Newly Discovered Kurt Vonnegut Story — Requiem for Zeitgeist

It was published a few days ago in The Nation.

I left a quarter tip beneath my half-filled glass, and moved toward the exit. He caught me roughly by the shoulder. “Omar Zeitgeist was a German, the only man on earth with the know-how of the cosmic bomb,” he whispered. “I was his bodyguard.”

“Cosmic bomb like the H-bomb?” I ventured.

“The cosmic bomb is to the H-bomb what an earthquake is to hiccups,” he said acidly. “Works on the same principle as what holds the universe together, only backwards.”

“Bully for it,” I said.

“Zeitgeist had no laboratory, worked out everything in his head.” My informant tapped his temple significantly and made clucking noises. “Our counterspies knew that he was very close to solving the riddle of the cosmic bomb when the war ended. No twig was left unbent in the search for him that followed Germany’s surrender. Several full regiments of men from good families were assigned to the sole task of finding Zeitgeist. Not a few of these searchers were found floating facedown in the Rhine, the Rhône, the Elbe, the Ruhr, the Aller, the Altmühl, the Unstrut, and other waterways, with bullets in their heads. They were not alone in their quest.”