A magician wandered along the beach, but no one needed him.
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“Arthur,” said Ford.
“Hello? Yes?” said Arthur.
“Just believe everything I tell you, and it will all be very, very simple.”
“Ah, well I’m not sure I believe that.”
After nearly four years of total isolation he was so pleased and relieved to see Ford that he could almost cry. Ford was, on the other hand, an almost immediately annoying person.
“The Guide says there is an art to flying,” said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” He smiled weakly. He pointed at the knees of his trousers and held his arms up to show the elbows. They were all torn and worn through.
“I could hardly help it, could I?” he bellowed, “when the same thing kept happening, over and over and over again! Every life I ever lived, I got killed by Arthur Dent. Any world, any body, any time, I’m just getting settled down, along comes Arthur Dent – pow, he kills me.”
Arthur had adopted his normal crisis role, which was to stand with his mouth hanging open and let it all wash over him.