The Heart of Gold silently cruised through space. Normally this wouldn’t have bothered any of the occupants or, in fact, anyone who happened to see it. Unless it was a cop or a Vogon, of course. In the few short hours that a couple of hitchhikers had jumped on board, this silently cruising business was really getting on Zaphod Beeblebrox’s nerves.
It was mainly because every decent life form has extreme difficulty working out improbabilities and coordinates in perpetual silence.
And it is also very distracting to have any noise come from a carbon based life form whose planet had met an untimely end recently.
“Cool it, monkey man.” Zaphod tried patience, but found it really didn’t suit him.
More evolved beings in the galaxy know for a fact that patience is not a virtue. It is not surprisingly, however, that people like Arthur Dent do not understand this higher way of thinking.
Zaphod repeated his words with a touch more firmness. Zaphod Beeblebrox’s definition of firmness is to have his second head echoing the sentiments of his first head.
Zaphod tried to ignore him. Maybe if he played by the monkey man’s rules they would reach an understanding quicker. He continued his carefully planned act of ignoring the chatting by asking, “Computer, what will happen if I turn the Improbability Drive on?”
“Something improbable will happen,” sang Eddie helpfully.
“Something that will stop us silently cruising through space?”
Zaphod tried not to sound hopeful. A moment later, he had his answer. Though Eddie wasn’t willing to place bets on the possibly outcome that the ship would halt in its course, there was a chance, however small.
Zaphod flicked the switch.
This is why, moments later, Arthur and Ford found themselves squeezed into a wardrobe full of interesting ladies’ undergarments.
“Hey, I recognise this wardrobe,” Ford said enthusiastically.
Arthur was in no mood to hear anyone speaking enthusiastically. He had a headache and he needed tea. He said moodily, “What’s that got to do with the price of eggs?”
“I didn’t mention eggs,” Ford told him. “I was just pointing out that this looks extremely like Eccentrica Gallumbits’ wardrobe.”
“And how can you tell that?”
Ford frowned for a moment. “You can’t seriously tell me you haven’t noticed the triple cupped bras.”
“I was rather hoping they were just part of the Improbability Drive,” Arthur muttered hopelessly.
Ford shifted around a bit and pressed his ear to the door. He jiggled the doorknob for a while but it wouldn’t budge. He stood still for a moment and then shifted his feet around. He said carefully, “Well, while we’re in here – ”
“Ouch!” Arthur interrupted loudly, “That was my foot!”
From outside a muffled voice grumbled, “Cool it, monkey man.”
Ford Prefect didn’t give any apologies. He halted his perusing and called through, “Zaphod, are you going to turn the Drive off?”
Arthur spoke up. “Why not?”
Zaphod didn’t answer.
“Why not?” Ford instead asked.
“We’re not silently cruising anymore. Now be quiet, I need to concentrate.”
Ford sighed loudly. He felt around for his towel but couldn’t find it. He paused then smiled to himself. He pretended to resume and stopped his search at an indignant squawk from beneath his hand.
“That was me!” Arthur exclaimed.
“Really? Which part?”
Arthur felt himself blush brilliantly and was glad of the darkness in the wardrobe. He tried to escape into a corner but nearly rendered himself unconscious on the clothing rack.
“Zarquon, Arthur, all I did was brush your backside.”
Arthur obviously thought this a great deal as he let out another squawk.
“How did you know that?” he demanded.
“Because that’s what I aimed for.”
Arthur suddenly felt a lot more uncomfortable than he did a minute ago, which was saying something. He repeated slightly more hight pitched than usual, “Aimed for?”
“I thought I’d make my intentions known.”
“Unh…” was all Arthur could say in distress.
“We don’t hide our feelings in Betelgeuse,” Ford continued unabashedly. “I observed a silly courting habit on your planet for people attracted to each other to avoid bringing the subject up.”
“Ganh,” Arthur articulated with difficulty.
“And now is an opportune moment to tell you…”
“W-Why’s that?” Arthur demanded.
Ford answered like it was obvious. “Well, your planet no longer exists, does it?”
“What has that got to do with it?”
Arthur was really starting to panic. He kicked the door in his terror and knew that no amount of time gazing at the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s cover could calm him down. He needed tea. He really needed tea.
“I thought that now your planet is gone you could forget about that silly courting habit,” Ford explained.
“And it seems pointless avoiding the subject for the rest of our lives.”
“FORD!” Arthur shouted, really quite disturbed now, “I’m not interested in you in that way!”
There was an awkward silence. Arthur cleared his throat. “It’s a rather dark wardrobe, isn’t it?”
Thankfully, at that moment, Zaphod decided he didn’t like the Improbability Drive interfering with his concentration and flicked the switch the opposite direction. Arthur started falling backwards over his own feet.
"We're still friends aren't we?" Arthur tried tentatively. "You're not bitter or anything?"
"Why would I be?"
This was a little comforting.
“Is that the only reason you rescued me from Earth?” Arthur asked anxiously.
Ford looked surprised. “What? No. I thought you might enjoy it.”
He blinked. This made Arthur even more nervous. The Earthman decided he wasn’t going to take this and fled.
“What’s his problem?” Zaphod wanted to know. “You didn’t profess your undying love again did you?”
“This time I was sure…”
“Trillian, what’s the probability of a man from the vicinity of Betelgeuse coping a grope at a man from a planet which has recently blown up?”
“You'd be surprised - ten to one against. Why, did Zaphod try something? I’ll dump him if it was.”
“Uh, no…it was Ford.”
Arthur walked quickly away, very disturbed.