2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut

This was a world with no prisons, slums, poverty, war etc. Disease was not present. Only 40 million Americans were present. The average age was 129. Wehling was waiting for his wife to give birth to triplets. Men had to volunteer to die. An old man was painting a mural of men and women working in a garden. It was called ‘The Happy Garden of Life’. Benjamin Hitz was one of the hospital’s obstetricians and was a handsome man. All the faces in the mural had to be filled. However, the painter’s idea of life was more murky and sad. There was a number you could dial if you didn’t like living ‘2BR02B’. ‘To be or not to be’ was the gas chambers in the Federal Bureau.

The orderly questioned the painter (grandpa) when he wanted to leave society on his own. The painter wanted more mess in the world. A lady dressed in all purple entered the room. She had facial hair and worked for the Federal Bureau. She was Leora Duncan. The painter wanted her to choose a figure in the mural where he could place her face on. She ought to be the snipper or pruner as that character better suited her role in life. Hitz set up the gas chamber in the country. She was placed beside him in the picture and had the image in which she sawed a limb. In reality, she also worked for Hitz. In their world, you needed to find three volunteers who would die in order to admit the triplets into the world. Dr Hitz wanted to visit the triplets which were just born. Wehling was planning to only select one child, let the other two die and then volunteer his maternal grandpa to die.

Dt Hitz wanted to control the population size or it would keep increasing and the Earth wouldn’t be able to support so many people. Hitz called the chamber the catbox, but it didn’t feel right. It gave people the wrong impression. Wehling actually wanted to keep all 3 children and his grandpa. Hitz changed the name to ‘Ethical Suicide Studios’. Suddenly, Mr Wehling drew his revolver and shot Leora, Hitz and then himself.

This left 3 new vacancies for the newborns to enter the world. The painter looked at all this. He thought that without population control, the Earth would have other bad things, like war, plague, starvation etc. It was a grim, grim world, no matter how he thought . He stopped painting and wanted to shoot himself. Then, he stopped and called 2BR02B instead. The message over the phone said…

‘Your city thanks you; your country thanks you; your planet thanks you. But the deepest thanks of all is from future generations’.

2 B R O 2 B


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