Billy Pilgrim padded downstairs on his blue and ivory feet. He went into the kitchen, where the moonlight called his attention to a half bottle of champagne on the kitchen table, all that was left from the reception in the tent. Somebody had stoppered it again. "Drink me," it seemed to say.
So Billy uncorked it with his thumbs. It didn't make a pop. The champagne was dead. So it goes.
Billy looked at the clock on the gas stove. He had an hour to kill before the saucer came. He went into the living room, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this:
American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up and backwards to join the formation.
The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.
Coming unstuck in time. Things moving backward and forward in time. That's Billy's life. Instead of a straight line, he's born and gets married, dies and graduates from high school. He knows the truth before it happens. That's what Slaughterhouse is really about--Vonnegut approaching the truth of his war experiences through fiction.
I am tired of living in a time of Orwellian doublespeak and alternative facts. For some reason, people in the world don't want to speak the truth. It's easier to talk about a "life limiting condition" than a terminal illness. Instead of waging war, we launch "strategic airstrikes." Mass firings in a company are simply corporate reorganizations, and an asshole is referred to as the President of the United States.
So, tonight, I want to use some doublespeak. I work for an organization that is currently restructuring, forcing many employees to seek alternative futures. Managers are telling the remaining employees to be positive, focus on being leaner and more productive. This realignment of staffing will not impact the ability of the organization to provide optimal services to its customers.
Is that Kellyanne Conway enough for you? I would like to speak the truth, but I am not in the position to do so. I am in the position to be leaner and more productive. I am also in the position to quietly recognize bullshit. As Fox Mulder says, "The truth is out there."
Saint Marty is thankful for anyone who speaks the truth.