Cat’s Cradle — Kurt Vonnegut — Contents
“I just came from your brother’s office. I’m a writer. I was interviewing him about Dr. Hoenikker,” I said to Marvin Breed.
“There was one queer son of a bitch. Not my brother; I mean Hoenikker.”
“Did you sell him that monument for his wife?”
“I sold his kids that. He didn’t have anything to do with it. He never got around to putting any kind of marker on her grave. And then, after she’d been dead for a year or more, Hoenikker’s three kids came in here—the big tall girl, the boy, and the little baby. They wanted the biggest stone money could buy, and the two older ones had poems they’d written. They wanted the poems on the stone.
“You can laugh at that stone, if you want to,” said Marvin Breed, “but those kids got more consolation out of that than anything else money could have bought. They used to come and look at it and put flowers on it I-don’t-know-how-many-times a year.”
“It must have cost a lot.”
“Nobel Prize money bought it. Two things that money bought: a cottage on Cape Cod and that monument.”
“Dynamite money,” I marveled, thinking of the violence of dynamite and the absolute repose of a tombstone and a summer home.
“Nobel invented dynamite."
“Well, I guess it takes all kinds . . .”
Had I been a Bokononist then, pondering the miraculously intricate chain of events that had brought dynamite money to that particular tombstone company, I might have whispered, “Busy, busy, busy.”
Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.
But all I could say as a Christian then was, “Life is sure funny sometimes.”
“And sometimes it isn’t,” said Marvin Breed.