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2 B R 0 2 B

4.4 61
by Kurt Vonnegut

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Got a problem? Just pick up the phone. It solved them all--and all the same way!


Got a problem? Just pick up the phone. It solved them all--and all the same way!

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Sheba Blake Publishing
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Barnes & Noble
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102 KB

Read an Excerpt

Everything was perfectly swell.

There were no prisons, no slums, no insane asylums, no cripples, no poverty, no wars.

All diseases were conquered. So was old age.

Death, barring accidents, was an adventure for volunteers.

The population of the United States was stabilized at forty-million souls.

One bright morning in the Chicago Lying-in Hospital, a man named Edward K. Wehling, Jr., waited for his wife to give birth. He was the only man waiting. Not many people were born a day any more.

Wehling was fifty-six, a mere stripling in a population whose average age was one hundred and twenty-nine.

X-rays had revealed that his wife was going to have triplets. The children would be his first.

Young Wehling was hunched in his chair, his head in his hand. He was so rumpled, so still and colorless as to be virtually invisible. His camouflage was perfect, since the waiting room had a disorderly and demoralized air, too. Chairs and ashtrays had been moved away from the walls. The floor was paved with spattered dropcloths.

The room was being redecorated. It was being redecorated as a memorial to a man who had volunteered to die.

A sardonic old man, about two hundred years old, sat on a stepladder, painting a mural he did not like. Back in the days when people aged visibly, his age would have been guessed at thirty-five or so. Aging had touched him that much before the cure for aging was found.

The mural he was working on depicted a very neat garden. Men and women in white, doctors and nurses, turned the soil, planted seedlings, sprayed bugs, spread fertilizer.

Men and women in purple uniforms pulled up weeds, cut down plants that were oldand sickly, raked leaves, carried refuse to trash-burners.

Never, never, never--not even in medieval Holland nor old Japan--had a garden been more formal, been better tended. Every plant had all the loam, light, water, air and nourishment it could use.

A hospital orderly came down the corridor, singing under his breath a popular song:

* * * *

If you don't like my kisses, honey,

Here's what I will do:

I'll go see a girl in purple,

Kiss this sad world toodle-oo.

If you don't want my lovin',

Why should I take up all this space?

I'll get off this old planet,

Let some sweet baby have my place.

* * * *

The orderly looked in at the mural and the muralist. "Looks so real," he said, "I can practically imagine I'm standing in the middle of it."

"What makes you think you're not in it?" said the painter. He gave a satiric smile. "It's called 'The Happy Garden of Life,' you know."

"That's good of Dr. Hitz," said the orderly.

Meet the Author

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was born on November 11, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana, one of three children. He graduated from Shortridge High School in 1940, and majored in chemistry at Cornell University.
Kurt enlisted in the U. S. Army during World War II, and was transferred to the Carnegie Institute of Technology, then the University of Tennessee for mechanical engineering. On Mother's Day 1944, his mother committed suicide.
Sent into combat, due to a manpower shortage, Vonnegut was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and imprisoned in Dresden. He survived the firebombing of Dresden by the Allies, by staying in an underground meat locker, nicknamed "Slaughterhouse Five." He was freed by Russian troops in 1945 and given a Purple Heart.
After the war, he attended the University of Chicago in the graduate anthropology program and worked for the City News Bureau. Moving to Schenectady, New York, he took a job at General Electric, where his older brother worked, and served as a Volunteer Fire-Fighter.
Vonnegut worked briefly for "Sports Illustrated," then at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. It was there that he wrote "Cat's Cradle" and "Slaughterhouse-Five," which are considered by many to be some of the best novels of the 20th century.
After that, he moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts and opened one of the first Saab dealerships in the country. It closed within a year. Vonnegut married Jane Marie Cox in 1946, but they separated in 1970 and divorced in 1979. They had three children.
He married Jill Krementz in 1979 and they adopted a daughter. When his sister died of cancer, they also adopted three of her four children. Kurt died on April 11, 2007, at the age of 84, in New York City, after falling down a flight of stairs at his home.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
November 11, 1922
Date of Death:
April 11, 2007
Place of Birth:
Indianapolis, Indiana
Place of Death:
New York, New York
Cornell University, 1940-42; Carnegie-Mellon University, 1943; University of Chicago, 1945-47; M.A., 1971

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2BR02B 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Kay2001 More than 1 year ago
I have to say this was interesting. It was my first read by Vonnegut and I do understand now why my son loves him. It's a short story about population control. For every child born that is going to live, a volunteer must die. Imagine what goes through a father's head when his wife is about to have triplets! I enjoyed it and it really makes me stop and think. I didn't think I would enjoy it and I was pleasantly surprised. I think I will give something else by this author a try.
Gryyphyn More than 1 year ago
It's a short journey through the mind of three men and one government some may see as idealized. 10-15 minutes takes you through the thoughts of a new father, an artist, a doctor and the government they reside in. If you're not thinking by the end of this then you're either a) dead or b) too narrow minded to see the possibilities beyond your own beliefs.
Aquarius55 More than 1 year ago
Typical Kurt Vonnegut short story. If you read all of his books you will enjoy reading this. Thought provocative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish this was a novel. Interesting concept and the imagery is fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking to say the least. Very short, but I enjoyed the bio of Kurt's life at the end... explained a lot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome short about population control. A masterpiece really.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Says this is gay and to stop spamming
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Miss u merry christmaz and shivering is pregnant
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She padded in. "I'm Firestar leader of Thistleclan. Shadowcat had a typo. It's ThistleClan not Thrushclan. I need to talk to Shadowcat. NOW."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wrestles aound in grass
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For once, she had her back to the camp. She wept bitterly, for all the cats of her clan abandoned her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looked at him with sincere, lavender eyes. "Thank you. It just means so much." She kindly licked him behind the ears.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The tom padded in, looking around.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Drinking beer*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"O-okay then..."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stood of the the side, drinking a glass of cherry flavored ice water.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where is the prep
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this story, and the question of mortality that Kurt so wondrously created
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DO NOT BUY THIS E-BOOK The story is great, definitely check it out, but do not pay even $.95, it's only eight pages long! The rest is padded out with Vonnegut's bio and stuff. It's available on the internet for free in numerous locations, it will take you five minutes to read, tops. It's a very neat, thought-provoking little piece, I'm glad I read it and you should too, but I feel scammed.