Cat’s Cradle — Kurt Vonnegut — Contents
“Do you find it easier to talk to me now?” Mona inquired.
“As though I’d known you for a thousand years,” I confessed. I felt like crying. “I love you, Mona.”
“I love you.” She said it simply.
“What a fool Frank was!”
“To give you up.”
“He did not love me. He was going to marry me only because ‘Papa’ wanted him to. He loves another.”
“A woman he knew in Ilium.”
The lucky woman had to be the wife of the owner of Jack’s Hobby Shop. “He told you?”
“Tonight, when he freed me to marry you.”
“Is—is there anyone else in your life?”
She was puzzled. “Many,” she said at last.
“That you love?”
“I love everyone.”
“As—as much as me?”
“Yes.” She seemed to have no idea that this might bother me.
I got off the floor, sat in a chair, and started putting my shoes and socks back on.
“I suppose you—you perform—you do what we just did with—with other people?”
“I don’t want you to do it with anybody but me from now on,” I declared.
Tears filled her eyes. She adored her promiscuity; was angered that I should try to make her feel shame. “I make people happy. Love is good, not bad.”
“As your husband, I’ll want all your love for myself.”
She stared at me with widening eyes. “A sin-wat!”
“What was that?”
“A sin-wat!” she cried. “A man who wants all of somebody’s love. That’s very bad.”
“In the case of marriage, I think it’s a very good thing. It’s the only thing.”
She was still on the floor, and I, now with my shoes and socks back on, was standing. I felt very tall, though I’m not very tall; and I felt very strong, though I’m not very strong; and I was a respectful stranger to my own voice. My voice had a metallic authority that was new.
As I went on talking in ball-peen tones, it dawned on me what was happening, what was happening already. I was already starting to rule.
I told Mona that I had seen her performing a sort of vertical boko-maru with a pilot on the reviewing stand shortly after my arrival. “You are to have nothing more to do with him,” I told her. “What is his name?”
“I don’t even know,” she whispered. She was looking down now.
“And what about young Philip Castle?”
“You mean boko-maru?”
“I mean anything and everything. As I understand it, you two grew up together.”
“Bokonon tutored you both?”
“Yes.” The recollection made her radiant again.
“I suppose there was plenty of boko-maruing in those days.”
“Oh, yes!” she said happily.
“You aren’t to see him any more, either. Is that clear?”
“I will not marry a sin-wat.” She stood. “Good-bye.”
“Good-bye?” I was crushed.
“Bokonon tells us it is very wrong not to love everyone exactly the same. What does your religion say?”
“I—I don’t have one.”
I had stopped ruling. “I see you do,” I said.
“Good-bye, man-with-no-religion.” She went to the stone staircase.
“Mona . . .”
She stopped. “Yes?”
“Could I have your religion, if I wanted it?”
“I want it.”
“Good. I love you.”
“And I love you,” I sighed.