Monday, March 22, 2010

Cat's Cradle- Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 36: MEOW

During my trip to Ilium and to points beyond-- a two week expedition bridging Christmas--I let a poor poet named Sherman Krebbs have my New York City apartment free. My second wife had left me on the grounds that I was too pessimistic for an optimist to live with.

Krebbs was a bearded man, a platinum blond Jesus with spaniel eyes. He was no close friend of mine. I had met him at a cocktail party where he presented himself as a National Chairman of Poets and Painters for Immediate Nuclear War. He begged for shelter, not necessarily bomb proof, and it happened that I had some.

When I returned to my apartment, still twanging with the puzzling spiritual implications of the unclaimed stone angel in Ilium, I found my apartment wrecked by a nihilistic debauch. Krebbs was gone; but, before leaving, he had run up three hundred dollars' worth of long-distance calls, set my couch on fire in five places, killed my cat and my avacado tree, and torn the door off my medicine cabinet.

He wrote this poem, in what proved to be excrement, on the yellow linoleum floor of my kitchen:

I have a kitchen.
But it is not a complete kitchen.
I will not be truly gay
Until I have a

There was another message, written in lipstick in a feminine hand on the wallpaper over my bed. It said: "no no no said Chicken-licken."

There was a sign hung around my dead cat's neck. It said, "Meow."


After I saw what Krebbs had done to my sweet cat, nihilism was not for me. Somebody or something did not wish me to be a nihilist. It was Krebb's mission, whether he knew it or not, to disenchant me with that philosophy. Well done, Mr. Krebbs, well done.


  1. i absolutely love this book! it's just vonnegut wiping his soggy balls all over religion's face.

  2. hahaha this chapter is golden, too. totally reminds me of you and jessie.