Mars or Bust!
Chapter 10: Johnny and Le Foundation
Copyright© 2021 by GT Dodge
What Johnny said on tape ... so little made it onto the Anniversary Special. But Olgu asked me to come in, she was thinking she and I could write a book. The minx. She needed, deep down needed, me to see something Johnny’d said. Something dark. Dangerous. He could go to jail.
Oh, the first part was innocuous, “Finances! Maybe me and Linc go way back but me and all them dead presidents go all the way back. When it came to money, le Foundation had it double covered.
First, the dancing bear: le Foundation gave away cold chicken first on thousand dollar plates and later, ten-thousand dollar plates when Linc lectured. Hundreds of plates, 3 nights a week in 52 cities a year.
Second, they had me.
Who covered their advertising expenses selling Tumble Bug© posters? Who sold bumper stickers? Who paid their salaries by producing and renting videotapes? Who pays the phone bill by licensing MARS OR BUST!? Who signed up the corporate sponsors?
Who came up with Boy Scout breakfast rallies? Girl Scout Pancake Parties?
Every Monday, and sometimes Tuesdays, in whatever city Linc was selling thousandish-dollar-a-plate dinners; breakfast was only $1 a plate to kids in uniform! Thousands! Millions of kids. True Believers!”
Then it got dark, “Somewhere in here, I got wind that le Foundation had decided to spin off a profit-bearing corporation. Everyone knows it was me that parlayed the dancing bear into a stock offering. An IPO that made Martha Stewart look like some HouseFrau gone Public. le Foundation gave away 6.4 billion shares: one to every citizen of Earth. Then they sold 6.4 billion more, to the tune of a hundred bucks apiece. Nations scrambled, some hocking everything they owned to buy up their fair share, their place in the sun. I did the marketing, brokered the advertising.
Giving away half? That was my idea.
A hundred bucks a pop? That was me.
‘Their place in the sun’? Thank you, Mussolini! I took all the credit.
Spending all the money on rocket science? That was le Foundation. (All their fault).
Go figure. The underwriters insisted on cash up front to buy pre-IPO shares. Caught me at low tide in the money flow: all my cash and credit was tied up in websites and inventory and franchises and legal expenses and guaranteeing notes that le Foundation should have covered. The Securities and Exchange Commission investigated for months just to conclude that I hadn’t traded at all. Several members of the Board of Directors at le Foundation weren’t so lucky.
The whole while, le Foundation Intermondiale Planet Mars Exploratif sat on 8.7 billion more shares, a tsunami of second wave financing already underwritten, waiting for a selling spree. Sold them all last week. A hundred bucks apiece? Ha! Think bigger! Think national debt. Think World Debt. Think enough money to buy Mars on the open market.”