A few delicious tidbits in here, to which we will add as the hours, days, weeks, months and years go by.


Postby admin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:00 pm

Chapter 25

Those who are regular followers of the doings of Arthur Dent may have received an impression of his character and habits which, while it includes the truth and, of course, nothing but the truth, falls somewhat short, in its composition, of the whole truth in all its glorious aspects.

And the reasons for this are obvious: editing, selection, the need to balance that which is interesting with that which is relevant and cut out all the tedious happenstance.

Like this, for instance: "Arthur Dent went to bed. He went up the stairs, all fifteen of them, opened the door, went into his room, took off his shoes and socks and then all the rest of his clothes one by one and left them in a neatly crumpled heap on the floor. He put on his pajamas, the blue ones with the stripes. He washed his face and hands, brushed his teeth, went to the bathroom, realized that he had once again got this all in the wrong order, had to wash his hands again, and went to bed. He read for fifteen minutes, spending the first ten minutes of that trying to work out where in the book he had got to the previous night, then he turned out the light and within a minute or so more was asleep.

"It was dark. He lay on his left side for a good hour.

"After that he moved restlessly in his sleep for a moment and then turned over to sleep on his right side. Another hour after this his eyes flickered briefly and he slightly scratched his nose, though there was still a good twenty minutes to go before he turned back onto his left side. And so he whiled the night away, sleeping.

"At four he got up and went to the bathroom again. He opened the door to the bathroom ..." and so on.

It's guff. It doesn't advance the action. It makes for nice fat books such as the American market thrives on, but it doesn't actually get you anywhere You don't, in short, want to know.

But there are other omissions as well, besides the toothbrushing-and-trying-to-find-fresh-socks variety, and in some of these people have often eemed inordinately interested.

What, they want to know, about all that stuff off in the wings with Arthur and Trillian, did that ever get anywhere?

To which the answer was, of course, mind your own business.

And what, they say, was he up to all those nights on the planet Krikkit? Just because the planet didn't have Fuolornis Fire Dragons or Dire Straits doesn't mean that the whole planet just sat up every night reading.

Or to take a more specific example, what about the night after the committee meeting party on prehistoric Earth when Arthur found himself sitting on a hillside watching the moon rise over the softly burning trees in company with a beautiful young girl called Mella, recently escaped from a lifetime of staring every morning at a hundred nearly identical photographs of moodily lit cubes of toothpaste in the art department of an advertising agency on the planet Golgafrincham? What then? What happened next? And the answer is, of course, that the book ended.

The next one didn't resume the story till five years later, and you can, claim some, take discretion too far. "This Arthur Dent," comes the cry from the farthest reaches of the Galaxy, and has even now been found inscribed on a mysterious deep-space probe thought to originate from another alien galaxy at a distance too hideous to contemplate, "what is he, man or mouse? Is he interested in nothing more than tea and the wider issues of life? Has he no spirit? Has he no passion? Does he not, to put it in a nutshell, fuck?"

Those who wish to know should read on. Others may wish to skip on to the last chapter which is a good bit and has Marvin in it.
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Postby admin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:01 pm

Chapter 26

Arthur Dent very much hoped, for an unworthy moment, as they drifted up, that his friends who had always found him pleasant but dull or, more latterly, odd but dull, were having a good time in the pub, but that was the last time, for a while, that he thought of them.

They drifted up, spiraling slowly around each other, like sycamore seeds falling from sycamore trees in the autumn, except going the other way.

And as they drifted up, their minds sang with the ecstatic knowledge that either what they were doing was completely and utterly and totally impossible or that physics had a lot of catching up to do.

Physics shook its head and, looking the other way, concentrated on keeping the cars going along the Euston Road and out toward the Westway flyover, on keeping the street lights lit and on making sure that when somebody in Baker Street dropped a cheeseburger it went splat upon the ground.

Dwindling headily beneath them, the beaded strings of lights of London -- London, Arthur had to keep reminding himself, not the strangely colored fields of Krikkit on the remote fringes of the Galaxy, lighted freckles of which faintly spanned the opening sky above them, but London -- swayed, swaying and turning, turned.

"Try a swoop," he called to Fenchurch.


Her voice seemed strangely clear but distant in all the vast empty air. It was breathy and faint with disbelief -- all those things, clear, faint, distant, breathy, all at the same time.

"We're flying ..." she said.

"A trifle," called Arthur, "think nothing of it. Try a swoop."

"A sw --"

Her hand caught his, and in a sudden second her weight caught it, too, and stunningly, she was gone, tumbling beneath him, clawing wildly at nothing.

Physics glanced at Arthur and, clotted with horror, he was gone, too, sick with giddy dropping, every part of him screaming but his voice.

They plummeted because this was London and you really couldn't do this sort of thing here.

He couldn't catch her because this was London, and not a million miles from here -- seven hundred and fifty-six, to be exact, in Pisa, where Galileo had clearly demonstrated that two falling bodies fall at exactly the same rate of acceleration irrespective of their relative weights.

They fell.

Arthur realized as he fell, giddily and sickeningly, that if he was going to hang around in the sky believing everything that the Italians had to say about physics when they couldn't even keep a simple tower straight, that they were in dead trouble, and he damn well did fall faster than Fenchurch.

He grappled her from above, and fumbled for a tight grip on her shoulders. He got it.

Fine. They were now falling together, which was all very sweet and romantic, but didn't solve the basic problem, which was that they were falling, and the ground wasn't waiting around to see if he had any more clever tricks up his sleeve, but was coming up to meet them like an express train.

He couldn't support her weight, he hadn't anything he could support it with or against. The only thing he could think was that they were obviously going to die, and if he wanted anything other than the obvious to happen he was going to have to do something other than the obvious. Here he felt he was on familiar territory.

He let go of her, pushed her away, and when she turned her face to him in a gasp of stunned horror, caught her little finger with his little finger and swung her back upward, tumbling clumsily up after her.

"Shit," she said, as she sat panting and breathless on absolutely nothing at all, and when she had recovered herself they fled on up into the night.

Just below cloud level they paused and scanned where they had impossibly come. The ground was something not to regard with any too firm or steady eye, but merely to glance at, as it were, in passing.

Fenchurch tried some little swoops, daringly, and found that if she judged herself right against a body of wind she could pull off some really quite dazzling ones with a little pirouette at the end, followed by a little drop which made her dress billow around her, and this is where readers who are keen to know what Marvin and Ford Prefect have been up to all this while should look ahead to later chapters, because Arthur now could wait no longer and helped her take it off.

It drifted down and away whipped by the wind until it was a speck which finally vanished, and for obvious complicated reasons revolutionized the life of a family in Hounslow, over whose washing line it was discovered draped in the morning.

In a mute embrace, they drifted up till they were swimming among the misty wraiths of moisture that you can see feathering around the wings of an airplane but never feel because you are sitting warm inside the stuffy airplane and looking through the little scratchy Plexiglas window while somebody else's son tries patiently to pour warm milk into your shirt.

Arthur and Fenchurch could feel them, wispy cold and thin, wreathing round their bodies, very cold, very thin. They felt, even Fenchurch, now protected from the elements only by a couple of fragments from Marks and Spencer, that if they were not going to let the force of gravity bother them, then mere cold or paucity of atmosphere could go and whistle.

The two fragments from Marks and Spencer which, as Fenchurch rose now into the misty body of the clouds, Arthur removed very, very slowly, which is the only way it's possible to do it when you're flying and also not using your hands, went on to create considerable havoc in the morning in, respectively, counting from top to bottom, Isleworth and Richmond.

They were in the cloud for a long time, because it was stacked very high, and when finally they emerged wetly above it, Fenchurch slowly spinning like a starfish lapped by a rising tide pool, they found that above the clouds is where the night gets seriously moonlit.

The light is darkly brilliant. There are different mountains up there, but they are mountains with their own white Arctic snows.

They had emerged at the top of the high-stacked cumulonimbus, and now began lazily to drift down its contours. as Fenchurch eased Arthur in turn from his clothes, pried him free of them till all were gone, winding their surprised way down into the enveloping whiteness.

She kissed him, kissed his neck, his chest, and soon they were drifting on, turning slowly, in a kind of speechless T-shape, which might have caused even a Fuolornis Fire Dragon, had one flown past, replete with pizza, to flap its wings and cough a little.

There were, however, no Fuolornis Fire Dragons in the clouds nor could there be for, like the dinosaurs, the dodos, and the Greater Drubbered Wintwock of Stegbartle Major in the Constellation Fraz, and unlike the Boeing 747 which is in plentiful supply, they are, sadly, extinct, and the Universe shall never know their like again.

The reason that a Boeing 747 crops up rather unexpectedly in the above list is not unconnected with the fact that something very similar happened in the lives of Arthur and Fenchurch a moment or two later.

They are big things, terrifyingly big. You know when one is in the air with you. There is a thunderous attack of air, a moving wall of screaming wind, and you get tossed aside, if you are foolish enough to be doing anything remotely like what Arthur and Fenchurch were doing in its close vicinity, like butterflies in the Blitz.

This time, however, there was no heart-sickening fall or loss of nerve, just a regrouping moments later and a wonderful new idea enthusiastically ignaled through the buffeting noise.

Mrs. E. Kapelsen of Boston, Massachusetts, was an elderly lady; indeed, she felt her life was nearly at an end. She had seen a lot of it, been puzzled by some but, she was a little uneasy to feel at this late stage, bored by too much. It had all been very pleasant, but perhaps a little too explicable, a little too routine.

With a sigh she flipped up the little plastic window shade and looked over the wing.

At first she thought she ought to call the stewardess, but then she thought, no, damn it, definitely not, this was for her, and her alone.

By the time her two inexplicable people finally slipped back off the wing and tumbled into the slipstream she had cheered up an awful lot.

She was mostly immensely relieved to think that virtually everything that anybody had ever told her was wrong.


The following morning Arthur and Fenchurch slept very late in the alley despite the continual wail of furniture being restored.

The following night they did it all over again, only this time with Sony Walkmen.
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Postby admin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:01 pm

Chapter 27

This is all very wonderful," said Fenchurch a few days later, "but I do need to know what has happened to me. You see, there's this difference between us. That you lost something and found it again, and I found something and lost it. I need to find it again."

She had to go out for the day, so Arthur settled down for a day of telephoning.

Murray Bost Henson was a journalist on one of the papers with small pages and big print. It would be pleasant to be able to say that he was none the worse for this but, sadly, this was not the case. He happened to be the only journalist that Arthur knew, so Arthur phoned him anyway.

"Arthur, my old soup spoon, my old silver tureen, how particularly stunning to hear from you! Someone told me you'd gone off into space or something."

Murray had his own special kind of conversation language which he had invented for his own use, and which no one else was able to speak or even to follow. Hardly any of it meant anything at all. The bits which did mean anything were often so wonderfully buried that no one could ever spot them slipping past in the avalanche of nonsense. The time when you did find out, later, which bits he did mean, was often a bad time for all concerned.

"What?" said Arthur.

"Just a rumor, my old elephant tusk, my little green baize card table, just a rumor. Probably means nothing at all, but I may need a quote from you."

"Nothing to say, just pub talk."

"We thrive on it, my old prosthetic limb, we thrive on it. Plus it would fit like a whatsit in one of those other things with the other stories of the week, so it could be good just to have you denying it. Excuse me, something has just fallen out of my ear."

There was a slight pause, at the end of which Murray Bost Henson came back on the line sounding genuinely shaken.

"Just remembered," he said, "what an odd evening I had last night. Anyway my old, I won't say what, how do you feel about having ridden on Halley's comet?"

"I haven't," said Arthur with a suppressed sigh, "ridden on Halley's comet."

"Okay. How do you feel about not having ridden on Halley's comet?"

"Pretty relaxed, Murray."

There was a pause while Murray wrote this down.

"Good enough for me, Arthur, good enough for Ethel and me and the chickens. Fits in with the general weirdness of the week. Week of the Weirdos, we're thinking of calling it. Good, eh?"

"Very good."

"Got a ring to it. First, we have this man it always rains on."


"It's the absolute stocking top truth. All documented in his little black books, it all checks out at every single fun-loving level. The Met Office is going ice cold thick banana whips, and funny little men in white coats are flying in from all over the world with their little rulers and boxes and drip feeds. This man is the bee's knees, Arthur, he is the wasp's nipples. He is, I would go so far as to say, the entire set of erogenous zones of every major flying insect of the Western world. We're calling him the Rain God. Nice, eh?"

"I think I've met him."

"Good ring to it. What did you say?"

"I may have met him. Complains all the time, yes?"

"Incredible! You met the Rain God?"

"If it's the same guy. I told him to stop complaining and show someone his book."

There was an impressed pause from Murray Bost Henson's end of the phone.

"Well, you did a bundle. An absolute bundle has absolutely been done by you. Listen, do you know how much a tour operator is paying that guy not to go to Malaga this year? I mean, forget irrigating the Sahara and boring stuff like that, this guy has a whole new career ahead of him, just avoiding places for money. The man's turning into a monster, Arthur, we might even have to make him win the bingo.

"Listen, we may want to do a feature on you, Arthur, the Man Who Made the Rain God Rain. Got a ring to it, eh?"

"A nice one, but --"

"We may need to photograph you under a garden shower, but that'll be okay. Where are you?"

"Er, I'm in Islington. Listen, Murray --"


"Yes --"

"Well, what about the real weirdness of the week, the real seriously loopy stuff. You know anything about these flying people?"


"You must have. This is the real seethingly crazy one. This is the real meatballs in the batter. Locals are phoning in all the time to say there's this couple who go flying nights. We've got guys down in our photo labs working through the night to put together a genuine photograph. You must have heard."


"Arthur, where have you been? Oh, space, right, I got your quote. But that was months ago. Listen, it's night after night this week, my old cheese grater, right on your patch. This couple just fly around the sky and star doing all kinds of stuff. And I don't mean looking through walls or pretending to be box-girder bridges. You don't know anything?"


"Arthur, it's been almost inexpressibly delicious conversing with you, chumbum, but I have to go. I'll send the guy with the camera and the hose. Give me the address, I'm ready and writing."

"Listen, Murray, I called to ask you something."

"I have a lot to do."

"I just wanted to find something about the dolphins."

"No story. Last year's news. Forget 'em. They're gone."

"It's important."

"Listen, no one will touch it. You can't sustain a story, you know, when the only news is the continuing absence of whatever it is the story's about. Not our territory anyway, try the Sundays. Maybe they'll run a little 'Whatever Happened to "Whatever Happened to the Dolphins", story in a couple of years, around August. But what's anybody going to do now? 'Dolphins Still Gone'? 'Continuing Dolphin Absence'? 'Dolphins -- Further Days Without Them'? The story dies, Arthur. It lies down and kicks its little feet in the air and presently goes to the great golden spike in the sky, my old fruitbat."

"Murray, I'm not interested in whether it's a story. I just want to find out how I can get in touch with that guy in California who claims to know something about it. I thought you might know."
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Postby admin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:01 pm

Chapter 28

"People are beginning to talk," said Fenchurch that evening, after they had hauled her cello in.

"Not only talk," said Arthur, "but print, in big bold letters under the bingo prizes. Which is why I thought I'd better get these."

He showed her the long narrow booklets of airline tickets.

"Arthur!" she said, hugging him, "does that mean you managed to talk to him?"

"I have had a day," said Arthur, "of extreme telephonic exhaustion. I have spoken to virtually every department of virtually every paper in Fleet Street, and I finally tracked his number down."

"You've obviously been working hard, you're drenched with sweat, poor darling."

"Not with sweat," said Arthur wearily. "A photographer's just been here. I tried to argue, but-never mind, the point is, yes."

"You spoke to him."

"I spoke to his wife. She said he was too weird to come to the phone right now and could I call back."

He sat down heavily, realized he was missing something, and went to the fridge to find it.

"Want a drink?"

"Would commit murder to get one. I always know I'm in for a tough time when my cello teacher looks me up and down and says, 'Ah yes, my dear, I think a little Tchaikovsky today.'"

"I called again," said Arthur, "and she said that he was 3.2 light-years from the phone and I should call back."


"I called again. She said the situation had improved. He was now a mere 2.6 light-years from the phone but it was still a long way to shout."

"You don't suppose," said Fenchurch doubtfully, "that there's anyone else we can talk to?"

"It gets worse," said Arthur. "I spoke to someone on a science magazine who actually knows him, and he said that John Watson will not only believe, but will actually have absolute proof, often dictated to him by angels with golden beards and green wings and Dr. Scholl footwear, that the month's most fashionable silly theory is true. For people who question the validity of these visions he will triumphantly produce the clogs in question, and that's as far as you get."

"I didn't realize it was that bad," said Fenchurch quietly. She fiddled listlessly with the tickets.

"I phoned Mrs. Watson again," said Arthur. "Her name, by the way, and you may wish to know this, is Arcane Jill."

"I see."

"I'm glad you see. I thought you mightn't believe any of this, so when I called her this time I used the telephone answering machine to record the call with."

He went across to the telephone machine and fiddled and fumed with all its buttons for a while, because it was the one which was particularly recommended by Which magazine and is almost impossible to use without going mad.

"Here it is," he said at last, wiping the sweat from his brow.

The voice was thin and crackly with its journey to a geostationary satellite and back, but was also hauntingly calm.

"Perhaps I should explain," Arcane Jill Watson's voice said, "that the phone is in fact in a room that he never comes into. It's in the Asylum, you see. Wonko the Sane does not like to enter the Asylum and so he does not. I feel you should know this because it may save you phoning. If you would like to meet him, this is very easily arranged. All you have to do is walk in. He will only meet people outside the Asylum."

Arthur's voice, at its most mystified: "I'm sorry, I don't understand. Where is the asylum?"

"Where is the Asylum?" Arcane Jill Watson again. "Have you ever read the instructions on a packet of toothpicks?"

On the tape, Arthur's voice had to admit that he had not.

"You may want to do that. You may find that it clarifies things for you a little. You may find that it indicates to you where the Asylum is. Thank you."

The sound of the phone line went dead. Arthur turned the machine off.

"Well, I suppose we can regard that as an invitation," he said with a shrug. "I actually managed to get the address from the guy on the science magazine."

Fenchurch looked up at him with a thoughtful frown, and looked at the tickets again.

"Do you think it's worth it?" she said.

"Well," said Arthur, "the one thing that everyone I spoke to agreed on, apart from the fact they all thought he was barking mad, is that he does know more than any man living about dolphins."
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Postby admin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:02 pm

Chapter 29

This is an important announcement. This is flight 121 to Los Angeles. If your travel plans today do not include Los Angeles, now would be a perfect time to disembark."
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Postby admin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:02 pm

Chapter 30

They rented a car in Los Angeles from one of the places that rents out cars that other people have thrown away.

"Getting it to go around corners is a bit of a problem," said the guy behind the sunglasses as he handed them the keys. "Sometimes it's simpler just to get out and find a car that's going in that direction."

They stayed for one night in a hotel on Sunset Boulevard which someone had told them they would enjoy being puzzled by.

"Everyone there is either English or odd or both. They've got a swimming pool where you can go and watch English rock stars reading Language, Truth and Logic for the photographers."

It was true. There was one and that was exactly what he was doing. The garage attendant didn't think much of their car, but that was fine because they didn't either.

Late in the evening they drove through the Hollywood hills along Mulholland Drive and stopped to look out first over the dazzling sea of floating light that is Los Angeles, and later stopped to look across the dazzling sea of floating light that is the San Fernando Valley. They agreed that the sense of dazzle stopped immediately at the back of their eyes and didn't touch any other part of them and came away strangely unsatisfied by the spectacle. As dramatic seas of light went, it was fine, but light is meant to illuminate something, and having driven through what this particularly dramatic sea of light was illuminating they didn't think much of it.

They slept late and restlessly and awoke at lunchtime when it was unbearably hot.

They drove out along the freeway to Santa Monica for their first look at the Pacific Ocean, the ocean which Wonko the Sane spent all his days and a good deal of his nights looking at.

"Someone told me," said Fenchurch, "that they once overheard two ladies on this beach, doing what we're doing, looking at the Pacific Ocean for the first time in their lives. And apparently, after a long pause, one of them said to the other, "You know, it's not as big as I expected.'"

Their mood gradually lifted as they walked along the beach in Malibu and watched all the millionaires in their chic shanty huts carefully keeping an eye on one another to check how rich they were each geting.

Their mood lifted further as the sun began to move down the western half of the sky, and by the time they were back in their rattling car and driving toward a sunset that no one of any sensibility would dream of building a city like Los Angeles in front of they were suddenly feeling astonishingly and irrationally happy and didn't even mind that the terrible old car radio would only play two stations, and those simultaneously. So what, they were both playing good rock and roll.

"I know that he will be able to help us," said Fenchurch determinedly, "I know he will. What's his name again, the one he likes to be called?"

"Wonko the Sane."

"I know that he will be able to help us."

Arthur wondered if he would and hoped that he would, and hoped that what Fenchurch had lost could be found here, on this Earth, whatever this Earth might prove to be.

He hoped, as he had hoped continually and fervently since the time they had talked together on the banks of the Serpentine, that he would not be called upon to try to remember something that he had very firmly and deliberately buried in the furthest recesses of his memory, where he hoped it would cease to nag at him.


In Santa Barbara they stopped at a fish restaurant in what seemed to be a converted warehouse.

Fenchurch had red mullet and said it was delicious.

Arthur had a swordfish steak and said it made him angry. He grabbed a passing waitress by the arm and berated her.

"Why's this fish so bloody good?" he demanded, angrily.

"Please excuse my friend," said Fenchurch to the startled waitress. "I think he's having a nice day at last."
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Postby admin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:02 pm

Chapter 31

If you took a couple of David Bowies and stuck one of the David Bowies on the top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of each of the arms of the upper of the first two David Bowies and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would then have something which didn't exactly look like John Watson, but which those who knew him would find hauntingly familiar.

He was tall and he gangled.

When he sat in his deck chair gazing at the Pacific, not so much with any kind of wild surmise any longer as with a peaceful deep dejection, it was a little difficult to tell exactly where the deck chair ended and he began, and you would hesitate to put your hand on, say, his forearm in case the whole structure suddenly collapsed with a snap and took your thumb off. But his smile when he turned it on you was quite remarkable. It seemed to be composed of all the worst things that life can do to you, but which when he briefly reassembled them in that particular order on his face made you suddenly feel "Oh. Well, that's all right then."

When he spoke, you were glad that he used the smile that made you feel "Oh. Well, that's all right then" pretty often.

"Oh yes," he said, "they come and see me. They sit right here. They sit right where you're sitting." He was talking of the angels with the golden beards and green wings and Dr. Scholl sandals.

"They eat nachos which they say they can't get where they come from. They do a lot of coke and are very wonderful about a whole range of things."

"Do they," said Arthur, "are they? So, er ... when is this then? When do they come?"

He gazed out at the Pacific as well. There were little sandpipers running along the margin of the shore which seemed to have this problem, they needed to find their food in the sand which a wave had just washed over, but they couldn't bear to get their feet wet. To deal with this problem they ran with an odd kind of movement as if they'd been constructed by somebody very clever in Switzerland.

Fenchurch was sitting on the sand, idly drawing patterns in it with her fingers.

"Weekends, mostly," said Wonko the Sane, "on little scooters. They are great machines." He smiled.

"I see," said Arthur, "I see."

A tiny cough from Fenchurch attracted his attention and he looked round at her. She had scratched a little stick figure drawing in the sand of the two of them in the clouds. For a moment he thought she was trying to get him excited, then he realized that she was rebuking him. "Who are we," she was saying, "to say he's mad?"

His house was certainly peculiar, and since this was the first thing that Fenchurch and Arthur had encountered it would help to know what it was like.

It was like this:

It was inside out.

Actually inside out, to the extent that they had had to park on the carpet.

All along what one would normally call the outer wall, which was decorated in a tasteful interior-designed pink, were bookshelves, also a couple of those odd three-legged tables with semicircular tops which stand in such a way as to suggest that someone just dropped the wall straight through them, and pictures which were clearly designed to soothe.

Where it got really odd was the roof.

It folded back on itself like something that M. C. Escher, had he been given to hard nights on the town, which it is no part of this narrative's purpose to suggest was the case, though it is sometimes hard, looking at his pictures, particularly the one with all the awkward steps, not to wonder, might have dreamed up after having been on one, for the little chandeliers which should have been hanging inside were on the outside pointing up.


The sign above the front door read "Come Outside," and so, nervously, they had.

Inside, of course, was where the Outside was. Rough brickwork, nicely done pointing, gutters in good repair, a garden path, a couple of small trees, some rooms leading off.

And the inner walls stretched down, folded curiously, and opened at the end as if, by an optical illusion which would have had M. C. Escher frowning and wondering how it was done, to enclose the Pacific Ocean itself.

"Hello," said John Watson, Wonko the Sane.

Good, they thought to themselves, "hello" is something we can cope with.

"Hello," they said, and all, surprisingly, was smiles.

For quite a while he seemed curiously reluctant to talk about the dolphins, looking oddly distracted and saying, "I forget ..." whenever they were mentioned, and had shown them quite proudly round the eccentricities of his house.

"It gives me pleasure," he said, "in a curious. kind of way, and does nobody any harm," he continued, "that a competent optician couldn't correct."

They liked him. He had an open, engaging quality and seemed able to mock himself before anybody else did.

"Your wife," said Arthur, looking around, "mentioned some toothpicks." He said it with a hunted look, as if he was worried that she might suddenly leap out from behind a door and mention them again.

Wonko the Sane laughed. It was a light easy laugh, and sounded like one he had used a lot before and was happy with.

"Ah yes," he said, "that's to do with the day I finally realized that the world had gone totally mad and built the Asylum to put it in, poor thing, and hoped it would get better."

This was the point at which Arthur began to feel a little nervous again.

"Here," said Wonko the Sane, "we are outside the Asylum." He pointed again at the rough brickwork, the pointing, and the gutters. "Go through that door" -- he pointed at the first door through which they had originally entered -- "and you go into the Asylum. I've tried to decorate it nicely to keep the inmates happy, but there's very little one can do. I never go in there myself. If ever I am tempted, which these days I rarely am, I simply look at the sign written over the door and I shy away."

"That one?" said Fenchurch, pointing, rather puzzled, at a blue plaque with some instructions written on it.

"Yes. They are the words that finally turned me into the hermit I have now become. It was quite sudden. I saw them, and I knew what I had to do."

The sign read:

"Hold stick near center of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion."

"It seemed to me," said Wonko the Sane, "that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane."

He gazed out at the Pacific again, as if daring it to rave and gibber at him, but it lay there calmly and played with the sandpipers.

"And in case it crossed your mind to wonder, as I can see how it possibly might, I am completely sane. Which is why I call myself Wonko the Sane, just to reassure people on this point. Wonko is what my mother called me when I was a kid and clumsy and knocked things over, and sane is what I am, and how," he added, with one of his smiles that made you feel "Oh. Well, that's all right then, I intend to remain. Shall we go to the beach and see what we have to talk about?"

They went out onto the beach, which was where he started talking about angels with golden beards and green wings and Dr. Scholl sandals.

"About the dolphins ..." said Fenchurch gently, hopefully.

"I can show you the sandals," said Wonko the Sane.

"I wonder, do you know ..."

"Would you like me to show you," said Wonko the Sane, "the sandals? I have them. I'll get them. They are made by the Dr. Scholl company, and the angels say that they particularly suit the terrain they have to work in. They say they run a concession stand by the message. When I say I don't know what that means they say no, you don't, and laugh. Well, I'll get them anyway."

As he walked back toward the inside, or the outside depending on how you looked at it, Arthur and Fenchurch looked at each other in a wondering and slightly desperate sort of way, then each shrugged and idly drew figures in the sand.

"How are the feet today?" said Arthur quietly.

"Okay. It doesn't feel so odd in the sand. Or in the water. The water touches them perfectly. I just think this isn't our world."

She shrugged. "What do you think he meant," she said, "by the message?"

"I don't know," said Arthur, though the memory of a man called Prak who laughed at him continuously kept nagging at him.

When Wonko returned he was carrying something that stunned Arthur. Not the sandals; they were perfectly ordinary wooden-bottomed sandals.

"I just thought you'd like to see," he said, "what angels wear on their feet. Just out of curiosity. I'm not trying to prove anything, by the way. I'm a scientist and I know what constitutes proof. But the reason I call myself by my childhood name is to remind myself that a scientist must also be absolutely like a child. If he sees a thing, he must say that he sees it, whether it was what he thought he was going to see or not. See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting. Most scientists forget that. I'll show you something to demonstrate that later. So, the other reason I call myself Wonko the Sane is so that people will think I am a fool. That allows me to say what I see when I see it. You can't possibly be a scientist if you mind people thinking that you're a fool. Anyway, I also thought you might like to see this."

This was the thing that Arthur had been stunned to see him carrying, for it was a wonderfully silver-gray glass fishbowl, seemingly identical to the one in Arthur's bedroom.

Arthur had been trying for some thirty seconds now, without success, to say "Where did you get that?" sharply, and with a gasp in his voice.

Finally his time had come but he missed it by a millisecond.

"Where did you get that?" said Fenchurch, sharply and with a gasp in her voice.

Arthur glanced at Fenchurch sharply and with a gasp in his voice said, "What? Have you seen one of these before?"

"Yes," she said, "I've got one. Or at least did have. Russell stole it to put his golf balls in. I don't know where it came from, just that I was angry with Russell for stealing it. Why, have you got one?"

"Yes, it was ..."

They both became aware that Wonko the Sane was glancing sharply backward and forward between them, and trying to get a gasp in edgeways.

"You have one of these, too?" he said to both of them.

"Yes." They both said it.

He looked long and calmly at each of them, then he held up the bowl to catch the light of the California sun.

The bowl seemed almost to sing with the sun, to chime with the intensity of its light, and cast darkly brilliant rainbows around the sand and upon them. He turned it and turned it. They could see quite clearly in the fine tracery of its etchwork the words "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish."

"Do you know," asked Wonko quietly, "what it is?"

They shook their heads slowly, and with wonder, almost hypnotized by the flashing of the lightning shadows in the gray glass.

"It is a farewell gift from the dolphins," said Wonko in a low quiet voice, "the dolphins whom I loved and studied, and swam with, and fed with fish, and even tried to learn their language, a task which they seemed to make impossibly difficult, considering the fact that I now realize they were perfectly capable of communicating in ours if they decided they wanted to."

He shook his head with a slow, slow smile, and then looked again at Fenchurch, and then at Arthur.

"Have you ..." he said to Arthur, "what have you done with yours? May I ask you that?"

"Er, I keep a fish in it," said Arthur, slightly embarrassed. "I happened to have this fish I was wondering what to do with, and, er, there was this bowl." He tailed off.

"You've done nothing else? No," he said, "if you had, you would know." He shook his head again.

"My wife kept wheat germ in ours," resumed Wonko, with some new tone in his voice, "until last night ..."

"What," said Arthur slowly and hushedly, "happened last night?"

"We ran out of wheat germ," said Wonko, evenly. "My wife," he added, "has gone to get some more." He seemed lost with his own thoughts for a moment.

"And what happened then?" said Fenchurch, in the same breathless tone.

"I washed it," said Wonko. "I washed it very carefully, very, very carefully, removing every last speck of wheat germ, then I dried it slowly with a lint-free cloth, slowly, carefully, turning it over and over. Then I held it to my ear. Have you ... have you held one to your ear?"

They both shook their heads, again slowly, again dumbly.

"Perhaps," he said, "you should."
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Postby admin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:03 pm

Chapter 32

The deep roar of the ocean.

The break of waves on farther shores than thought can find.

The silent thunders of the deep.

And from among it, voices calling, and yet not voices, humming trillings, wordlings, and half-articulated songs of thought.

Greetings, waves of greetings, sliding back down into the inarticulate, words breaking together.

A crash of sorrow on the shores of Earth.

Waves of joy on -- where? A world indescribably found, indescribably arrived at, indescribably wet, a song of water.

A fugue of voices now, clamoring explanations, of a disaster unavertable, a world to be destroyed, a surge of helplessness, a spasm of despair, a dying fall, again the break of words.

And then the fling of hope, the finding of a shadow Earth in the implications of enfolded time, submerged dimensions, the pull of parallels, the deep pull, the spin of will, the hurl and split of it, the fight. A new Earth pulled into replacement, the dolphins gone.

Then stunningly a single voice, quite clear.

"This bowl was brought to you by the Campaign to Save the Humans. We bid you farewell."

And then the sound of long, heavy, perfectly gray bodies rolling away into an unknown fathomless deep, quietly giggling.
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Postby admin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:03 pm

Chapter 33

That night they stayed Outside the Asylum and watched TV from inside it.

"This is what I wanted you to see," said Wonko the Sane when the news came around again, "an old colleague of mine. He's over in your country running an investigation. Just watch."

It was a press conference.

"I'm afraid I can't comment on the name Rain God at this present time, and we are calling him an example of a Spontaneous, Para- Causal Meteorological Phenomenon."

"Can you tell us what that means?"

"I'm not altogether sure. Let's be straight here. If we find something we can't understand we like to call it something you can't understand, or indeed pronounce. I mean if we just let you go around calling him a Rain God, then that suggests that you know something we don't, and I'm afraid we couldn't have that.

"No, first we have to call it something which says it's ours, not yours, then we set about finding some way of proving it's not what you said it is, but something we say it is.

"And if it turns out that you're right, you'll still be wrong, because we will simply call him a ... er, 'Supernormal' -- not paranormal or supernatural because you think you know what those mean now, no, a 'Supernormal Incremental Precipitation Inducer.' We'll probably want to shove a 'Quasi' in there somewhere to protect ourselves. Rain God! Huh, never heard such nonsense in my life. Admittedly, you wouldn't catch me going on holiday with him. Thanks, that'll be all for now, other than to say 'Hi!' to Wonko if he's watching."
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Postby admin » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:03 pm

Chapter 34

On the way home there was a woman sitting next to them on the plane who was looking at them rather oddly.

They talked quietly to themselves.

"I still have to know," said Fenchurch, "and I strongly feel that you know something that you're not telling me."

Arthur sighed and took out a piece of paper.

"Do you have a pencil?" he said.

She dug around and found one.

"What are you doing, sweetheart?" she said, after he had spent twenty minutes frowning, chewing the pencil, scribbling on the paper, crossing things out, scribbling again, chewing the pencil again, and grunting irritably to himself.

"Trying to remember an address someone once gave me."

"Your life would be an awful lot simpler," she said, "if you bought yourself an address book."

Finally he passed the paper to her.

"You look after it," he said.

She looked at it. Among all the scratchings and crossings out were the words "Quentulus Quazgar Mountains. Sevorbeupstry. Planet of Preliumtarn. Sun-Zarss. Galactic Sector QQ7 Active J Gamma."

"And what's there?"

"Apparently," said Arthur, "it's God's Final Message to His Creation."

"That sounds a bit more like it," said Fenchurch. "How do we get there?"

"You really ...?"

"Yes," said Fenchurch firmly, "I really want to know."

Arthur looked out of the little scratchy Plexiglas window at the open sky outside.

"Excuse me," said the woman who had been looking at them rather oddly, suddenly, "I hope you don't think I'm rude. I get so bored on these long flights, it's nice to talk to somebody. My name's Enid Kapelsen, I'm from Boston. Tell me, do you fly a lot?"
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