like a cobra?

October 13, 1962

Who is this Keating guy? My briefers keep telling me that this guy Keating, this Senator from New York, is giving speech after speech warning that we have nuclear missile sites going up in Cuba. Well, of course we do! But how the hell does a Senator from New York know this? He must have some connections to American spies or Cuban exile spies.

What if Kennedy finds out soon—in the next week or so? What then? Our people in Cuba are saying that our weapons systems will be operational no later than the end of October, right on schedule. But this situation doesn’t make any sense. If some loud-mouthed Senator from New York knows what we are up to, how can Kennedy not know what we are putting into Cuba? What kind of a system gives nobodies the right information and a president either no information or bad information? Or does Kennedy already know, and he is just waiting for the right moment to strike, like a cobra?

I have to stop thinking about the situation in Cuba. It makes my heart race, my forehead sweat and I can’t sleep. I keep waking up with nightmares about an American attack on Cuba. I need to pick more mushrooms. But to do this, I need to spend more time at the dacha. Yes. I will get my bag, put on my mud boots and my straw hat, and go off stomping through the forest, looking for the best mushrooms. Then I can stop thinking about the American, Keating.

I wonder how Kennedy stops thinking about Keating. He probably plays that millionaires game, golf. I went to a golf course in 1959, on my tour of the United States. I watched people hit a little white ball, then walk after it, hit it again, and then keep hitting it until it goes into a hole. Some of the people had on funny-looking short pants. What a ridiculous way to spend your time. And when you have walked and walked, you don’t have a single mushroom to show for it.

If we get through this mess, I will teach Kennedy how to pick the best mushrooms, when he comes to the Soviet Union for a summit. He’ll never play that stupid game of golf, again.