Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

108. Frank Tells Us What to Do

And then we all wanted to throw up.

Newt certainly did what was called for.

“I couldn’t agree more,” I told Newt. And I snarled at Angela and Frank, “Now that we’ve got Newt’s opinion, I’d like to hear what you two have to say.”

“Uck,” said Angela, cringing, her tongue out. She was the color of putty.

“Are those your sentiments, too?” I asked Frank. “’Uck?’ General, is that what you say?”

Frank had his teeth bared, and his teeth were clenched, and he was breathing shallowly and whistlingly between them.

“Like the dog,” murmured little Newt, looking down at Von Koenigswald.

“What dog?”

Newt whispered his answer, and there was scarcely any wind behind the whisper. But such were the acoustics of the stonewalled room that we all heard the whisper as clearly as we would have heard the chiming of a crystal bell.

“Christmas Eve, when Father died.”

Newt was talking to himself. And, when I asked him to tell me about the dog on the night his father died, he looked up at me as though I had intruded on a dream. He found me irrelevant.

His brother and sister, however, belonged in the dream. And he talked to his brother in that nightmare; told Frank, “You gave it to him.

“That’s how you got this fancy job, isn’t it?” Newt asked Frank wonderingly. “What did you tell him—that you had something better than the hydrogen bomb?”

Frank didn’t acknowledge the question. He was looking around the room intently, taking it all in. He unclenched his teeth, and he made them click rapidly, blinking his eyes with every click. His color was coming back. This is what he said.

“Listen, we’ve got to clean up this mess.”

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