Friday, April 4, 2008

Vonnegut Short Story


Day in and day out, in a research laboratory in southern Detroit, there was a scientist that always left in the late evening named Harold Nekrasov. He’d leave the building, dragging his feet after a long day of accomplishing little. After the Cold War, Nekrasov was one of the many Soviet scientists that were in need of a job. An American shoe company hired him to do research, to help make a sole that was more cost efficient. He was paid a pitiful four dollars and twenty five cents an hour.

He had but one friend, a janitor named Argo Fedoseev, a fellow former Soviet that has been working in the laboratory long before Nekrasov. Fedoseev was an old, ornery man that had no teeth. The neighborhood child would point and laugh at him and his raggedy clothing in his broken shack and he would always fight back. But Nekrasov was happy nonetheless that he found someone he could interact with, someone that could understand him.

Little did the world know, in that small building was an incredible accomplishment. Nekrasov helped develop a new box material that would soon be used for the next generation sneakers. Its attributes were similar to cardboard. However, the difference was the space between the pieces. The spacing to this cardboard was incredibly compact; it’s as if there was only enough with for an oxygen molecule to get through. Nothing could damage it, it seemed to be invulnerable. This ultimate cardboard would revolutionize packaging around the world. He told Fedoseev of the indestructible material and how he would make the both of them rich.

One day, Sergeant Jameson paid visit to the research laboratory with two soldier escorts.

“What can I do for you?” asked Nekrasov timidly.

“Somebody here wanted to sell an item of the utmost important to the military,” replied Jameson officially.

“You must be mistaken. There was no such call.”

Fedoseev came in the room in a lab coat, anticipating the arrival. “Ah! Sergeant sir. This is the cardboard I told you about.”

“Mister Fedoreev. This will be a great asset to the military. Thank you for your assistance. Your check will arrive in the mail shortly. Take it away,” said Jameson. He grinned and motioned for the soldiers to grab the cardboard. They left the laboratory laughing, Nekrasov speechless.

Within a year, the cardboard was being used by the American military to create tanks, planes, vests, anything they could out of it. They raided the old Soviet Russia and killed the entire population.

Nekrasov visited Fedoseev in his shack one day. He took out a newly purchased pistol and shot Fedoseev’s throat and twice in the heart. He made his way to the Detroit River, hung a sign over his neck, shot himself in the head, and sank into the water. On the sign, Nekrasov wrote, “GOD IS MONEY.” At Fedoseev’s door was a check by the United States government for one hundred dollars.

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