Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

113. History

Our work in “Papa’s” bedroom was done at last.

But the bodies still had to be carried to the funeral pyre. We decided that this should be done with pomp, that we should put it off until the ceremonies in honor of the Hundred Martyrs to Democracy were over.

The last thing we did was stand Von Koenigswald on his feet in order to decontaminate the place where he had been lying. And then we hid him, standing up, in “Papa’s” clothes closet.

I’m not quite sure why we hid him. I think it must have been to simplify the tableau.

As for Newt’s and Angela’s and Frank’s tale of how they divided up the world’s supply of ice-nine on Christmas Eve—it petered out when they got to details of the crime itself. The Hoenikkers couldn’t remember that anyone said anything to justify their taking ice-nine as personal property. They talked about what ice-nine was, recalling the old man’s brain-stretchers, but there was no talk of morals.

“Who did the dividing?” I inquired.

So thoroughly had the three Hoenikkers obliterated their memories of the incident that it was difficult for them to give me even that fundamental detail.

“It wasn’t Newt,” said Angela at last. “I’m sure of ihat.”

“It was either you or me,” mused Frank, thinking hard.

“You got the three Mason jars off the kitchen shelf,” said Angela. “It wasn’t until the next day that we got the three little Thermos jugs.”

“That’s right,” Frank agreed. “And then you took an ice pick and chipped up the ice-nine in the saucepan.”

“That’s right,” said Angela. “I did. And then somebody brought tweezers from the bathroom.”

Newt raised his little hand. “I did.”

Angela and Newt were amazed, remembering how enterprising little Newt had been.

“I was the one who picked up the chips and put them in the Mason jars,” Newt recounted. He didn’t bother to hide the swagger he must have felt.

“What did you people do with the dog?” I asked limply.

“We put him in the oven,” Frank told me. “It was the only thing to do.”

“History!” writes Bokonon. “Read it and weep!”

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