

The Vice President of the United States was accused of taking money in exchange for giving contractors public work while he was a county officer in the State of Maryland. There was enough evidence against him to send him to a jail for a long time.

This was very embarrassing to the Indians of the Cherokee Nation who had made him an honorary Cherokee Indian and called him “The Chief Who Speaks Straight”. It was also embarrassing to the President of the United States. The Vice President said he would fight the charges. He wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives asking the House to conduct a full investigation. He said that the House would have to impeach him because he could not be indicted as long as he was the Vice President of the United States.

The Justice Department of the United States said this was not so. Only the President could be impeached. The Vice President could be tried like any other crook. The Speaker of the House of Representatives said that the House did not care to investigate the Vice President as he had already been pretty well investigated.

Marterville High School played its first football game on the last Saturday of September.

The team played Blattstown. Congressman Otten came up from Washington for the weekend and attended the game. Marius Scopton, who had driven the Kynwood party around Washington, came over from Blattstown where he lived.

He visited on the Marterville side of the field and said hello to Woodie’s parents who were there to see Woodie play, if he played, and Sue, who was there to listen to her transistor radio and yell cheers when she felt like it, and Emily who was there to see Woodie whether he played or not.

Emily had conquered her loathing for the school colors, scarlet and black. She was wearing a red and black football jersey with the number 12 on its back. She bought it from Leroy Godbody who was nine years old and played in the town’s Midget League. It was too small for Leroy Godbody but it hung down over her hips to a point half way down her blue jeans. The number 12, which was Woodie’s team number, bulged out slightly with Emily’s bottom.

“Emily, that jersey doesn’t do a thing for you,” said Connie Knywood.

“Nothing does,” said Emily. “But I’m filling out nicely.”

“That’s what counts, dear,” said Mrs. Kynwood giving her a big hug.

“It counts some,” admitted Emily.

“What?” asked Sue.

“Girl bulges,” said Emily. “Go back to sleep.”

The manager of the school’s public address system, which went wheeeck all the time and growled static, introduced the team to the crowd. When he introduced Rumpelstiltskin Gomez the high school cheering section exploded with noise.

“Must be a lot of Disney fans here today,” said Ballard Kynwood Senior. “That’s a Disney dwarf in a football suit.”

“Rumpel looks a trifle odd,” said Sue.

Emily giggled. “Really,” she said.

“It is kinder to say that Rumpel looks distinguished,” said Mrs. Kynwood.

Mrs. Kynwood was right. Rump was distinguished, and mostly by the football helmet which Coach Doyle Fisher ordered from the equipment factory to hide Rumpel’s hair. It was about the size of a big beach ball, and if Rumpel had not had enough hair to cover a llama, which held the helmet up, it would have covered most of Rumpel. Rumpel looked like a lollipop with a thick stem instead of a stick.

He couldn’t have cared less.

Marterville won the game 7 to 0. It was not a very good game but the weather was nice. Marterville’s offense was the high school wishbone, and it would take a few more games before the offensive team gained confidence with all its options and pitch-outs. But the varsity quarterback seemed reasonably comfortable with it, although he had trouble with his passing.

Woodie played the last five minutes of the game and connected with two passes before the game ended. Tinker played the entire game and there was little doubt that he would play all of the games, all of the season. Marterville scored its touchdown in the second quarter. Senor Gomez came in with Woodie to hold the ball and kicked the extra point. He sat out the rest of the game under his helmet.

Coach Doyle Fisher addressed the squad in the locker room after the game.

“We had a little fun today,” he said. “But to have fun on Saturday we’re going to work our tails off during the week, and, just to make the work interesting, we’re going to concentrate on defense some more. I like to give everybody a chance to hit somebody all week long.”

Congressman Otten dropped by the Kynwood’s house that evening. Emily was playing Scrabble with Woodie and had her parent’s permission to be there if she didn’t make a nuisance of herself. She was out of daytime uniform and looked like a girl. Woodie Senior and Connie were playing gin rummy for $1,000 a point, and thinking about raising the stakes to $1,000,000 a point.

Congressman Otten was in a hurry, as he had promised to make an appearance at the Follies Bergere staged by the Marterville Senior Citizens to raise funds for a trip to France to see the Follies Bergere. Mrs. Trumpet Botts who was eighty years old and some of her cronies about the same age had formed a chorus called the Oola-La-La seven and were going to dance the can-can.

“Rain or shine, they vote like tigers,” said Congressman Otten explaining his hurry.

“I’m glad to catch Emily here with Woodie. They may remember Mr. Rembrant Rutherford Roberts who heads the President Council for Physical Fitness and Sports. He is leaving that organization. Some of his friends are giving him a farewell dinner in Washington at the end of October. They are asking some of the athletes that Mr. Roberts liked very much to be there. All expenses paid, of course. Mr. Roberts liked Emily very much. He asked that she be invited. Emily, you will get a nice formal invitation later. Now, I asked the dinner committee to invite Woodie also because Mr. Roberts also likes Woodie…”

“Okay, ‘Twit’,” said Ballard Kynwood Senior sourly. “Beetle Bailiff has been invited. You are going, of course. Is the President of the United States going to make a token appearance?”

“Well, I’d say yes. It might be the last place in Washington where he’d feel safe.”

“Ha!” said Woodie Senior.

“I’m not so sure of that ha nor even a ha-ha,” said Representative Otten. “This isn’t something we dreamed up, and I confess the invitations surprised me. But, on the other hand, there may be something worth picking up at such a party.”

“I’ll think about it,” said Woodie Senior.

“Thank you for the invitation, Mr. Otten,” said Emily. “I’ll tell my parents about it.”

“Wait a minute before you take off, Congressman,” said Woodie Senior. “Impeachment of the President. You think it will come to that?”

“Woodie, I’ve been in the House a long time. This Watergate disease is going to drag on, perhaps for months to come. But already there is quiet panic among the members of the House. You know why? The real reason why? It’s because the members already sense that in the end the people want Congress to do what it thinks best. Congressmen hate this. It forces them to step out ahead of the people, to take responsibility and to assert leadership. Hoo, boy. That makes them risk re-election. What Congress wants is for the people to tell it what to do. Congress wants definite marching orders, an unmistakable demand from the voters. Congressmen want public opinion crystallized. But you know what? In the end they are going to have to do their best as they see it anyhow… Impeachment of the President? I see the chances are fifty-fifty right now, but it won’t come up right now. The House has a lot of work to do, a lot of evidence to dig out … Ask me again in a few months.”

Ballard Kynwood Senior said a graffiti.

“I think I’ll let Woodie go to the dinner if he wants to go,” he added.

“What’s that all mean?” Emily asked Woodie Junior.

“It means that my father isn’t going to consider whacking my butt again,” said Woodie Junior.

Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five
Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty One Chapter Twenty Two Chapter Twenty Four Chapter Twenty Five Chapter Twenty Six
Chapter Twenty Seven Chapter Twenty Eight Chapter Twenty Nine Chapter Thirty
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