Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

12. End of the World Delight

An older bartender came over to join in our conversation in the Cape Cod Room of the Del Prado. When he heard that I was writing a book about the day of the bomb, he told me what the day had been like for him, what the day had been like in the very bar in which we sat. He had a W. C. Fields twang and a nose like a prize strawberry.

“It wasn’t the Cape Cod Room then,” he said. “We didn’t have all these fugging nets and seashells around. It was called the Navajo Tepee in those days. Had Indian blankets and cow skulls on the walls. Had little tom-toms on the tables. People were supposed to beat on the tom-toms when they wanted service. They tried to get me to wear a war bonnet, but I wouldn’t do it. Real Navajo Indian came in here one day; told me Navajos didn’t live in tepees. ‘That’s a fugging shame,’ I told him. Before that it was the Pompeii Room, with busted plaster all over the place; but no matter what they call the room, they never change the fugging light fixtures. Never changed the fugging people who come in or the fugging town outside, either. The day they dropped Hoenikker’s fugging bomb on the Japanese a bum came in and tried to scrounge a drink. He wanted me to give him a drink on account of the world was coming to an end. So I mixed him an ‘End of the World Delight.’ I gave him about a half-pint of creme de menthe in a hollowed-out pineapple, with whipped cream and a cherry on top. ‘There, you pitiful son of a bitch,’ I said to him, ‘don’t ever say I never did anything for you.’ Another guy came in, and he said he was quitting his job at the Research Laboratory; said anything a scientist worked on was sure to wind up as a weapon, one way or another. Said he didn’t want to help politicians with their fugging wars anymore. Name was Breed. I asked him if he was any relation to the boss of the fugging Research Laboratory. He said he fugging well was. Said he was the boss of the Research Laboratory’s fugging son.”

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