Slaughterhouse-Five Chapter 6
Billy Pilgrim went to Dresden after his morphine night. He woke at dawn with Edgar Derby and Paul Lazzaro snoring on either side of him. He had no idea what year or planet it was, but it was cold. He woke because of the animal magnetism that he felt in his muscles. He imagined a vampire bat was behind him, but it was only his coat with the fur. He found two lumps in the pockets, one shaped like a horseshoe and one like a pea. He received a message from their radiations that was not to find out what they were but that they would perform miracles for him. He was grateful.
He dozed and awoke in the hospital again. He hears strong men digging holes for upright timbers in hard ground. Englishmen were building a new latrine. Lazzaro told the Blue Fairy Godmother that he made a big mistake and that he'd kill anyone who touched him. The Blue Fairy Godmother carefully smiled and said there was still time to kill him. Lazzaro told him to fuck himself and the Blue Fairy Godmother replied he had tried that.
He left, amused. Lazzaro told Derby and Billy that people were sorry when they fucked with him. Once a dog bit him and he fed it a steak filled with sharp metal pieces and watched it and taunted it as it died. He said the sweetest thing in life is revenge.
When Dresden was destroyed, writes the narrator, Lazzaro did not revel in this, as he was not avenging anything, and liked to take his enemies one at a time. Lazzaro said he planned to have the Blue Fairy Godmother shot, that he would open his door one day after the war and someone would shoot his pecker off, let him think about what life would be like without a pecker, then shoot him dead. Lazzaro said that he could have anyone killed for a thousand dollars. Derby asked who was on his list, and Lazzaro said he should make sure he didn't get on it. He told Derby he had a friend, Roland Weary, who died in his arms on account of Billy. Lazzaro called Billy a silly cocksucker and told him he was going to have him shot after the war. He waved away anything Billy had to say and told him to enjoy life while he could, and always have someone else answer the door.
Billy Pilgrim knew how he would die; he saw it on an audio tape that he recorded and put in his safe-deposit box. It begins with him saying that he will die, have died, and will always die on February thirteenth, 1976. He says at the time of his death, he is in Chicago addressing a crowd on flying saucers and the true nature of time. He has had to cross three international boundaries to get to Chicago, since the US has been split into twenty nations so that it will no longer be a threat to world peace. Chicago has been H-bombed by angry Chinamen. So it goes. He is speaking to a packed audience in a baseball park. He tells them that years ago, a man planned to kill him. He tells them that if they protest, they have not learned anything from what he has said. He ends by saying farewell and hello. Police offer to protect him and stay with him, but he tells them it is time for them to go home to their families and for him to be dead for a little while--then live again. He is then shot in the head with a high-powered laser gun. He experiences death for a while, which is violet light and a hum. Nobody is there, not even him.
He swings back into life again, to after when Lazzaro threatened him. He and Lazzaro and Derby had to go to the theater to elect a leader for themselves by secret ballot. Derby was writing letters to his wife in his head, telling her that it was okay and he would be home soon. Lazzaro was talking to himself about all the people he was going to have killed after the war and the women he was going to make fuck him. If he had been a dog, a policeman would have shot him and sent him to a lab to see if he had rabies. They saw an Englishman drawing a line in the earth with his heel.
The theater was covered in Americans nestled like spoons. They cursed at Billy to close the door. The stage was still set for Cinderella. Billy, Lazzaro and Derby were in the hospital during blanket distribution. They improvised with the red curtains. Billy stole Cinderella's silver boots. Billy Pilgrim and Cinderella were one and the same.
There was a lecture on personal hygiene, but most of the Americans slept through it. The Englishman said that when one stopped taking pride in his appearance, he would soon die. He made vows of cleanliness to himself, which he shared with the uncaptivated audience. The Englishman said he envied them, and Billy wondered why someone laughed. He continued to say that they were being sent to the beautiful city of Dresden, while he himself had not seen a plant, woman or child in years. He tells them not to worry about bombs; that Dresden is unimportant and undefended.
Edgar Derby was elected head American. Derby made a speech about responsibility and Lazzaro told him to go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.
It was very hot out that day. The Americans were becoming able to hold their food. Billy looked stylish as he marched out, with his silver boots and red curtain-toga. He and Derby, who was still composing letters in his head, still had beards. Billy saw the dead hobo frozen stiff beside the train tracks spooning with no one. He thinks it is alright, somehow, his being dead. So it goes.
The trip to Dresden was quick. "The skyline was intricate and voluptuous and enchanted and absurd," writes the narrator, "It looked like a Sunday school picture of Heaven to Billy Pilgrim." Chapter 6, pg. 148 Someone behind Billy said "Oz". That, the narrator clarifies, was him; the only other city he had ever seen was Indianapolis.
Dresden was the only city which had not been bombed and burned. Sirens wailed, but the planes were always going somewhere else. There was electricity, theaters and restaurants, a zoo, and people working in enterprises.
Eight Dresden soldiers came toward them, self-conscious about looking foolish, expecting strong, cocky Americans. They saw Billy in his getup. He looked sixty years old. They saw rabid Lazzaro. They saw middle-age Derby. They laughed and their terror evaporated as they saw more fools like themselves, like a light opera.
The opera marched through the streets. Billy led the parade. Thousands of people saw them. They were pale and watery, having eaten mostly potatoes during wartime. Billy was fascinated by the intricate and decadent architecture. He knew, with his memories of the future, that it would all be destroyed in a month, and that most of the people watching him would be dead. So it goes. A civilian was offended by Billy's bad taste in clothing, thinking his outfit was intentional and mocking. He asked Billy if he found war funny and Billy was mystified. He wanted to be friendly, so he took the two objects out. They were a two-carat diamond and a partial denture. He smiled.
The parade made its way to the slaughterhouse, which wasn't busy, since most of the edible animals had been killed and eaten. So it goes. They were taken to the fifth building. The only English-speaking guard told them to memorize their address, which was "Schlachthof-funf," which meant Slaugherhouse-Five.