Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

9. Vice-president in Charge of Volcanoes

I loafed on my book about the day of the bomb.

About a year later, two days before Christmas, another story carried me through Ilium, New York, where Dr. Felix Hoenikker had done most of his work; where little Newt, Frank, and Angela had spent their formative years.

I stopped off in Ilium to see what I could see.

There were no live Hoenikkers left in Ilium, but there were plenty of people who claimed to have known well the old man and his three peculiar children.

I made an appointment with Dr. Asa Breed, Vice-president in charge of the Research Laboratory of the General Forge and Foundry Company. I suppose Dr. Breed was a member of my karass, too, though he took a dislike to me almost immediately.

“Likes and dislikes have nothing to do with it,” says Bokonon—an easy warning to forget.

“I understand you were Dr. Hoenikker’s supervisor during most of his professional life,” I said to Dr. Breed on the telephone.

“On paper,” he said.

“I don’t understand,” I said.

“If I actually supervised Felix,” he said, “then I’m ready now to take charge of volcanoes, the tides, and the migrations of birds and lemmings. The man was a force of nature no mortal could possibly control.”

Turn page.