The air was clear and scented, the breeze flitted lightly through the tall grass around his cave, the birds were chirruping at each other, the butterflies were flitting about prettily, and the whole of nature seemed to be conspiring to be as pleasant as it possibly could.

It wasn’t all the pastoral delights that were making Arthur feel so cheery, though. He had just had a wonderful idea about how to cope with the terrible lonely isolation, the nightmares, the failure of all his attempts at horticulture, and the sheer futurelessness and futility of his life here on prehistoric Earth, which was that he would go mad.

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More from Life, the Universe and Everything

“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.”

A tall figure appeared silhouetted in the hatchway. It walked down the ramp and stood in front of Arthur.
“You’re a jerk, Dent,” it said simply.

“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.”

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.