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Ford and Arthur stared about them.
“Well, what do you think?” said Ford.
“It's a bit squalid, isn't it?”
Ford frowned at the grubby mattress, unwashed cups and unidentifiable bits of smelly alien underwear that lay around the cramped cabin.
“Well, this is a working ship, you see,” said Ford. “These are the Dentrassi sleeping quarters.”
“I thought you said they were called Vogons or something.”
“Yes,” said Ford, “the Vogons run the ship, the Dentrassis are the cooks, they let us on board.”
“I'm confused,” said Arthur.
“Here, have a look at this,” said Ford. He sat down on one of the mattresses and rummaged about in his satchel. Arthur prodded the mattress nervously and then sat on it himself: in fact he had very little to be nervous about, because all mattresses grown in the swamps of Squornshellous Zeta are very thoroughly killed and dried before being put to service. Very few have ever come to life again.
Ford handed the book to Arthur.
The first whisked by with complete disregard, the second flashed meaninglessly. A Ford Cortina passed and put on its brakes.
Lurching with surprise, the figure bundled his bag to his chest and hurried forward towards the car, but at the last moment the Cortina span its wheels in the wet and carreered off up the road rather amusingly.
The figure slowed to a stop and stood there, lost and dejected.
As it chanced, the following day the driver of the Cortina went into hospital to have his appendix out, only due to a rather amusing mix up the surgeon removed his leg in error, and before the appendectomy could be rescheduled, the appendicitis complicated into an entertainingly serious case of peritonitis and justice, in its way, was served.
“What is it?” asked Arthur.
“The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's a sort of electronic book. It tells you everything you need to know about anything. That's its job.”
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