excitement. That, believe me, they'll buy."
He frowned while he thought it over. Then the frown turned into a
grin. "By God," he said, "they might."
And they did. The conference and the election were both pretty stormy.
All the new patriots were off to blow up the Government buildings one
after another, even more enthusiastic than the original members. It
was only natural; my instructions to the recruiters had been to pick
the most violent, frothing anti-Government men they could find to send
out, and that was what we got. But Hollerith gave them a talk, and the
vote, when it came, was overwhelmingly in favor of his plan.
Even Huey was enthusiastic. He came up to me after the meeting and
pounded me on the back; I suppose it was meant for friendship, though
it felt more like sabotage. "Hey, I thought you were no good," he
said. "I thought you were ... oh, you know, some kid of a spy."
"I know," I said.
"Well, Mister," he said, "believe me, I was wrong." He pounded some
more. I tried to look as if I liked it or, anyway, as if I could put
up with it. "You're O.K., Mister," he said. "You're O.K."
Some day, I told myself, I was going to get Huey all to myself, away
in a dark alley somewhere. There didn't seem to be much chance of
keeping the promise, but I made it to myself anyway, and moved away.
The meeting had set the attack for three days ahead, which was a moral
victory for Hollerith; the men were all for making it in the next five
minutes. But he said he needed time--it's a good thing, I told
myself, that he didn't say what he needed it for. Because in a few
hours, right after sunrise the next morning, training started and
Hollerith had his hands full of trouble.
The new men didn't see the sense in it. "Hell," one of them
complained, "all we got to do is go up and toss a bomb into the place.
We don't like all this fooling around first."
The "fooling around" involved jungle training--how to walk quietly,
how to avoid getting slashed by a vine, and so forth. It also involved
forming two separate attack groups for Hollerith's plans. That meant
drilling the groups to move separately, and drilling each group to
And there were other details: how to fire a heater from the third rank
without incinerating a comrade in the front rank; signal-spotting, in
case of emergency and sudden changes of plan; the use of dynamite, its
care and feeding; picking targets--and so forth and so forth.
Hollerith's three days seemed pretty short when you thought about what
they had to cover.
But the new men didn't like it. They wanted action. "That's what we
signed on for," they said. "Not all this drill. Hell, we ain't an
The older hands, and the more sensible members of the band, tried
their best to talk the new men into line. Some of the officers tried
ordering them into line.Download<<BackPagesMainNext>>