Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

53. The President of Fabri-Tek

Angela encouraged me to go on looking at snapshots.

“That’s me, if you can believe it.” She showed me an adolescent girl six feet tall. She was holding a clarinet in the picture, wearing the marching uniform of the Ilium High School band. Her hair was tucked up under a bandsman’s hat. She was smiling with shy good cheer.

And then Angela, a woman to whom God had given virtually nothing with which to catch a man, showed me a picture of her husband.

“So that’s Harrison C. Conners.” I was stunned. Her husband was a strikingly handsome man, and looked as though he knew it. He was a snappy dresser, and had the lazy rapture of a Don Juan about the eyes.

“What—what does he do?” I asked.

“He’s president of Fabri-Tek.”


“I couldn’t tell you, even if I knew. It’s all very secret government work.”


“Well, war anyway.”

“How did you happen to meet?”

“He used to work as a laboratory assistant to Father,” said Angela. “Then he went out to Indianapolis and started Fabri-Tek.”

“So your marriage to him was a happy ending to a long romance?”

“No. I didn’t even know he knew I was alive. I used to think he was nice, but he never paid any attention to me until after Father died.

“One day he came through Ilium. I was sitting around that big old house, thinking my life was over . . .” She spoke of the awful days and weeks that followed her father’s death. “Just me and little Newt in that big old house. Frank had disappeared, and the ghosts were making ten times as much noise as Newt and I were. I’d given my whole life to taking care of Father, driving him to and from work, bundling him up when it was cold, unbundling him when it was hot, making him eat, paying his bills. Suddenly, there wasn’t anything for me to do. I’d never had any close friends, didn’t have a soul to turn to but Newt.

“And then,” she continued, “there was a knock on the door—and there stood Harrison Conners. He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. He came in, and we talked about Father’s last days and about old times in general.”

Angela almost cried now.

“Two weeks later, we were married.”

Turn page.