Slaughterhouse-Five Chapter 10
The narrator tells that Robert Kennedy, whose summer home is eight miles from his own home, was shot two nights ago. So it goes. Martin Luther King was shot a month ago. So it goes. Every day his Government sends him a count of corpses created by military science in Vietnam. So it goes. His father died of natural causes. So it goes. He was sweet and left him his guns, which rust.
Billy Pilgrim says that on Tralfamadore, they do not have much interest in Jesus Christ, but do greatly admire Darwin, who taught that those that die are meant to, and that corpses are improvements. So it goes.
Kilgore Trout has a book where flying saucer creature asks about Darwin and also golf.
"If what Billy Pilgrim learned from the Tralfamadorians is true," writes the narrator, "that we will all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not overjoyed. Still--if I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I'm grateful that so many of those moments are nice." Chapter 10, pg. 211 One of the nicest moments was his trip to Dresden with his old war buddy, Bernard V. O'Hare. They were served good food on the plane and were not told to fasten their seat belts. The passengers spoke many languages and were enjoying themselves too. The narrator imagined dropping bombs on the lights and villages and cities and towns below in East Germany.
He and O'Hare had never expected to be rich. He tells O'Hare lazily that if he is ever in Cody, Wyoming, to ask for Wild Bob.
O'Hare had a notebook in which he wrote key facts about the world. He was looking up the population of Dresden when he came across the statistics for average world daily birth and death. So it goes. The projected population for the year 2000 was seven billion people. The narrator says wistfully that he supposes they will all want dignity.
Meanwhile, Billy Pilgrim was returning to Dresden in 1945, two days after it was destroyed. The authorities found them at the blind innkeeper's stable and gave them tools. Germans were not allowed into the ruins, or as the narrator says, the moon.
Prisoners of war were made to dig for bodies. Billy dug with a Maori with tattoos on his face. The materials were loose and there were avalanches. They found a hole in the rubble and a German went down with a flashlight and found dozens of unmarked bodies. The superior ordered the hole enlarged and the bodies brought out. This was the first corpse mine.
There were hundreds, which didn't smell bad at first, but which did when they began to rot. They smelled like mustard gas and roses. The Maori died from throwing up too much from working in the stink. So it goes. They devised a new technique of incinerating the bodies, throwing a flamethrower down into the holes. Sometime Edgar Derby was caught with a teapot, arrested for plundering, and shot. So it goes.
In the springtime, the corpse mines were shut down and the German soldiers left to fight the Russians. The workers were locked up in a stable. One morning, they woke to find the door unlocked and World War II over in Europe. They wandered out into the street, where there was nothing going on. Birds were talking and one says to Billy Pilgrim, "Poo-tee-weet?"