12. Dateline South Asiatic Wilderness / Doogan Lost

Doogan here and I’m lucky to be alive.

Loyal readers will recall my harrowing rescue from certain death by a fantastic rocket man. I am now able to identify my aerial savior as Lieutenant Merian Archer of the United States Rocket Corp.

For nearly a year now, stateside rumors have been circulating about an elite new branch of the United States Army Air Service. Readers of Hearst newspapers will remember that this reporter personally linked this mysterious military unit to an incredible invention by missing American Scientist, Dr. Raullo Ortega. According to a recent filing at the Lakehurst New Jersey Patent Office, a rocket assisted infantry launcher was registered by Dr. Ortega on January 3rd of last year. At the same time, this reporter learned by means legally questionable but rendered morally justified under the auspices of the 5th estate, Ortega also registered an underwater radio transmission device and a seedless variety of cucumber. All of these patents stand as further evidence of the missing inventor’s unpredictable genius. We can only imagine the desperation behind the closed doors of the Capital Building in Washington. Should Dr. Ortega fall into the wrong hands our nation could find itself in immanent peril.

As to my own present situation, I write this dispatch while lost somewhere from within a vast and trackless Asiatic swamp. Sadly, Lt. Archer’s rocket device was badly damaged by an accidental impact with this reporter’s Remington Noiseless Portable Typewriter-which itself remains miraculously functional as evidenced by this missive. While one might attribute the Lieutenant’s stony silence towards this reporter to my unintentional contribution to our present dilemma, I realize that Lt. Archer must guard himself from revealing any secrets pertaining to a mission vital to national security.

Our only recourse now is to endure the buzzing swarms of biting insects, the deprivations of hunger and thirst and to follow a stagnant, snake infested stream in hopes that it will lead us to a tributary of the mighty Boo-Kong River and perchance, civilization. Until then, turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out. This is Doogan signing off.