Do Soviets like their brownies with or without nuts?

I've finally decided what I want to be when I grow up: a Pentagon contractor. This supersedes my ambition to become a left-handed fireballer for the Detroit Tigers, and my long-held desire to play bass in the Guarnari String Quartet. It's true that my experience with weapons-system development ended in the third grade, when I converted the excess zuccini from my mother's garden into a fleet of Polaris submarines. But I have this idea that will make the MX, ``star wars,'' and the B-1 bomber obsolete. I call it the Strategic Food Initiative (SFI).

The centerpiece of the SFI will be the cruise brownie. I toyed with alternatives, such as hazelnut torte bombes, shoulder-fired key lime pies, and the air-to-ground peanut-butter-chip roundo. But they just don't pack the calories needed to keep the Warsaw Pact at bay.

This brownie thing came to me last week at a Capitol Hill reception put on by the Catfish Ranchers of America. You may have heard about it on the news: The waiters were all dressed in wet suits, and a 35-pounder from Biloxi named Butch won the coveted title of ``Fish Of The Year.''

It was a lavish spread. The ranchers were trying hard to impress Congress, as they want catfish to be designated ``real estate,'' for tax purposes. The usual ravenous horde was going down the chow line like a buzzsaw through balsa wood -- until it got to the dessert table.

Dessert was incredibly rich brownies. People were stuffing them down two at a time, and then dropping to the ground like felled trees. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee was sitting under the table, grinning and full. ``I can't move,'' he said. ``The Russians better not have this recipe.''

My future flashed in front of my eyes. I, too, could live the storied life of a defense contractor, the government paying for my dog's vacations (note to myself: get a dog), my tab at Ted's Sushi Pavillion charged off as overhead, perhaps (dare I hope?) standing for my very own congressional investigation.

It's so simple, really. Take a cruise missile, one of those small, airplane-like things that Al Haig was so fond of. Replace the nuclear innards of the warhead with one ton of double-fudge brownies. Deploy them in sweet shops throughout Western Europe.

If the Warsaw Pact tries to send its tanks on a shopping trip into West Berlin, detonate a few cruise brownies over the incoming columns. Soviet troops would stuff themselves, as their military rations resemble stewed shoe parts, and quickly nod off to sleep.

I'm trying to get Pepperidge Farm signed up as a subcontractor, since I'm not really much of a cook myself. Let's just say that the last time I baked a cake John Foster Dulles was still influential.

My uncle-in-law, a retired Army quartermaster, has agreed to serve as chairman of the board, though he's backing off from that story about saving the lives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

One thing I'm still stumped on. Do you think the Soviets prefer their brownies with nuts, or without?

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