Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

58. Tyranny with a Difference

“There was at least one quality of the new conquerors of San Lorenzo that was really new,” wrote young Castle. “McCabe and Johnson dreamed of making San Lorenzo a Utopia.

“To this end, McCabe overhauled the economy and the laws.

“Johnson designed a new religion.”

Castle quoted the “Calypsos” again:

I wanted all things
To seem to make some sense,
So we all could be happy, yes,
Instead of tense.
And I made up lies
So that they all fit nice,
And I made this sad world
A par-a-dise.

There was a tug at my coat sleeve as I read. I looked up. Little Newt Hoenikker was standing in the aisle next to me. “I thought maybe you’d like to go back to the bar,” he said, “and hoist a few.”

So we did hoist and topple a few, and Newt’s tongue was loosened enough to tell me some things about Zinka, his Russian midget dancer friend. Their love nest, he told me, had been in his father’s cottage on Cape Cod.

“I may not ever have a marriage, but at least I’ve had a honeymoon.”

He told me of idyllic hours he and his Zinka had spent in each other’s arms, cradled in Felix Hoenikker’s old white wicker chair, the chair that faced the sea.

And Zinka would dance for him. “Imagine a woman dancing just for me.”

“I can see you have no regrets.”

“She broke my heart. I didn’t like that much. But that was the price. In this world, you get what you pay for.”

He proposed a gallant toast. “Sweethearts and wives,” he cried.

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