Trout did another thing which some people might have considered eccentric: he called mirrors leaks. It amused him to pretend that mirrors were holes between two universes.
If he saw a child near a mirror, he might wag his finger at a child warningly, and say with great solemnity, “Don’t get too near that leak. You wouldn’t want to wind up in the other universe, would you?”
Sometimes somebody would say in his presence, “Excuse me, I have to take a leak.” This was a way of saying that the speaker intended to drain liquid wastes from his body through a valve in his lower abdomen.
And Trout would reply waggishly, “Where I come from, that means you’re about to steal a mirror.”
I had come to the Arts Festival incognito. I was there to watch a confrontation between two human beings I had created: Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout. I was not eager to be recognized. The waitress lit the hurricane lamp on my table. I pinched out the flame with my fingers. I had bought a pair of sunglasses at a Holiday Inn outside of Ashtabula, Ohio, where I spent the night before. I wore them in the darkness now. They looked like this:
The lenses were silvered, were mirrors to anyone looking my way. Anyone wanting to know what my eyes were like was confronted with his or her own twin reflections. Where other people in the cocktail lounge had eyes, I had two holes into another universe. I had leaks.
• • •
There was a book of matches on my table, next to my Pall Mall cigarettes.
Here is the message on the book of matches, which I read an hour and a half later, while Dwayne was beating the daylights out of Francine Pefko:
“It’s easy to make $100 a week in your spare time by showing comfortable, latest style Mason shoes to your friends. EVERYBODY goes for Mason shoes with their many special comfort features! We’ll send FREE moneymaking kit so you can run your business from home. We’ll even tell you how you can earn shoes FREE OF COST as a bonus for taking profitable orders!”
And so on.
• • •
“This is a very bad book you’re writing,” I said to myself behind my leaks.
“I know,” I said.
“You’re afraid you’ll kill yourself the way your mother did,” I said.
“I know,” I said.
• • •
There in the cocktail lounge, peering out through my leaks at a world of my own invention, I mouthed this word: schizophrenia.
The sound and appearance of the word had fascinated me for many years. It sounded and looked to me like a human being sneezing in a blizzard of soapflakes.
I did not and do not know for certain that I have that disease. This much I knew and know: I was making myself hideously uncomfortable by not narrowing my attention to details of life which were immediately important, and by refusing to believe what my neighbors believed.
vonnegut always had a big huge theme he explored in his books. there’s the war book, the money book, the doomsday book, et cetera. i always liked ‘breakfast of champions’ because it’s his insanity book. it’s his book about being or going insane