Ah, it was fine to have married such a man! It was the reward a good woman received for helping her husband, making him into a good citizen, a patriot and an upholder of law and order: For always, of course, those who own the garden would see that their head weedchopper was taken care of, and had his share of the best that the garden produced. Gladys stood before her looking-glass, braiding her hair for the night, and thinking of the things she would ask from this garden. She and Peter had earned, and they would demand, the sweetest flowers, the most luscious fruits. Suddenly Gladys stretched wide her arms in an ecstasy of realization. “We’re a Success, Peter! We’re a Success! We’ll have money and all the lovely things it will buy! Do you realize, Peter, what a hit you’ve made?”
Peter saw her face of joy, but he was a tiny bit frightened and uncertain, because of this unusual sharing of the honors. So Gladys was impelled to affection, mingled with pity. She held out her arms to him. “Poor, dear Peter! He’s had such a hard life! It was cruel he didn’t have me sooner to help him!”
And then Gladys reflected for a moment, and was moved to another outburst. “Just think, Peter, how wonderful it is to be an American! In America you can always rise if you do your duty! America is the land of the free! Your example of a poor boy’s success ought to convince even the fool Reds that they’re wrong—that any boy can rise if he works hard! Why, I’ve heard it said that in America the poorest boy can rise to be President! How would you like to be President, Peter?”
Peter hesitated. He doubted if he was equal to that big a job, but he knew that it would not please Gladys for him to say so. He murmured, “Perhaps—some day—”
“Anyhow, Peter,” his wife continued, “I’m for this country! I’m an American!”
And this time Peter didn’t have to hesitate. “You bet!” he said, and added his favorite formula—“100%!”
A little experimenting with the manuscript of “100%” has revealed to the writer that everybody has a series of questions they wish immediately to ask: How much of it is true? To what extent have the business men of America been compelled to take over the detection and prevention of radicalism? Have they, in putting down the Reds, been driven to such extreme measures as you have here shown?
A few of the incidents in “100%” are fictional, for example the story of Nell Doolin and Nelse Ackerman; but everything that has social significance is truth, and has been made to conform to facts personally known to the writer or to his friends. Practically all the characters in “100%” are real persons. Peter Gudge is a real person, and has several times been to call upon the writer in the course of his professional activities; Guffey and McGivney are real persons, and so is Billy Nash, and so is Gladys Frisbie.