Editors’ Note: Bill Hutton’s tribute to the Eisenhower Years first appeared in this paper in the Jan. 15, 1968 issue and is reprinted now on the occasion of the General’s passing. This piece is part of a newly released book by Bill Hutton entitled “A History of America.” It is published by The Coach House Press in Toronto.
Eisenhower spent Sundays in the attic of defunct seltzer bottling factory trying on old hats and whistling Army songs. He was happy. He found an old map of Madagascar and wondered if it’d be worth anything. Then he heard the nightwatchman coming up the stairs and he hid behind a mandolin.
“Who’s in here,” said the guard beaming his light around the room. “I heard a little noise up here. Come on out.”
“Here I am,” said Ike standing up.
“Why it’s Ike Easyhower,” said the man take his light away from President’s eyes. “What are you doing here.”
“Sherman Adams and me well we just come up here actually for ideas sometimes. It’s O.K.”
“Sherman Adams drives a Buick, don’t he?”
The two men moved over and sat on a dusty trunk.
“I’ve decided,” said Ike, “that we need well we really need less government in business and more business in government.”
“Give the people what they want, Pres!”
“We gotta tighten our control on the Communists actually.”
“And we finally got to face the Negro I think.” “We gotta face him.”
“It’s time to give your Negro an even crack I’m pretty certain in that regard.”
The guard laughed and said he sure enjoyed being next to the President. The President brought a bottle of green juice from his pocket and the men shared it. They became very small. Eisenhower led the guard to a small mousehole and the two men entered it.
They past gleaming rows of new cars with big price tags say $$$$$$$$$$ tied to bumper. They walked through rooms of square boxy furniture and men with slick hair advertise products of TV. They past a giant size poster of Marilyn Monroe. They watched the Sputnik go up. They watched Bobby Thompson hit a homerun against the Dodgers. They ate snow cones. They saw Norman Mailer and Jack Kerouac Indian wrestle in crummy old bar. They saw the Cisco Kid eating a box of Fab Soap.
“I like Ike,” said the guard as the men walked through the rooms. “I’ve always said that. I’ve always contended—”
Ahead, Mamie sat on white leather bar stool. She wore combat boots and thick belt; nothing else.
“Gives me a hard-on every time I see her like that,” said Ike. Ike went over and gave Mamie some head. The nightwatchman turned away saying, “Oh, dear, Oh, dear…
“Now, where were we?” ask the President returning and wiping mouth with starched napkin from Betsy Ross linen chest old mothball smell pine chest woman see through lacy curtains.
“These are important years,” say the guard blinking.
“That’s what I say.”
Earl Warren became Chief Justice.
“That’s what I say,” Eisenhower repeated. “These are important times. It is within our power to help or hinder this country at this point like it is. I mean what I mean is about, well, is about your Communists. Certainly there is a system of which many have undoubtedly found themselves victims. However, all is not as bad as it sometimes appears here. Oh, I mean, well,” scratches head: perplexed, “Well, it’s like this. You have two countries. One’s this way and the other is that. Shit, let’s go get something to eat.”
They chewed some crystals. They turned down a purple hallway and entered a room with ATOMIC BOMB written on the door. Forty insect-looking men in white coats and with electric penises were piling bombs against a wall. One approached Ike.
“We have more than one now,” he said. “We got, shit, we must have a couple thousand of those babies.”
“Good,” said Ike. “I brought the guard here down see the operation we got going.”
“It’s a cold war going on out there,” said the scientist. “We got A bombs for you. We got H bombs. What ya need?”
“Well,” said the guard, “I’d love to see an H bomb. I mean I’d appreciate it. You know the kids and all. What they’d think…”
“Set one off for the man,” said the President joking, and then the men went into sterile rooms for instant coffee and hard buns.
The men ate their buns in the sterile room. Each bun had a center of GL 70 in it. They ate the GL 70 and then Ike and the guard left the rooms through the mousehole and sat on the attic floor. They drank red syrup and got back to regular size. They went to a show and after the show to a pitch ‘n putt golf course where Ike scored a hole in one.