Kurt Vonnegut writes a bus journey (rude words)
November 14, 2011
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Oberon Haddock saw the big machine coming down the road towards the stop. The big machine was called a ‘bus’, and was made largely of ferrous metal. It was directed in its path by a much smaller machine. This machine was made largely of meat. The big machine had been made in a factory and had, to the best of any-one’s knowledge, no emotions or volition. The smaller, meat machine was seething with resentment. He seethed with resentment because he suspected that the machine he thought of as his wife was interacting with another machine in something known as “an affair”. He seethed with resentment because he wanted more money, and he seethed with resentment because he hated his occupation. Being a little machine directing the path of a bigger machine was not what he wanted to do. He didn’t get to decide the path on which to direct the bigger machine. The path was decided by a table of text and numbers called the “timetable”. He hated the timetable. His name was Johann Funnelbiker.
As soon as Oberon Haddock stepped onto the bus and saw Johann Funnelbiker, he recognised his resentment.
‘I am completely normal,’ Oberon Haddock said to Johann Funnelbiker.
‘Evidently not,’ Johann replied, tapping the coin-dispenser with nervous fingers. His face was already starting to redden.
‘I can help you,’ Haddock assured him.
‘You can help me by either telling me where the hell you want to go, and providing approximately the correct fare, or by getting the fuck off my bleeding bus.’
‘The bad days will end.’
‘The bad days will continue until I stop having to deal with twats like you. Now where do you want to go?’
Oberon Haddock sat his thin, fragile body down in the vestibule of the bus, and adopted the lotus position. He inhaled deeply, and exhaled slowly while Johann looked around for a spanner or similar object to use as a weapon. Johann’s search led to nothing, except more frustration. Oberon Haddock’s meditation inspired him. He uttered the mystic word that now flared like a supernova across the constellation of his mind.
‘Ossett.’ Now they were getting somewhere.