Whack! Andy slaps his notebook on Mr. K’s desk in a futile effort to smash the pesky mosquito that has been sampling blood from all of them.
The Colonel smirks at his miss. “Colonel Chapa thinks the hundred goldfish he donated for the concrete basin at San Pedro Springs will cure the mosquito problem. The goldfish will just wind up as appetizers for the alligator contributed by Henry Landa.”
“That poor specimen of a reptile has been rendered too helpless to snap them up in his jaws,” says Mr. K. “The cruel schoolboys torture the poor creature. Every time he surfaces to sun on the banks, they harass him with sticks and rocks. Poked one of his eyes out. No. The solution for the mosquito problem is bats. We need bats.”
Former Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, June 1914
“Fannie, that was absolutely delicious,” gushes Minnie Ball. “The strawberries were enormous and sweet, but your crumbly shortcake is the best I have ever tasted. Please share your recipe with me.”
“Yes, please do.” Tom Ball, pats his stomach as he leans back in his chair.
Flattered, Fannie smiles. “Of course, but there really is no secret, aside from a quarter-pound of butter and fresh cream. There’s no recipe written down. I make it the same way my mother did, and I suppose her mother before her.”
“I don’t understand it,” Thomas interjects. “A good man like you, Tom, forced to run against that rube from Bell County who truckles to the liquor interests. And I find it disheartening that someone with obvious conflicts of interest—that keg-roller Otto Wahrmund—slips back into his seat in the House of Representatives unopposed.”
“Failure to fire a twenty-one-gun salute to the American flag?” fumes Mr. K. “After all the damage to property owned by American interests in Mexico? After all the seized assets?”
The Colonel interrupts. “After the continuous transgressions all along the border from Brownsville to El Paso? Governor Colquitt has begged and begged Washington to let him take action. Secretary Bryan kept telling him to turn the other cheek.”
Mr. K strides back and forth, back and forth. “Now President Wilson,” is using the flimsy excuse of the Tampico incident, tantamount to nothing, to invade Vera Cruz. The seven seized sailors were released as soon as the Mexican commander realized the error of his subordinates. He sent a formal written apology to Admiral Mayo. But the war-hungry admiral demanded the American flag be raised and a twenty-one-gun salute.”