An Introduction

Arthur Philip Dent was hanging upside down in what may or may not have been a tree. Whether or not it was a tree had been the subject of much discussion over the last few hours; rather too much discussion as far as Arthur was concerned. In around three hours of incessant babbling the only thing Arthur had actually learnt about the entity, other than its obvious identity crisis, was that its name was Kevin and it hated squirrels. As interesting as this information was, Arthur was mainly concerned by one question: how? Well, that and the steady redistribution of vital fluids to his head which, frankly, was making him a little dizzy. He interrupted Kevin halfway through a particularly long stream of words, one which had been unbroken even by usually important things such as breathing.

"As I believe Descartes once postulated, 'You cannot-'"

"I hate to be rude but I do have one or two small questions."

Kevin never got to finish his quotation of Descartes, which was probably just as well because he'd forgotten the next bit. Something about an evil monkey playing with his mind. Despite this fortuitous interruption, Kevin still looked disgruntled. He liked his little philosophical soliloquies, as rambling and confused as they may be and however strewn with misquoted ideas. Being a…whatever he was (if indeed he was a he. He might have been a she. He didn't much like the idea of being an it though…so impersonal) could be very boring and he wasn't particularly pleased at the thought of being interrupted by his unexpected, and captive, audience.

"What?" said Kevin, somewhat petulantly.

"How?" replied Arthur, who was quite surprised at this chance to speak and had not quite marshalled his ideas into a coherent sentence.

"What?" Kevin was now less petulant and more confused.

"No, how" corrected Arthur, "How the hell did I get here? Where is here? When is now? Purple! Purple? No, not purple, erm…" He still hadn't quite got his head together.

Kevin thought about this sudden outburst. He had never really had to answer questions before so the thinking process took a while. He decided to answer in reverse order.

"Definitely not purple!" (It seemed like the answer that his audience wanted to hear)."Now is Saturday, just before tea; here is the planet Urf, at least I think it is; and you got here from up there." Kevin pointed a branch/arm/tentacle/metaphysical concept of an appendage towards the sky.

Arthur blinked and looked upwards towards his feet, seeing his captor/saviour for the first time. 'Yes,' he thought, 'Definitely a Kevin'

"Arthur! What in the name of the Triple-Breasted Whore of Eroticon 6 are you doing in that tree?" shouted a familiar voice.

"I'm hanging upside down in it, Ford," replied Arthur matter-of-factly.

This time it was Kevin that blinked.

"You said tree."

"It talks?"

"Yes I do. And I'm called Kevin."

Ford looked at the tree for a second. "Yes, you look like a Kevin."

"Erm…thank you." Kevin was confused again. A lot had happened today. "Why did you say tree though?"

"Because you're a tree," Ford began. "Tall, brown, woody, lots of branches, leaves, squirrels…"

"I bloody hate squirrels!" Kevin interjected.

"…all the signs are there," finished Ford Prefect.

Arthur had, with some degree of difficulty, extricated himself from the tree and stumbled drunkenly over to Ford's side.

"How did I get here? Where's the ship?" he asked.

"I've…lost it," replied Ford.

"Lost it?" exclaimed Arthur incredulously.

Ford cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Yes. Long story, I'll explain as we go."

Kevin had been digesting this stranger's news.
"Are you trying to tell me I'm a tree?" he shouted after the two retreating backs.
One of the backs turned into a front.

"Yes!" it replied.

"Bugger," said Kevin the Tree.