Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions or Goodbye Blue Monday

This book is dedicated to Phoebe Hurty when I met her during the Great Depression. She wrote advertisements for a living. I was hired by her to write ads for teenage clothing. She believed in the American dream. Unfortunately, she is not around anymore. I saw humans as robots and test tubes. I always feel lousy over the books I have written. The aim of this book was to pour out all the ideas I had over the past 50 years. To me, all music was sacred.

The planet was dying fast. One of the old men was Kilgore Trout, a science fiction writer. The other was Dwayne Hoover, an automobile dealer, who was going insane. They were citizens of America. The country’s motto was ‘E pluribus unum’, which means ‘Out of Many, One’. Their currency was meaningless and people didn’t understand what a pyramid symbol meant. These two men founded the country. Some of the nonsense that they taught the kids were evil. The pirates in the past introduced slavery, racism and were powerful. They were greedy in nature. The other countries were full of people but ran out of resources. Population control was insane and yet people didn’t mind starving. America was opposed with sharing stuff and Communism. Dwayne needed bad chemicals inside his brain too. Trout told Dwayne all the bad ideas and he pretended to be dead. The bad idea was that everybody was a robot, except Dwayne. Only Dwayne had free will, everyone else would follow blindly. Kilgore was smart and disguised his bad ideas into science fiction. He changed Dwayne’s life.

Dwayne was a widower who had a Labrador retriever named Sparky. He behaved strangely after a car accident. Dwayne had a servant named Lottie. She was black. Trout had a pet named Bill. He lived alone too. Trout had a negative view of life because he didn’t believe in the good of Earth. Despite his nonsense, Trout had a good following. Dwayne was charming, Trout was not. Trout earned almost nothing from writing and got rejected many times. A wide-beaver in Trout’s book referred to the opening in a woman’s genitals. Wide-beavers were secrets that were well defended. Trout was sceptical of humans. ‘I see England, I see France; I see a little girl’s Underpants!’ Dwayne. People lust over ladies’ underpants. Lingo Three was a dying planet inhabited by American automobiles. Space travellers visited this planet. The space travellers were from Zeltoldimar. Kago was their spokesperson. Finally, they came to Earth. Earthlings were cuckoo and accepted ideas without thinking. Humans failed to think for themselves and were doomed to fail.

I thank those lusts for being so ridiculous, for they taught us that it was possible for a human being to believe anything, and to behave passionately in keeping with that belief – any belief. – Kilgore Trout

Ideas on Earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content did not matter. Friends agree with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity…The ideas Earthlings held didn’t matter for hundreds of thousands of years, since they can’t do much about them anyway. Ideas might as well be badges as anything. – Kilgore Trout

Kago tried to teach Earthlings but died after someone mistook him for a kitchen match. The automobiles killed everything on Earth. Trout received a fan mail from Eliot Rosewater. Kilgore’s dad worked in Bermuda as a guard for Bermuda erns. However, the eagles became extinct after a while. A fungus in the form of athlete’s foot produced by men killed them. Later, Trout was invited to speak at an arts festival. The chairman was a guy named Fred Barry. He heard of Trout from Eliot Rosewater and gave him money to fly over for the festival. Eliot was a rich man who owned paintings. Trout put on his tuxedo. Eliot wanted Trout to be the next President of the country. Trout initially didn’t want to go but a mask on the envelope gave him the idea that humans wanted to see him as an unhappy failure. He wanted to project artists as hardworking people who didn’t make much money. He wanted to try.

Dwayne was crazy but didn’t tell anyone about it. Later, he started running amok. Francine Pefko was his secretary and mistress. In the past, he was alright and he liked to sing in his Holiday Inn and annoy the customers. Since he owned it, he could do whatever he wanted. Harry BeSabre was his manager at work and realized he was getting weird. Dwayne bought the Pontiac agency. Dwayne started to throw insults at Harry, his employee. Harry had been through war. Harry wondered why he was being picked. Dwayne blew up after Harry mentioned about adoption. Dwayne was also an adopted child since young. He cursed Harry and wanted him to kill himself before he could adopt someone else. He criticized Harry’s dress sense. Harry liked to dress in women’s clothes on the weekends. He was afraid that Dwayne might figure it out. Suddenly, when the bad chemicals worked, Dwayne placed the loaded gun in his mouth. Finally, he shot a picture of a flamingo in a tile in his toilet. Nobody knew what their neighbours did due to high sound-proof walls.

When a man has been in combat with another man, he gets so he can sense the slightest change in his buddy’s personality. – Harry LeSabre

Trout arrived at the symposium. He bought a new suggestive magazines for his reading pleasure. The story talks about weird humanoids and their behaviour with humans.

There were an endless stream of advertisements on the radio. An black old lady, who used to do Dwayne’s laundry, was dying in hospital. She died alone as she didn’t have a family or kids left. Dwayne owned Holiday Inn with two other men, Dr Alfred and Bill Miller. Now, he owned also the Burger Chef franchise. His wife, Celia, committed suicide from eating a mixture which was meant for clearing drains. His son, George, was a homosexual. Dwayne couldn’t recognize the city anymore.

There was a message written on the wall of a massage parlour. It said ‘What is the purpose of life?’ Trout wanted to reply this: ‘To be the eyes and ears and conscience of the Creator of the Universe, you fool.’ He played the part by pretending to send fake messages to the Creator about the status of life on the ground. He still engaged in discussion with the Creator of the world.

Many people in the world abused chemicals. They did so because they thought their behaviour and quality of life would improve. That was a total lie. In this world, people didn’t care for free will. The theatre manager spoke to Trout. Someone seemed to be following him and the manager. Later, he found himself arrested by police and tied up in court. Someone kidnapped Trout but he couldn’t remember who. The newspapers misinterpreted and thought that a certain Pluto Gang was after Trout. The people believed the story. A group of young Puerto Rican boys saw this and designed the logo called Pluto Gang for themselves to use.

The prostitutes worked for a pimp now. He was splendid and cruel. He was a god to them. He took their free will away from them, which was perfectly all right. They didn’t want it anyway. It was as though they had surrendered themselves to Jesus, for instance, so they could live unselfishly and trustingly. – The Narrator

Dwayne got a room from another owner of the hotel of Holiday Inn chain. The room seemed good for now. He knew he did good when he filled a container for a human being. The hotel room was awaiting him when he entered it. He slept like a log that evening.

Trout was released from prison. The black slaves, so happened, were also released due to what Lincoln did. Earth was getting severely polluted by excessive manufacturing processes. Trout used to care for the environment, but he didn’t give a shit now. He thought God wasn’t conservative with all the volcanoes, tornadoes that affected Earth. The truck driver who was driving Trout said he was committing suicide because the Earth will be destroyed anyway, and he couldn’t do anything about it. Trout made up this story where people celebrated getting species extinct because they couldn’t handle the diversity of different species on Earth. Nature was too creative for them. Trout spotted a fat man who was eating and ‘stoking up for another day’ to survive.

I realized that God wasn’t any conservationist, so for anybody else to be one was sacrilegious and a waste of time. You ever see one of His volcanoes or tornadoes or tidal waves? Anybody tell you about the Ice Ages he arranges for every half-million years? – Kilgore Trout

Ukwende was a Nigerian and he was next to Dwayne. Dwayne recalled the city that he built long ago. Dwayne started walking on the road and he found himself in dimple after dimple. However, Ukwende could walk through it normally. Dwayne came upon a man who was burnishing a car furiously. The young man hated the world and dreamt of Fairyland. The young man was just released from prison. Wayne wanted to desperately work for Dwayne, saying it was God’s will. However, Dwayne rejected him. Harry came clean and wore transvestite costumes after he suspected Dwayne of finding out the truth.

Trout believed that things happened for a reason and Earth should just be the way it currently is. The driver wanted Trout to make more friends as that would make him happier. Trout didn’t say anything to that. The driver wanted to get laid with women, but his big problem was the lack of motivation. Trout only believed that material wealth can bring only short-term happiness and that people get what they pay for. Kilgore was married 3 times and had a son named Leo. The last time he heard from his boy was when he was 14. Later the police informed Trout that he joined the Viet Cong.

Dwayne couldn’t accept the way Harry dressed and he simply shut his eyes. Francine liked to persuade others not to treat life so seriously. Dwayne had two stepbrothers, Lyke and Kyle. There was a stench in the scared miracle cave. The cave actually had nothing to do with slaves. However, people made up an imaginary story over how it was related to slaves.

West Virginia was uninhabited because it was collapsing due to human machines’ and their destructive force. Trout saw a white girl with a bottle of Pepsi. West Virginia people were like lifeless machines who loved to work. Trout was a science fiction writer who didn’t know much about science at all. An old miner talked to Trout and said that he didn’t care whether he was destroying the environment. ‘Don’t matter if you care, if you don’t own what you care about.’ Old Miner. Trout knew that art didn’t mean much for the working man. The driver read Trout’s book that was now used as toilet paper in Libertyville because the city had too many books. Everyone in the town had Hoobler as their last name. It rhymed with Dwayne Hoover.

Dwayne had an issue and liked to repeat whatever last word in every statement he heard. The black man Wayne liked to stalk Dwayne as he wanted to get hired. Patty Keene was a waitress at the Burger Chef. She was working hard to pay off her dad’s cancer bills. Patty saw Dwayne and thought that he possessed a magic wand with his wealth and power that he had. George Bannister was a high school footballer who died and there was an enormous tombstone built for him. There were monuments all over the country. Even the common people had one each, at least. Everyone in Midland talked about money and structures and travel and machinery only. Everyone imagined others to be living up to their life’s expectations, even when they were insane. Their imaginations caused them to believe no one changed from day to day. Dwayne would later be checked into a hospital with a padded cell. He thought about going for a penis extension. Francine followed Dwayne to the Quality Motor Court, upon his request. Gloria took over her desk for the time being. They were going to have sex. Dwayne did love Francine. Trout wrote a book about the female clitoris. Francine loved him but Dwayne was still pained after his wife died. Francine’s husband died in the Vietnam War. Francine pitied men because they worked too hard and saw women as a device to pamper and take care of them. The problem with their relationship was that Dwayne didn’t know whether she loved him for his money. Dwayne was like a rattlesnake now, being very nasty to her. Dwayne was a racist dude. Francine realized that he was a changed man but Dwayne said he enjoyed being himself now. Harry’s wife was Grace. Harry used the term ‘reindeer’ to address black people so that he could talk about them without them knowing. The reindeers reproduced very quickly. Harry was sick of the town and wanted to use the money he made from shares and move to Maui. Dwayne saw a sign in the police HQ that read ‘Destructive Testing’. He thought that God put him on Earth so see how much suffering he could take without breaking. Dwayne wanted to talk to someone from Mars, to hear a viewpoint which he didn’t hear before. He decided to head to the Festival to enlighten himself.

In his own lifetime, for instance, the people in a country called Germany were so full of bad chemicals for a while that they actually built factories whose only purpose was to kill people by the millions. The people were delivered by railroad trains. – The Narrator

The women all had big minds because they were big animals, but they did not use them much for this reason: unusual ideas could make enemies, and the women, if they were going to achieve any sort of comfort and safety, needed all the friends that they could get. – The Narrator

I saw that sign and I couldn’t help wondering if that was what God put me on Earth for – to find out how much a man could take without breaking. – Dwayne

Trout was in the countryside and he explored the area. He saw the sign to the miracle cave. He was really getting closer to Dwayne. Trout wrote a book about the Creator who picked a creature on Earth which had his own mind when everyone else didn’t have that. The book was about a virgin life with a man and the sea and a bear (robot who would spy on the man). At the man’s tombstone it read ‘Not even the Creator of the Universe knew what the man was going to say next, perhaps the man was a better universe in its infancy’.

Bunny would be soon seriously injured by Dwayne. He was Dwayne’s homosexual son. Bunny learnt transcendental meditation. One day, Dwayne sent him to military school as a punishment because Bunny admitted that he wanted to be a female. Bunny did well in that military school. Luckily, Bunny’s mother exposed him to the piano and Bunny did great on it. Skid Rows were streets for people who didn’t know what they wanted in life. Every street was nicknamed that. The premise was that you would stay there and not bother anyone else until you died.

The past scared Trout a great deal. Bunny, Dwayne’s son, was playing the piano in the Holiday Inn. Later, Dwayne would beat up Francine. Wayne was still stalking Dwayne, but he felt lonely. He was someone who liked to adapt to the environment. I wanted to witness a fight between Dwayne and Trout. I thought I suffered from schizophrenia. Dwayne hoped to learn some truths from people at the conference. So that he could go on living and keep out of the mental hospital. He was gullible towards new ideas. Beatrice was a Gothic novelist and Rabo was a minimal painter. They both met Dwayne in the hotel lounge. Trout walked to the Holiday Inn. His plan was to show everyone how the would-be creator failed.

I was challenging the Creator of Universe on the concept of time and how the Universe was formed. I created a guy named Harold Newcomb Wilbur, who would be a decorated war veteran. Robots took part in the WWII and also everyone was involved in the war. This was purposely created so that Dwayne could give a free-willed response to it. I want to jail Wayne and tell Bill a horrible future for his father, Dwayne. Rabo painted rubbish paintings and made poor people stupid. I realized a lot of Americans were sad because they were trying to live like characters in books and end shooting each other. I decided to write about life and not fiction. I want people to believe that people need to adapt to chaos and that there is no order in the world. Bonnie, the waiter, hated Rabo. Saint Anthony turned out to be a lonely Egyptian who did nothing great in his life. Eldon was a black dishwasher at the inn. He saw Wayne and arranged food for him. Rabo was insulting Bonnie but she smiled because she wanted more tips. Rabo wanted more stories from her so that Beatrice could write more stories. Mary Alice was on the cover of the program of the Festival of the Arts. She was a swimmer. Mary’s father made Mary swim 4 hours a day since she was 3. Rabo ridiculed her ‘What kind of a man would turn his daughter into an outboard motor?’ It was then that I got a shock. People were not happy because they had to work hard while Rabo earned loads from his paintings. They also feared that their lives would be ridiculous in nature. It was then that I realized that nothing in life was to be sacred or destined about. Later, when Bonnie criticized Rabo’s paintings, this was what he said.

The picture your city owns shows everything about life which truly matters, with nothing left out. It is a picture of the awareness of every animal. It is the immaterial core of every animal – the ‘I am’ to which all messages are sent. It is all that is alive in us – in a mouse, a deer, in a cocktail waitress. It is unwavering and pure, no matter what preposterous adventure may befall us. A sacred picture of Saint Anthony alone is one vertical, unwavering band of light. If a cockroach were near him, or a cocktail waitress, the picture would show two such bands of light. Our awareness is all that is alive and maybe sacred in any of us. Everything above us is dead machinery. – Rabo

Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their own limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne. – The Narrator

You know what truth is? It’s some crazy thing my neighbour believes. If I want to make friends with him, I ask him what he believes. He tells me, and I say, ‘Yeah, yeah – ain’t that the truth?’ – Rabo Karabekian

I had come to the conclusion that there was nothing sacred about myself or about any human being, that we were all machines, doomed to collide and collide and collide. For want of anything better to do, we became fans of collisions. – The Narrator

Trout abandoned his car and waded across the river to the Holiday Inn. He thought he would die as there were dangerous chemicals in the water due to polluting industries. However, the sacred part of him was intact. The plastic coated his feet was the stuff that fucked up the Sacred Cave. Life is like cellophane. Trout entered the lobby as a grotesque individual. To his surprise, the desk clerk, Mr Milo, recognized him. Midlands would be the first country to recognize his greatness. Milo shouted ‘Kilgore Trout! This is your life!’ It was Eilot Rosewater who introducted Trout to Milo. Milo read all of Trout’s books. Trout didn’t know much about the arts and didn’t feel comfortable sharing anything. It would soon be time for Dwayne to meet Trout.

Bonnie simply accepted Rabo’s explanation without asking anything else. If artists explained more, people would like art more. Dwayne wasn’t engaged in any activities. Trout carried his book around ‘Now it Can Be Told’. Trout would soon tell Dwayne the story and make him insane. Dwayne would then bite off his finger. Wayne was still outside stalking Dwayne. Many of their clothing lit up under fluorescent light. People started looking at Trout because he was obvious. Dwayne was fascinated by Trout’s shirt because it glowed. A nigger was killed in Shepherdstown and since then, they never visited the place again. Trout seemed to realized I was beside him and then I created him. Trout browsed through his letters. The Robo-Magic, a vacuum cleaner, had the words ‘Goodbye Monday blues’ on itself. However, job searching was hard during the Great Depression. People believed that a robot could cure Monday blues. The appliances were supposed to take over Niggers. Everyone shunned Nigger work. The Robo-magic dream was crushed by the armoured factory during the war. The nerve centre was called ‘Blast Interval Normalization Computer’.

I wore a bracelet for a missing soldier in the Vietnam war and could only remove it when the soldier returned. Dwayne read incredibly fast. Fred’s father was one of the founding members of the population who was interested in being a librarian. Black people were very impressed by the library management. Dwayne demanded to know the secret from Trout now. He rested his chin on Trout’s shoulder. Luckily, he left and took the book with him. The book was planned to have been published soon.

You are pooped and demoralized, why wouldn’t you be? Of course it is exhausting, having to reason all the time in a universe which wasn’t meant to be reasonable. – The Narrator

Dwayne was to stir up emotions so that the machines could understand him. Everyone else was to be treated like robots. The Creator apologised for creating robots and then to adore sexual intercourse. Mary Alice’s father thought that Wayne was ready to enter society. Trout’s feet were hurting now under the heat. According to the book, everyone else lacked free will and were machines. Humans were all machines whose behaviour is erratic and then everyone should learn to adapt to the environment. Now, Dwayne seemed to know that he did not fear life after listening to Trout’s story. He wanted a life of elegance and to live with life with finesse. Bunny started to meditate while his dad called him a cock-sucking machine. Dwayne slammed his son’s face on the piano. Then, later, while the others restrained him, he hit Beatrice on her jaw and punched Bonnie in the belly. He felt that everyone was unfeeling machines. He admitted that his wife was a machine who couldn’t think too. Finally, Dwayne got caught by the police and he said ‘Thank God you’re here!’ 11 people were hurt by him. He was on a mad rampage for no reason. He demanded to talk to all niggers, but thought that the Creator wanted them to hide from him. It was a like a game. Wayne came out when Dwayne made a sound. They started talking for a while. Robots were programmed to be whatever they were, to do whatever they did. Dwayne tried to hit Wayne, but he dodged well. Now, Dwayne felt that the Creator wanted him to play African dodger now. Because he was so good at dodging, Dwayne gave up. Wayne thought the airport was a fairyland, somewhere he could escape.

The Creator of the Universe had them invent hundreds of religions, so you would have plenty to choose among. He had them kill each other by the millions, for this purpose only: that you be amazed. They have committed every possible atrocity and every possible kindness unfeelingly, automatically, inevitably, to get a reaction from Y-O-U. – Trout

I used to think the electric chair was a shame. I used to think war was a shame – and automobile accidents and cancer. They are no longer shames. Why should I care what happens to machines (humans)? – Dwayne

A special ambulance came to help people hurt by Dwayne. Martha was my psychiatrist. The true novels would have the lead heroes looking for mothers. A mother would be more useful. Eliot was planning to land his plane. He accidentally killed his mum when he was younger. America had a lot of foreign doctors which they purchased from overseas. Eddie Key drove the ambulance. Many African families had appointed someone in each generation to memorize their family tree. Eddie knew about Dwayne and Ukwende and understood people deeply. Dwayne, while in the ambulance, thought that was on another planet and that everything was a game. He would yell something everyday and he yelled ‘Goodbye, Blue Monday!’. Trout grabbed Dwayne when he was assaulting Pefko. However, Dwayne bit off the topmost joint of Trout’s finger. Trout sat beside Eddie in the ambulance. Only Wayne escaped unscathed so far. There was only 1 person who deserved to be hurt, it was Don Breedlove (he raped Patty Keene). However, Dwayne and Don became friends instead. Later, as expected, Dwayne hit his ear and he became deaf. Miasma, a doctor’s assistant, was ordered to remove the plasticized shoes and socks off Dwayne. Trout suddenly saw a sign he liked: ‘It is harder to be unhappy when you are eating Craig’s Ice Cream’. Dwayne would be sued until he was made poor.

Trout received medical attention. Elgin Washington spoke to Trout. He was a bad man who was a pimp who operated in Holiday Inn’s premises. Elgin wanted to belittle Trout, but he decided to be nice. Elgin asked for a favour. Now, he wanted Trout to listen to him imitate a Nightingale, which he did. The arts festival was postponed but Trout thought that it was on. I wanted to intercept Trout as he was walking. Kazak, a character from my old book, wanted to kill me. Kazak was a ferocious dog. Suddenly, the dog appeared. My body reacted in a weird way, with adrenaline rushing through my veins. Later, I managed to free myself from the dog by escaping and later chased after Trout. I finally met him and we started chatting. Trout demanded for a gun. I finally admitted that I loved Trout and then as the creator, I wanted to make him whole again. Like those famous characters before me, I thanked Trout and released him for being so loyal. He was a free man now. As I was leaving Trout, he shouted ‘Make me young! Make me young! Make me young!’

breakfast-of-champions

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