Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 10: Flying Saucer, Doctor's Appointment, In a Zoo

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.

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