Gump and Co - By Winston Groom

Chapter 1

Let me say this: Everbody makes mistakes, which is why they put a rubber mat around spitoons. But take my word for it - don't never let nobody make a movie of your life's story. Whether they get it right or wrong, it don't matter. Problem is, people be comin up to you all the time, askin questions, pokin TV cameras in your face, wantin your autograph, tellin you what a fine feller you are. Ha! If bullshit came in barrels, I'd get me a job as a barrel-maker an have more money than Misters Donald Trump, Michael Mulligan, an Ivan Bozosky put together. Which is a matter I will go into in a little bit.

But first, let me bring you up to date on my sorry tale. A lot has gone on in my life in the last ten or so years. First, I am ten or so years older, which is not as much fun as some people think. I have got a few gray hairs on my head, an I ain't near as fast as I used to be, which is somethin I found out straightaway when I tried to make me some money playin football again.

It was down in New Orleans, where I had wound up after everthin else happened, an it was just me there. I had got a job sweepin out a strip joint called Wanda's, which didn't close till about three A.M., an so I got my days pretty free. One night I was just settin there in a corner watchin my friend Wanda do her thing on stage when a big fight commenced up front. They was people hollerin, cussin, thowin chairs, tables, beer bottles, an knockin each other in the head, an women screamin, too. I did not think too much of all this, account of it happened about two or three times ever night, except this time, I thought I recognized one of the participants.

It was a big ole feller with a beer bottle in his hand, swingin it in a way that I had not seen since I was up to the University of Alabama way back when. Lo an behole, it was old Snake, the quarterback who one time had thowed the ball out of bounds on fourth down to stop the clock when we was playin them cornshucker bastids from Nebraska in the Orange Bowl twenty years ago. An that, of course, lost us the game an made me have to go to Vietnam an - well, let's don't worry about all that now.

Anyhow, I went over an grapped the beer bottle from Snake, an he was so glad to see me he punched me on top of the head, which was a mistake because it sprained his wrist, an he commenced to holler an cuss, an about that time the police showed up an hauled all of us off to jail. Now, jail is a place I know somethin about, account of I have been there at various times. In the mornin, after everbody else sobered up, the jailer brung us some fried bologna an stale bread an begun astin if we want to call somebody to get us loose. Snake is mad as hell, an he say, "Forrest, ever time I come around your big dumb ass, I wind up in hot water. Here I ain't seen you in years and look what happens. We is thowed in jail!" I just nodded my head, cause Snake is right.

Anyhow somebody come an bail us all out, Snake an his friends an me, too, an this guy is not very happy, an Snake, he ast me, "What in hell were you doin in that dive anyhow?" When I tole him I was the cleanup man, Snake get a kind of funny look on his face an says, "Hell, Gump, I thought you still had the big srimp company over at Bayou La Batre. What happened? You was a millionaire." An I had to tell him the sad story. The srimp company went bust.

I had left the srimp company an gone on my way after a while, cause I got tired of all the bullshit that comes with runnin a big bidness enterprise. An I put the thing in the hands of my mama an my friends Lieutenant Dan from Vietnam an Mister Tribble, who was the chessmaster that taught me the game. First, Mama died, an that's all I got to say about that. Next, Lieutenant Dan