Passage from Slaughterhouse-Five By Kurt Vonnegut
Weary was as new to war as Billy. He was a re-
placement, too. As a part of a gun crew, he had helped
to fire one shot in anger---from a 57-millimeter antitank
3 gun. The gun made a ripping sound like the opening
of the zipper on the fly of God Almighty. The gun
lapped up snow and vegetation with blowtorch
thirty feet long. The flame left a black arrow on the
ground, showing Germans exactly where the gun
was hidden. The shot was a miss.
What had been missed was a Tiger tank. It swiveled
its 88-millimeter snout around sniffingly, saw the arrow
11 on the ground. It fired. It killed everybody on the gun
12 crew but Weary. So it goes.
Roland Weary was only eighteen, was at the end
of an unhappy childhood spent mostly in Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania. He had been unpopular in Pittsburgh.
He had been unpopular because he was stupid and
fat and mean, and smelled like bacon no matter how
much he washed. He was always being ditched in
Pittsburgh by the people who did not want him with
It made Weary sick to be ditched. When Weary was
ditched, he would find somebody who was even more
unpopular than himself, and he would horse around
with that person for a while, pretending to be friendly.
25 And then he would find some pretext for beating the
shit out of him.
It was a pattern. It was a crazy, sexy, murderous
relationship Weary entered into with people he
eventually beat up. He told them about his father’s
collection of guns and swords and torture instruments
and leg irons and so on. Weary’s father, who was a
plumber, actually did collect such things, and his col-
lection was insured for four thousand dollars. He
wasn’t alone. He belonged to a big clud composed of
people who collect things like that.
Weary’s father once gave...
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