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“Enjoy?” he boomed. “What do you mean?”
“What I mean,” said Ford, “is does it give you a full satisfying life? Stomping around, shouting, pushing people out of spaceships…”
The Vogon stared up at the low steel ceiling and his eyebrows almost rolled over each other. His mouth slacked. Finally he said, “Well the hours are good…”
“They'd have to be,” agreed Ford.
Arthur twisted his head to look at Ford.
“Ford, what are you doing?” he asked in an amazed whisper.
“Oh, just trying to take an interest in the world around me, OK?” he said. “So the hours are pretty good then?” he resumed.
The Vogon stared down at him as sluggish thoughts moiled around in the murky depths.
“Yeah,” he said, “but now you come to mention it, most of the actual minutes are pretty lousy. Except…” he thought again, which required looking at the ceiling - “except some of the shouting I quite like.” He filled his lungs and bellowed, “Resistance is…”
“Sure, yes,” interrupted Ford hurriedly, “you're good at that, I can tell. But if it's mostly lousy,” he said, slowly giving the words time to reach their mark, “then why do you do it? What is it? The girls? The leather? The machismo? Or do you just find that coming to terms with the mindless tedium of it all presents an interesting challenge?”
“Er…” said the guard, “er… er… I dunno. I think I just sort of… do it really. My aunt said that spaceship guard was a good career for a young Vogon - you know, the uniform, the low-slung stun ray holster, the mindless tedium…”
“There you are Arthur,” said Ford with the air of someone reaching the conclusion of his argument, “you think you've got problems.”
Arthur rather thought he had. Apart from the unpleasant business with his home planet the Vogon guard had half-throttled him already and he didn't like the sound of being thrown into space very much.
“Try and understand his problem,” insisted Ford. “Here he is poor lad, his entire life's work is stamping around, throwing people off spaceships…”
“And shouting,” added the guard.
“And shouting, sure,” said Ford patting the blubbery arm clamped round his neck in friendly condescension, “… and he doesn't even know why he's doing it!”
Arthur agreed this was very sad. He did this with a small feeble gesture, because he was too asphyxicated to speak.
Deep rumblings of bemusement came from the guard.
“Well. Now you put it like that I suppose…”
“Good lad!” encouraged Ford.
“But alright,” went on the rumblings, “so what's the alternative?”
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