I’ll have a return ticket to earth, please. Oh, that’s not a normal request? You’ll have to ask the authorities? Why do I want it? ~ Well, I like earth, and anyway it’s all I know, and I might prefer it to wherever I’m going …. By the way, could you ask whether it will have a date on it? Particularly the outward journey. Oh, I’m glad, that sort of ticket is open-ended – no date. And will I be able to use it if I’m a different species when I come back? So long as I can hold it, you imagine. So I’d better make sure I don’t come back as a slug. I’ve always had a particular dislike for slugs, so maybe I will need to come back as one, just to teach me to be more open-minded. I suppose the ticket may stick to my slime. It’s very very sticky slime – I know, I once stepped on a slug … About the date – yes, I do know that time won’t actually exist where I’m going, but I believe they do sort of adjust things to our prejudices, so we’re broken in gradually. And if it is allowed, earth will still have time – I think. But perhaps the date will be ‘after Mohammed’, or ‘after Armageddon’, which would take a bit of adjusting to – but not half as difficult as adjusting to being a slug … Well. please do the best you can … This is a terribly bad line – very long distance, I know, and the ether is not a good conductor. I wrote ‘not a god conductor’, but I do hope that is not true. Will you get back to me?
Sorry, Ethel, did you want to use the phone? I don’t suppose they will get back to me; they must be getting busier and busier, more and more people. But also fewer and fewer slugs. But then slugs don’t use the telephone. Oh well, maybe I’ll just have to wait and see when I get there.