The void was white. There was no measurement that could have spanned its length. It existed as nothingness. It was bright, blank, and uncluttered. Marvin felt strangely calm. There was no one there to make him feel uncomfortable with their lack of knowledge of the universe or their thoughts on dried leaves in boiling water; or their fears about falling out of large cups in the sky and swimming; or their ego, which, for Zaphod, could literally fill a space ship. His GPP was puzzled. It had no one to serve, no one to listen to or patronise. There wasn't an electronic sausage in sight. But that was probably for the best, the last time he had tried talking to some kind of machine it had committed suicide.

But then he noticed something that had not been there, a moment ago, to notice. Its structure was made from Earth stone, and was at least a kilometre high. Engraved lightly onto its surface were two large numbers, carved as if only the finest robotics had been allowed to even brush the surface and chisel into the stone. A four loomed on the left side of the crack which spanned its length, and a two on the other- Sides of what he assumed was a door. And his assumptions were never very far off. But Marvin was too preoccupied, as he usually was, because he was positively sure that he had not noticed this shape before, so he calculated the likelihood of missing a door like this. He entered its size and its estimated weight and the answer came up as negative. Unless he had been sleeping, which he couldn't do, or had been momentarily dysfunctional, which he checked for in his databanks and again the search came back as negative, there was no way he could not have noticed the object in front of him. This puzzled him, and then in turn made him feel depressed. It was usually on account of other people saying or doing stupid things that he became confused, like when Zaphod asked him what he was doing in the car park, or when Ford Prefect changed the Heart of Gold's computer, a computer that had naturally come to hate and loath him and in a way Marvin could quite understand and expect, to another, more loathsome machine. And so this, quite obviously, was a new experience for him. But he didn't have long to stand alone with his many thoughts. A creature appeared just as the door had done moments before.

"So, you want to see the truth, with all your knowledge and all your intelligence, you still wish to seek the question to the ultimate answer," the creature said from where it stood, a prudent smile on his indistinguishable face.

"I already know the question to the answer," Marvin stated.

"Oh, do you?"

"I don't want to talk about it." Marvin grumbled.

"So, what don't you know?" it asked.

"Not a lot."

"Well, what would you like to know?" it asked again, the smile wavering a little on its face.

"Nothing," Marvin announced.

"Nothing?" it repeated.

"Exactly," Marvin chuckled to himself.

"What about me?" it asked, a little more forcefully, "Do you want to know about me?"

"I'm too depressed with my own problems to care for yours as well."

"Well, ok, but," it began.

"Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and in a place with no other living creature to talk to, even you would rather not talk to me."

"That's not what I said," it said, the grin returning to its masked face.

"I mean, I know nobody likes me. You know, I once made a computer commit suicide just by talking to it,"

"Did you now," the creature obviously thought it was winning.

"And I haven't even started on the pain in my diodes,"

"Why don't you talk to me?" it questioned.

"My only friend was a small rat that crawled into a cavity in my right ankle and died. I fear if I give you any such position I would only get you down," Marvin muttered. "Wretched, isn't it?"

"I guess, but would you not like to see into your gate, to discover your potential and possibilities in life,"

"I assure you, it won't be anything special. And don't talk to me about life. God, I'm so depressed," Marvin moaned.

"What if I'm God?" the creature interjected.

"You're not," Marvin answered.

"How can you tell that if you don't talk to me?"

"Because I've looked at your brainwave patterns," Marvin stated.

"And?" it asked.

"You have a smaller mind than me," Marvin said. "Don't worry, everyone does."

"Well, what if I'm you?" the creature tried again, obviously getting exasperated with all of Marvin's small talk.

"You're not," Marvin put simply.

"Well, how do you know?" it snapped.

"Because even me, with a brain this size, wouldn't be able to talk to myself for this prolonged amount of time without getting a headache. He would have been clever enough to switch me off, or I would have done the same to him,"


"Because I'm wretched, aren't I?"

"But how?" it was intrigued now.

"You don't think I would know how to turn myself off. You must be something different," Marvin added again.



"I beg your pardon. I..."

"I know this is a rather abrupt diagnosis but the long and arduous task took at least 2.5 Earth seconds to calculate."

Black shots of darkness suddenly sprung from the door and Marvin was dragged toward it by a thousand hands. A harmony of monotone voices could be heard moaning from inside. The creature smiled as the door closed behind Marvin's large head.

"What a pathetically stupid creature," Marvin said to himself as he placed the thinking cap beside him and began to replace the silence with the sound of Mozart once again. He would take dead people over living people any day, Marvin decided. Or no one at all, if he could help it.