In Again, Out Again, Botts Again
In Botts Goes to War, the fifth volume in the Alexander Botts and the Earthworm Tractor series, the saga continues for our hero who has resigned from his post as traveling tractor salesman to take up arms as a US Army Captain. In this excerpt, Botts commandeers a laboratory to test his tractors, and his men, in extreme weather conditions. Start your Botts adventure with Botts Begins or purchase volumes 1-5 as a set! This excerpt is presented with imagery that does not appear in the original story.
EARTHWORM CITY ILL NOV 30 1942
CAPT ALEXANDER BOTTS
FIRST HTM CO FT KANE FLA
I DEFINITELY DISCLAIM ALL RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS STOP I GAVE YOU NO AUTHORITY TO BILL ME FOR A THANKSGIVING DINNER AND WHEN I MENTIONED ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS I DID NOT SAY COLD STOP LETTER JUST RECEIVED FROM GEN FLEMINGTON IN NORTH AFRICA SAYS HE WILL BE BACK IN THIS COUNTRY ANY DAY NOW BUT THAT HE HAS BEEN DELAYED BY SANDSTORMS AND DESERT HEAT STOP APPARENTLY YOU HAVE BEEN TRAINING FOR WRONG KIND OF ADVERSE WEATHER STOP
OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE BELOW PAR PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY STOP FOR YOUR OWN GOOD YOU MUST RETURN TO HOSPITAL I SUGGEST YOU DO THIS VOLUNTARILY STOP OTHERWISE COERCION IS INDICATED STOP SO ACTUATED BY THE FRIENDLIEST MOTIVES I AM MAILING TO AUTHORITIES AT COQUINA BEACH AND FT KANE FULL INFORMATION WHICH SHOULD ARRIVE IN TWO OR THREE DAYS
PRESIDENT EARTHWORM TRACTOR COMPANY
Fort Kane, Florida,
Tuesday evening, December 1, 1942.
DEAR HENDERSON: Your wire, “actuated by the friendliest motives,” arrived yesterday noon, and I should like to point out that if I had actually been “below par, physically and mentally,” nothing could have been more fiendishly contrived to throw me into a complete nervous and physiological collapse than the information that our cold-weather training was all wrong, and that I had only two or three days to remedy the situation before the authorities arrived to put an end to my activities.
Fortunately, however, I had completely recovered my physical health before leaving the hospital—as I pointed out in my former letter. And at no time that I can remember during my whole life has my mental vigor been anything less than superb. Consequently, the many difficulties, which would have fatally discouraged an ordinary person, only served to stimulate me to greater efforts.
Within five minutes I had the entire outfit moving out through the big icebox doors and circling around-the building toward the entrance to the tropical chamber. Rushing ahead, I informed little Major Midgeley that I was transferring my activities.
The major refused to consider this. He said it would disrupt his tropical experiments, which had to be continued because he was expecting a whole flock of high-ranking inspectors from Washington the next day. I told him that unless he let me use the tropical chamber, I would remove all the motors, and then where would he be? I also assured him that I would guarantee to talk the inspectors into a reasonable frame of mind. He gave up. We moved in.
Then I had another brainstorm. I transferred one of the smaller cooling units to one of our trucks. I made the major requisition of a large supply of rubber tubing, which I substituted for the electric extension cords so as to deliver a flow of cool air from the cooling unit into the interior of each one of the erstwhile heated suits. And by the end of the afternoon my lusty mechanics were working cheerfully and comfortably in a temperature of 129 degrees Fahrenheit.
We spent the night in delightfully air-cooled sleeping bags. This morning a half dozen brass hats arrived from Washington, and I fulfilled my pledge to Major Midgeley by giving them a demonstration and sales talk which certainly went over big—for a while. Before they entered the Sahara oven, I had the major incase the visiting inspectors in the newly devised Botts air-conditioned suits. I then subjected them, as well as the men of the maintenance company, to a temperature of 135 degrees, accompanied by a terrific sandstorm, which I produced by throwing quantities of sand into the wind fans. The heavy arctic suits provided insulation against the heat as well as protection from the flying sand—thus proving infinitely superior, under desert conditions, to the pathetic shorts heretofore used by desert troops.
After an hour or so, I moved everybody from this Sahara Sand-Blast Oven into the Siberian Icebox. After disconnecting the air hoses and plugging in the electric extension cords, I put on a howling blizzard at a temperature of sixty below—in spite of which my men pulled the head off the motor of one of our high-speed tractors, ground the valves, and put everything together again.
By this time I had every reason to suppose I had made a splendid impression on the visiting brass hats and had removed all danger that they might be displeased with poor little Major Midgeley. But I could not be sure, as they were all so wrapped up in their arctic suits, with their faces covered by masks.
Check out the related books linked below for more of Alexander Botts.