Meanwhile, on Tralfamadore, Kilgore Trout was being hoisted up onto his golden throne by dozens of two-foot-tall Tralfamadorians. They were well suited for this task, as each one of them was built like plumber’s helpers, each one with a single hand extending from the top of their bodies. They worked well as a team because they were all telepathic.
Trout would have preferred to simply walk to his throne and to have ascended it without assistance; but he knew how much the space aliens loved him and wanted to always show him their affection. He had just finished being freighted about the capital city of their peaceful planet. Thousands of happy little creatures popped their plungers with joy as their hero and god passed before them. Some fell prostrate into the street. Some rolled senselessly backwards into the frenzied crowds in the second and third rows. From the sky, it would have resembled a football half-time show with the mobs on either side rising up in hilarious waves.
The Tralfamadorian Honor Guard carried Trout around the city in a jewel-encrusted sedan chair four times every Tralfamadorian day. The days lasted forty-eight Earth hours. So, every twelve hours, Kilgore Trout would be carried around Capitol City by half-pints who, because of an evolutionary quirk, made an engaging “Bub-loop, bub-loop, bub-loop,” sound as they happily marched along. They were enchanted to be in Kilgore Trout’s presence and honored to be carrying him. Eight Tralfamadorians carried each of the four support beams that held the chair. Their rubbery torsos flexed under his weight and followed the gentle bouncing of his chair and the ranks of soldiers filed proudly up and down the grand promenades. Fifty of the creatures marched in front of the thirty-two bearers and fifty more followed. Every member of the honor guard was entitled to wear a strand of foil wrapped diagonally from wrist to plunger. The foil was gold-colored on one side and silver on the other. The soldiers glittered in the twin suns of Tralfamadore like Christmas ornaments. When they marched, it was like a Pink Floyd light show.
The Tralfamadorians were sweet creatures with no violent or aggressive traits. If any one of them felt unhappy or threatened, its single eyeball, which was located in the center of its hand, would be covered by the fingers of its hand. When the creature felt safe and happy again, the hand would open up and its large eyes, like sunflowers with long, thick eyelashes, would appear again, bright, wide open, and mindlessly cheerful.
These eyeballs were in the palm of the hands that were connected to the deceptively weak-looking dowels that formed the bodies of these things. At the base of each one, a large, rubbery plunger-looking gizmo about eighteen inches in diameter (in an adult) planted the creature to the ground. These took the place of feet. The little suckers would undulate, form a sort of wave, and then the whole shooting match would wobble in an oval pattern, stretching forward, loosening at the rear, stretching forward. They could walk this way at an Earth-speed of about five kilometers per hour.
The soldiers that carried Kilgore Trout marched at a restrained three kilograms per hour. Bub-loop, bub-loop, bub-loop. The parade wasn’t the sort of spine jarring, nail-booted, goose-stepping nonsense of Earth. It was more like a bunch of brooms dancing in a Disney movie.
They had no individual egos and shared a universal mind. The universal mind shared by all Tralfamadorians had an I.Q. so high that humans couldn’t measure or comprehend it.
You are probably wondering what Nobel Prize Winner Kilgore Trout was doing on Tralfamadore. You are not alone. Trout asked himself the same question every day. When he asked his intergalactic hosts why he had been transported to antimatter Galaxy 508G, he got such a babble of thoughts flowing into his mind, it was like white noise. It didn’t matter if he asked an assembly of Tralfamadorians or if he questioned one individual. It was always the same. It was like all the radio frequencies on Earth were suddenly compressed to one broadcasting station. In Trout’s mind, it was a total cacophony, heavy on the brass section. Eventually, he learned to stop asking questions and to just accept their non-judgmental banquet of love.
Sometimes he worried that he might be end up like in that old science-fiction story by Damon Knight called “To Serve Man”. In that classic work, a bunch of aliens (called Kanamits) arrive on Earth and seem to have no other desire than to assist mankind. They have a book, in fact, with the title, “How to Serve Man”. Spoiler alert: it’s a cook book. Kilgore Trout had plagiarized the story and had sold it to the now-defunct fetish magazine Garters and Boots years ago. Trout’s version was called “Chowing Down with Null”. The pictures that accompanied the story showed the legendary Bettie Page being tied up with ropes.
Mostly, though, he accepted the adoration and parades with smiles and charm.
Then, one day, he was taken aside by the Minister of Alien Relations and the two of them huddled together under the giant clear globe that encircled the capitol and made it possible for Kilgore to breathe in the totally insane atmosphere of Tralfamadore.
The minister remained standing. Trout sat down at a proffered card table across from the creature’s wide-open palm with the great eyeball attached to a stick. The minister’s mind reached into Kilgore Trout’s mind and said, “We need you to save Earth.”
“To save Earth?” Trout whispered. “What can I do?”
“You will do what you have always done,” answered the mind of the Minister of Alien Relations. “You will do it because you always have and because you always will. It’s a done deal.”
“Don’t I have a choice?” asked the aged science fiction writer and renowned philosopher. “Look at me. Do I look like I can save anything?”
The Minister of Alien Relations, his name was Cthulbanana, by the way, made a fist, covering his eye, and shook it from side to side.
“You just don’t understand,” said Cthulbanana. “Happily, I know that you will do what you need to do when we need you to do it.”
Trout, thought fondly back to the time when he was a penniless bum, pumping out story after story, submitting some of them even without return postage, unable to share his genius with the world.
“Sure. I’ll do it,” said Kilgore Trout, eyes-to-eye with his diminutive Tralfamadorian companion. “What could go wrong?”
The little hand atop the stick that was Cthulbanana’s body opened and closed spastically. Eventually, the frantic movement slowed and then snapped to a stop. The eye was as wide open as it could be and a soft pastel glow seemed to radiate from the Tralfamadorian’s body. “It has already gone wrong.” These thoughts radiated through the ether of the Earth-like half dome and planted themselves in Kilgore’s brain.
“Oops,” came the after-thought, immediately on the tail of the ominous brainwaves. “I forgot to shield my cerebration,” Cthulbanana thought. “Trust me, Dr. Trout. I am with the government.”
The echoes of Trout’s laughter faded away in this quiet, peaceful land, and the two super-geniuses sidled down the gold-lined pathway to Dr. Trout’s mansion. Dr. Trout gently patted Cthulbanana on the tips of his fingers and he said, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Cthulbanana, never having seen the movie CASABLANCA, didn’t get the joke. After a few seconds of silence, Trout asked Cthulbanana to use his power and to turn the coffeepot in Trout’s kitchen on. They had a lot of planning to do.