Sucker's Portfolio: A Collection of Previously Unpublished Writing by Kurt Vonnegut

Sucker's Portfolio: A Collection of Previously Unpublished Writing by Kurt Vonnegut

Author:Kurt Vonnegut
Language: eng
Format: mobi, azw3
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Published: 2012-11-20T05:00:00+00:00

Episode Six

Paris, France

Harry Burkhart was the golf pro at the Scantic Hills Country Club in Lexington, Massachusetts. His wife Rachel was an ex-model and a well-known figure skater. When she was in her early twenties she had been offered a part in the Hollywood Ice Review. She married Harry and became a housewife and mother instead. At that time, Harry had become the first football player from the Coast Guard Academy ever to be named All-American by the Associated Press.

When they were both thirty-seven, Harry and Rachel went to Europe for the first time. They went for two weeks — London, Paris, and back home through London again. They couldn’t afford a trip even that quick and short. They owed money all over town. But they took the trip anyway, because their doctor and their minister said they had to do something radical and romantic in a game try at not hating each other so.

They had four children to save the marriage for. What the marriage had done for the children so far was to make them the gift of life, and then teach them how to be vain, querulous, and full of hell.

Harry and Rachel had a reasonably good week in London, with plenty of good food and drink, and with money to spend. The money was borrowed, came from the last bit of credit they could possibly get — but there it was, good old money. They always got along better where there was money to spend.

They went by train and boat from London to Paris. When they found their train compartment at Calais, they discovered they were going to share it with two old and demoralized tourists from Indianapolis named Arthur and Marie Futz. The Futzes were in their middle sixties. They, too, were seeing Europe for the first time.

Arthur Futz hated everything he saw. “Europe stinks. England stinks,” he said to the Burkharts, as the train began to move. “If I was one of those newsmen over here who broadcast the news home, that’s what I’d say every night: ‘Europe stinks. This is Arthur Futz, returning you to NBC in New York.’”

Old Futz, a retired plumbing contractor, claimed to have been insulted, cheated, and poisoned in London. “And my God — ” he said, “that wasn’t even Europe yet.” He shook his head. “At least I could understand what they were saying when they gave me the works.” He shuddered. “I just wonder,” said old Futz, “what new adventures await us in gay Paree.”

“We just might have the time of our lives, Arthur,” said his wife bleakly. Marie Futz was a sweet, humble, jumpy little thing. She was trying to have a good time, but old Futz wouldn’t let her.

“I don’t doubt that for a minute,” said old Futz. “I bet the French have ways of separating Americans from their traveler’s checks as yet undreamed of in other parts of the world.”

“It’s supposed to be the most beautiful city in the world,” said Marie.

“The most beautiful city in the world is Indianapolis, Indiana,” said old Futz.


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