Here is my conclusion to Douglas Adams' The Salmon of Doubt:
When last seen, or deciphered from many a printed character on a piece of dead tree, Dirk Gently, detective of the supernatural, was on the verge of solving his latest case. He was minding his own business (or rather, fretting that he wasnt) when he happened to receive superfluous pay checks from an Unknown Benefactor. He assumed that this was his latest client. What to do about it, though? He began the search by picking a random trail. After many a misadventure, he ended up in the middle of the American Desert and was about to yes, solve his latest case. Unfortunately, the Earth was then destroyed (again) by a Vogon ship to pave the way for an intergalactic highway. This would be seen by some if they were alive as not such a big deal, especially if one didnt like France in the first place. However, an important matter was lost. At least, important for those who care. For you see, Dirk Gently had almost come to the realization of the Question of Life (it was forgotten when the Answer was found). Some may argue that Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent had already found the question. Shut up; no one likes a pessimist.
Meanwhile, Dirk Gently didnt notice anything. He was too busy studying the billboard that was now conveniently located in front of him. Hum. Now what was the name of that cat again? For some reason, he couldnt remember. Aha, thats it. Dirk turned his head to look at the surrounding non-scenery of Nevada. A tumbleweed made through on its way, trying not to be noticed.
Damn it, he forgot again. He swiveled his head in front of the upright metal again. There we go. Swivel.
Some time passed.
For the love of
this was impossible. No matter how many times he tried, the little piece of organic material in his brain wouldnt accept the fact that some information was at the door. Rather, it continued reading the paper.
He was in mid-swivel when Joe interrupted him. Mr--
Yes, what is it?
Joe looked to his gut, as if pleading for it to process what Dirk just said.
Oh, never mind, said Dirk on his way back to the vehicle. He suddenly stopped and looked back at the billboard. Hey, could it--? Naw
Mr. Gently? Sorta need to get a move on, if you know what I mean. Ha ha.
Hm? Ah, yeah. Guess so. Hang on a moment while I get in.
Later as they moved what seemed slowly over the great expanse of desolate highway, he pondered over what had happened so far. So far, indeed. A random choice of person had gotten him a quarter across the world. And apparently, he was on the right trail. This bothered him. He may be a holistic detective, but that still didnt stop Dirk from getting goose pimples about the business. It seemed too planned. Almost as if someone was playing with his mind.
And here we are! Indeed they were pulling up to what appeared to be an old, broken-down house, the kind that Elvis would live in. He probably is, thought Dirk, as he fumbled with his seat belt. Joe had insisted on his wearing it (You just never know when those damn Commies will get ya.).
No one greeted them at the door. Instead, a faded rug hanging on it flew weakly in what little breeze there was.
There you are, Mr. Gently, said Joe. Its been nice meeting you.
Wait! Where are you going?
Going back to the airport. Got me some more people to get. He chuckled smugly to himself going back to the car, like an axe murderer about to descend upon a birthday party.
After a while, there was nothing but Dirk, the house, and the desert.
Arthur Dent came to consciousness. So this was what the afterlife was like. He remembered reading about such parts in books and movies where the fellow thinks hes dead, but hes really not. This could be such a scenario. If it was, then a cup of tea was in order. He didnt know why, it just appeared to be the best choice. Aside from remembering what he was just doing. Lets see, now. He was aware, no doubt about that. Whether or not he was standing appeared to be trivial, as there did not appear to be anything to stand on.
Well, what do you know. Theres the floor. Hello floor. Do you feel trod on, too. God, need some tea.
Arthur tried looking for any sign of light. There was none. He sighed and curled up on the ground.
What the hell happened? There was the nightclub, sure, and there was a big, happy
he strained to regain that. No. It was gone.
Now that sounded familiar. Marvin?
Howd you get here?
Seems pretty fishy, dont you think? Of course, everythings fishy to me, which is ironic because I cant smell anyt-.
Shut up, Marvin. The afterlife was going to be hell, after all.
The rug returned the grim look at Dirk, its faded colors leering like a bad acid trip. There was no doubt about it now, he was definitely screwed. His common sense was slowly slipping away from the air-vibrating heat. How could he possibly finish anything with the distraction of being the only human being for miles around?
For kilometers, even? Gah. It appeared that the desert had nothing special to show. Ahh, just let the sun dry your brains out, then it gets exciting. Itll be better than drugs, really. Not that Dirk had ever taken drugs, its just the experience on principle.
Well, no use beating around the bush any longer. Guess hell have to root around the room and see if he finds anythi-
And then Dirk fell into the rug.
Not much else happened, other than total unconsciousness. When he came to, Dirk was lying on a stone slate in the middle of a large room. A large, pink room at that. Yeesh. The fellow who had built this place was not in the mood for any grimness or whatever. Maybe thats what he wanted the victim to think. Maybe he wants the victim to fall into a false sense of security, and then pounce when he has the chance
Or maybe he just really likes pink.
Hello, Mr. Gently. I believe that you are from
A lone figure had appeared in a doorway not too far from the slate, its arms up in a sort of greeting that you would expect from a suicide bomber. It walked slowly toward the light that graced the pink walls, and was revealed to be a rather young man, no more than twenty, in a black trench coat, with blonde hair slicked around the ears with gel. He stood there, gazing at Dirk. Dirk merely stared back.
The young man took off the sunglasses he had on. So
I suppose that is my name.
Dirks companion zoomed up to his face, the eyes suddenly with a flame of hatred. You have no shame at all, do you?! It is you, after all, who is responsible for the whole business!
Confusing indeed, but not surprising. One early morning in May Dirk had to get up to answer a pounding at the door, and was greeted by an old woman cursing his very existence. He had asked why, and was answered with a very loud scream that woke up the entire apartment building. By the time anyone had arrived at the scene, they would have noticed a corpse that had died peacefully in its sleep. The paramedics noted this as damned if I know.
Im sorry, but what has this to do with me?
Oh-ho, Mr. Gently, everything! Everything in the whole freaking world! The young man stormed up and down the room, his arms flailing about in a crazed motion. All the cosmic forces that have ever built up in the whole freaking universe have decided to focus on this very spot! And do you know what that means?!
Nope. Havent the faintest idea.
I cant imagine that I do. Why, is it important?
There was a long silence in the pink room as the young man scrambled for words. The only ones that seemed to come up were fork and blast it all, hes gone conkers.
The young man attempted to talk, but his mouth apparently had taken a vow of silence.
He tried again. His lips were currently copying the Bible onto a new piece of parchment.
Dirk just shrugged and made a silent I dunno, you tell me.
Huh. If that dont beat all.
So youll let me go now, eh? Jolly good. Dirk made for the door.
HOLD IT, YOU! The young man was in front of Dirk again. No, my friend, no. He pushed Dirk back on the slate. Im going to tell you everything, and then youll be sorry.
The robot wheezed a sigh. What is it now? Another foul thing to be the bane of my existence?
Not quite as harsh as that. Im just wondering where we are.
We are in darkness. Total and utter, disgraceful darkness.
That is true. But where is the darkness? asked Arthur.
Marvin made an action to closely resemble a shrug. Wherever is here, its hell. Thats enough for me.
Well, well. So there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. He leaned against the wall in despair. So this was it. No way out. Just flip off the switch and-flip off the switch? The lights came on.
Marvin! Weve done it!
And look! A door! This might not be the end, after all.
* * *
And thats it, Mr. Gently.
The story had been thoroughly explained to him.
Care to go through that one more time? said Dirk.
The young man sighed for the third time. All right.
There was once a fellow who went by the name of Peter. Peter had this amazing collection of Beethoven records.
Really? asked Dirk.
Peter loved to skate, and would do so every day. See Peter skate, see him do a figure eight, see the lovely pirouette he just made-
Just get on with it.
One day Peter met the girl of his dreams. She had a beautiful smile, but that was about it. It was quite obvious that Peter loved her, and she the same. That is, she loved herself as well. So they were out courting one evening. The fine wine was being poured and the discussion was about to take place.
I was wondering. If there was a place youd like to go, any sort of place, what would it be?
That would depend. What would be the circumstances?
Oh fudder. There went the proposal. Peter decided to wing it.
Say, a thousand Nazis were chasing you.
Id have to say Naples.
Wasnt that occupied during the Second War?
You didnt say it had to be during that time.
Oh, OK. Today, then. Today.
Why would the Nazi regime exist today?
And so they talked through the hours, mostly about the neo-Nazi movement. The words whistled through the air, and the swords of logic clashed with great lightning.
Maybe not hours, but it seemed like it to Peter. Actually, about two minutes in reality.
I just dont see the possibi
By now Peter had it. Fine! Where the hell would you bloody go if you wanted to under any circumstances, eh?!
It was too late; the check was already on the table.
Peter walked home that night in utter dismay. He cried into his pillow the whole night long.
Why would he?
So as not to get the headboard wet.
Oh. Pray continue.
Tears spilled down his face as he contemplated the life that awaited him. There was no hope now, not for him. The moon that used to wave and say nighty-night to him was now the Devil himself, ready to whip him at a moments notice. His favorite teddy bear seemed ready to betray him to the Soviets when presented with a bribe. And the rocking chair oh, that magnificent rocking chair! was the epitome of treachery. Look at it! It was shaking its head even now, saying that the Kingdom of Heaven would never open to his mug. No! No! It cannot be. It must not be. Such negativity was unheard of in his world. He was too foolish for that. When a fool becomes a cynic, then the world is doomed.
He plodded slowly toward the refrigerator, where he hoped his salvation lay. There into its icy depths there lay a single, half-eaten salami sandwich. Apparently it had laid there for some time. Peter had been meaning to eat it, but had never gotten around to it. And then there wasnt the salami sandwich, but there was something.
Peter tried to make it out, but he found that he was unable to. The said something had this immense quality about it that made one want to look away. For indeed, this was an intended shield to keep trespassers away. It held the secrets of the universe.
The Salmon of Doubt.
For a minute Peter could only think, wheres my salami? Realization only dawned on him after a few minutes of the Glory of The Salmon set in. Thats when he started worrying.
He knew that this was the Fundamental Fish, the primordial hereditary memory patterns engraved in his animal mind told him that. There was no doubt about it. Peter had truly found salvation in the right place.
Standing there for hours on end seemed like seconds in geological eons to him. For what was time, compared to the Salmon of Doubt? It was called Doubt because to call it by any other name would only register, only register, well, you know. Doubt.
That was when the Salmon began to Speak to him.
Noble keeper of Me.
You have chosen an excellent hiding place for My Countenance. If I lost My Representation in this world, all would surely be lost.
Yes. Who are you?
The Salmon sent a chuckle to his terrified brain. I am not of this world.
Certainly not. That would require a sense of, what is the word? Humor.
This is too incredible.
Such is what all say when they encounter Me.
They conversed, or rather, the Salmon expounded upon Peter for a very long time. After this period, Peter was forever changed. He bought a beat-up mansion that went by Ranting Manor...