Cat’s CradleKurt VonnegutContents

90. Only One Catch

And the time of night and the cave and the waterfall—and the stone angel in Ilium . . .

And 250,000 cigarettes and 3,000 quarts of booze, and two wives and no wife . . .

And no love waiting for me anywhere . . .

And the listless life of an ink-stained hack . . .

And Pabu, the moon, and Borasisi, the sun, and their children . . .

All things conspired to form one cosmic vin-dit, one mighty shove into Bokononism, into the belief that God was running my life and that He had work for me to do. And, inwardly, I sarooned, which is to say that I acquiesced to the seeming demands of my vin-dit.

Inwardly, I agreed to become the next President of San Lorenzo.

Outwardly, I was still guarded, suspicious. “There must be a catch,” I hedged.

“There isn’t.”

“There’ll be an election?”

“There never has been. We’ll just announce who the new President is.”

“And nobody will object?”

“Nobody objects to anything. They aren’t interested. They don’t care.”

“There has to be a catch!”

“There’s kind of one,” Frank admitted.

“I knew it!” I began to shrink from my vin-dit. “What is it? What’s the catch?”

“Well, it isn’t really a catch, because you don’t have to do it, if you don’t want to. It would be a good idea, though.”

“Let’s hear this great idea.”

“Well, if you’re going to be President, I think you really ought to marry Mona. But you don’t have to, if you don’t want to. You’re the boss.”

“She would have me?”

“If she’d have me, she’d have you. All you have to do is ask her.”

“Why should she say yes?”

“It’s predicted in The Books of Bokonon that she’ll marry the next President of San Lorenzo,” said Frank.

Turn page.