When Billy finally got home to Ilium after the airplane crash, he was quiet for a while. He had a terrible scar across the top of his skull. He didn't resume practice. He had a housekeeper. His daughter came over almost every day.
And then, without any warning, Billy went to New York City, and got on an all-night radio program devoted to talk. He told about having come unstuck in time. He said, too, that he had been kidnapped by a flying saucer in 1967. The saucer was from the planet Tralfamadore, he said. He was taken to Tralfamadore, where he was displayed naked in a zoo, he said. He was mated there with a former Earthling movie star named Montana Wildhack.
To paraphrase Han Solo, here's where the fun begins in Slaughterhouse Five. Billy time jumping. Billy abducted by aliens and kept in a zoo with the beautiful Montana Wildhack. Suddenly, Vonnegut's Dresden book morphs into a 1950s porno science fiction flick. Billy becomes a prophet and a patient. You're not quiet sure if he's telling the truth or belongs in a mental institution.
I had a doctor's appointment today. Saw a liver and digestive disease specialist. As I was sitting in the exam room, waiting for the doctor to appear, I stared out of the windows. There's a snowstorm blowing through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan right now, so the scene below looked almost like a Christmas card. Cars mounded with snow. The air a frenzy of white.
Waiting for a doctor to show up is a humbling experience. I wasn't quite sure what he was going to say, what course of treatment he was going to recommend. I was sort of at the mercy of a man that I had never even met. I sort of felt like Billy Pilgrim in the zoo on Tralfamadore. A specimen to observe and probe.
Thank goodness, the doctor was nice. A little too serious, but that's okay. When you're talking about family histories of bleeding ulcers and stomach cancer, you probably want a guy who's earnest and concerned. (Please don't worry. I do not have a bleeding ulcer or stomach cancer. Those were just a couple of the questions the doctor asked.)
I left the hospital with an appointment for an upper endoscopy. I walked out into a world of cold and white. There's always a strange stillness that descends in a snowstorm. I felt like I was stepping into an Edward Hopper painting, the world all muffled and lonely. Like I was entering the deserted Automat. So it goes.
That was Saint Marty's afternoon. In a zoo on Tralfmadore. Waiting for the alien probe.