Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

54. Communists, Nazis, Royalists, Parachutists, and Draft Dodgers

Returning to my own seat in the plane, feeling far shabbier for having lost Mona Aamons Monzano to Frank, I resumed my reading of Philip Castle’s manuscript.

I looked up Monzano, Mona Aamons in the index, and was told by the index to see Aamons, Mona.

So I saw Aamons, Mona, and found almost as many page references as I’d found after the name of “Papa” Monzano himself.

And after Aamons, Mona came Aamons, Nestor. So I turned to the few pages that had to do with Nestor, and learned that he was Mona’s father, a native Finn, an architect.

Nestor Aamons was captured by the Russians, then liberated by the Germans during the Second World War. He was not returned home by his liberators, but was forced to serve in a Wehrmacht engineer unit that was sent to fight the Yugoslav partisans. He was captured by Chetniks, royalist Serbian partisans, and then by Communist partisans who attacked the Chetniks. He was liberated by Italian parachutists who surprised the Communists, and he was shipped to Italy.

The Italians put him to work designing fortifications for Sicily. He stole a fishing boat in Sicily, and reached neutral Portugal.

While there, he met an American draft dodger named Julian Castle.

Castle, upon learning that Aamons was an architect, invited him to come with him to the island of San Lorenzo and to design for him a hospital to be called the House of Hope and Mercy in the Jungle.

Aamons accepted. He designed the hospital, married a native woman named Celia, fathered a perfect daughter, and died.

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