was brand new; it was one of the three new buildings in the
background of the supplement's portrait of Mona.
While I didn't feel that purposeful seas were wafting me to
San Lorenzo, I did feel that love was doing the job. The Fata
Morgana, the mirage of what it would be like to be loved by Mona
Aamons Monzano, had become a tremendous force in my meaningless
life. I imagined that she could make me far happier than any woman
had so far succeeded in doing.
A Karass Built for Two 41
The seating on the airplane, bound ultimately for San Lorenzo
from Miami, was three and three. As it happened-- "As it was
_supposed_ to happen"--my seatmates were Horlick Minton, the new
American Ambassador to the Republic of San Lorenzo, and his wife,
Claire. They were whitehaired, gentle, and frail.
Minton told me that he was a career diplomat, holding the
rank of Ambassador for the first time. He and his wife had so far
served, he told me, in Bolivia, Chile, Japan, France, Yugoslavia,
Egypt, the Union of South Africa, Liberia, and Pakistan.
They were lovebirds. They entertained each other endlessly
with little gifts: sights worth seeing out the plane window,
amusing or instructive bits from things they read, random
recollections of times gone by. They were, I think, a flawless
example of what Bokonon calls a _duprass_, which is a _karass_
composed of only two persons.
"A true _duprass_," Bokonon tells us, "can't be invaded, not
even by children born of such a union."
I exclude the Mintons, therefore, from my own _karass_, from
Frank's _karass_, from Newt's _karass_, from Asa Breed's _karass_,
from Angela's _karass_, from Lyman Enders Knowles's _karass_, from
Sherman Krebbs's _karass_. The Mintons' _karass_ was a tidy one,
composed of only two.
"I should think you'd be very pleased," I said to Minton.
"What should I be pleased about?"
"Pleased to have the rank of Ambassador."
From the pitying way Minton and his wife looked at each
other, I gathered that I had said a fat-headed thing. But they
humored me. "Yes," winced Minton, "I'm very pleased." He smiled
wanly. "I'm _deeply_ honored."
And so it went with almost every subject I brought up. I
couldn't make the Mintons bubble about anything.
For instance: "I suppose you can speak a lot of languages," I
"Oh, six or seven--between us," said Minton"
"That must be very gratifying."
"Being able to speak to people of so many different
"Very gratifying," said Minton emptily.
"Very gratifying," said his wife.
And they went back to reading a fat, typewritten manuscript
that was spread across the chair arm between them.
"Tell me," I said a little later, "in all your wide travels,
have you found people everywhere about the same at heart?"
"Hm?" asked Minton.
"Do you find people to be about the same at heart, wherever
He looked at his wife, making sure she had heard the
question, then turned back to me. "About the same, wherever you
go," he agreed.
"Um," I said.
Bokonon tells us, incidentally, that members of a _duprass_
always die within a week of each other. When it came time for the
Mintons to die, they did it within the same second.
Bicycles for Afghanistan 42
There was a small saloon in the rear of the plane and I
repaired there for a drink. It was there that I met another fellow
American, H. Lowe Crosby of Evanston, Illinois, and his wife,
They were heavy people, in their fifties. They spoke
twangingly. Crosby told me that he owned a bicycle factory in
Chicago, that he had had nothing but ingratitude from his
employees. He was going to move his business to grateful San
"You know San Lorenzo well?" I asked.
"This'll be the first time I've ever seen it, but everything
I've heard about it I like," said H. Lowe Crosby. "They've got
discipline, They've got something you can count on from one year
to the next. They don't have the government encouraging everybody
to be some kind of original pissant nobody every heard of before."
"Christ, back in Chicago, we don't make bicycles any more.
It's all human relations now. The eggheads sit around trying to
figure out new ways for everybody to be happy. Nobody can get
fired, no matter what; and if somebody does accidentally make a
bicycle, the union accuses us of cruel and inhuman practices and
the government confiscates the bicycle for back taxes and gives it
to a blind man in Afghanistan."
"And you think things will be better in San Lorenzo?"
"I know damn well they will be. The people down there are
poor enough and scared enough and ignorant enough to have some
Crosby asked me what my name was and what my business was. I
told him, and his wife Hazel recognized my name as an Indiana
name. She was from Indiana, too.
"My God," she said, "are you a _Hoosier?_"
I admitted I was.
"I'm a Hoosier, too," she crowed. "Nobody has to be ashamed
of being a Hoosier."
"I'm not," I said. "I never knew anybody who was."
"Hoosiers do all right. Lowe and I've been around the world
twice, and everywhere we went we found Hoosiers in charge of
"You know the manager of that new hotel in Istanbul?"
"He's a Hoosier. And the military-whatever-he-is in Tokyo . .
"Attaché," said her husband.
"He's a Hoosier," said Hazel. "And the new Ambassador to
Yugoslavia . . ."
"A Hoosier?" I asked.
"Not only him, but the Hollywood Editor of _Life_ magazine,
too. And that man in Chile . . ."
"A Hoosier, too?"
"You can't go anywhere a _Hoosier_ hasn't made his mark," she
"The man who wrote _Ben Hur_ was a Hoosier."
"And James Whitcomb Riley."
"Are you from Indiana, too?" I asked her husband.
"Nope. I'm a Prairie Stater. 'Land of Lincoln,' as they say."
"As far as that goes," said Hazel triumphantly, "Lincoln was
a Hoosier, too. He grew up in Spencer County."
"Sure," I said.
"I don't know what it is about Hoosiers," said Hazel, "but
they've sure got something. If somebody was to make a list, they'd
"That's true," I said.
She grasped me firmly by the arm. "We Hoosiers got to stick
"You call me 'Mom.'"
"Whenever I meet a young Hoosier, I tell them, 'You call me
"Let me hear you say it," she urged.
She smiled and let go of my arm. Some piece of clockwork had
completed its cycle. My calling Hazel "Mom" had shut it off, and
now Hazel was rewinding it for the next Hoosier to come along.
Hazel's obsession with Hoosiers around the world was a
textbook example of a false _karass_, of a seeming team that was
meaningless in terms of the ways God gets things done, a textbook
example of what Bokonon calls a _granfalloon_. Other examples of
_granfalloons_ are the Communist party, the Daughters of the
American Revolution, the General Electric Company, the
International Order of Odd Fellows--and any nation, anytime,
As Bokonon invites us to sing along with him:
If you wish to study a _granfalloon_,
Just remove the skin of a toy balloon.
The Demonstrator 43
H. Lowe Crosby was of the opinion that dictatorships were
often very good things. He wasn't a terrible person and he wasn't
a fool. It suited him to confront the world with a certain barn-
yard clownishness, but many of the things he had to say about
undisciplined mankind were not only funny but true.
The major point at which his reason and his sense of humor
left him was when he approached the question of what people were
really supposed to do with their time on Earth.
He believed firmly that they were meant to build bicycles for
"I hope San Lorenzo is every bit as good as you've heard it
is," I said.
"I only have to talk to one man to find out if it is or not,"
he said. "When 'Papa' Monzano gives his word of honor about
anything on that little island, that's it. That's how it is;
that's how it'll be."
"The thing I like," said Hazel, "is they all speak English
and they're all Christians. That makes things so much easier."
"You know how they deal with crime down there?" Crosby asked
"They just don't have any crime down there. 'Papa' Monzano's
made crime so damn unattractive, nobody even thinks about it
without getting sick. I heard you can lay a billfold in the middle
of a sidewalk and you can come back a week later and it'll be
right there, with everything still in it."
"You know what the punishment is for stealing something?"
"The hook," he said. "No fines, no probation, no thirty days
in jail. It's the hook. The hook for stealing, for murder, for
arson, for treason, for rape, for being a peeping Tom. Break a
law--any damn law at all--and it's the hook. Everybody can
understand that, and San Lorenzo is the best-behaved country in
"What is the hook?"
"They put up a gallows, see? Two posts and a cross beam. And
then they take a great big kind of iron fishhook and they hang it
down from the cross beam. Then they take somebody who's dumb
enough to break the law, and they put the point of the hook in
through one side of his belly and out the other and they let him
go--and there he hangs, by God, one damn sorry law-breaker."
"I don't say it's good," said Crosby, "but I don't say it's
bad either. I sometimes wonder if something like that wouldn't
clear up juvenile delinquency. Maybe the hook's a little extreme
for a democracy. Public hanging's more like it. String up a few
teen-age car thieves on lampposts in front of their houses with
signs around their necks saying, 'Mama, here's your boy.' Do that
a few times and I think ignition locks would go the way of the
rumble seat and the running board."
"We saw that thing in the basement of the waxworks in
London," said Hazel.
"What thing?" I asked her.
"The hook. Down in the Chamber of Horrors in the basement;
they had a wax person hanging from the hook. It looked so real I
wanted to throw up."
"Harry Truman didn't look anything like Harry Truman," said
"In the waxworks," said Crosby. "The statue of Truman didn't
really look like him."
"Most of them did, though," said Hazel.
"Was it anybody in particular hanging from the hook?" I asked
"I don't think so. It was just somebody."
"Just a demonstrator?" I asked.
"Yeah. There was a black velvet curtain in front of it and
you had to pull the curtain back to see. And there was a note
pinned to the curtain that said children weren't supposed to
"But kids did," said Crosby. "There were kids down there, and
they all looked."
"A sign like that is just catnip to kids," said Hazel.
"How did the kids react when they saw the person on the
hook?" I asked.
"Oh," said Hazel, "they reacted just about the way the
grownups did. They just looked at it and didn't say anything, just
moved on to see what the next thing was."
"What was the next thing?"
"It was an iron chair a man had been roasted alive in," said
Crosby. "He was roasted for murdering his son."
"Only, after they roasted him," Hazel recalled blandly, "they
found out he hadn't murdered his son after all."
Communist Sympathizers 44
When I again took my seat beside the _duprass_ of Claire and
Horlick Minton, I had some new information about them. I got it
from the Crosbys.
The Crosbys didn't know Minton, but they knew his reputation.
They were indignant about his appointment as Ambassador. They told
me that Minton had once been fired by the State Department for his
softness toward communism, and the Communist dupes or worse had
had him reinstated.
"Very pleasant little saloon back there," I said to Minton
as I sat down.
"Hm?" He and his wife were still reading the manuscript that
lay between them.
"Nice bar back there."
"Good. I'm glad."
The two read on, apparently uninterested in talking to me.
And then Minton turned to me suddenly, with a bittersweet smile,
and he demanded, "Who was he, anyway?"
"Who was who?"
"The man you were talking to in the bar. We went back there
for a drink, and, when we were just outside, we heard you and a
man talking. The man was talking very loudly. He said I was a
"A bicycle manufacturer named H. Lowe Crosby," I said. I felt
"I was fired for pessimism. Communism had nothing to do with
"I got him fired," said his wife. "The only piece of real
evidence produced against him was a letter I wrote to the New York
_Times_ from Pakistan."
"What did it say?"
"It said a lot of things," she said, "because I was very
upset about how Americans couldn't imagine what it was like to be
something else, to be something else and proud of it."
"But there was one sentence they kept coming to again and
again in the loyalty hearing," sighed Minton. "'Americans,'" he
said, quoting his wife's letter to the _Times_, "'are forever
searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never
be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier.'"
Why Americans Are Hated 45
Claire Minton's letter to the _Times_ was published during
the worst of the era of Senator McCarthy, and her husband was
fired twelve hours after the letter was printed.
"What was so awful about the letter?" I asked.
"The highest possible form of treason," said Minton, "is to
say that Americans aren't loved wherever they go, whatever they
do. Claire tried to make the point that American foreign policy
should recognize hate rather than imagine love."
"I guess Americans _are_ hated a lot of places."
"_People_ are hated a lot of places. Claire pointed out in
her letter that Americans, in being hated, were simply paying the
normal penalty for being people, and that they were foolish to
think they should somehow be exempted from that penalty. But the
loyalty board didn't pay any attention to that. All they knew was
that Claire and I both felt that Americans were unloved."
"Well, I'm glad the story had a happy ending."
"Hm?" said Minton.
"It finally came out all right," I said. "Here you are on
your way to an embassy all your own."
Minton and his wife exchanged another of those pitying
_duprass_ glances. Then Minton said to me, "Yes. The pot of gold
at the end of the rainbow is ours."
The Bokononist Method for Handling Caesar 46
I talked to the Mintons about the legal status of Franklin
Hoenikker, who was, after all, not only a big shot in "Papa"
Monzano's government, but a fugitive from United States justice.
"That's all been written off," said Minton. "He isn't a
United States citizen any more, and he seems to be doing good
things where he is, so that's that."
"He gave up his citizenship?"
"Anybody who declares allegiance to a foreign state or serves
in its armed forces or accepts employment in its government loses
his citizenship. Read your passport. You can't lead the sort of
funny-paper international romance that Frank has led and still
have Uncle Sam for a mother chicken."
"Is he well liked in San Lorenzo?"
Minton weighed in his hands the manuscript he and his wife
had been reading. "I don't know yet. This book says not."
"What book is that?"
"It's the only scholarly book ever written about San
"_Sort_ of scholarly," said Claire.
"Sort of scholarly," echoed Minton. "It hasn't been published
yet. This is one of five copies." He handed it to me, inviting me
to read as much as I liked.
I opened the book to its title page and found that the name
of the book was _San Lorenzo: The Land, the History, the People_.
The author was Philip Castle, the son of Julian Castle, the hotel-
keeping son of the great altruist I was on my way to see.
I let the book fall open where it would. As it happened, it
fell open to the chapter about the island's outlawed holy man,
There was a quotation from _The Books of Bokonon_ on the page
before me. Those words leapt from the page and into my mind, and
they were welcomed there.
The words were a paraphrase of the suggestion by Jesus:
"Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's."
Bokonon's paraphrase was this:
"Pay no attention to Caesar. Caesar doesn't have the
slightest idea what's _really_ going on."
Dynamic Tension 47
I became so absorbed in Philip Castle's book that I didn't
even look up from it when we put down for ten minutes in San Juan,
Puerto Rico. I didn't even look up when somebody behind me
whispered, thrilled, that a midget had come aboard.
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