Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

67. Hy-u-o-ook-kuh!

“Papa” didn’t die—not then.

He was rolled away in the airport’s big red meat wagon. The Mintons were taken to their embassy by an American limousine.

Newt and Angela were taken to Frank’s house in a San Lorenzan limousine.

The Crosbys and I were taken to the Casa Mona hotel in San Lorenzo’s one taxi, a hearselike 1939 Chrysler limousine with jump seats. The name on the side of the cab was Castle Transportation Inc. The cab was owned by Philip Castle, the owner of the Casa Mona, the son of the completely unselfish man I had come to interview.

The Crosbys and I were both upset. Our consternation was expressed in questions we had to have answered at once. The Crosbys wanted to know who Bokonon was. They were scandalized by the idea that anyone should be opposed to “Papa” Monzano.

Irrelevantly, I found that I had to know at once who the Hundred Martyrs to Democracy had been.

The Crosbys got their answer first. They could not understand the San Lorenzan dialect, so I had to translate for them. Crosby’s basic question to our driver was: “Who the hell is this pissant Bokonon, anyway?”

“Very bad man,” said the driver. What he actually said was, “Vorry ball moan.”

“A Communist?” asked Crosby, when he heard my translation.

“Oh, sure.”

“Has he got any following?”


“Does anybody think he’s any good?”

“Oh, no, sir,” said the driver piously. “Nobody that crazy.”

“Why hasn’t he been caught?” demanded Crosby.

“Hard man to find,” said the driver. “Very smart.”

“Well, people must be hiding him and giving him food or he’d be caught by now.”

“Nobody hide him; nobody feed him. Everybody too smart to do that.”

“You sure?”

“Oh, sure,” said the driver. “Anybody feed that crazy old man, anybody give him place to sleep, they get the hook. Nobody want the hook.”

He pronounced that last word: “hy-u-o-ook-kuh.”

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