Elvichar's World at http://www.geocities.com/elvichar
Archive: Yes
email: elvichar@yahoo.com 
Disclaimer: Characters created by Douglas Adams.
Almost certainly then, owned by Douglas Adams. But
isn’t it flattering when characters you’ve created get
transformed into folk icons. Like Robin Hood and King
Arthur and some other people - but I might get accused
of heresy and blasphemy if I mentioned them.


Six by Nine


by Elvichar



Ford and Arthur walked away from the cavemen. 
The results of the scrabble bag test had been
disappointing. Six times nine did not make 42. Six by
nine was 54.

“Six and nine eh?” Ford grinned, “who’d have thought
it.”

Arthur bridled, “I don’t know what you mean Ford.”

“Well Arthur - we may not know what the ultimate
question is but at least we’ve got some idea of what’s
going on in your subconscious mind.”

“You can be very perplexing sometimes, Ford.”

“Think about it Arthur. Multiplication. Six and nine.
What does six and nine make apart from 54?”

“Well if you add them you get 15 if that’s what you
mean. And subtraction gets you three. Look, you’ll
have to help me out, I never was much good at
connundrums.”

Ford sighed, Arthur was sometimes incredibly dense.
“Six and nine. What does that mean to you Arthur.
Think,” Ford tapped his own head and looked gnomically
at his earth friend.

Understanding suddenly started to dawn. The look on
Arthur’s face went from confusion through horror to
embarrassment, “Oh,” he said, and “Oh!”

“Oh, as you say, indeed.” Ford smiled and carried on
walking, leaving Arthur standing there looking very
uncomfortable.

**************************

Later. Arthur was still bemused and confused about the
little exchange he’d had with Ford. If he understood
what Ford was saying that would be...oh. And then
again if he had completely misunderstood...very oh.

The Earthman, technically a Golgafrinchan now it
seemed, poked at the tiny fire he’d managed to create.
He looked up to see Ford smiling at him enigmatically.

“What? What is it?” Arthur asked,

“No. Nothing. Just thinking,” Ford continued to smile.

“Yes but what. What were you thinking?” 

“Well Arthur, I think if you take another dive into
your subconscious mind you’ll probably find exactly
what I’m thinking.”

Arthur did, and did. This was not on. All these years
he’d known Ford, and not only was he not from
Guildford, but now it seemed he was psychic as well.

“How do you know what I’m thinking?” Arthur said. This
was not on.

“Because Arthur - I’m thinking it as well.”

“You are?”

“I am.”

“Yes, well. What am I thinking?”

“You know.”

“Do I?”

“Yes, I think you do.”

“But how do you know?” Arthur yelled. This was going
nowhere. One of them was going to have to say what
they were thinking soon. Arthur was determined it
wasn’t going to be him.

“Keep calm Arthur,” Ford said serenely.

“Don’t Panic you mean?” Arthur said.

Ford continued to smile, “If you like.”

“I have panicked all my life and I can’t see any
rational reason for me to stop now. It seems to me
that panicking would be by far the best option given
the myriad of strange and unusual circumstances
lately.”

“But you’re still here. Talking to me. Alive. Not
harmed in any significant way. And I can think of a
lot of things you could do apart from panicking.”

Arthur knew he was going to regret this. “Like what?”
He said.

“Ah ha! The ultimate question.” Ford’s enigmatic smile
turned to a grin. 

“Ford what are you wittering on about?”

“it makes perfect sense when you think about it. Alone
in a godless universe - what’s the answer? eh? eh?”
Ford raised his eyebrows suggestively and began to
giggle.

Arthur shifted uncomfortably. He knew exactly what was
happening. he wasn’t sure he could cope. But then.
Yes, why not. He suddely began to smile himself. The
more he thought about it the more sense it made.
Perfect sense. Yes, maybe it wasn’t the question. But
it was definitely the answer.

“Ford?” He suddenly said, “Do you still have those
towels?”


END


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