IF I HAD A MILLION
by Stuart S. Diamond
(Note: Written when I was 9 years old)
If I had a million I would start out all wrong. Let’s say I get the money by check. I'd look at the check and say, "Gee, I wonder who gave me this small amount of money. Anyway who ever gave me this money is a cheap bum." Then I'd find out that my Uncle Sam gave it to me and I'd say, "It came from my Uncle Sam and he's loaded. Gee!”
Then I would go to the bank with a leather brief case. I’d walk into the bank get in to a long line. In about a half an hour I was at the front of the line and a window with bars covering it. I gave the clerk the check and asked him to give me the money.
"Oh, no mister. You can't get the money here. You have to get it at the National Bank in the Capital of Pigmy Country!' said the clerk,
The next day I was at the airport. I boarded the plane. In thirteen hours I was in the Capital of Belgian Conga. Leopoldville. I got a hotel and I toured the city. The next day I hired some natives and brought the supplies I would need on the journey to the capitol of Pygmy Country.
The next morning we started our journey to my destination. We took an Army Truck to the edge of the jungle. Our safari got out of the truck. We thanked the driver and he drove away. Then we got into a single line. The guide was first, then I came. I was sitting in a chair with four natives carrying it. Then came the rest of the natives. We walked on, and on. In a moment later the natives which were carrying me dropped the chair I was sitting in. The chair fell straight down, the seat of the chair broke. I fell into it so that I was in the shape of a V.
“What in the world?” I surprisingly shouted.
The natives replied, "If we have to carry to your destination, we quit."
I answered back, “OK. You win you don't have to carry me. Gee, and I thought I’d have so much fun.”
We walked on for another fifteen minutes, until we came to a gigantic plain which stretched out for miles and miles. Then the guide native said to me, "I would like to tell you, sir, that the sun is too hot to walk over. We need some fast transportation."
Off in the distance we could see a herd of giraffes. I said to the guide, “Would giraffes be able to take us across quick enough?”
The guide answered, "Yes, giraffes would take us across quick enough."
The guide then told the other natives to round up some giraffes. Then the natives put down the supplies, tentatively grabbed pieces of rope, and went out to round up the giraffes. In fifteen minutes everybody had their giraffe. Everybody got onto their giraffe except me, I climbed up on a tree and I put my hands on a branch so that I was hanging right over the giraffe. I let go. I missed the giraffe and hit the ground, hard! I got up and climbed up on the tree. Right then the giraffe knelt down on his knees. I jumped from the tree and got on the giraffe. We started on the plains. The rest of the natives were doing all right. As for me I couldn't hold on. I was bouncing up and down. I was lurking back and forth. I kept yelling, “Whoa, whoa!!”
In about a half an hour riding we were at the other side of the plains. All the natives stopped. But, I couldn’t stop my giraffe. The giraffe went into the forest. The giraffe kept running and running. We came to a low branch. The giraffe ducked his head. I saw the branch. I had b had no chance to duck my head. The giraffe went under the branch. The branch hit my neck. I kept circling the branch hanging on by my neck. The giraffe kept on running. I finally fell from the branch. Everything kept twirling and twirling around. The natives ran to me. In a couple of minutes later I was alright again. We continued our safari.
We walked on for another half an hour until we came to a small clearing. We decided to camp there. The natives made the tents. The skies darkened quickly. We had supper and hit the sack. That night I couldn't sleep because of the animal noises. Then I saw a black spider. I took a fly swatter and tried to swat the spider but he was too quick for me. So I thought to myself, "I know what I'll do Ill sit on it. Yeah, that's it, I'll sit on it."
The spider was on the bed. I grabbed a magazine, and started to read a column called, "BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS". This is what it said, "The Black Widow Spider has that name because she kills her husband. The Black Widow lays around 300 eggs. Three days after her babies are she dies. The babies eat each other. When the babies are adults there are around 50 spiders left out of the whole litter. The Black Widow Spiders bite injects poison ten times worst then a rattle snake bite, Beware the Black Widow Spider. Here's a picture of it."
“Gee, that's the spider I'm going to murder!" I thought to myself. I was starting to sit down. Just before I sat down on the spider. I yelled bloody murder. I threw the magazine up in the air and sprang forward. I ran out of the tent yelling. My guide was the first to reach me. I told him my troubles.
“Oh master, I'll kill the spider. And I'll keep any more spiders from coming into your tent.
My guide killed the spider and sprayed the room with a liquid called "We Kill Black Widow Spiders".
The next morning we ate breakfast and packed. We walked for an hour. We came to a river and fund no way to cross it. Then our guide said to me, "We could take alligators over if we could get a hold of them.
I answered, "Wel-l-l-l...”
The guide told the natives to capture some alligators alive. The natives put down their supplies and jumped into the river. In about a half-hour all the natives had alligators on land and the natives were tickling the alligators’ stomachs.
We all got onto the alligators backs and waded them across the river. All the natives got ahead of me. While I was wading across very slowly, a gigantic mouth opened up right in front of me. The alligator walked right down the opened mouth. The alligator was started to go right down this creature’s throat. I jumped off the alligator’s back and just got out of the creatures mouth to avoid it from closing on me. I started to scream for help. I tried to swim to the other natives. But, an alligator who wasn't under the tickling trance started after me. The alligator was catching up quickly. The alligator opened up its mouth. I started to slide down the alligator’s mouth. I swam faster than I was swimming. I swam out of the alligator’s mouth. Just as I swam out of the alligator’s mouth, it snapped shut. I got up to the other natives. But, the natives were already on shore.
Then some of the natives tad the guide that they were going to go back home. The guide told me this. I asked the guide why they were going home. The guide told me that they went home because they were entering Booga Booga country. The Booga Booga people are savages. There were only fourteen of us left.
We traveled another fifteen minutes until one of our natives was shout in the back with a poison dart. At the sign of this warning, we stopped put down our supplies and got read for attack. In a couple of minutes an arrow swooshed down and hit one of the supply bags which was right in front of me. I took my gun out of my holster. I waved my gun around and pulled the trigger. I heard a screech and saw an Indian fall out of a tree. Then the battle really got going. Arrow and spears were whizzing around me and we were shooting back with our guns. The battle blazed on for hours. At the end of four hours of fighting there were nine of us left. We had killed around fifty Indians. Then around sixty Indians jumped from the trees and charged us. We killed about thirty of them. But they surrounded us. They took us into their village and left our supplies where we were attacked.
As we walked through the village all the women and children stared at us. Finally we came to a big straw house. Inside there was a man with an alligator’s head sitting on a wooden chair which was on a wooden stage. Below the supposed Chief was a man with an Antelope’s head, who was probably the Medicine Man. The Chief then stood up and said, "Deket otoo noono deret gog.”
The Indians put us in a tent with our hands tied on to a post with a guard guarding our straw house.
The next morning the Indians untied our hands and pushed us out of the hut. My safari natives were trembling. But, I looked around and took a big yawn. My yawn was interrupted when one of the Indians pushed me down on the ground, with his foot on my feet and growled.
The Indian shouted back at me, saying, "BOOGAS!
I jumped back with fear. The Indians howled with laughter. I announced, "You win."
The witch doctor put nine bowls of water in front of us. My guide explained to me that one of the bowls had poison in it. The native which was on the far right picked up one of the bowls and drank from it. After the first sip he dropped the bowl, put his hands around his neck, turned around in a circle several times, and dropped to the ground. Upon further examination we found he was dead. The Indians took the rest of us into the middle of the village. We were tied to several posts. The posts were very easy to take out of the ground, but, we didn't dare. The Indians lit the dried brush which was around us. When the Indians started to dance around us. Their hands were up in the air and they were yelling, "Booga booga".
The smoke rose passed my feet, passed my holster, and, up. I looked down at my holster, then folded my arms and started to him. The rest of the safari men started to stare at me curiously.
Then the bullets started to explode. The Indians started to run away from the fire for dear life. We pulled the post out of the ground and untied each of our hands that were tied to the post.
We ran to where our supplies were stationed, put them on our backs, and started to run. We came to a mountain, and started to climb it. When we came to the top we looked down and there were the Indians at the foot of the mountain. The Indians started to climb up the mountain, I took a small rock and through it down at the Indians. This started an avalanche of rock. About half of the Indians escaped, but the rest were crushed. After a couple of minutes the Indians were able to start up again. I turned around and looked at the valley below us. My guide told me that here was where all the dead Booga Indians were buried and ghosts were supposed to haunt it. A chill ran down my back. Then I told the natives that we ew would have to jump down the mountain because of the steep cliff. The cliff was about 4000 feet straight down. I told the natives that they had cords on one of their supply bags. I told them that they were supposed to pull the cord three seconds after they jumped and a cloth will come out and lower you gently to the ground.
We jumped and pulled the cord. Just as the chute opened the Indians were at the top of the mountain and throwing spears at us. I took a hand grenade out of my supply bag and threw it at the Indians. There was a big explosion. Then the Indians came flying at us and fell to fell to the ground. I said to myself, "At least they had a proper burial.”
We were gently lowered to the ground. We took off the parachutes and walked on. We walked about for a mile, stopped and set up for the night. The mountains were still in plain sight, and it seemed that we were at the foot of the mountain.
That night when I was sitting in my folding chair reading an African magazine when it happened. A liquor bottle on a table opposite me in the tent started floating in the air. The cork flew from the bottle and landed on the table. The bottle turned upside down and the liquid started to fall out of the bottle. Instead of falling out to the ground, it just disappeared.
I knew what, was going on. “One of the ghosts,” I said to myself. "I'll teach that ghost of a ghost a ghost of a lesson." I charged at the liquor bottle braced for a collision with the so called ghost. I was also braced for that if I went right through the ghost. But, I hit the ghost. The liquor bottle fell to the ground. When everything got settled again I found that I was on top of the ghost. All of a sudden I was flung into the air and hit the ground hard. I charged a gain where I hoped the ghost was. But there wasn't any ghost to collide with. I kept on going until I hit the other wall of the tent.
My safari men gathered around the tent to find out what all the commotion was about.
I finally got to the ghost again, and I started to fight. Hoping that I wouldn't be forced to let go. We socked and murdered each other. Finally I let go and came tumbling out of the tent. I got backed on my feet with a flash of a wink. The battle went on. Then a pile of dirt flew up into the air and footsteps appeared which went back into the tent, which the safari men saw who were standing outside the tent. This happened several times. The boxing and wrestling match raged on for several minutes. Finally, I walked out of the tent with my hand in a way if I was holding something. I said, "I won the fight."
Then my guide exclaimed, "Because you have won the fight we will be put out of this valley, wherever you want to be put out, twelve hours from now with all of our supplies.
After my guides lecture I went back into the tent and went to sleep. The next day twelve hours after the ghost incident, we were all packed and ready to go. All of a sudden every thig thing started to rumble. With a sudden jerk we were in the wild blue yonder. I looked down at the parachutes left in the valley. All of a sudden the parachutes started to fly in the direction we were flying.
Finally we landed on a cliff about 1000 ft. high. The parachutes landed there too. I through the parachute back down on the ground on the valley floor. But, the parachutes came right back up again. Then I said to myself, "I'll just leave them here."
The safari started again, but, I led it. I walked a few steps and nearly walked right into a sign which said, "YOU ARE NOW ENTERING PYGMY COUNTRY" and in small capital letters said, "ANY THING WEIGHING MORE THAN 18,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 lbs. WILL NOT BE ALOUD TO TRAVEL ON THE NOONI, NOONA THRUWAY TRAIL.
We looked at each other and traveled on.
We walked for about an hour. Then we came to a gigantic sign with electric lights shining on it which said, “You have entered Pygmy Town, capitol of Pygmy Country.” We walked on into the heart of the city. We saw decent looking houses, restaurants, night clubs, and we were glad that Pygmy Town was a civilized town. We walked into a hotel and registered, with the head manager who of course was a midget. We went up to our rooms disembarked and hit the hay. Of course, the beds were small for us.
The next day bright and early we went to the National Bank where we witnessed a bank robbery.
(The details) When I came to the bank (the rest of the safari men stopped at the bar) I knocked and knocked and knocked on the door. There was a sign on the door which said
Closed on Monday & Friday: Closed 6PM to 8AM;
Opened on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Saturday;
Opened 8 AM to 6PM
Of course this was in Pygmy language. How come I knew, because the Pygmies spoke and wrote English.
But, I wondered why there wasn't an answer. It was past 8 AM Pygmy Country time. My watch wasn't slow. I wondered and wondered.
Then a Pygmy copper came along. “Why isn't the bank open?" I asked, hoping to get in.
The cop answered promptly, "Because a bank robbery is going on,"
My face turned from an asking look into a surprised look, and said, "Where I come from robbers are caught and put into the clink."
"Not in our country,” the cop exclaimed.
“B-u-u-t” “B-u-u-t,” I tried to say something but couldn't.
“Alright," the cop announced.
He opened the door and walked in. I walked in after him, still with a surprised feeling. There were two Pygmies with cap pistols in their hands and a bag of money. Then the cop drew a cap pistol out of his holster and said, "Sorry, you'll have to break it up because of this tourist.”
The robber closest to me made a fist out me and shouted, "You. “And they walked away.
After the incident I went up to the cashier in anger and asked for the money. Then he gave me my leather brief case and said the money was in it. Again there was a surprised look on my face, and walked out raging with anger.
I went back to my room in the hotel. While my way up I asked the clerk if there was anything for me. I got the usual answer, "Deshetdetretblonukonu.”
I suspected expected this answer because it was the usual answer." In English the answer is “no". I supposed I wouldn't get any letters because nobody knows the address. The natives don't know the address either.
Then I went upstairs to my room. The natives I hired to go on the safari went with me. The guide said very calmly, "We um want pay um, see um, if not pay um we quit um, so pay um, anyway um we quit um, see um, if you don't pay um or no more you um, see-e-e-e-e-e-e."
I was very willing to pay them for the bumpy and uncomfortable trip. Which was a fairly safe trip. The part I couldn't understand was them quitting and killing me if I didn't pay them. I was curious and I wanted to investigate this.
That early evening while I was going to the hotel's pool, I had to pass the hotel's bar. While passing the bar I heard one of my natives saying that the voodoo witch doctor was right about quitting the job while quitting was good. That was what I needed to get mad. Then I thought when I get back to Leopoldville I'll get my hands on that voodooded up voodoo witch doctor. When I get my hands on that witch doctor, I’ll, I’ll, uh-h-h-h-h-h- I’ll----. While thinking about my vooddoed up voodoo witch doctor I accidentally stepped into the pool - towel, sun glasses and all. I was all fed up with that voodooded up voodoo witch doctor.
The next day I went to the Pygmy International airport. I went inside an ultra-modern building and asked a clerk, "I want to buy some helicopter to Leopoldiville, Belgian Congo, and handed him a check and pronounced that it was the money for the flight.
"So your name is Anthony Brainless. And the price is just right… (ahem) counting your luggage. Just go down to gate number 0. Go into gate number 0 and get on the helicopter you see and give him the slip I'm giving you. This will be a private trip, sorry to say there will be no women on the trip. Your luggage will be on the helicopter," the clerk said in such a bundled up manner that I could understand him. Cause I speak like that.
I said good-by, took the slip, took his directions and got on the helicopter, gave the pilot the slip, I sat down on a comfortable chair and waited for takeoff.