Monday, July 25, 2011

Hilarious Excerpt from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughter-House Five

Billy invited Trout to his eighteenth wedding anniversary which was only two days hence. Now the party was in progress.
Trout was in Billy's dining room, gobbling canapés. He was talking with a mouthful of Philadelphia cream cheese and salmon roe to an optometrist's wife. Everybody at the party was associated with optometry in some way, except Trout. And he alone was without glasses. He was making a great hit. Everybody was thrilled to have a real author at the party, even though they had never read his books.
Trout was talking to a Maggie White, who had given up being a dental assistant to become a homemaker for an optometrist. She was very pretty. The last book she read was Ivanhoe.
Billy Pilgrim stood nearby, listening. He was palpating something in his pocket. It was a present he was about to give his wife, a white satin box containing a star sapphire cocktail ring. The ring was worth eight hundred dollars.

The adulation that Trout was receiving, mindless and illiterate as it was, affected Trout like marijuana. He was happy and loud and impudent.
"I'm afraid I don't read as much as I ought to," said Maggie.
"We're all afraid of something," Trout replied. "I'm afraid of cancer and rats and Doberman pinschers."
"I should know, but I don't, so I have to ask," said Maggie, "what's the most famous thing you ever wrote?"
"It was about a funeral for a great French chef."
"That sounds interesting."
"All the great chefs in the world are there. It's a beautiful ceremony." Trout was making this up as he went along. "Just before the casket is closed, the mourners sprinkle parsley and paprika on the deceased." So it goes.

"Did that really happen?" said Maggie White. She was a dull person, but sensational invitation to make babies. Men looked at her and wanted to fill her up with babies right away. She hadn't had even one baby yet. She used birth control.
"Of course it happened," Trout told her. "If I wrote something that hadn't really happened, and I tried to sell it, I could go to jail. That's fraud."
Maggie believed him. "I'd never thought about that before."
"Think about it now."
"It's like advertising. You have to tell the truth in advertising, or you get in trouble."
"Exactly. The same body of law applies."
Do you think you might put us in a book sometime?"
"I put everything that happens to me in books."
"I guess I better be careful what I say."
"That's right. And I'm not the only one who's listening. God is listening, too. And on Judgment Day he's going to tell you all the things you said and did. If it turns out they're bad things instead of good things, that's too bad for you, because you'll burn forever and ever. The burning never stops hurting."
Poor Maggie turned gray. She believed that, too, and was petrified.
Kilgore Trout laughed uproariously. A salmon egg flew out of his mouth and landed in Maggie's cleavage.


Elias said...

I, too, find it hilarious.

UK said...

This book is not what I expected it to be. I thought it would be mainly about war. It is about a guy that hallucinates and believes he travels back and forth through time. He also believes he is abducted by aliens. As I continued to read the book it began to get more in depth of what was going on. I then had to really concentrate on the setting changes to follow what I was reading. This is the type of book that if you are not understanding it from the beginning, then more then likely you want know whats going on throughout the rest of the book. I thought this book was difficult, yet enjoyable. This book would probably be interesting to people who like to read books about man vs. himself.