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Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Stories

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 each day anymore.

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

Interesting, eh? Well, I thought so. At one point, it took a turn that I didn't see coming. Maybe cause I haven't read much of his work.

I haven't read a lot of his works but I enjoy what I've read of Kurt Vonnegut. Today's passage comes from a new book that collects all of his short stories, which have only been published in magazines previously. It's called Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Stories. Since I didn't want to give the story away, I'm typing only the beginning of a story called 2BR02B.

©2005 karenika.com