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Dunbar

   Yossarian no longer gave a damn where his bombs fell, although he did not go as far as Dunbar, who dropped his bombs hundreds of yards past the village and would face a court-martial if it could ever be shown he had done it deliberately. Without a word even to Yossarian, Dunbar had washed his hands of the mission. The fall in the hospital had either shown him the light or scrambled his brains; it was impossible to say which.
   Dunbar seldom laughed any more and seemed to be wasting away. He snarled belligerently at superior officers, even at Major Danby, and was crude and surly and profane even in front of the chaplain, who was afraid of Dunbar now and seemed to be wasting away also. The chaplain’s pilgrimage to Wintergreen had proved abortive; another shrine was empty. Wintergreen was too busy to see the chaplain himself. A brash assistant brought the chaplain a stolen Zippo cigarette lighter as a gift and informed him condescendingly that Wintergreen was too deeply involved with wartime activities to concern himself with matters so trivial as the number of missions men had to fly. The chaplain worried about Dunbar and brooded more over Yossarian now that Orr was gone. To the chaplain, who lived by himself in a spacious tent whose pointy top sealed him in gloomy solitude each night like the cap of a tomb, it seemed incredible that Yossarian really preferred living alone and wanted no roommates.
   As a lead bombardier again, Yossarian had McWatt for a pilot, and that was one consolation, although he was still so utterly undefended. There was no way to fight back. He could not even see McWatt and the co-pilot from his post in the nose. All he could ever see was Aarfy, with whose fustian, moon-faced ineptitude he had finally lost all patience, and there were minutes of agonizing fury and frustration in the sky when he hungered to be demoted again to a wing plane with a loaded machine gun in the compartment instead of the precision bombsight that he really had no need for, a powerful, heavy fifty-caliber machine gun he could seize vengefully in both hands and turn loose savagely against all the demons tyrannizing him: at the smoky black puffs of the flak itself; at the German antiaircraft gunners below whom he could not even see and could not possibly harm with his machine gun even if he ever did take the time to open fire, at Havermeyer and Appleby in the lead plane for their fearless straight and level bomb run on the second mission to Bologna where the flak from two hundred and twenty-four cannons had knocked out one of Orr’s engines for the very last time and sent him down ditching into the sea between Genoa and La Spezia just before the brief thunderstorm broke.
   Actually, there was not much he could do with that powerful machine gun except load it and test-fire a few rounds. It was no more use to him than the bombsight. He could really cut loose with it against attacking German fighters, but there were no German fighters any more, and he could not even swing it all the way around into the helpless faces of pilots like Huple and Dobbs and order them back down carefully to the ground, as he had once ordered Kid Sampson back down, which is exactly what he did want to do to Dobbs and Huple on the hideous first mission to Avignon the moment he realized the fantastic pickle he was in, the moment he found himself aloft in a wing plane with Dobbs and Huple in a flight headed by Havermeyer and Appleby. Dobbs and Huple? Huple and Dobbs? Who were they? What preposterous madness to float in thin air two miles high on an inch or two of metal, sustained from death by the meager skill and intelligence of two vapid strangers, a beardless kid named Huple and a nervous nut like Dobbs, who really did go nuts right there in the plane, running amuck over the target without leaving his copilot’s seat and grabbing the controls from Huple to plunge them all down into that chilling dive that tore Yossarian’s headset loose and brought them right back inside the dense flak from which they had almost escaped. The next thing he knew, another stranger, a radio-gunner named Snowden, was dying in back. It was impossible to be positive that Dobbs had killed him, for when Yossarian plugged his headset back in, Dobbs was already on the intercom pleading for someone to go up front and help the bombardier. And almost immediately Snowden broke in, whimpering, ‘Help me. Please help me. I’m cold. I’m cold.’ And Yossarian crawled slowly out of the nose and up on top of the bomb bay and wriggled back into the rear section of the plane—passing the first-aid kit on the way that he had to return for—to treat Snowden for the wrong wound, the yawning, raw, melon-shaped hole as big as a football in the outside of his thigh, the unsevered, blood-soaked muscle fibers inside pulsating weirdly like blind things with lives of their own, the oval, naked wound that was almost a foot long and made Yossarian moan in shock and sympathy the instant he spied it and nearly made him vomit. And the small, slight tail-gunner was lying on the floor beside Snowden in a dead faint, his face as white as a handkerchief, so that Yossarian sprang forward with revulsion to help him first.
   Yes, in the long run, he was much safer flying with McWatt, and he was not even safe with McWatt, who loved flying too much and went buzzing boldly inches off the ground with Yossarian in the nose on the way back from the training flight to break in the new bombardier in the whole replacement crew Colonel Cathcart had obtained after Orr was lost. The practice bomb range was on the other side of Pianosa, and, flying back, McWatt edged the belly of the lazing, slow-cruising plane just over the crest of mountains in the middle and then, instead of maintaining altitude, jolted both engines open all the way, lurched up on one side and, to Yossarian’s astonishment, began following the falling land down as fast as the plane would go, wagging his wings gaily and skimming with a massive, grinding, hammering roar over each rocky rise and dip of the rolling terrain like a dizzy gull over wild brown waves. Yossarian was petrified. The new bombardier beside him sat demurely with a bewitched grin and kept whistling ‘Whee!’ and Yossarian wanted to reach out and crush his idiotic face with one hand as he flinched and flung himself away from the boulders and hillocks and lashing branches of trees that loomed up above him out in front and rushed past just underneath in a sinking, streaking blur. No one had a right to take such frightful risks with his life.
   ‘Go up, go up, go up!’ he shouted frantically at McWatt, hating him venomously, but McWatt was singing buoyantly over the intercom and probably couldn’t hear. Yossarian, blazing with rage and almost sobbing for revenge, hurled himself down into the crawlway and fought his way through against the dragging weight of gravity and inertia until he arrived at the main section and pulled himself up to the flight deck, to stand trembling behind McWatt in the pilot’s seat. He looked desperately about for a gun, a gray-black.45 automatic that he could cock and ram right up against the base of McWatt’s skull. There was no gun. There was no hunting knife either, and no other weapon with which he could bludgeon or stab, and Yossarian grasped and jerked the collar of McWatt’s coveralls in tightening fists and shouted to him to go up, go up. The land was still swimming by underneath and flashing by overhead on both sides. McWatt looked back at Yossarian and laughed joyfully as though Yossarian were sharing his fun. Yossarian slid both hands around McWatt’s bare throat and squeezed. McWatt turned stiff: ‘Go up,’ Yossarian ordered unmistakably through his teeth in a low, menacing voice. ‘Or I’ll kill you.’ Rigid with caution, McWatt cut the motors back and climbed gradually. Yossarian’s hands weakened on McWatt’s neck and slid down off his shoulders to dangle inertly. He was not angry any more. He was ashamed. When McWatt turned, he was sorry the hands were his and wished there were someplace where he could bury them. They felt dead.
   McWatt gazed at him deeply. There was no friendliness in his stare. ‘Boy,’ he said coldly, ‘you sure must be in pretty bad shape. You ought to go home.’
   ‘They won’t let me.’ Yossarian answered with averted eyes, and crept away.
   Yossarian stepped down from the flight deck and seated himself on the floor, hanging his head with guilt and remorse. He was covered with sweat.
   McWatt set course directly back toward the field. Yossarian wondered whether McWatt would now go to the operations tent to see Piltchard and Wren and request that Yossarian never be assigned to his plane again, just as Yossarian had gone surreptitiously to speak to them about Dobbs and Huple and Orr and, unsuccessfully, about Aarfy. He had never seen McWatt look displeased before, had never seen him in any but the most lighthearted mood, and he wondered whether he had just lost another friend.
   But McWatt winked at him reassuringly as he climbed down from the plane and joshed hospitably with the credulous new pilot and bombardier during the jeep ride back to the squadron, although he did not address a word to Yossarian until all four had returned their parachutes and separated and the two of them were walking side by side toward their own row of tents. Then McWatt’s sparsely freckled tan Scotch-Irish face broke suddenly into a smile and he dug his knuckles playfully into Yossarian’s ribs, as though throwing a punch.
   ‘You louse,’ he laughed. ‘Were you really going to kill me up there?’ Yossarian grinned penitently and shook his head. ‘No. I don’t think so.’
   ‘I didn’t realize you got it so bad. Boy! Why don’t you talk to somebody about it?’
   ‘I talk to everybody about it. What the hell’s the matter with you? Don’t you ever hear me?’
   ‘I guess I never really believed you.’
   ‘Aren’t you ever afraid?’
   ‘Maybe I ought to be.’
   ‘Not even on the missions?’
   ‘I guess I just don’t have brains enough.’ McWatt laughed sheepishly.
   ‘There are so many ways for me to get killed,’ Yossarian commented, ‘and you had to find one more.’ McWatt smiled again. ‘Say, I bet it must really scare you when I buzz your tent, huh?’
   ‘It scares me to death. I’ve told you that.’
   ‘I thought it was just the noise you were complaining about.’ McWatt made a resigned shrug. ‘Oh, well, what the hell,’ he sang. ‘I guess I’ll just have to give it up.’ But McWatt was incorrigible, and, while he never buzzed Yossarian’s tent again, he never missed an opportunity to buzz the beach and roar like a fierce and low-flying thunderbolt over the raft in the water and the secluded hollow in the sand where Yossarian lay feeling up Nurse Duckett or playing hearts, poker or pinochle with Nately, Dunbar and Hungry Joe. Yossarian met Nurse Duckett almost every afternoon that both were free and came with her to the beach on the other side of the narrow swell of shoulder-high dunes separating them from the area in which the other officers and enlisted men went swimming nude. Nately, Dunbar and Hungry Joe would come there, too. McWatt would occasionally join them, and often Aarfy, who always arrived pudgily in full uniform and never removed any of his clothing but his shoes and his hat; Aarfy never went swimming. The other men wore swimming trunks in deference to Nurse Duckett, and in deference also to Nurse Cramer, who accompanied Nurse Duckett and Yossarian to the beach every time and sat haughtily by herself ten yards away. No one but Aarfy ever made reference to the naked men sun-bathing in full view farther down the beach or jumping and diving from the enormous white-washed raft that bobbed on empty oil drums out beyond the silt sand. Nurse Cramer sat by herself because she was angry with Yossarian and disappointed in Nurse Duckett.
   Nurse Sue Ann Duckett despised Aarfy, and that was another one of the numerous fetching traits about Nurse Duckett that Yossarian enjoyed. He enjoyed Nurse Sue Ann Duckett’s long white legs and supple, callipygous ass; he often neglected to remember that she was quite slim and fragile from the waist up and hurt her unintentionally in moments of passion when he hugged her too roughly. He loved her manner of sleepy acquiescence when they lay on the beach at dusk. He drew solace and sedation from her nearness. He had a craving to touch her always, to remain always in physical communication. He liked to encircle her ankle loosely with his fingers as he played cards with Nately, Dunbar and Hungry Joe, to lightly and lovingly caress the downy skin of her fair, smooth thigh with the backs of his nails or, dreamily, sensuously, almost unconsciously, slide his proprietary, respectful hand up the shell-like ridge of her spine beneath the elastic strap of the top of the two-piece bathing suit she always wore to contain and cover her tiny, long-nippled breasts. He loved Nurse Duckett’s serene, flattered response, the sense of attachment to him she displayed proudly. Hungry Joe had a craving to feel Nurse Duckett up, too, and was restrained more than once by Yossarian’s forbidding glower. Nurse Duckett flirted with Hungry Joe just to keep him in heat, and her round light-brown eyes glimmered with mischief every time Yossarian rapped her sharply with his elbow or fist to make her stop.
   The men played cards on a towel, undershirt, or blanket, and Nurse Duckett mixed the extra deck of cards, sitting with her back resting against a sand dune. When she was not shuffling the extra deck of cards, she sat squinting into a tiny pocket mirror, brushing mascara on her curling reddish eyelashes in a birdbrained effort to make them longer permanently. Occasionally she was able to stack the cards or spoil the deck in a way they did not discover until they were well into the game, and she laughed and glowed with blissful gratification when they all hurled their cards down disgustedly and began punching her sharply on the arms or legs as they called her filthy names and warned her to stop fooling around. She would prattle nonsensically when they were striving hardest to think, and a pink flush of elation crept into her cheeks when they gave her more sharp raps on the arms and legs with their fists and told her to shut up. Nurse Duckett reveled in such attention and ducked her short chestnut bangs with joy when Yossarian and the others focused upon her. It gave her a peculiar feeling of warm and expectant well-being to know that so many naked boys and men were idling close by on the other side of the sand dunes. She had only to stretch her neck or rise on some pretext to see twenty or forty undressed males lounging or playing ball in the sunlight. Her own body was such a familiar and unremarkable thing to her that she was puzzled by the convulsive ecstasy men could take from it, by the intense and amusing need they had merely to touch it, to reach out urgently and press it, squeeze it, pinch it, rub it. She did not understand Yossarian’s lust; but she was willing to take his word for it.
   Evenings when Yossarian felt horny he brought Nurse Duckett to the beach with two blankets and enjoyed making love to her with most of their clothes on more than he sometimes enjoyed making love to all the vigorous bare amoral girls in Rome. Frequently they went to the beach at night and did not make love, but just lay shivering between the blankets against each other to ward off the brisk, damp chill. The ink-black nights were turning cold, the stars frosty and fewer. The raft swayed in the ghostly trail of moonlight and seemed to be sailing away. A marked hint of cold weather penetrated the air. Other men were just starting to build stoves and came to Yossarian’s tent during the day to marvel at Orr’s workmanship. It thrilled Nurse Duckett rapturously that Yossarian could not keep his hands off her when they were together, although she would not let him slip them inside her bathing shorts during the day when anyone was near enough to see, not even when the only witness was Nurse Cramer, who sat on the other side of her sand dune with her reproving nose in the air and pretended not to see anything.
   Nurse Cramer had stopped speaking to Nurse Duckett, her best friend, because of her liaison with Yossarian, but still went everywhere with Nurse Duckett since Nurse Duckett was her best friend. She did not approve of Yossarian or his friends. When they stood up and went swimming with Nurse Duckett, Nurse Cramer stood up and went swimming, too, maintaining the same ten-yard distance between them, and maintaining her silence, snubbing them even in the water. When they laughed and splashed, she laughed and splashed; when they dived, she dived; when they swam to the sand bar and rested, Nurse Cramer swam to the sand bar and rested. When they came out, she came out, dried her shoulders with her own towel and seated herself aloofly in her own spot, her back rigid and a ring of reflected sunlight burnishing her light-blond hair like a halo. Nurse Cramer was prepared to begin talking to Nurse Duckett again if she repented and apologized. Nurse Duckett preferred things the way they were. For a long time she had wanted to give Nurse Cramer a rap to make her shut up.
   Nurse Duckett found Yossarian wonderful and was already trying to change him. She loved to watch him taking short naps with his face down and his arm thrown across her, or staring bleakly at the endless tame, quiet waves breaking like pet puppy dogs against the shore, scampering lightly up the sand a foot or two and then trotting away. She was calm in his silences. She knew she did not bore him, and she buffed or painted her fingernails studiously while he dozed or brooded and the desultory warm afternoon breeze vibrated delicately on the surface of the beach. She loved to look at his wide, long, sinewy back with its bronzed, unblemished skin. She loved to bring him to flame instantly by taking his whole ear in her mouth suddenly and running her hand down his front all the way. She loved to make him burn and suffer till dark, then satisfy him. Then kiss him adoringly because she had brought him such bliss.
   Yossarian was never lonely with Nurse Duckett, who really did know how to keep her mouth shut and was just capricious enough. He was haunted and tormented by the vast, boundless ocean. He wondered mournfully, as Nurse Duckett buffed her nails, about all the people who had died under water. There were surely more than a million already. Where were they? What insects had eaten their flesh? He imagined the awful impotence of breathing in helplessly quarts and quarts of water. Yossarian followed the small fishing boats and military launches plying back and forth far out and found them unreal; it did not seem true that there were full-sized men aboard, going somewhere every time. He looked toward stony Elba, and his eyes automatically searched overhead for the fluffy, white, turnip-shaped cloud in which Clevinger had vanished. He peered at the vaporous Italian skyline and thought of Orr. Clevinger and Orr. Where had they gone? Yossarian had once stood on a jetty at dawn and watched a tufted round log that was drifting toward him on the tide turn unexpectedly into the bloated face of a drowned man; it was the first dead person he had ever seen. He thirsted for life and reached out ravenously to grasp and hold Nurse Duckett’s flesh. He studied every floating object fearfully for some gruesome sign of Clevinger and Orr, prepared for any morbid shock but the shock McWatt gave him one day with the plane that came blasting suddenly into sight out of the distant stillness and hurtled mercilessly along the shore line with a great growling, clattering roar over the bobbing raft on which blond, pale Kid Sampson, his naked sides scrawny even from so far away, leaped clownishly up to touch it at the exact moment some arbitrary gust of wind or minor miscalculation of McWatt’s senses dropped the speeding plane down just low enough for a propeller to slice him half away.
   Even people who were not there remembered vividly exactly what happened next. There was the briefest, softest tsst! filtering audibly through the shattering, overwhelming howl of the plane’s engines, and then there were just Kid Sampson’s two pale, skinny legs, still joined by strings somehow at the bloody truncated hips, standing stock-still on the raft for what seemed a full minute or two before they toppled over backward into the water finally with a faint, echoing splash and turned completely upside down so that only the grotesque toes and the plaster-white soles of Kid Sampson’s feet remained in view.
   On the beach, all hell broke loose. Nurse Cramer materialized out of thin air suddenly and was weeping hysterically against Yossarian’s chest while Yossarian hugged her shoulders and soothed her. His other arm bolstered Nurse Duckett, who was trembling and sobbing against him, too, her long, angular face dead white. Everyone at the beach was screaming and running, and the men sounded like women. They scampered for their things in panic, stooping hurriedly and looking askance at each gentle, knee-high wave bubbling in as though some ugly, red, grisly organ like a liver or a lung might come washing right up against them. Those in the water were struggling to get out, forgetting in their haste to swim, wailing, walking, held back in their flight by the viscous, clinging sea as though by a biting wind.
   Kid Sampson had rained all over. Those who spied drops of him on their limbs or torsos drew back with terror and revulsion, as though trying to shrink away from their own odious skins. Everybody ran in a sluggish stampede, shooting tortured, horrified glances back, filling the deep, shadowy, rustling woods with their frail gasps and cries. Yossarian drove both stumbling, faltering women before him frantically, shoving them and prodding them to make them hurry, and raced back with a curse to help when Hungry Joe tripped on the blanket or the camera case he was carrying and fell forward on his face in the mud of the stream.
   Back at the squadron everyone already knew. Men in uniform were screaming and running there too, or standing motionless in one spot, rooted in awe, like Sergeant Knight and Doc Daneeka as they gravely craned their heads upward and watched the guilty, banking, forlorn airplane with McWatt circle and circle slowly and climb.
   ‘Who is it?’ Yossarian shouted anxiously at Doc Daneeka as he ran up, breathless and limp, his somber eyes burning with a misty, hectic anguish. ‘Who’s in the plane?’
   ‘McWatt,’ said Sergeant Knight. ‘He’s got the two new pilots with him on a training flight. Doc Daneeka’s up there, too.’
   ‘I’m right here,’ contended Doc Daneeka, in a strange and troubled voice, darting an anxious look at Sergeant Knight.
   ‘Why doesn’t he come down?’ Yossarian exclaimed in despair. ‘Why does he keep going up?’
   ‘He’s probably afraid to come down,’ Sergeant Knight answered, without moving his solemn gaze from McWatt’s solitary climbing airplane. ‘He knows what kind of trouble he’s in.’ And McWatt kept climbing higher and higher, nosing his droning airplane upward evenly in a slow, oval spiral that carried him far out over the water as he headed south and far in over the russet foothills when he had circled the landing field again and was flying north. He was soon up over five thousand feet. His engines were soft as whispers. A white parachute popped open suddenly in a surprising puff. A second parachute popped open a few minutes later and coasted down, like the first, directly in toward the clearing of the landing strip. There was no motion on the ground. The plane continued south for thirty seconds more, following the same pattern, familiar and predictable now, and McWatt lifted a wing and banked gracefully around into his turn.
   ‘Two more to go,’ said Sergeant Knight. ‘McWatt and Doc Daneeka.’
   ‘I’m right here, Sergeant Knight,’ Doc Daneeka told him plaintively. ‘I’m not in the plane.’
   ‘Why don’t they jump?’ Sergeant Knight asked, pleading aloud to himself. ‘Why don’t they jump?’
   ‘It doesn’t make sense,’ grieved Doc Daneeka, biting his lip. ‘It just doesn’t make sense.’ But Yossarian understood suddenly why McWatt wouldn’t jump, and went running uncontrollably down the whole length of the squadron after McWatt’s plane, waving his arms and shouting up at him imploringly to come down, McWatt, come down; but no one seemed to hear, certainly not McWatt, and a great, choking moan tore from Yossarian’s throat as McWatt turned again, dipped his wings once in salute, decided oh, well, what the hell, and flew into a mountain.
   Colonel Cathcart was so upset by the deaths of Kid Sampson and McWatt that he raised the missions to sixty-five.
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Mrs. Daneeka

   When Colonel Cathcart learned that Doc Daneeka too had been killed in McWatt’s plane, he increased the number of missions to seventy.
   The first person in the squadron to find out that Doc Daneeka was dead was Sergeant Towser, who had been informed earlier by the man in the control tower that Doc Daneeka’s name was down as a passenger on the pilot’s manifest McWatt had filed before taking off. Sergeant Towser brushed away a tear and struck Doc Daneeka’s name from the roster of squadron personnel. With lips still quivering, he rose and trudged outside reluctantly to break the bad news to Gus and Wes, discreetly avoiding any conversation with Doc Daneeka himself as he moved by the flight surgeon’s slight sepulchral figure roosting despondently on his stool in the late-afternoon sunlight between the orderly room and the medical tent. Sergeant Towser’s heart was heavy; now he had two dead men on his hands—Mudd, the dead man in Yossarian’s tent who wasn’t even there, and Doc Daneeka, the new dead man in the squadron, who most certainly was there and gave every indication of proving a still thornier administrative problem for him.
   Gus and Wes listened to Sergeant Towser with looks of stoic surprise and said not a word about their bereavement to anyone else until Doc Daneeka himself came in about an hour afterward to have his temperature taken for the third time that day and his blood pressure checked. The thermometer registered a half degree lower than his usual subnormal temperature of 96.8. Doc Daneeka was alarmed. The fixed, vacant, wooden stares of his two enlisted men were even more irritating than always.
   ‘Goddammit,’ he expostulated politely in an uncommon excess of exasperation, ‘what’s the matter with you two men anyway? It just isn’t right for a person to have a low temperature all the time and walk around with a stuffed nose.’ Doc Daneeka emitted a glum, self-pitying sniff and strolled disconsolately across the tent to help himself to some aspirin and sulphur pills and paint his own throat with Argyrol. His downcast face was fragile and forlorn as a swallow’s, and he rubbed the back of his arms rhythmically. ‘Just look how cold I am right now. You’re sure you’re not holding anything back?’
   ‘You’re dead, sir,’ one of his two enlisted men explained.
   Doc Daneeka jerked his head up quickly with resentful distrust. ‘What’s that?’
   ‘You’re dead, sir,’ repeated the other. ‘That’s probably the reason you always feel so cold.’
   ‘That’s right, sir. You’ve probably been dead all this time and we just didn’t detect it.’
   ‘What the hell are you both talking about?’ Doc Daneeka cried shrilly with a surging, petrifying sensation of some onrushing unavoidable disaster.
   ‘It’s true, sir,’ said one of the enlisted men. ‘The records show that you went up in McWatt’s plane to collect some flight time. You didn’t come down in a parachute, so you must have been killed in the crash.’
   ‘That’s right, sir,’ said the other. ‘You ought to be glad you’ve got any temperature at all.’ Doc Daneeka’s mind was reeling in confusion. ‘Have you both gone crazy?’ he demanded. ‘I’m going to report this whole insubordinate incident to Sergeant Towser.’
   ‘Sergeant Towser’s the one who told us about it,’ said either Gus or Wes. ‘The War Department’s even going to notify your wife.’ Doc Daneeka yelped and ran out of the medical tent to remonstrate with Sergeant Towser, who edged away from him with repugnance and advised Doc Daneeka to remain out of sight as much as possible until some decision could be reached relating to the disposition of his remains.
   ‘Gee, I guess he really is dead,’ grieved one of his enlisted men in a low, respectful voice. ‘I’m going to miss him. He was a pretty wonderful guy, wasn’t he?’
   ‘Yeah, he sure was,’ mourned the other. ‘But I’m glad the little fuck is gone. I was getting sick and tired of taking his blood pressure all the time.’ Mrs. Daneeka, Doc Daneeka’s wife, was not glad that Doc Daneeka was gone and split the peaceful Staten Island night with woeful shrieks of lamentation when she learned by War Department telegram that her husband had been killed in action. Women came to comfort her, and their husbands paid condolence calls and hoped inwardly that she would soon move to another neighborhood and spare them the obligation of continuous sympathy. The poor woman was totally distraught for almost a full week. Slowly, heroically, she found the strength to contemplate a future filled with dire problems for herself and her children. Just as she was growing resigned to her loss, the postman rang with a bolt from the blue—a letter from overseas that was signed with her husband’s signature and urged her frantically to disregard any bad news concerning him. Mrs. Daneeka was dumbfounded. The date on the letter was illegible. The handwriting throughout was shaky and hurried, but the style resembled her husband’s and the melancholy, self-pitying tone was familiar, although more dreary than usual. Mrs. Daneeka was overjoyed and wept irrepressibly with relief and kissed the crinkled, grubby tissue of V-mail stationery a thousand times. She dashed a grateful note off to her husband pressing him for details and sent a wire informing the War Department of its error. The War Department replied touchily that there had been no error and that she was undoubtedly the victim of some sadistic and psychotic forger in her husband’s squadron. The letter to her husband was returned unopened, stamped KILLED IN ACTION.
   Mrs. Daneeka had been widowed cruelly again, but this time her grief was mitigated somewhat by a notification from Washington that she was sole beneficiary of her husband’s $10,000 GI insurance policy, which amount was obtainable by her on demand. The realization that she and the children were not faced immediately with starvation brought a brave smile to her face and marked the turning point in her distress. The Veterans Administration informed her by mail the very next day that she would be entitled to pension benefits for the rest of her natural life because of her husband’s demise, and to a burial allowance for him of $250. A government check for $250 was enclosed. Gradually, inexorably, her prospects brightened. A letter arrived that same week from the Social Security Administration stating that, under the provisions of the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Act Of 1935, she would receive monthly support for herself and her dependent children until they reached the age of eighteen, and a burial allowance of $250. With these government letters as proof of death, she applied for payment on three life insurance policies Doc Daneeka had carried, with a value of $50,000 each; her claim was honored and processed swiftly. Each day brought new unexpected treasures. A key to a safe-deposit box led to a fourth life insurance policy with a face value of $50,000, and to $18,000 in cash on which income tax had never been paid and need never be paid. A fraternal lodge to which he had belonged gave her a cemetery plot. A second fraternal organization of which he had been a member sent her a burial allowance of $250. His county medical association gave her a burial allowance of $250.
   The husbands of her closest friends began to flirt with her. Mrs. Daneeka was simply delighted with the way things were turning out and had her hair dyed. Her fantastic wealth just kept piling up, and she had to remind herself daily that all the hundreds of thousands of dollars she was acquiring were not worth a single penny without her husband to share this good fortune with her. It astonished her that so many separate organizations were willing to do so much to bury Doc Daneeka, who, back in Pianosa, was having a terrible time trying to keep his head above the ground and wondered with dismal apprehension why his wife did not answer the letter he had written.
   He found himself ostracized in the squadron by men who cursed his memory foully for having supplied Colonel Cathcart with provocation to raise the number of combat missions. Records attesting to his death were pullulating like insect eggs and verifying each other beyond all contention. He drew no pay or PX rations and depended for life on the charity of Sergeant Towser and Milo, who both knew he was dead. Colonel Cathcart refused to see him, and Colonel Korn sent word through Major Danby that he would have Doc Daneeka cremated on the spot if he ever showed up at Group Headquarters. Major Danby confided that Group was incensed with all flight surgeons because of Dr. Stubbs, the bushy-haired, baggy-chinned, slovenly flight surgeon in Dunbar’s squadron who was deliberately and defiantly brewing insidious dissension there by grounding all men with sixty missions on proper forms that were rejected by Group indignantly with orders restoring the confused pilots, navigators, bombardiers and gunners to combat duty. Morale there was ebbing rapidly, and Dunbar was under surveillance. Group was glad Doc Daneeka had been killed and did not intend to ask for a replacement.
   Not even the chaplain could bring Doc Daneeka back to life under the circumstances. Alarm changed to resignation, and more and more Doc Daneeka acquired the look of an ailing rodent. The sacks under his eyes turned hollow and black, and he padded through the shadows fruitlessly like a ubiquitous spook. Even Captain Flume recoiled when Doc Daneeka sought him out in the woods for help. Heartlessly, Gus and Wes turned him away from their medical tent without even a thermometer for comfort, and then, only then, did he realize that, to all intents and purposes, he really was dead, and that he had better do something damned fast if he ever hoped to save himself.
   There was nowhere else to turn but to his wife, and he scribbled an impassioned letter begging her to bring his plight to the attention of the War Department and urging her to communicate at once with his group commander, Colonel Cathcart, for assurances that—no matter what else she might have heard—it was indeed he, her husband, Doc Daneeka, who was pleading with her, and not a corpse or some impostor. Mrs. Daneeka was stunned by the depth of emotion in the almost illegible appeal. She was torn with compunction and tempted to comply, but the very next letter she opened that day was from that same Colonel Cathcart, her husband’s group commander, and began: Dear Mrs., Mr., Miss, or Mr. and Mrs. Daneeka: Words cannot express the deep personal grief I experienced when your husband, son, father or brother was killed, wounded or reported missing in action.
   Mrs. Daneeka moved with her children to Lansing, Michigan, and left no forwarding address.
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Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
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Apple iPhone 6s
Yo-Yo’s Roomies

   Yossarian was warm when the cold weather came and whale-shaped clouds blew low through a dingy, slate-gray sky, almost without end, like the droning, dark, iron flocks of B-17 and B-24 bombers from the long-range air bases in Italy the day of the invasion of southern France two months earlier. Everyone in the squadron knew that Kid Sampson’s skinny legs had washed up on the wet sand to lie there and rot like a purple twisted wishbone. No one would go to retrieve them, not Gus or Wes or even the men in the mortuary at the hospital; everyone made believe that Kid Sampson’s legs were not there, that they had bobbed away south forever on the tide like all of Clevinger and Orr. Now that bad weather had come, almost no one ever sneaked away alone any more to peek through bushes like a pervert at the moldering stumps.
   There were no more beautiful days. There were no more easy missions. There was stinging rain and dull, chilling fog, and the men flew at week-long intervals, whenever the weather cleared. At night the wind moaned. The gnarled and stunted tree trunks creaked and groaned and forced Yossarian’s thoughts each morning, even before he was fully awake, back on Kid Sampson’s skinny legs bloating and decaying, as systematically as a ticking clock, in the icy rain and wet sand all through the blind, cold, gusty October nights. After Kid Sampson’s legs, he would think of pitiful, whimpering Snowden freezing to death in the rear section of the plane, holding his eternal, immutable secret concealed inside his quilted, armor-plate flak suit until Yossarian had finished sterilizing and bandaging the wrong wound on his leg, and then spilling it out suddenly all over the floor. At night when he was trying to sleep, Yossarian would call the roll of all the men, women and children he had ever known who were now dead. He tried to remember all the soldiers, and he resurrected images of all the elderly people he had known when a child—all the aunts, uncles, neighbors, parents and grandparents, his own and everyone else’s, and all the pathetic, deluded shopkeepers who opened their small, dusty stores at dawn and worked in them foolishly until midnight. They were all dead, too. The number of dead people just seemed to increase. And the Germans were still fighting. Death was irreversible, he suspected, and he began to think he was going to lose.
   Yossarian was warm when the cold weather came because of Orr’s marvelous stove, and he might have existed in his warm tent quite comfortably if not for the memory of Orr, and if not for the gang of animated roommates that came swarming inside rapaciously one day from the two full combat crews Colonel Cathcart had requisitioned—and obtained in less than forty-eight hours—as replacements for Kid Sampson and McWatt. Yossarian emitted a long, loud, croaking gasp of protest when he trudged in tiredly after a mission and found them already there.
   There were four of them, and they were having a whale of a good time as they helped each other set up their cots. They were horsing around. The moment he saw them, Yossarian knew they were impossible. They were frisky, eager and exuberant, and they had all been friends in the States. They were plainly unthinkable.
   They were noisy, overconfident, empty-headed kids of twenty-one. They had gone to college and were engaged to pretty, clean girls whose pictures were already standing on the rough cement mantelpiece of Orr’s fireplace. They had ridden in speedboats and played tennis. They had been horseback riding. One had once been to bed with an older woman. They knew the same people in different parts of the country and had gone to school with each other’s cousins. They had listened to the World Series and really cared who won football games. They were obtuse; their morale was good. They were glad that the war had lasted long enough for them to find out what combat was really like. They were halfway through unpacking when Yossarian threw them out.
   They were plainly out of the question, Yossarian explained adamantly to Sergeant Towser, whose sallow equine face was despondent as he informed Yossarian that the new officers would have to be admitted. Sergeant Towser was not permitted to requisition another six-man tent from Group while Yossarian was living in one alone.
   ‘I’m not living in this one alone,’ Yossarian said with a sulk. ‘I’ve got a dead man in here with me. His name is Mudd.’
   ‘Please, sir,’ begged Sergeant Towser, sighing wearily, with a sidelong glance at the four baffled new officers listening in mystified silence just outside the entrance. ‘Mudd was killed on the mission to Orvieto. You know that. He was flying right beside you.’
   ‘Then why don’t you move his things out?’
   ‘Because he never even got here. Captain, please don’t bring that up again. You can move in with Lieutenant Nately if you like. I’ll even send some men from the orderly room to transfer your belongings.’ But to abandon Orr’s tent would be to abandon Orr, who would have been spurned and humiliated clannishly by these four simple-minded officers waiting to move in. It did not seem just that these boisterous, immature young men should show up after all the work was done and be allowed to take possession of the most desirable tent on the island. But that was the law, Sergeant Towser explained, and all Yossarian could do was glare at them in baleful apology as he made room for them and volunteer helpful penitent hints as they moved inside his privacy and made themselves at home.
   They were the most depressing group of people Yossarian had ever been with. They were always in high spirits. They laughed at everything. They called him ‘Yo-Yo’ jocularly and came in tipsy late at night and woke him up with their clumsy, bumping, giggling efforts to be quiet, then bombarded him with asinine shouts of hilarious good-fellowship when he sat up cursing to complain. He wanted to massacre them each time they did. They reminded him of Donald Duck’s nephews. They were afraid of Yossarian and persecuted him incessantly with nagging generosity and with their exasperating insistence on doing small favors for him. They were reckless, puerile, congenial, naive, presumptuous, deferential and rambunctious. They were dumb; they had no complaints. They admired Colonel Cathcart and they found Colonel Korn witty. They were afraid of Yossarian, but they were not the least bit afraid of Colonel Cathcart’s seventy missions. They were four clean-cut kids who were having lots of fun, and they were driving Yossarian nuts. He could not make them understand that he was a crotchety old fogey of twenty-eight, that he belonged to another generation, another era, another world, that having a good time bored him and was not worth the effort, and that they bored him, too. He could not make them shut up; they were worse than women. They had not brains enough to be introverted and repressed.
   Cronies of theirs in other squadrons began dropping in unashamedly and using the tent as a hangout. There was often not room enough for him. Worst of all, he could no longer bring Nurse Duckett there to lie down with her. And now that foul weather had come, he had no place else! This was a calamity he had not foreseen, and he wanted to bust his roommates’ heads open with his fists or pick them up, each in turn, by the seats of their pants and the scruffs of their necks and pitch them out once and for all into the dank, rubbery perennial weeds growing between his rusty soupcan urinal with nail holes in the bottom and the knotty-pine squadron latrine that stood like a beach locker not far away.
   Instead of busting their heads open, he tramped in his galoshes and black raincoat through the drizzling darkness to invite Chief White Halfoat to move in with him, too, and drive the fastidious, clean-living bastards out with his threats and swinish habits. But Chief White Halfoat felt cold and was already making plans to move up into the hospital to die of pneumonia. Instinct told Chief White Halfoat it was almost time. His chest ached and he coughed chronically. Whiskey no longer warmed him. Most damning of all, Captain Flume had moved back into his trailer. Here was an omen of unmistakable meaning.
   ‘He had to move back,’ Yossarian argued in a vain effort to cheer up the glum, barrel-chested Indian, whose well-knit sorrel-red face had degenerated rapidly into a dilapidated, calcareous gray. ‘He’d die of exposure if he tried to live in the woods in this weather.’
   ‘No, that wouldn’t drive the yellowbelly back,’ Chief White Halfoat disagreed obstinately. He tapped his forehead with cryptic insight. ‘No, sirree. He knows something. He knows it’s time for me to die of pneumonia, that’s what he knows. And that’s how I know it’s time.’
   ‘What does Doc Daneeka say?’
   ‘I’m not allowed to say anything,’ Doc Daneeka said sorrowfully from his seat on his stool in the shadows of a corner, his smooth, tapered, diminutive face turtle-green in the flickering candlelight. Everything smelled of mildew. The bulb in the tent had blown out several days before, and neither of the two men had been able to muster the initiative to replace it. ‘I’m not allowed to practice medicine any more,’ Doc Daneeka added.
   ‘He’s dead,’ Chief White Halfoat gloated, with a horse laugh entangled in phlegm. ‘That’s really funny.’
   ‘I don’t even draw my pay any more.’
   ‘That’s really funny,’ Chief White Halfoat repeated. ‘All this time he’s been insulting my liver, and look what happened to him. He’s dead. Killed by his own greed.’
   ‘That’s not what killed me,’ Doc Daneeka observed in a voice that was calm and flat. ‘There’s nothing wrong with greed. It’s all that lousy Dr. Stubbs’ fault, getting Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn stirred up against flight surgeons. He’s going to give the medical profession a bad name by standing up for principle. If he’s not careful, he’ll be black-balled by his state medical association and kept out of the hospitals.’ Yossarian watched Chief White Halfoat pour whiskey carefully into three empty shampoo bottles and store them away in the musette bag he was packing.
   ‘Can’t you stop by my tent on your way up to the hospital and punch one of them in the nose for me?’ he speculated aloud. ‘I’ve got four of them, and they’re going to crowd me out of my tent altogether.’
   ‘You know, something like that once happened to my whole tribe,’ Chief White Halfoat remarked in jolly appreciation, sitting back on his cot to chuckle. ‘Why don’t you get Captain Black to kick those kids out? Captain Black likes to kick people out.’ Yossarian grimaced sourly at the mere mention of Captain Black, who was already bullying the new fliers each time they stepped into his intelligence tent for maps or information. Yossarian’s attitude toward his roommates turned merciful and protective at the mere recollection of Captain Black. It was not their fault that they were young and cheerful, he reminded himself as he carried the swinging beam of his flashlight back through the darkness. He wished that he could be young and cheerful, too. And it wasn’t their fault that they were courageous, confident and carefree. He would just have to be patient with them until one or two were killed and the rest wounded, and then they would all turn out okay. He vowed to be more tolerant and benevolent, but when he ducked inside his tent with his friendlier attitude a great blaze was roaring in the fireplace, and he gasped in horrified amazement. Orr’s beautiful birch logs were going up in smoke! His roommates had set fire to them! He gaped at the four insensitive overheated faces and wanted to shout curses at them. He wanted to bang their heads together as they greeted him with loud convivial cries and invited him generously to pull up a chair and eat their chestnuts and roasted potatoes. What could he do with them?
   And the very next morning they got rid of the dead man in his tent! Just like that, they whisked him away! They carried his cot and all his belongings right out into the bushes and simply dumped them there, and then they strode back slapping their hands briskly at a job well done. Yossarian was stunned by their overbearing vigor and zeal, by their practical, direct efficiency. In a matter of moments they had disposed energetically of a problem with which Yossarian and Sergeant Towser had been grappling unsuccessfully for months. Yossarian was alarmed—they might get rid of him just as quickly, he feared—and ran to Hungry Joe and fled with him to Rome the day before Nately’s whore finally got a good night’s sleep and woke up in love.
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Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
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Apple iPhone 6s
Nately’s Whore

   He missed Nurse Duckett in Rome. There was not much else to do after Hungry Joe left on his mail run. Yossarian missed Nurse Duckett so much that he went searching hungrily through the streets for Luciana, whose laugh and invisible scar he had never forgotten, or the boozy, blowzy, bleary-eyed floozy in the overloaded white brassière and unbuttoned orange satin blouse whose naughty salmon-colored cameo ring Aarfy had thrown away so callously through the window of her car. How he yearned for both girls! He looked for them in vain. He was so deeply in love with them, and he knew he would never see either again. Despair gnawed at him. Visions beset him. He wanted Nurse Duckett with her dress up and her slim thighs bare to the hips. He banged a thin streetwalker with a wet cough who picked him up from an alley between hotels, but that was no fun at all and he hastened to the enlisted men’s apartment for the fat, friendly maid in the lime-colored panties, who was overjoyed to see him but couldn’t arouse him. He went to bed there early and slept alone. He woke up disappointed and banged a sassy, short, chubby girl he found in the apartment after breakfast, but that was only a little better, and he chased her away when he’d finished and went back to sleep. He napped till lunch and then went shopping for presents for Nurse Duckett and a scarf for the maid in the lime-coloured panties, who hugged him with such gargantuan gratitude that he was soon hot for Nurse Duckett and ran looking lecherously for Luciana again. Instead he found Aarfy, who had landed in Rome when Hungry Joe returned with Dunbar, Nately and Dobbs, and who would not go along on the drunken foray that night to rescue Nately’s whore from the middle-aged military big shots holding her captive in a hotel because she would not say uncle.
   ‘Why should I risk getting into trouble just to help her out?’ Aarfy demanded haughtily. ‘But don’t tell Nately I said that. Tell him I had to keep an appointment with some very important fraternity brothers.’ The middle-aged big shots would not let Nately’s whore leave until they made her say uncle.
   ‘Say uncle,’ they said to her.
   ‘Uncle,’ she said.
   ‘No, no. Say uncle.’
   ‘Uncle,’ she said.
   ‘She still doesn’t understand.’
   ‘You still don’t understand, do you? We can’t really make you say uncle unless you don’t want to say uncle. Don’t you see? Don’t say uncle when I tell you to say uncle. Okay? Say uncle.’
   ‘Uncle,’ she said.
   ‘No, don’t say uncle. Say uncle.’ She didn’t say uncle.
   ‘That’s good!’
   ‘That’s very good.’
   ‘It’s a start. Now say uncle.’
   ‘Uncle,’ she said.
   ‘It’s no good.’
   ‘No, it’s no good that way either. She just isn’t impressed with us. There’s just no fun making her say uncle when she doesn’t care whether we make her say uncle or not.’
   ‘No, she really doesn’t care, does she? Say "foot." ‘
   ‘Foot.’
   ‘You see? She doesn’t care about anything we do. She doesn’t care about us. We don’t mean a thing to you, do we?’
   ‘Uncle,’ she said.
   She didn’t care about them a bit, and it upset them terribly. They shook her roughly each time she yawned. She did not seem to care about anything, not even when they threatened to throw her out the window. They were utterly demoralized men of distinction. She was bored and indifferent and wanted very much to sleep. She had been on the job for twenty-two hours, and she was sorry that these men had not permitted her to leave with the other two girls with whom the orgy had begun. She wondered vaguely why they wanted her to laugh when they laughed, and why they wanted her to enjoy it when they made love to her. It was all very mysterious to her, and very uninteresting.
   She was not sure what they wanted from her. Each time she slumped over with her eyes closed they shook her awake and made her say ‘uncle’ again. Each time she said ‘uncle,’ they were disappointed. She wondered what ‘uncle’ meant. She sat on the sofa in a passive, phlegmatic stupor, her mouth open and all her clothing crumpled in a corner on the floor, and wondered how much longer they would sit around naked with her and make her say uncle in the elegant hotel suite to which Orr’s old girl friend, giggling uncontrollably at Yossarian’s and Dunbar’s drunken antics, guided Nately and the other members of the motley rescue party.
   Dunbar squeezed Orr’s old girl friend’s fanny gratefully and passed her back to Yossarian, who propped her against the door jamb with both hands on her hips and wormed himself against her lasciviously until Nately seized him by the arm and pulled him away from her into the blue sitting room, where Dunbar was already hurling everything in sight out the window into the court. Dobbs was smashing furniture with an ash stand. A nude, ridiculous man with a blushing appendectomy scar appeared in the doorway suddenly and bellowed.
   ‘What’s going on here?’
   ‘Your toes are dirty,’ Dunbar said.
   The man covered his groin with both hands and shrank from view. Dunbar, Dobbs and Hungry Joe just kept dumping everything they could lift out the window with great, howling whoops of happy abandon. They soon finished with the clothing on the couches and the luggage on the floor, and they were ransacking a cedar closet when the door to the inner room opened again and a man who was very distinguished-looking from the neck up padded into view imperiously on bare feet.
   ‘Here, you, stop that,’ he barked. ‘Just what do you men think you’re doing?’
   ‘Your toes are dirty,’ Dunbar said to him.
   The man covered his groin as the first one had done and disappeared. Nately charged after him, but was blocked by the first officer, who plodded back in holding a pillow in front of him, like a bubble dancer.
   ‘Hey, you men!’ he roared angrily. ‘Stop it!’
   ‘Stop it,’ Dunbar replied.
   ‘That’s what I said.’
   ‘That’s what I said,’ Dunbar said.
   The officer stamped his foot petulantly, turning weak with frustration. ‘Are you deliberately repeating everything I say?’
   ‘Are you deliberately repeating everything I say?’
   ‘I’ll thrash you.’ The man raised a fist.
   ‘I’ll thrash you,’ Dunbar warned him coldly. ‘You’re a German spy, and I’m going to have you shot.’
   ‘German spy? I’m an American colonel.’
   ‘You don’t look like an American colonel. You look like a fat man with a pillow in front of him. Where’s your uniform, if you’re an American colonel?’
   ‘You just threw it out the window.’
   ‘All right, men,’ Dunbar said. ‘Lock the silly bastard up. Take the silly bastard down to the station house and throw away the key.’ The colonel blanched with alarm. ‘Are you all crazy? Where’s your badge? Hey, you! Come back in here!’ But he whirled too late to stop Nately, who had glimpsed his girl sitting on the sofa in the other room and had darted through the doorway behind his back. The others poured through after him right into the midst of the other naked big shots. Hungry Joe laughed hysterically when he saw them, pointing in disbelief at one after the other and clasping his head and sides. Two with fleshy physiques advanced truculently until they spied the look of mean dislike and hostility on Dobbs and Dunbar and noticed that Dobbs was still swinging like a two-handed club the wrought-iron ash stand he had used to smash things in the sitting room. Nately was already at his girl’s side. She stared at him without recognition for a few seconds. Then she smiled faintly and let her head sink to his shoulder with her eyes closed. Nately was in ecstasy; she had never smiled at him before.
   ‘Filpo,’ said a calm, slender, jaded-looking man who had not even stirred from his armchair. ‘You don’t obey orders. I told you to get them out, and you’ve gone and brought them in. Can’t you see the difference?’
   ‘They’ve thrown our things out the window, General.’
   ‘Good for them. Our uniforms too? That was clever. We’ll never be able to convince anyone we’re superior without our uniforms.’
   ‘Let’s get their names, Lou, and—’
   ‘Oh, Ned, relax,’ said the slender man with practiced weariness. ‘You may be pretty good at moving armored divisions into action, but you’re almost useless in a social situation. Sooner or later we’ll get our uniforms back, and then we’ll be their superiors again. Did they really throw our uniforms out? That was a splendid tactic.’
   ‘They threw everything out.’
   ‘The ones in the closet, too?’
   ‘They threw the closet out, General. That was that crash we heard when we thought they were coming in to kill us.’
   ‘And I’ll throw you out next,’ Dunbar threatened.
   The general paled slightly. ‘What the devil is he so mad about?’ he asked Yossarian.
   ‘He means it, too,’ Yossarian said. ‘You’d better let the girl leave.’
   ‘Lord, take her,’ exclaimed the general with relief. ‘All she’s done is make us feel insecure. At least she might have disliked or resented us for the hundred dollars we paid her. But she wouldn’t even do that. Your handsome young friend there seems quite attached to her. Notice the way he lets his fingers linger on the inside of her thighs as he pretends to roll up her stockings.’ Nately, caught in the act, blushed guiltily and moved more quickly through the steps of dressing her. She was sound asleep and breathed so regularly that she seemed to be snoring softly.
   ‘Let’s charge her now, Lou!’ urged another officer. ‘We’ve got more personnel, and we can encircle—’
   ‘Oh, no, Bill,’ answered the general with a sigh. ‘You may be a wizard at directing a pincer movement in good weather on level terrain against an enemy that has already committed his reserves, but you don’t always think so clearly anywhere else. Why should we want to keep her?’
   ‘General, we’re in a very bad strategic position. We haven’t got a stitch of clothing, and it’s going to be very degrading and embarrassing for the person who has to go downstairs through the lobby to get some.’
   ‘Yes, Filpo, you’re quite right,’ said the general. ‘And that’s exactly why you’re the one to do it. Get going.’
   ‘Naked, sir?’
   ‘Take your pillow with you if you want to. And get some cigarettes, too, while you’re downstairs picking up my underwear and pants, will you?’
   ‘I’ll send everything up for you,’ Yossarian offered.
   ‘There, General,’ said Filpo with relief. ‘Now I won’t have to go.’
   ‘Filpo, you nitwit. Can’t you see he’s lying?’
   ‘Are you lying?’ Yossarian nodded, and Filpo’s faith was shattered. Yossarian laughed and helped Nately walk his girl out into the corridor and into the elevator. Her face was smiling as though with a lovely dream as she slept with her head still resting on Nately’s shoulder. Dobbs and Dunbar ran out into the street to stop a cab.
   Nately’s whore looked up when they left the car. She swallowed dryly several times during the arduous trek up the stairs to her apartment, but she was sleeping soundly again by the time Nately undressed her and put her to bed. She slept for eighteen hours, while Nately dashed about the apartment all the next morning shushing everybody in sight, and when she woke up she was deeply in love with him. In the last analysis, that was all it took to win her heart—a good night’s sleep.
   The girl smiled with contentment when she opened her eyes and saw him, and then, stretching her long legs languorously beneath the rustling sheets, beckoned him into bed beside her with that look of simpering idiocy of a woman in heat. Nately moved to her in a happy daze, so overcome with rapture that he hardly minded when her kid sister interrupted him again by flying into the room and flinging herself down onto the bed between them. Nately’s whore slapped and cursed her, but this time with laughter and generous affection, and Nately settled back smugly with an arm about each, feeling strong and protective. They made a wonderful family group, he decided. The little girl would go to college when she was old enough, to Smith or Radcliffe or Bryn Mawr—he would see to that. Nately bounded out of bed after a few minutes to announce his good fortune to his friends at the top of his voice. He called to them jubilantly to come to the room and slammed the door in their startled faces as soon as they arrived. He had remembered just in time that his girl had no clothes on.
   ‘Get dressed,’ he ordered her, congratulating himself on his alertness.
   ‘Perchè?’ she asked curiously.
   ‘Perchè?’ he repeated with an indulgent chuckle. ‘Because I don’t want them to see you without any clothes on.’
   ‘Perchè no?’ she inquired.
   ‘Perchè no?’ He looked at her with astonishment. ‘Because it isn’t right for other men to see you naked, that’s why.’
   ‘Perchè no?’
   ‘Because I say no!’ Nately exploded in frustration. ‘Now don’t argue with me. I’m the man and you have to do whatever I say. From now on, I forbid you ever to go out of this room unless you have all your clothes on. Is that clear?’ Nately’s whore looked at him as though he were insane. ‘Are you crazy? Che succede?’
   ‘I mean every word I say.’
   ‘Tu sei pazzo!’ she shouted at him with incredulous indignation, and sprang out of bed. Snarling unintelligibly, she snapped on panties and strode toward the door.
   Nately drew himself up with full manly authority. ‘I forbid you to leave this room that way,’ he informed her.
   ‘Tu sei pazzo!’ she shot back at him, after he had left, shaking her head in disbelief. ‘Idiota! Tu sei un pazzo imbecille!’
   ‘Tu sei pazzo,’ said her thin kid sister, starting out after her in the same haughty walk.
   ‘You come back here,’ Nately ordered her. ‘I forbid you to go out that way, too!’
   ‘Idiota!’ the kid sister called back at him with dignity after she had flounced past. ‘Tu sei un pazzo imbecille.’ Nately fumed in circles of distracted helplessness for several seconds and then sprinted out into the sitting room to forbid his friends to look at his girl friend while she complained about him in only her panties.
   ‘Why not?’ asked Dunbar.
   ‘Why not?’ exclaimed Nately. ‘Because she’s my girl now, and it isn’t right for you to see her unless she’s fully dressed.’
   ‘Why not?’ asked Dunbar.
   ‘You see?’ said his girl with a shrug. ‘Lui è pazzo!’
   ‘Si, è molto pazzo,’ echoed her kid sister.
   ‘Then make her keep her clothes on if you don’t want us to see her,’ argued Hungry Joe. ‘What the hell do you want from us?’
   ‘She won’t listen to me,’ Nately confessed sheepishly. ‘So from now on you’ll all have to shut your eyes or look in the other direction when she comes in that way. Okay?’
   ‘Madonn’!’ cried his girl in exasperation, and stamped out of the room.
   ‘Madonn’!’ cried her kid sister, and stamped out behind her.
   ‘Lui è pazzo,’ Yossarian observed good-naturedly. ‘I certainly have to admit it.’
   ‘Hey, you crazy or something?’ Hungry Joe demanded of Nately. ‘The next thing you know you’ll be trying to make her give up hustling.’
   ‘From now on,’ Nately said to his girl, ‘I forbid you to go out hustling.’
   ‘Perchè?’ she inquired curiously.
   ‘Perchè?’ he screamed with amazement. ‘Because it’s not nice, that’s why!’
   ‘Perchè no?’
   ‘Because it just isn’t!’ Nately insisted. ‘It just isn’t right for a nice girl like you to go looking for other men to sleep with. I’ll give you all the money you need, so you won’t have to do it any more.’
   ‘And what will I do all day instead?’
   ‘Do?’ said Nately. ‘You’ll do what all your friends do.’
   ‘My friends go looking for men to sleep with.’
   ‘Then get new friends! I don’t even want you to associate with girls like that, anyway. Prostitution is bad! Everybody knows that, even him.’ He turned with confidence to the experienced old man. ‘Am I right?’
   ‘You’re wrong,’ answered the old man. ‘Prostitution gives her an opportunity to meet people. It provides fresh air and wholesome exercise, and it keeps her out of trouble.’
   ‘From now on,’ Nately declared sternly to his girl friend, ‘I forbid you to have anything to do with that wicked old man.’
   ‘Va fongul!’ his girl replied, rolling her harassed eyes up toward the ceiling. ‘What does he want from me?’ she implored, shaking her fists. ‘Lasciami!’ she told him in menacing entreaty. ‘Stupido! If you think my friends are so bad, go tell your friends not to ficky-fick all the time with my friends!’
   ‘From now on,’ Nately told his friends, ‘I think you fellows ought to stop running around with her friends and settle down.’
   ‘Madonn’!’ cried his friends, rolling their harassed eyes up toward the ceiling.
   Nately had gone clear out of his mind. He wanted them all to fall in love right away and get married. Dunbar could marry Orr’s whore, and Yossarian could fall in love with Nurse Duckett or anyone else he liked. After the war they could all work for Nately’s father and bring up their children in the same suburb. Nately saw it all very clearly. Love had transmogrified him into a romantic idiot, and they drove him away back into the bedroom to wrangle with his girl over Captain Black. She agreed not to go to bed with Captain Black again or give him any more of Nately’s money, but she would not budge an inch on her friendship with the ugly, ill-kempt, dissipated, filthy-minded old man, who witnessed Nately’s flowering love affair with insulting derision and would not admit that Congress was the greatest deliberative body in the whole world.
   ‘From now on,’ Nately ordered his girl firmly, ‘I absolutely forbid you even to speak to that disgusting old man.’
   ‘Again the old man?’ cried the girl in wailing confusion. ‘Perchè no?’
   ‘He doesn’t like the House of Representatives.’
   ‘Mamma mia! What’s the matter with you?’
   ‘È pazzo,’ observed her kid sister philosophically. ‘That’s what’s the matter with him.’
   ‘Si,’ the older girl agreed readily, tearing at her long brown hair with both hands. ‘Lui è pazzo.’ But she missed Nately when he was away and was furious with Yossarian when he punched Nately in the face with all his might and knocked him into the hospital with a broken nose.
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Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
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Apple iPhone 6s
Thanksgiving

   It was actually all Sergeant Knight’s fault that Yossarian busted Nately in the nose on Thanksgiving Day, after everyone in the squadron had given humble thanks to Milo for providing the fantastically opulent meal on which the officers and enlisted men had gorged themselves insatiably all afternoon and for dispensing like inexhaustible largess the unopened bottles of cheap whiskey he handed out unsparingly to every man who asked. Even before dark, young soldiers with pasty white faces were throwing up everywhere and passing out drunkenly on the ground. The air turned foul. Other men picked up steam as the hours passed, and the aimless, riotous celebration continued. It was a raw, violent, guzzling saturnalia that spilled obstreperously through the woods to the officers’ club and spread up into the hills toward the hospital and the antiaircraft-gun emplacements. There were fist fights in the squadron and one stabbing. Corporal Kolodny shot himself through the leg in the intelligence tent while playing with a loaded gun and had his gums and toes painted purple in the speeding ambulance as he lay on his back with the blood spurting from his wound. Men with cut fingers, bleeding heads, stomach cramps and broken ankles came limping penitently up to the medical tent to have their gums and toes painted purple by Gus and Wes and be given a laxative to throw into the bushes. The joyous celebration lasted long into the night, and the stillness was fractured often by wild, exultant shouts and by the cries of people who were merry or sick. There was the recurring sound of retching and moaning, of laughter, greetings, threats and swearing, and of bottles shattering against rock. There were dirty songs in the distance. It was worse than New Year’s Eve.
   Yossarian went to bed early for safety and soon dreamed that he was fleeing almost headlong down an endless wooden staircase, making a loud, staccato clatter with his heels. Then he woke up a little and realized someone was shooting at him with a machine gun. A tortured, terrified sob rose in his throat. His first thought was that Milo was attacking the squadron again, and he rolled of his cot to the floor and lay underneath in a trembling, praying ball, his heart thumping like a drop forge, his body bathed in a cold sweat. There was no noise of planes. A drunken, happy laugh sounded from afar. ‘Happy New Year, Happy New Year!’ a triumphant familiar voice shouted hilariously from high above between the short, sharp bursts of machine gun fire, and Yossarian understood that some men had gone as a prank to one of the sandbagged machine-gun emplacements Milo had installed in the hills after his raid on the squadron and staffed with his own men.
   Yossarian blazed with hatred and wrath when he saw he was the victim of an irresponsible joke that had destroyed his sleep and reduced him to a whimpering hulk. He wanted to kill, he wanted to murder. He was angrier than he had ever been before, angrier even than when he had slid his hands around McWatt’s neck to strangle him. The gun opened fire again. Voices cried ‘Happy New Year!’ and gloating laughter rolled down from the hills through the darkness like a witch’s glee. In moccasins and coveralls, Yossarian charged out of his tent for revenge with his.45, ramming a clip of cartridges up into the grip and slamming the bolt of the gun back to load it. He snapped off the safety catch and was ready to shoot. He heard Nately running after him to restrain him, calling his name. The machine gun opened fire once more from a black rise above the motor pool, and orange tracer bullets skimmed like low-gliding dashes over the tops of the shadowy tents, almost clipping the peaks. Roars of rough laughter rang out again between the short bursts. Yossarian felt resentment boil like acid inside him; they were endangering his life, the bastards! With blind, ferocious rage and determination, he raced across the squadron past the motor pool, running as fast as he could, and was already pounding up into the hills along the narrow, winding path when Nately finally caught up, still calling ‘Yo-Yo! Yo-Yo!’ with pleading concern and imploring him to stop. He grasped Yossarian’s shoulders and tried to hold him back. Yossarian twisted free, turning. Nately reached for him again, and Yossarian drove his fist squarely into Nately’s delicate young face as hard as he could, cursing him, then drew his arm back to hit him again, but Nately had dropped out of sight with a groan and lay curled up on the ground with his head buried in both hands and blood streaming between his fingers. Yossarian whirled and plunged ahead up the path without looking back.
   Soon he saw the machine gun. Two figures leaped up in silhouette when they heard him and fled into the night with taunting laughter before he could get there. He was too late. Their footsteps receded, leaving the circle of sandbags empty and silent in the crisp and windless moonlight. He looked about dejectedly. Jeering laughter came to him again, from a distance. A twig snapped nearby. Yossarian dropped to his knees with a cold thrill of elation and aimed. He heard a stealthy rustle of leaves on the other side of the sandbags and fired two quick rounds. Someone fired back at him once, and he recognized the shot.
   ‘ Dunbar? he called.
   ‘Yossarian?’ The two men left their hiding places and walked forward to meet in the clearing with weary disappointment, their guns down. They were both shivering slightly from the frosty air and wheezing from the labor of their uphill rush.
   ‘The bastards,’ said Yossarian. ‘They got away.’
   ‘They took ten years off my life,’ Dunbar exclaimed. ‘I thought that son of a bitch Milo was bombing us again. I’ve never been so scared. I wish I knew who the bastards were.
   ‘One was Sergeant Knight.’
   ‘Let’s go kill him.’ Dunbar’s teeth were chattering. ‘He had no right to scare us that way.’ Yossarian no longer wanted to kill anyone. ‘Let’s help Nately first. I think I hurt him at the bottom of the hill.’ But there was no sign of Nately along the path, even though Yossarian located the right spot by the blood on the stones. Nately was not in his tent either, and they did not catch up with him until the next morning when they checked into the hospital as patients after learning he had checked in with a broken nose the night before. Nately beamed in frightened surprise as they padded into the ward in their slippers and robes behind Nurse Cramer and were assigned to their beds. Nately’s nose was in a bulky cast, and he had two black eyes. He kept blushing giddily in shy embarrassment and saying he was sorry when Yossarian came over to apologize for hitting him. Yossarian felt terrible; he could hardly bear to look at Nately’s battered countenance, even though the sight was so comical he was tempted to guffaw. Dunbar was disgusted by their sentimentality, and all three were relieved when Hungry Joe came barging in unexpectedly with his intricate black camera and trumped-up symptoms of appendicitis to be near enough to Yossarian to take pictures of him feeling up Nurse Duckett. Like Yossarian, he was soon disappointed. Nurse Duckett had decided to marry a doctor—any doctor, because they all did so well in business—and would not take chances in the vicinity of the man who might someday be her husband. Hungry Joe was irate and inconsolable until—of all people—the chaplain was led in wearing a maroon corduroy bathrobe, shining like a skinny lighthouse with a radiant grin of self-satisfaction too tremendous to be concealed. The chaplain had entered the hospital with a pain in his heart that the doctors thought was gas in his stomach and with an advanced case of Wisconsin shingles.
   ‘What in the world are Wisconsin shingles?’ asked Yossarian.
   ‘That’s just what the doctors wanted to know!’ blurted out the chaplain proudly, and burst into laughter. No one had ever seen him so waggish, or so happy. ‘There’s no such thing as Wisconsin shingles. Don’t you understand? I lied. I made a deal with the doctors. I promised that I would let them know when my Wisconsin shingles went away if they would promise not to do anything to cure them. I never told a lie before. Isn’t it wonderful?’ The chaplain had sinned, and it was good. Common sense told him that telling lies and defecting from duty were sins. On the other hand, everyone knew that sin was evil, and that no good could come from evil. But he did feel good; he felt positively marvelous. Consequently, it followed logically that telling lies and defecting from duty could not be sins. The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization, and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character. With effervescent agility the chaplain ran through the whole gamut of orthodox immoralities, while Nately sat up in bed with flushed elation, astounded by the mad gang of companions of which he found himself the nucleus. He was flattered and apprehensive, certain that some severe official would soon appear and throw the whole lot of them out like a pack of bums. No one bothered them. In the evening they all trooped exuberantly out to see a lousy Hollywood extravaganza in Technicolor, and when they trooped exuberantly back in after the lousy Hollywood extravaganza, the soldier in white was there, and Dunbar screamed and went to pieces.
   ‘He’s back!’ Dunbar screamed. ‘He’s back! He’s back!’ Yossarian froze in his tracks, paralyzed as much by the eerie shrillness in Dunbar’s voice as by the familiar, white, morbid sight of the soldier in white covered from head to toe in plaster and gauze. A strange, quavering, involuntary noise came bubbling from Yossarian’s throat.
   ‘He’s back!’ Dunbar screamed again.
   ‘He’s back!’ a patient delirious with fever echoed in automatic terror.
   All at once the ward erupted into bedlam. Mobs of sick and injured men began ranting incoherently and running and jumping in the aisle as though the building were on fire. A patient with one foot and one crutch was hopping back and forth swiftly in panic crying, ‘What is it? What is it? Are we burning? Are we burning?’
   ‘He’s back!’ someone shouted at him. ‘Didn’t you hear him? He’s back! He’s back!’
   ‘Who’s back?’ shouted someone else. ‘Who is it?’
   ‘What does it mean? What should we do?’
   ‘Are we on fire?’
   ‘Get up and run, damn it! Everybody get up and run!’ Everybody got out of bed and began running from one end of the ward to the other. One C.I.D. man was looking for a gun to shoot one of the other C.I.D. men who had jabbed his elbow into his eye. The ward had turned into chaos. The patient delirious with the high fever leaped into the aisle and almost knocked over the patient with one foot, who accidentally brought the black rubber tip of his crutch down on the other’s bare foot, crushing some toes. The delirious man with the fever and the crushed toes sank to the floor and wept in pain while other men tripped over him and hurt him more in their blind, milling, agonized stampede. ‘He’s back!’ all the men kept mumbling and chanting and calling out hysterically as they rushed back and forth. ‘He’s back, he’s back!’ Nurse Cramer was there in the middle suddenly like a spinning policeman, trying desperately to restore order, dissolving helplessly into tears when she failed. ‘Be still, please be still,’ she urged uselessly through her massive sobs. The chaplain, pale as a ghost, had no idea what was going on. Neither did Nately, who kept close to Yossarian’s side, clinging to his elbow, or Hungry Joe, who followed dubiously with his scrawny fists clenched and glanced from side to side with a face that was scared.
   ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ Hungry Joe pleaded. ‘What the hell is going on?’
   ‘It’s the same one!’ Dunbar shouted at him emphatically in a voice rising clearly above the raucous commotion. ‘Don’t you understand? It’s the same one.’
   ‘The same one!’ Yossarian heard himself echo, quivering with a deep and ominous excitement that he could not control, and shoved his way after Dunbar toward the bed of the soldier in white.
   ‘Take it easy, fellas,’ the short patriotic Texan counseled affably, with an uncertain grin. ‘There’s no cause to be upset. Why don’t we all just take it easy?’
   ‘The same one!’ others began murmuring, chanting and shouting.
   Suddenly Nurse Duckett was there, too. ‘What’s going on?’ she demanded.
   ‘He’s back!’ Nurse Cramer screamed, sinking into her arms. ‘He’s back, he’s back!’ It was, indeed, the same man. He had lost a few inches and added some weight, but Yossarian remembered him instantly by the two stiff arms and the two stiff, thick, useless legs all drawn upward into the air almost perpendicularly by the taut ropes and the long lead weights suspended from pulleys over him and by the frayed black hole in the bandages over his mouth. He had, in fact, hardly changed at all. There was the same zinc pipe rising from the hard stone mass over his groin and leading to the clear glass jar on the floor. There was the same clear glass jar on a pole dripping fluid into him through the crook of his elbow. Yossarian would recognize him anywhere. He wondered who he was.
   ‘There’s no one inside!’ Dunbar yelled out at him unexpectedly.
   Yossarian felt his heart skip a beat and his legs grow weak. ‘What are you talking about?’ he shouted with dread, stunned by the haggard, sparking anguish in Dunbar’s eyes and by his crazed look of wild shock and horror. ‘Are you nuts or something? What the hell do you mean, there’s no one inside?’
   ‘They’ve stolen him away!’ Dunbar shouted back. ‘He’s hollow inside, like a chocolate soldier. They just took him away and left those bandages there.’
   ‘Why should they do that?’
   ‘Why do they do anything?’
   ‘They’ve stolen him away!’ screamed someone else, and people all over the ward began screaming, ‘They’ve stolen him away. They’ve stolen him away!’
   ‘Go back to your beds,’ Nurse Duckett pleaded with Dunbar and Yossarian, pushing feebly against Yossarian’s chest. ‘Please go back to your beds.’
   ‘You’re crazy!’ Yossarian shouted angrily at Dunbar. ‘What the hell makes you say that?’
   ‘Did anyone see him?’ Dunbar demanded with sneering fervor.
   ‘You saw him, didn’t you?’ Yossarian said to Nurse Duckett. ‘Tell Dunbar there’s someone inside.’
   ‘Lieutenant Schmulker is inside,’ Nurse Duckett said. ‘He’s burned all over.’
   ‘Did she see him?’
   ‘You saw him, didn’t you?’
   ‘The doctor who bandaged him saw him.’
   ‘Go get him, will you? Which doctor was it?’ Nurse Duckett reacted to the question with a startled gasp. ‘The doctor isn’t even here!’ she exclaimed. ‘The patient was brought to us that way from a field hospital.’
   ‘You see?’ cried Nurse Cramer. ‘There’s no one inside!’
   ‘There’s no one inside!’ yelled Hungry Joe, and began stamping on the floor.
   Dunbar broke through and leaped up furiously on the soldier in white’s bed to see for himself, pressing his gleaming eye down hungrily against the tattered black hole in the shell of white bandages. He was still bent over staring with one eye into the lightless, unstirring void of the soldier in white’s mouth when the doctors and the M.P.s came running to help Yossarian pull him away. The doctors wore guns at the waist. The guards carried carbines and rifles with which they shoved and jolted the crowd of muttering patients back. A stretcher on wheels was there, and the solder in white was lifted out of bed skillfully and rolled out of sight in a matter of seconds. The doctors and M.P.s moved through the ward assuring everyone that everything was all right.
   Nurse Duckett plucked Yossarian’s arm and whispered to him furtively to meet her in the broom closet outside in the corridor. Yossarian rejoiced when he heard her. He thought Nurse Duckett finally wanted to get laid and pulled her skirt up the second they were alone in the broom closet, but she pushed him away. She had urgent news about Dunbar.
   ‘They’re going to disappear him,’ she said.
   Yossarian squinted at her uncomprehendingly. ‘They’re what?’ he asked in surprise, and laughed uneasily. ‘What does that mean?’
   ‘I don’t know. I heard them talking behind a door.’
   ‘Who?’
   ‘I don’t know. I couldn’t see them. I just heard them say they were going to disappear Dunbar.’
   ‘Why are they going to disappear him?’
   ‘I don’t know.’
   ‘It doesn’t make sense. It isn’t even good grammar. What the hell does it mean when they disappear somebody?’
   ‘I don’t know.’
   ‘Jesus, you’re a great help!’
   ‘Why are you picking on me?’ Nurse Duckett protested with hurt feelings, and began sniffing back tears. ‘I’m only trying to help. It isn’t my fault they’re going to disappear him, is it? I shouldn’t even be telling you.’ Yossarian took her in his arms and hugged her with gentle, contrite affection. ‘I’m sorry,’ he apologized, kissing her cheek respectfully, and hurried away to warn Dunbar, who was nowhere to be found.
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Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
Milo the Militant

   For the first time in his life, Yossarian prayed. He got down on his knees and prayed to Nately not to volunteer to fly more than seventy missions after Chief White Halfoat did die of pneumonia in the hospital and Nately had applied for his job. But Nately just wouldn’t listen.
   ‘I’ve got to fly more missions,’ Nately insisted lamely with a crooked smile. ‘Otherwise they’ll send me home.’
   ‘So?’
   ‘I don’t want to go home until I can take her back with me.’
   ‘She means that much to you?’ Nately nodded dejectedly. ‘I might never see her again.’
   ‘Then get yourself grounded,’ Yossarian urged. ‘You’ve finished your missions and you don’t need the flight pay. Why don’t you ask for Chief White Halfoat’s job, if you can stand working for Captain Black?’ Nately shook his head, his cheeks darkening with shy and regretful mortification. ‘They won’t give it to me. I spoke to Colonel Korn, and he told me I’d have to fly more missions or be sent home.’ Yossarian cursed savagely. ‘That’s just plain meanness.’
   ‘I don’t mind, I guess. I’ve flown seventy missions without getting hurt. I guess I can fly a few more.’
   ‘Don’t do anything at all about it until I talk to someone,’ Yossarian decided, and went looking for help from Milo, who went immediately afterward to Colonel Cathcart for help in having himself assigned to more combat missions.
   Milo had been earning many distinctions for himself. He had flown fearlessly into danger and criticism by selling petroleum and ball bearings to Germany at good prices in order to make a good profit and help maintain a balance of power between the contending forces. His nerve under fire was graceful and infinite. With a devotion to purpose above and beyond the line of duty, he had then raised the price of food in his mess halls so high that all officers and enlisted men had to turn over all their pay to him in order to eat. Their alternative—there was an alternative, of course, since Milo detested coercion and was a vocal champion of freedom of choice—was to starve. When he encountered a wave of enemy resistance to this attack, he stuck to his position without regard for his safety or reputation and gallantly invoked the law of supply and demand. And when someone somewhere said no, Milo gave ground grudgingly, valiantly defending, even in retreat, the historic right of free men to pay as much as they had to for the things they needed in order to survive.
   Milo had been caught red-handed in the act of plundering his countrymen, and, as a result, his stock had never been higher. He proved good as his word when a rawboned major from Minnesota curled his lip in rebellious disavowal and demanded his share of the syndicate Milo kept saying everybody owned. Milo met the challenge by writing the words ‘A Share’ on the nearest scrap of paper and handing it away with a virtuous disdain that won the envy and admiration of almost everyone who knew him. His glory was at a peak, and Colonel Cathcart, who knew and admired his war record, was astonished by the deferential humility with which Milo presented himself at Group Headquarters and made his fantastic appeal for more hazardous assignments.
   ‘You want to fly more combat missions?’ Colonel Cathcart gasped. ‘What in the world for?’ Milo answered in a demure voice with his face lowered meekly. ‘I want to do my duty, sir. The country is at war, and I want to fight to defend it like the rest of the fellows.’
   ‘But, Milo, you are doing your duty,’ Colonel Cathcart exclaimed with a laugh that thundered jovially. ‘I can’t think of a single person who’s done more for the men than you have. Who gave them chocolate-covered cotton?’ Milo shook his head slowly and sadly. ‘But being a good mess officer in wartime just isn’t enough, Colonel Cathcart.’
   ‘Certainly it is, Milo. I don’t know what’s come over you.’
   ‘Certainly it isn’t, Colonel,’ Milo disagreed in a somewhat firm tone, raising his subservient eyes significantly just far enough to arrest Colonel Cathcart’s. ‘Some of the men are beginning to talk.’
   ‘Oh, is that it? Give me their names, Milo. Give me their names and I’ll see to it that they go on every dangerous mission the group flies.’
   ‘No, Colonel, I’m afraid they’re right,’ Milo said, with his head drooping again. ‘I was sent overseas as a pilot, and I should be flying more combat missions and spending less time on my duties as a mess officer.’ Colonel Cathcart was surprised but co-operative. ‘Well, Milo, if you really feel that way, I’m sure we can make whatever arrangements you want. How long have you been overseas now?’
   ‘Eleven months, sir.’
   ‘And how many missions have you flown?’
   ‘Five.’
   ‘Five?’ asked Colonel Cathcart.
   ‘Five, sir.’
   ‘Five, eh?’ Colonel Cathcart rubbed his cheek pensively. ‘That isn’t very good, is it?’
   ‘Isn’t it?’ asked Milo in a sharply edged voice, glancing up again.
   Colonel Cathcart quailed. ‘On the contrary, that’s very good, Milo,’ he corrected himself hastily. ‘It isn’t bad at all.’
   ‘No, Colonel,’ Milo said, with a long, languishing, wistful sigh, ‘it isn’t very good. Although it’s very generous of you to say so.’
   ‘But it’s really not bad, Milo. Not bad at all, when you consider all your other valuable contributions. Five missions, you say? Just five?’
   ‘Just five, sir.’
   ‘Just five.’ Colonel Cathcart grew awfully depressed for a moment as he wondered what Milo was really thinking, and whether he had already got a black eye with him. ‘Five is very good, Milo,’ he observed with enthusiasm, spying a ray of hope. ‘That averages out to almost one combat mission every two months. And I’ll bet your total doesn’t include the time you bombed us.’
   ‘Yes, sir. It does.’
   ‘It does?’ inquired Colonel Cathcart with mild wonder. ‘You didn’t actually fly along on that mission, did you? If I remember correctly, you were in the control tower with me, weren’t you?’
   ‘But it was my mission,’ Milo contended. ‘I organized it, and we used my planes and supplies. I planned and supervised the whole thing.’
   ‘Oh, certainly, Milo, certainly. I’m not disputing you. I’m only checking the figures to make sure you’re claiming all you’re entitled to. Did you also include the time we contracted with you to bomb the bridge at Orvieto?’
   ‘Oh, no, sir. I didn’t think I should, since I was in Orvieto at the time directing the antiaircraft fire.’
   ‘I don’t see what difference that makes, Milo. It was still your mission. And a damned good one, too, I must say. We didn’t get the bridge, but we did have a beautiful bomb pattern. I remember General Peckem commenting on it. No, Milo, I insist you count Orvieto as a mission, too.’
   ‘If you insist, sir.’
   ‘I do insist, Milo. Now, let’s see—you now have a grand total of six missions, which is damned good, Milo, damned good, really. Six missions is an increase of twenty per cent in just a couple of minutes, which is not bad at all, Milo, not bad at all.’
   ‘Many of the other men have seventy missions,’ Milo pointed out.
   ‘But they never produced any chocolate-covered cotton, did they? Milo, you’re doing more than your share.’
   ‘But they’re getting all the fame and opportunity,’ Milo persisted with a petulance that bordered on sniveling. ‘Sir, I want to get in there and fight like the rest of the fellows. That’s what I’m here for. I want to win medals, too.’
   ‘Yes, Milo, of course. We all want to spend more time in combat. But people like you and me serve in different ways. Look at my own record,’ Colonel Cathcart uttered a deprecatory laugh. ‘I’ll bet it’s not generally known, Milo, that I myself have flown only four missions, is it?’
   ‘No, sir,’ Milo replied. ‘It’s generally known that you’ve flown only two missions. And that one of those occurred when Aarfy accidentally flew you over enemy territory while navigating you to Naples for a black-market water cooler.’ Colonel Cathcart, flushing with embarrassment, abandoned all further argument. ‘All right, Milo. I can’t praise you enough for what you want to do. If it really means so much to you, I’ll have Major Major assign you to the next sixty-four missions so that you can have seventy, too.’
   ‘Thank you, Colonel, thank you, sir. You don’t know what this means.’
   ‘Don’t mention it, Milo. I know exactly what it means.’
   ‘No, Colonel, I don’t think you do know what it means,’ Milo disagreed pointedly. ‘Someone will have to begin running the syndicate for me right away. It’s very complicated, and I might get shot down at any time.’ Colonel Cathcart brightened instantly at the thought and began rubbing his hands with avaricious zest. ‘You know, Milo, I think Colonel Korn and I might be willing to take the syndicate off your hands,’ he suggested in an offhand manner, almost licking his lips in savory anticipation. ‘Our experience in black-market plum tomatoes should come in very useful. Where do we begin?’ Milo watched Colonel Cathcart steadily with a bland and guileless expression. ‘Thank you, sir, that’s very good of you. Begin with a salt-free diet for General Peckem and a fat-free diet for General Dreedle.’
   ‘Let me get a pencil. What’s next?’
   ‘The cedars.’
   ‘Cedars?’
   ‘From Lebanon.’
   ‘ Lebanon?’
   ‘We’ve got cedars from Lebanon due at the sawmill in Oslo to be turned into shingles for the builder in Cape Cod. C.O.D. And then there’s the peas.’
   ‘Peas?’
   ‘That are on the high seas. We’ve got boatloads of peas that are on the high seas from Atlanta to Holland to pay for the tulips that were shipped to Geneva to pay for the cheeses that must go to Vienna M.I.F.’
   ‘M.I.F.?’
   ‘Money in Front. The Hapsburgs are shaky.’
   ‘ Milo.’
   ‘And don’t forget the galvanized zinc in the warehouse at Flint. Four carloads of galvanized zinc from Flint must be flown to the smelters in Damascus by noon of the eighteenth, terms F.O.B. Calcutta two per cent ten days E.O.M. One Messerschmitt full of hemp is due in Belgrade for a C-47 and a half full of those semi-pitted dates we stuck them with from Khartoum. Use the money from the Portuguese anchovies we’re selling back to Lisbon to pay for the Egyptian cotton we’ve got coming back to us from Mamaroneck and to pick up as many oranges as you can in Spain. Always pay cash for naranjas.’
   ‘Naranjas?’
   ‘That’s what they call oranges in Spain, and these are Spanish oranges. And—oh, yes. Don’t forget Piltdown Man.’
   ‘Piltdown Man?’
   ‘Yes, Piltdown Man. The Smithsonian Institution is not in a position at this time to meet our price for a second Piltdown Man, but they are looking forward to the death of a wealthy and beloved donor and—’
   ‘ Milo.’
   ‘ France wants all the parsley we can send them, and I think we might as well, because we’ll need the francs for the lire for the pfennigs for the dates when they get back. I’ve also ordered a tremendous shipment of Peruvian balsa wood for distribution to each of the mess halls in the syndicate on a pro rata basis.’
   ‘Balsa wood? What are the mess halls going to do with balsa wood?’
   ‘Good balsa wood isn’t so easy to come by these days, Colonel. I just didn’t think it was a good idea to pass up the chance to buy it.’
   ‘No, I suppose not,’ Colonel Cathcart surmised vaguely with the look of somebody seasick. ‘And I assume the price was right.’
   ‘The price,’ said Milo, ‘was outrageous—positively exorbitant! But since we bought it from one of our own subsidiaries, we were happy to pay it. Look after the hides.’
   ‘The hives?’
   ‘The hides.’
   ‘The hides?’
   ‘The hides. In Buenos Aires. They have to be tanned.’
   ‘Tanned?’
   ‘In Newfoundland. And shipped to Helsinki N.M.I.F. before the spring thaw begins. Everything to Finland goes N.M.I.F. before the spring thaw begins.’
   ‘No Money in Front?’ guessed Colonel Cathcart.
   ‘Good, Colonel. You have a gift, sir. And then there’s the cork.’
   ‘The cork?’
   ‘That must go to New York, the shoes for Toulouse, the ham for Siam, the nails from Wales, and the tangerines for New Orleans.’
   ‘ Milo.’
   ‘We have coals in Newcastle, sir.’ Colonel Cathcart threw up his hands. ‘ Milo, stop!’ he cried, almost in tears. ‘It’s no use. You’re just like I am—indispensable!’ He pushed his pencil aside and rose to his feet in frantic exasperation. ‘ Milo, you can’t fly sixty-four more missions. You can’t even fly one more mission. The whole system would fall apart if anything happened to you.’ Milo nodded serenely with complacent gratification. ‘Sir, are you forbidding me to fly any more combat missions?’
   ‘ Milo, I forbid you to fly any more combat missions,’ Colonel Cathcart declared in a tone of stern and inflexible authority.
   ‘But that’s not fair, sir,’ said Milo. ‘What about my record? The other men are getting all the fame and medals and publicity. Why should I be penalized just because I’m doing such a good job as mess officer?’
   ‘No, Milo, it isn’t fair. But I don’t see anything we can do about it.’
   ‘Maybe we can get someone else to fly my missions for me.’
   ‘But maybe we can get someone else to fly your missions for you,’ Colonel Cathcart suggested. ‘How about the striking coal miners in Pennsylvania and West Virginia?’ Milo shook his head. ‘It would take too long to train them. But why not the men in the squadron, sir? After all, I’m doing this for them. They ought to be willing to do something for me in return.’
   ‘But why not the men in the squadron, Milo?’ Colonel Cathcart exclaimed. ‘After all, you’re doing all this for them. They ought to be willing to do something for you in return.’
   ‘What’s fair is fair.’
   ‘What’s fair is fair.’
   ‘They could take turns, sir.’
   ‘They might even take turns flying your missions for you, Milo.’
   ‘Who gets the credit?’
   ‘You get the credit, Milo. And if a man wins a medal flying one of your missions, you get the medal.’
   ‘Who dies if he gets killed?’
   ‘Why, he dies, of course. After all, Milo, what’s fair is fair. There’s just one thing.’
   ‘You’ll have to raise the number of missions.’
   ‘I might have to raise the number of missions again, and I’m not sure the men will fly them. They’re still pretty sore because I jumped them to seventy. If I can get just one of the regular officers to fly more, the rest will probably follow.’
   ‘Nately will fly more missions, sir,’ Milo said. ‘I was told in strictest confidence just a little while ago that he’ll do anything he has to in order to remain overseas with a girl he’s fallen in love with.’
   ‘But Nately will fly more!’ Colonel Cathcart declared, and he brought his hands together in a resounding clap of victory. ‘Yes, Nately will fly more. And this time I’m really going to jump the missions, right up to eighty, and really knock General Dreedle’s eye out. And this is a good way to get that lousy rat Yossarian back into combat where he might get killed.’
   ‘Yossarian?’ A tremor of deep concern passed over Milo’s simple, homespun features, and he scratched the corner of his reddish-brown mustache thoughtfully.
   ‘Yeah, Yossarian. I hear he’s going around saying that he’s finished his missions and the war’s over for him. Well, maybe he has finished his missions. But he hasn’t finished your missions, has he? Ha! Ha! Has he got a surprise coming to him!’
   ‘Sir, Yossarian is a friend of mine,’ Milo objected. ‘I’d hate to be responsible for doing anything that would put him back in combat. I owe a lot to Yossarian. Isn’t there any way we could make an exception of him?’
   ‘Oh, no, Milo.’ Colonel Cathcart clucked sententiously, shocked by the suggestion. ‘We must never play favorites. We must always treat every man alike.’
   ‘I’d give everything I own to Yossarian,’ Milo persevered gamely on Yossarian’s behalf. ‘But since I don’t own anything, I can’t give everything to him, can I? So he’ll just have to take his chances with the rest of the men, won’t he?’
   ‘What’s fair is fair, Milo.’
   ‘Yes, sir, what’s fair is fair,’ Milo agreed. ‘Yossarian is no better than the other men, and he has no right to expect any special privileges, has he?’
   ‘No, Milo. What’s fair is fair.’ And there was no time for Yossarian to save himself from combat once Colonel Cathcart issued his announcement raising the missions to eighty late that same afternoon, no time to dissuade Nately from flying them or even to conspire again with Dobbs to murder Colonel Cathcart, for the alert sounded suddenly at dawn the next day and the men were rushed into the trucks before a decent breakfast could be prepared, and they were driven at top speed to the briefing room and then out to the airfield, where the clitterclattering fuel trucks were still pumping gasoline into the tanks of the planes and the scampering crews of armorers were toiling as swiftly as they could at hoisting the thousand-pound demolition bombs into the bomb bays. Everybody was running, and engines were turned on and warmed up as soon as the fuel trucks had finished.
   Intelligence had reported that a disabled Italian cruiser in drydock at La Spezia would be towed by the Germans that same morning to a channel at the entrance of the harbor and scuttled there to deprive the Allied armies of deep-water port facilities when they captured the city. For once, a military intelligence report proved accurate. The long vessel was halfway across the harbor when they flew in from the west, and broke it apart with direct hits from every flight that filled them all with waves of enormously satisfying group pride until they found themselves engulfed in great barrages of flak that rose from guns in every bend of the huge horseshoe of mountainous land below. Even Havermeyer resorted to the wildest evasive action he could command when he saw what a vast distance he had still to travel to escape, and Dobbs, at the pilot’s controls in his formation, zigged when he should have zagged, skidding his plane into the plane alongside, and chewed off its tail. His wing broke off at the base, and his plane dropped like a rock and was almost out of sight in an instant. There was no fire, no smoke, not the slightest untoward noise. The remaining wing revolved as ponderously as a grinding cement mixer as the plane plummeted nose downward in a straight line at accelerating speed until it struck the water, which foamed open at the impact like a white water lily on the dark-blue sea, and washed back in a geyser of apple-green bubbles when the plane sank. It was over in a matter of seconds. There were no parachutes. And Nately, in the other plane, was killed too.
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The Cellar

   Nately’s death almost killed the chaplain. Chaplain Shipman was seated in his tent, laboring over his paperwork in his reading spectacles, when his phone rang and news of the mid-air collision was given to him from the field. His insides turned at once to dry clay. His hand was trembling as he put the phone down. His other hand began trembling. The disaster was too immense to contemplate. Twelve men killed—how ghastly, how very, very awful! His feeling of terror grew. He prayed instinctively that Yossarian, Nately, Hungry Joe and his other friends would not be listed among the victims, then berated himself repentantly, for to pray for their safety was to pray for the death of other young men he did not even know. It was too late to pray; yet that was all he knew how to do. His heart was pounding with a noise that seemed to be coming from somewhere outside, and he knew he would never sit in a dentist’s chair again, never glance at a surgical tool, never witness an automobile accident or hear a voice shout at night, without experiencing the same violent thumping in his chest and dreading that he was going to die. He would never watch another fist fight without fearing he was going to faint and crack his skull open on the pavement or suffer a fatal heart attack or cerebral hemorrhage. He wondered if he would ever see his wife again or his three small children. He wondered if he ever should see his wife again, now that Captain Black had planted in his mind such strong doubts about the fidelity and character of all women. There were so many other men, he felt, who could prove more satisfying to her sexually. When he thought of death now, he always thought of his wife, and when he thought of his wife he always thought of losing her.
   In another minute the chaplain felt strong enough to rise and walk with glum reluctance to the tent next door for Sergeant Whitcomb. They drove in Sergeant Whitcomb’s jeep. The chaplain made fists of his hands to keep them from shaking as they lay in his lap. He ground his teeth together and tried not to hear as Sergeant Whitcomb chirruped exultantly over the tragic event. Twelve men killed meant twelve more form letters of condolence that could be mailed in one bunch to the next of kin over Colonel Cathcart’s signature, giving Sergeant Whitcomb hope of getting an article on Colonel Cathcart into The Saturday Evening Post in time for Easter.
   At the field a heavy silence prevailed, overpowering motion like a ruthless, insensate spell holding in thrall the only beings who might break it. The chaplain was in awe. He had never beheld such a great, appalling stillness before. Almost two hundred tired, gaunt, downcast men stood holding their parachute packs in a somber and unstirring crowd outside the briefing room, their faces staring blankly in different angles of stunned dejection. They seemed unwilling to go, unable to move. The chaplain was acutely conscious of the faint noise his footsteps made as he approached. His eyes searched hurriedly, frantically, through the immobile maze of limp figures. He spied Yossarian finally with a feeling of immense joy, and then his mouth gaped open slowly in unbearable horror as he noted Yossarian’s vivid, beaten, grimy look of deep, drugged despair. He understood at once, recoiling in pain from the realization and shaking his head with a protesting and imploring grimace, that Nately was dead. The knowledge struck him with a numbing shock. A sob broke from him. The blood drained from his legs, and he thought he was going to drop. Nately was dead. All hope that he was mistaken was washed away by the sound of Nately’s name emerging with recurring clarity now from the almost inaudible babble of murmuring voices that he was suddenly aware of for the first time. Nately was dead: the boy had been killed. A whimpering sound rose in the chaplain’s throat, and his jaw began to quiver. His eyes filled with tears, and he was crying. He started toward Yossarian on tiptoe to mourn beside him and share his wordless grief. At that moment a hand grabbed him roughly around the arm and a brusque voice demanded, ‘Chaplain Shipman?’ He turned with surprise to face a stout, pugnacious colonel with a large head and mustache and a smooth, florid skin. He had never seen the man before. ‘Yes. What is it?’ The fingers grasping the chaplain’s arm were hurting him, and he tried in vain to squirm loose.
   ‘Come along.’ The chaplain pulled back in frightened confusion. ‘Where? Why? Who are you, anyway?’
   ‘You’d better come along with us, Father,’ a lean, hawk-faced major on the chaplain’s other side intoned with reverential sorrow. ‘We’re from the government. We want to ask you some questions.’
   ‘What kind of questions? What’s the matter?’
   ‘Aren’t you Chaplain Shipman?’ demanded the obese colonel.
   ‘He’s the one,’ Sergeant Whitcomb answered.
   ‘Go on along with them,’ Captain Black called out to the chaplain with a hostile and contemptuous sneer. ‘Go on into the car if you know what’s good for you.’ Hands were drawing the chaplain away irresistibly. He wanted to shout for help to Yossarian, who seemed too far away to hear. Some of the men nearby were beginning to look at him with awakening curiosity. The chaplain bent his face away with burning shame and allowed himself to be led into the rear of a staff car and seated between the fat colonel with the large, pink face and the skinny, unctuous, despondent major. He automatically held a wrist out to each, wondering for a moment if they wanted to handcuff him. Another officer was already in the front seat. A tall M.P. with a whistle and a white helmet got in behind the wheel. The chaplain did not dare raise his eyes until the closed car had lurched from the area and the speeding wheels were whining on the bumpy blacktop road.
   ‘Where are you taking me?’ he asked in a voice soft with timidity and guilt, his gaze still averted. The notion came to him that they were holding him to blame for the mid-air crash and the death of Nately. ‘What have I done?’
   ‘Why don’t you keep your trap shut and let us ask the questions?’ said the colonel.
   ‘Don’t talk to him that way,’ said the major. ‘It isn’t necessary to be so disrespectful.’
   ‘Then tell him to keep his trap shut and let us ask the questions.’
   ‘Father, please keep your trap shut and let us ask the questions,’ urged the major sympathetically. ‘It will be better for you.’
   ‘It isn’t necessary to call me Father,’ said the chaplain. ‘I’m not a Catholic.’
   ‘Neither am I, Father,’ said the major. ‘It’s just that I’m a very devout person, and I like to call all men of God Father.’
   ‘He doesn’t even believe there are atheists in foxholes,’ the colonel mocked, and nudged the chaplain in the ribs familiarly. ‘Go on, Chaplain, tell him. Are there atheists in foxholes?’
   ‘I don’t know, sir,’ the chaplain replied. ‘I’ve never been in a foxhole.’ The officer in front swung his head around swiftly with a quarrelsome expression. ‘You’ve never been in heaven either, have you? But you know there’s a heaven, don’t you?’
   ‘Or do you?’ said the colonel.
   ‘That’s a very serious crime you’ve committed, Father,’ said the major.
   ‘What crime?’
   ‘We don’t know yet,’ said the colonel. ‘But we’re going to find out. And we sure know it’s very serious.’ The car swung off the road at Group Headquarters with a squeal of tires, slackening speed only slightly, and continued around past the parking lot to the back of the building. The three officers and the chaplain got out. In single file, they ushered him down a wobbly flight of wooden stairs leading to the basement and led him into a damp, gloomy room with a low cement ceiling and unfinished stone walls. There were cobwebs in all the corners. A huge centipede blew across the floor to the shelter of a water pipe. They sat the chaplain in a hard, straight-backed chair that stood behind a small, bare table.
   ‘Please make yourself comfortable, Chaplain,’ invited the colonel cordially, switching on a blinding spotlight and shooting it squarely into the chaplain’s face. He placed a set of brass knuckles and box of wooden matches on the table. ‘We want you to relax.’ The chaplain’s eyes bulged out incredulously. His teeth chattered and his limbs felt utterly without strength. He was powerless. They might do whatever they wished to him, he realized; these brutal men might beat him to death right there in the basement, and no one would intervene to save him, no one, perhaps, but the devout and sympathetic major with the sharp face, who set a water tap dripping loudly into a sink and returned to the table to lay a length of heavy rubber hose down beside the brass knuckles.
   ‘Everything’s going to be all right, Chaplain,’ the major said encouragingly. ‘You’ve got nothing to be afraid of if you’re not guilty. What are you so afraid of? You’re not guilty, are you?’
   ‘Sure he’s guilty,’ said the colonel. ‘Guilty as hell.’
   ‘Guilty of what?’ implored the chaplain, feeling more and more bewildered and not knowing which of the men to appeal to for mercy. The third officer wore no insignia and lurked in silence off to the side. ‘What did I do?’
   ‘That’s just what we’re going to find out,’ answered the colonel, and he shoved a pad and pencil across the table to the chaplain. ‘Write your name for us, will you? In your own handwriting.’
   ‘My own handwriting?’
   ‘That’s right. Anywhere on the page.’ When the chaplain had finished, the colonel took the pad back and held it up alongside a sheet of paper he removed from a folder. ‘See?’ he said to the major, who had come to his side and was peering solemnly over his shoulder.
   ‘They’re not the same, are they?’ the major admitted.
   ‘I told you he did it.’
   ‘Did what?’ asked the chaplain.
   ‘Chaplain, this comes as a great shock to me,’ the major accused in a tone of heavy lamentation.
   ‘What does?’
   ‘I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in you.’
   ‘For what?’ persisted the chaplain more fiantically. ‘What have I done?’
   ‘For this,’ replied the major, and, with an air of disillusioned disgust, tossed down on the table the pad on which the chaplain had signed his name. ‘This isn’t your handwriting.’ The chaplain blinked rapidly with amazement. ‘But of course it’s my handwriting.’
   ‘No it isn’t, Chaplain. You’re lying again.’
   ‘But I just wrote it!’ the chaplain cried in exasperation. ‘You saw me write it.’
   ‘That’s just it,’ the major answered bitterly. ‘I saw you write it. You can’t deny that you did write it. A person who’ll lie about his own handwriting will lie about anything.’
   ‘But who lied about my own handwriting?’ demanded the chaplain, forgetting his fear in the wave of anger and indignation that welled up inside him suddenly. ‘Are you crazy or something? What are you both talking about?’
   ‘We asked you to write your name in your own handwriting. And you didn’t do it.’
   ‘But of course I did. In whose handwriting did I write it if not my own?’
   ‘In somebody else’s.’
   ‘Whose?’
   ‘That’s just what we’re going to find out,’ threatened the colonel.
   ‘Talk, Chaplain.’ The chaplain looked from one to the other of the two men with rising doubt and hysteria. ‘That handwriting is mine,’ he maintained passionately. ‘Where else is my handwriting, if that isn’t it?’
   ‘Right here,’ answered the colonel. And looking very superior, he tossed down on the table a photostatic copy of a piece of V mail in which everything but the salutation ‘Dear Mary’ had been blocked out and on which the censoring officer had written, ‘I long for you tragically. R. O. Shipman, Chaplain, U.S. Army.’ The colonel smiled scornfully as he watched the chaplain’s face turn crimson. ‘Well, Chaplain? Do you know who wrote that?’ The chaplain took a long moment to reply; he had recognized Yossarian’s handwriting. ‘No.’
   ‘You can read, though, can’t you?’ the colonel persevered sarcastically. ‘The author signed his name.’
   ‘That’s my name there.’
   ‘Then you wrote it. Q.E.D.’
   ‘But I didn’t write it. That isn’t my handwriting, either.’
   ‘Then you signed your name in somebody else’s handwriting again,’ the colonel retorted with a shrug. ‘That’s all that means.’
   ‘Oh, this is ridiculous!’ the chaplain shouted, suddenly losing all patience. He jumped to his feet in a blazing fury, both fists clenched. ‘I’m not going to stand for this any longer! Do you hear? Twelve men were just killed, and I have no time for these silly questions. You’ve no right to keep me here, and I’m just not going to stand for it.’ Without saying a word, the colonel pushed the chaplain’s chest hard and knocked him back down into the chair, and the chaplain was suddenly weak and very much afraid again. The major picked up the length of rubber hose and began tapping it menacingly against his open palm. The colonel lifted the box of matches, took one out and held it poised against the striking surface, watching with glowering eyes for the chaplain’s next sign of defiance. The chaplain was pale and almost too petrified to move. The bright glare of the spotlight made him turn away finally; the dripping water was louder and almost unbearably irritating. He wished they would tell him what they wanted so that he would know what to confess. He waited tensely as the third officer, at a signal from the colonel, ambled over from the wall and seated himself on the table just a few inches away from the chaplain. His face was expressionless, his eyes penetrating and cold.
   ‘Turn off the light,’ he said over his shoulder in a low, calm voice. ‘It’s very annoying.’ The chaplain gave him a small smile of gratitude. ‘Thank you, sir. And the drip too, please.’
   ‘Leave the drip,’ said the officer. ‘That doesn’t bother me.’ He tugged up the legs of his trousers a bit, as though to preserve their natty crease. ‘Chaplain,’ he asked casually, ‘of what religious persuasion are you?’
   ‘I’m an Anabaptist, sir.’
   ‘That’s a pretty suspicious religion, isn’t it?’
   ‘Suspicious?’ inquired the chaplain in a kind of innocent daze. ‘Why, sir?’
   ‘Well, I don’t know a thing about it. You’ll have to admit that, won’t you? Doesn’t that make it pretty suspicious?’
   ‘I don’t know, sir,’ the chaplain answered diplomatically, with an uneasy stammer. He found the man’s lack of insignia disconcerting and was not even sure he had to say ‘sir’. Who was he? And what authority had he to interrogate him?
   ‘Chaplain, I once studied Latin. I think it’s only fair to warn you of that before I ask my next question. Doesn’t the word Anabaptist simply mean that you’re not a Baptist?’
   ‘Oh, no, sir. There’s much more.’
   ‘Are you a Baptist?’
   ‘No, sir.’
   ‘Then you are not a Baptist, aren’t you?’
   ‘Sir?’
   ‘I don’t see why you’re bickering with me on that point. You’ve already admitted it. Now, Chaplain, to say you’re not a Baptist doesn’t really tell us anything about what you are, does it? You could be anything or anyone.’ He leaned forward slightly and his manner took on a shrewd and significant air. ‘You could even be,’ he added, ‘Washington Irving, couldn’t you?’
   ‘Washington Irving?’ the chaplain repeated with surprise.
   ‘Come on, Washington,’ the corpulent colonel broke in irascibly. ‘Why don’t you make a clean breast of it? We know you stole that plum tomato.’ After a moment’s shock, the chaplain giggled with nervous relief. ‘Oh, is that it!’ he exclaimed. ‘Now I’m beginning to understand. I didn’t steal that plum tomato, sir. Colonel Cathcart gave it to me. You can even ask him if you don’t believe me.’ A door opened at the other end of the room and Colonel Cathcart stepped into the basement as though from a closet.
   ‘Hello, Colonel. Colonel, he claims you gave him that plum tomato. Did you?’
   ‘Why should I give him a plum tomato?’ answered Colonel Cathcart.
   ‘Thank you, Colonel. That will be all.’
   ‘It’s a pleasure, Colonel,’ Colonel Cathcart replied, and he stepped back out of the basement, closing the door after him.
   ‘Well, Chaplain? What have you got to say now?’
   ‘He did give it to me!’ the chaplain hissed in a whisper that was both fierce and fearful. ‘He did give it to me!’
   ‘You’re not calling a superior officer a liar are you, Chaplain?’
   ‘Why should a superior officer give you a plum tomato, Chaplain?’
   ‘Is that why you tried to give it to Sergeant Whitcomb, Chaplain? Because it was a hot tomato?’
   ‘No, no, no,’ the chaplain protested, wondering miserably why they were not able to understand. ‘I offered it to Sergeant Whitcomb because I didn’t want it.’
   ‘Why’d you steal it from Colonel Cathcart if you didn’t want it?’
   ‘I didn’t steal it from Colonel Cathcard’
   ‘Then why are you so guilty, if you didn’t steal it?’
   ‘I’m not guilty!’
   ‘Then why would we be questioning you if you weren’t guilty?’
   ‘Oh, I don’t know,’ the chaplain groaned, kneading his fingers in his lap and shaking his bowed and anguished head. ‘I don’t know.’
   ‘He thinks we have time to waste,’ snorted the major.
   ‘Chaplain,’ resumed the officer without insignia at a more leisurely pace, lifting a typewritten sheet of yellow paper from the open folder, ‘I have a signed statement here from Colonel Cathcart asserting you stole that plum tomato from him.’ He lay the sheet face down on one side of the folder and picked up a second page from the other side. ‘And I have a notarized affidavit from Sergeant Whitcomb in which he states that he knew the tomato was hot just from the way you tried to unload it on him.’
   ‘I swear to God I didn’t steal it, sir,’ the chaplain pleaded with distress, almost in tears. ‘I give you my sacred word it was not a hot tomato.’
   ‘Chaplain, do you believe in God?’
   ‘Yes, sir. Of course I do.’
   ‘That’s odd, Chaplain,’ said the officer, taking from the folder another typewritten yellow page, ‘because I have here in my hands now another statement from Colonel Cathcart in which he swears that you refused to co-operate with him in conducting prayer meetings in the briefing room before each mission.’ After looking blank a moment, the chaplain nodded quickly with recollection. ‘Oh, that’s not quite true, sir,’ he explained eagerly. ‘Colonel Cathcart gave up the idea himself once he realized enlisted men pray to the same God as officers.’
   ‘He did what?’ exclaimed the officer in disbelief.
   ‘What nonsense!’ declared the red-faced colonel, and swung away from the chaplain with dignity and annoyance.
   ‘Does he expect us to believe that?’ cried the major incredulously.
   The officer without insignia chuckled acidly. ‘Chaplain, aren’t you stretching things a bit far now?’ he inquired with a smile that was indulgent and unfriendly.
   ‘But, sir, it’s the truth, sir! I swear it’s the truth.’
   ‘I don’t see how that matters one way or the other,’ the officer answered nonchalantly, and reached sideways again toward the open folder filled with papers. ‘Chaplain, did you say you did believe in God in answer to my question? I don’t remember.’
   ‘Yes, sir. I did say so, sir. I do believe in God.’
   ‘Then that really is very odd, Chaplain, because I have here another affidavit from Colonel Cathcart that states you once told him atheism was not against the law. Do you recall ever making a statement like that to anyone?’ The chaplain nodded without any hesitation, feeling himself on very solid ground now. ‘Yes, sir, I did make a statement like that. I made it because it’s true. Atheism is not against the law.’
   ‘But that’s still no reason to say so, Chaplain, is it?’ the officer chided tartly, frowning, and picked up still one more typewritten, notarized page from the folder. ‘And here I have another sworn statement from Sergeant Whitcomb that says you opposed his plan of sending letters of condolence over Colonel Cathcart’s signature to the next of kin of men killed or wounded in combat. Is that true?’
   ‘Yes, sir, I did oppose it,’ answered the chaplain. ‘And I’m proud that I did. Those letters are insincere and dishonest. Their only purpose is to bring glory to Colonel Cathcart.’
   ‘But what difference does that make?’ replied the officer. ‘They still bring solace and comfort to the families that receive them, don’t they? Chaplain, I simply can’t understand your thinking process.’ The chaplain was stumped and at a complete loss for a reply. He hung his head, feeling tongue-tied and naive.
   The ruddy stout colonel stepped forward vigorously with a sudden idea. ‘Why don’t we knock his goddam brains out?’ he suggested with robust enthusiasm to the others.
   ‘Yes, we could knock his goddam brains out, couldn’t we?’ the hawk-faced major agreed. ‘He’s only an Anabaptist.’
   ‘No, we’ve got to find him guilty first,’ the officer without insignia cautioned with a languid restraining wave. He slid lightly to the floor and moved around to the other side of the table, facing the chaplain with both hands pressed flat on the surface. His expression was dark and very stern, square and forbidding. ‘Chaplain,’ he announced with magisterial rigidity, ‘we charge you formally with being Washington Irving and taking capricious and unlicensed liberties in censoring the letters of officers and enlisted men. Are you guilty or innocent?’
   ‘Innocent, sir.’ The chaplain licked dry lips with a dry tongue and leaned forward in suspense on the edge of his chair.
   ‘Guilty,’ said the colonel.
   ‘Guilty,’ said the major.
   ‘Guilty it is, then,’ remarked the officer without insignia, and wrote a word on a page in the folder. ‘Chaplain,’ he continued, looking up, ‘we accuse you also of the commission of crimes and infractions we don’t even know about yet. Guilty or innocent?’
   ‘I don’t know, sir. How can I say if you don’t tell me what they are?’
   ‘How can we tell you if we don’t know?’
   ‘Guilty,’ decided the colonel.
   ‘Sure he’s guilty,’ agreed the major. ‘If they’re his crimes and infractions, he must have committed them.’
   ‘Guilty it is, then,’ chanted the officer without insignia, and moved off to the side of the room. ‘He’s all yours, Colonel.’
   ‘Thank you,’ commended the colonel. ‘You did a very good job.’ He turned to the chaplain. ‘Okay, Chaplain, the jig’s up. Take a walk.’ The chaplain did not understand. ‘What do you wish me to do?’
   ‘Go on, beat it, I told you!’ the colonel roared, jerking a thumb over his shoulder angrily. ‘Get the hell out of here.’ The chaplain was shocked by his bellicose words and tone and, to his own amazement and mystification, deeply chagrined that they were turning him loose. ‘Aren’t you even going to punish me?’ he inquired with querulous surprise.
   ‘You’re damned right we’re going to punish you. But we’re certainly not going to let you hang around while we decide how and when to do it. So get going. Hit the road.’ The chaplain rose tentatively and took a few steps away. ‘I’m free to go?’
   ‘For the time being. But don’t try to leave the island. We’ve got your number, Chaplain. Just remember that we’ve got you under surveillance twenty-four hours a day.’ It was not conceivable that they would allow him to leave. The chaplain walked toward the exit gingerly, expecting at any instant to be ordered back by a peremptory voice or halted in his tracks by a heavy blow on the shoulder or the head. They did nothing to stop him. He found his way through the stale, dark, dank corridors to the flight of stairs. He was staggering and panting when he climbed out into the fresh air. As soon as he had escaped, a feeling of overwhelining moral outrage filled him. He was furious, more furious at the atrocities of the day than he had ever felt before in his whole life. He swept through the spacious, echoing lobby of the building in a temper of scalding and vindictive resentment. He was not going to stand for it any more, he told himself, he was simply not going to stand for it. When he reached the entrance, he spied, with a feeling of good fortune, Colonel Korn trotting up the wide steps alone. Bracing himself with a deep breath, the chaplain moved courageously forward to intercept him.
   ‘Colonel, I’m not going to stand for it any more,’ he declared with vehement determination, and watched in dismay as Colonel Korn went trotting by up the steps without even noticing him. ‘Colonel Korn!’ The tubby, loose figure of his superior officer stopped, turned and came trotting back down slowly. ‘What is it, Chaplain?’
   ‘Colonel Korn, I want to talk to you about the crash this morning. It was a terrible thing to happen, terrible!’ Colonel Korn was silent a moment, regarding the chaplain with a glint of cynical amusement. ‘Yes, Chaplain, it certainly was terrible,’ he said finally. ‘I don’t know how we’re going to write this one up without making ourselves look bad.’
   ‘That isn’t what I meant,’ the chaplain scolded firmly without any fear at all. ‘Some of those twelve men had already finished their seventy missions.’ Colonel Korn laughed. ‘Would it be any less terrible if they had all been new men?’ he inquired caustically.
   Once again the chaplain was stumped. Immoral logic seemed to be confounding him at every turn. He was less sure of himself than before when he continued, and his voice wavered. ‘Sir, it just isn’t right to make the men in this group fly eighty missions when the men in other groups are being sent home with fifty and fifty-five.’
   ‘We’ll take the matter under consideration,’ Colonel Korn said with bored disinterest, and started away. ‘Adios, Padre.’
   ‘What does that mean, sir?’ the chaplain persisted in a voice turning shrill.
   Colonel Korn stopped with an unpleasant expression and took a step back down. ‘It means we’ll think about it, Padre,’ he answered with sarcasm and contempt. ‘You wouldn’t want us to do anything without thinking about it, would you?’
   ‘No, sir, I suppose not. But you have been thinking about it, haven’t you?’
   ‘Yes, Padre, we have been thinking about it. But to make you happy, we’ll think about it some more, and you’ll be the first person we’ll tell if we reach a new decision. And now, adios.’ Colonel Korn whirled away again and hurried up the stairs.
   ‘Colonel Korn!’ The chaplain’s cry made Colonel Korn stop once more. His head swung slowly around toward the chaplain with a look of morose impatience. Words gushed from the chaplain in a nervous torrent. ‘Sir, I would like your permission to take the matter to General Dreedle. I want to bring my protests to Wing Headquarters.’ Colonel Korn’s thick, dark jowls inflated unexpectedly with a suppressed guffaw, and it took him a moment to reply. ‘That’s all right, Padre,’ he answered with mischievous merriment, trying hard to keep a straight face. ‘You have my permission to speak to General Dreedle.’
   ‘Thank you, sir. I believe it only fair to warn you that I think I have some influence with General Dreedle.’
   ‘It’s good of you to warn me, Padre. And I believe it only fair to warn you that you won’t find General Dreedle at Wing.’ Colonel Korn grinned wickedly and then broke into triumphant laughter. ‘General Dreedle is out, Padre. And General Peckem is in. We have a new wing commander.’ The chaplain was stunned. ‘General Peckem!’
   ‘That’s right, Chaplain. Have you got any influence with him?’
   ‘Why, I don’t even know General Peckem,’ the chaplain protested wretchedly.
   Colonel Korn laughed again. ‘That’s too bad, Chaplain, because Colonel Cathcart knows him very well.’ Colonel Korn chuckled steadily with gloating relish for another second or two and then stopped abruptly. ‘And by the way, Padre,’ he warned coldly, poking his finger once into the chaplain’s chest. ‘The jig is up between you and Dr. Stubbs. We know very well he sent you up here to complain today.’
   ‘Dr. Stubbs?’ The chaplain shook his head in baffled protest. ‘I haven’t seen Dr. Stubbs, Colonel. I was brought here by three strange officers who took me down into the cellar without authority and questioned and insulted me.’ Colonel Korn poked the chaplain in the chest once more. ‘You know damned well Dr. Stubbs has been telling the men in his squadron they didn’t have to fly more than seventy missions.’ He laughed harshly. ‘Well, Padre, they do have to fly more than seventy missions, because we’re transferring Dr. Stubbs to the Pacific. So adios, Padre. Adios.’
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General Scheisskopf

   Dreedle was out, and General Peckem was in, and General Peckem had hardly moved inside General Dreedle’s office to replace him when his splendid military victory began falling to pieces around him.
   ‘General Scheisskopf?’ he inquired unsuspectingly of the sergeant in his new office who brought him word of the order that had come in that morning. ‘You mean Colonel Scheisskopf, don’t you?’
   ‘No, sir, General Scheisskopf He was promoted to general this morning, sir.’
   ‘Well, that’s certainly curious! Scheisskopf? A general? What grade?’
   ‘Lieutenant general, sir, and—’
   ‘Lieutenant general!’
   ‘Yes, sir, and he wants you to issue no orders to anyone in your command without first clearing them through him.’
   ‘Well, I’ll be damned,’ mused General Peckem with astonishment, swearing aloud for perhaps the first time in his life. ‘Cargill, did you hear that? Scheisskopf was promoted way up to lieutenant general. I’ll bet that promotion was intended for me and they gave it to him by mistake.’ Colonel Cargill had been rubbing his sturdy chin reflectively. ‘Why is he giving orders to us?’ General Peckem’s sleek, scrubbed, distinguished face tightened. ‘Yes, Sergeant,’ he said slowly with an uncomprehending frown. ‘Why is he issuing orders to us if he’s still in Special Services and we’re in combat operations?’
   ‘That’s another change that was made this morning, sir. All combat operations are now under the jurisdiction of Special Services. General Scheisskopf is our new commanding officer.’ General Peckem let out a sharp cry. ‘Oh, my God!’ he wailed, and all his practical composure went up in hysteria. ‘Scheisskopf in charge? Scheisskopf?’ He pressed his fists down on his eyes with horror. ‘Cargill, get me Wintergreen! Scheisskopf? Not Scheisskopf!’ All phones began ringing at once. A corporal ran in and saluted.
   ‘Sir, there’s a chaplain outside to see you with news of an injustice in Colonel Cathcart’s squadron.’
   ‘Send him away, send him away! We’ve got enough injustices of our own. Where’s Wintergreen?’
   ‘Sir, General Scheisskopf is on the phone. He wants to speak to you at once.’
   ‘Tell him I haven’t arrived yet. Good Lord!’ General Peckem screamed, as though struck by the enormity of the disaster for the first time. ‘Scheisskopf? The man’s a moron! I walked all over that blockhead, and now he’s my superior officer. Oh, my Lord! Cargill! Cargill, don’t desert me! Where’s Wintergreen?’
   ‘Sir, I have an ex-Sergeant Wintergreen on your other telephone. He’s been trying to reach you all morning.’
   ‘General, I can’t get Wintergreen,’ Colonel Cargill shouted, ‘His line is busy.’ General Peckem was perspiring freely as he lunged for the other telephone.
   ‘Wintergreen!’
   ‘Peckem, you son of a bitch—’
   ‘Wintergreen, have you heard what they’ve done?’
   ‘—what have you done, you stupid bastard?’
   ‘They put Scheisskopf in charge of everything!’ Wintergreen was shrieking with rage and panic. ‘You and your goddam memorandums! They’ve gone and transferred combat operations to Special Services!’
   ‘Oh, no,’ moaned General Peckem. ‘Is that what did it? My memoranda? Is that what made them put Scheisskopf in charge? Why didn’t they put me in charge?’
   ‘Because you weren’t in Special Services any more. You transferred out and left him in charge. And do you know what he wants? Do you know what the bastard wants us all to do?’
   ‘Sir, I think you’d better talk to General Scheisskopf,’ pleaded the sergeant nervously. ‘He insists on speaking to someone.’
   ‘Cargill, talk to Scheisskopf for me. I can’t do it. Find out what he wants.’ Colonel Cargill listened to General Scheisskopf for a moment and went white as a sheet. ‘Oh, my God!’ he cried, as the phone fell from his fingers. ‘Do you know what he wants? He wants us to march. He wants everybody to march!’
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Kid Sister

   Yossarian marched backward with his gun on his hip and refused to fly any more missions. He marched backward because he was continously spinning around as he walked to make certain no one was sneaking up on him from behind. Every sound to his rear was a warning, every person he passed a potential assassin. He kept his hand on his gun butt constantly and smiled at no one but Hungry Joe. He told Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren that he was through flying. Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren left his name off the flight schedule for the next mission and reported the matter to Group Headquarters.
   Colonel Korn laughed cahnly. ‘What the devil do you mean, he won’t fly more missions?’ he asked with a smile, as Colonel Cathcart crept away into a corner to brood about the sinister import of the name Yossarian popping up to plague him once again. ‘Why won’t he?’
   ‘His friend Nately was killed in the crash over Spezia. Maybe that’s why.’
   ‘Who does he think he is—Achilles?’ Colonel Korn was pleased with the simile and filed a mental reminder to repeat it the next time he found himself in General Peckem’s presence. ‘He has to fly more missions. He has no choice. Go back and tell him you’ll report the matter to us if he doesn’t change his mind.’
   ‘We already did tell him that, sir. It made no difference.’
   ‘What does Major Major say?’
   ‘We never see Major Major. He seems to have disappeared.’
   ‘I wish we could disappear him!’ Colonel Cathcart blurted out from the corner peevishly. ‘The way they did that fellow Dunbar.’
   ‘Oh, there are plenty of other ways we can handle this one,’ Colonel Korn assured him confidently, and continued to Piltchard and Wren, ‘Let’s begin with the kindest. Send him to Rome for a rest for a few days. Maybe this fellow’s death really did hurt him a bit.’ Nately’s death, in fact, almost killed Yossarian too, for when he broke the news to Nately’s whore in Rome she uttered a piercing, heartbroken shriek and tried to stab him to death with a potato peeler.
   ‘Bruto!’ she howled at him in hysterical fury as he bent her arm up around behind her back and twisted gradually until the potato peeler dropped from her grasp. ‘Bruto! Bruto!’ She lashed at him swiftly with the long-nailed fingers of her free hand and raked open his cheek. She spat in his face viciously.
   ‘What’s the matter?’ he screamed in stinging pain and bewilderment, flinging her away from him all the way across the room to the wall. ‘What do you want from me?’ She flew back at him with both fists flailing and bloodied his mouth with a solid punch before he was able to grab her wrists and hold her still. Her hair tossed wildly. Tears were streaming in single torrents from her flashing, hate-filled eyes as she struggled against him fiercely in an irrational frenzy of maddened might, snarling and cursing savagely and screaming ‘Bruto! Bruto!’ each time he tried to explain. Her great strength caught him off guard, and he lost his footing. She was nearly as tall as Yossarian, and for a few fantastic, terror-filled moments he was certain she would overpower him in her crazed determination, crush him to the ground and rip him apart mercilessly limb from limb for some heinous crime he had never committed. He wanted to yell for help as they strove against each other frantically in a grunting, panting stalemate, arm against arm. At last she weakened, and he was able to force her back and plead with her to let him talk, swearing to her that Nately’s death had not been his fault. She spat in his face again, and he pushed her away hard in disgusted anger and frustration. She hurled herself down toward the potato peeler the instant he released her. He flung himself down after her, and they rolled over each other on the floor several times before he could tear the potato peeler away. She tried to trip him with her hand as he scrambled to his feet and scratched an excruciating chunk out of his ankle. He hopped across the room in pain and threw the potato peeler out the window. He heaved a huge sigh of relief once he saw he was safe.
   ‘Now, please let me explain something to you,’ he cajoled in a mature, reasoning, earnest voice.
   She kicked him in the groin. Whoosh! went the air out of him, and he sank down on his side with a shrill and ululating cry, doubled up over his knees in chaotic agony and retching for breath. Nately’s whore ran from the room. Yossarian staggered up to his feet not a moment too soon, for she came charging back in from the kitchen carrying a long bread knife. A moan of incredulous dismay wafted from his lips as, still clutching his throbbing, tender, burning bowels in both hands, he dropped his full weight down against her shins and knocked her legs out from under her. She flipped completely over his head and landed on the floor on her elbows with a jarring thud. The knife skittered free, and he slapped it out of sight under the bed. She tried to lunge after it, and he seized her by the arm and yanked her up. She tried to kick him in the groin again, and he slung her away with a violent oath of his own. She slammed into the wall off balance and smashed a chair over into a vanity table covered with combs, hairbrushes and cosmetic jars that all went crashing off. A framed picture fell to the floor at the other end of the room, the glass front shattering.
   ‘What do you want from me?’ he yelled at her in whining and exasperated confusion. ‘I didn’t kill him.’ She hurled a heavy glass ash tray at his head. He made a fist and wanted to punch her in the stomach when she came charging at him again, but he was afraid he might harm her. He wanted to clip her very neatly on the point of the jaw and run from the room, but there was no clear target, and he merely skipped aside neatly at the last second and helped her along past him with a strong shove. She banged hard against the other wall. Now she was blocking the door. She threw a large vase at him. Then she came at him with a full wine bottle and struck him squarely on the temple, knocking him down half-stunned on one knee. His ears were buzzing, his whole face was numb. More than anything else, he was embarrassed. He felt awkward because she was going to murder him. He simply did not understand what was going on. He had no idea what to do. But he did know he had to save himself, and he catapulted forward off the floor when he saw her raise the wine bottle to clout him again and barreled into her midriff before she could strike him. He had momentum, and he propelled her before him backward in his driving rush until her knees buckled against the side of the bed and she fell over onto the mattress with Yossarian sprawled on top of her between her legs. She plunged her nails into the side of his neck and gouged as he worked his way up the supple, full hills and ledges of her rounded body until he covered her completely and pressed her into submission, his fingers pursuing her thrashing arm persistently until they arrived at the wine bottle finally and wrenched it free. She was still kicking and cursing and scratching ferociously. She tried to bite him cruelly, her coarse, sensual lips stretched back over her teeth like an enraged omnivorous beast’s. Now that she lay captive beneath him, he wondered how he would ever escape her without leaving himself vulnerable. He could feel the tensed, straddling inside of her buffeting thighs and knees squeezing and churning around one of his legs. He was stirred by thoughts of sex that made him ashamed. He was conscious of the voluptuous flesh of her firm, young-woman’s body straining and beating against him like a humid, fluid, delectable, unyielding tide, her belly and warm, live, plastic breasts thrusting upward against him vigorously in sweet and menacing temptation. Her breath was scalding. All at once he realized—though the writhing turbulence beneath him had not diminished one whit—that she was no longer grappling with him, recognized with a quiver that she was not fighting him but heaving her pelvis up against him remorselessly in the primal, powerful, rhapsodic instinctual rhythm of erotic ardor and abandonment. He gasped in delighted surprise. Her face—as beautiful as a blooming flower to him now—was distorted with a new kind of torture, the tissues serenely swollen, her half-closed eyes misty and unseeing with the stultifying languor of desire.
   ‘Caro,’ she murmured hoarsely as though from the depths of a tranquil and luxurious trance. ‘Ooooh, caro mio.’ He stroked her hair. She drove her mouth against his face with savage passion. He licked her neck. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged. He felt himself falling, falling ecstatically in love with her as she kissed him again and again with lips that were steaming and wet and soft and hard, mumbling deep sounds to him adoringly in an incoherent oblivion of rapture, one caressing hand on his back slipping deftly down inside his trouser belt while the other groped secretly and treacherously about on the floor for the bread knife and found it. He saved himself just in time. She still wanted to kill him! He was shocked and astounded by her depraved subteruge as he tore the knife from her grasp and hurled it away. He bounded out of the bed to his feet. His face was agog with befuddlement and disillusion. He did not know whether to dart through the door to freedom or collapse on the bed to fall in love with her and place himself abjectly at her mercy again. She spared him from doing either by bursting unpredictably into tears. He was stunned again.
   This time she wept with no other emotion than grief, profound, debilitating, humble grief, forgetting all about him. Her desolation was pathetic as she sat with her tempestuous, proud, lovely head bowed, her shoulders sagging, her spirit melting. This time there was no mistaking her anguish. Great racking sobs choked and shook her. She was no longer aware of him, no longer cared. He could have walked from the room safely then. But he chose to remain and console and help her.
   ‘Please,’ he urged her inarticulately with his arm about her shoulders, recollecting with pained sadness how inarticulate and enfeebled he had felt in the plane coming back from Avignon when Snowden kept whimpering to him that he was cold, he was cold, and all Yossarian could offer him in return was ‘There, there. There, there.’
   ‘Please,’ he repeated to her sympathetically. ‘Please, please.’ She rested against him and cried until she seemed too weak to cry any longer, and did not look at him once until he extended his handkerchief when she had finished. She wiped her cheeks with a tiny, polite smile and gave the handkerchief back, murmuring ‘Grazie, grazie’ with meek, maidenly propriety, and then, without any warning whatsoever of a change in mood, clawed suddenly at his eyes with both hands. She landed with each and let out a victorious shriek.
   ‘Ha! Assassino!’ she hooted, and raced joyously across the room for the bread knife to finish him off.
   Half blinded, he rose and stumbled after her. A noise behind him made him turn. His senses reeled in horror at what he saw. Nately’s whore’s kid sister, of all people, was coming after him with another long bread knife!
   ‘Oh, no,’ he wailed with a shudder, and he knocked the knife out of her hand with a sharp downward blow on her wrist. He lost patience entirely with the whole grotesque and incomprehensible melee. There was no telling who might lunge at him next through the doorway with another long bread knife, and he lifted Nately’s whore’s kid sister off the floor, threw her at Nately’s whore and ran out of the room, out of the apartment and down the stairs. The two girls chased out into the hall after him. He heard their footsteps lag farther and farther behind as he fled and then cease altogether. He heard sobbing directly overhead. Glancing backward up the stair well, he spied Nately’s whore sitting in a heap on one of the steps, weeping with her face in both hands, while her pagan, irrepressible kid sister hung dangerously over the banister shouting ‘Bruto! Bruto!’ down at him happily and brandished her bread knife at him as though it were an exciting new toy she was eager to use.
   Yossarian escaped, but kept looking back over his shoulder anxiously as he retreated through the street. People stared at him strangely, making him more apprehensive. He walked in nervous haste, wondering what there was in his appearance that caught everyone’s attention. When he touched his hand to a sore spot on his forehead, his fingers turned gooey with blood, and he understood. He dabbed his face and neck with a handkerchief. Wherever it pressed, he picked up new red smudges. He was bleeding everywhere. He hurried into the Red Cross building and down the two steep flights of white marble stairs to the men’s washroom, where he cleansed and nursed his innumerable visible wounds with cold water and soap and straightened his shirt collar and combed his hair. He had never seen a face so badly bruised and scratched as the one still blinking back at him in the mirror with a dazed and startled uneasiness. What on earth had she wanted from him?
   When he left the men’s room, Nately’s whore was waiting outside in ambush. She was crouched against the wall near the bottom of the staircase and came pouncing down upon him like a hawk with a glittering silver steak knife in her fist. He broke the brunt of her assault with his upraised elbow and punched her neatly on the jaw. Her eyes rolled. He caught her before she dropped and sat her down gently. Then he ran up the steps and out of the building and spent the next three hours hunting through the city for Hungry Joe so that he could get away from Rome before she could find him again. He did not feel really safe until the plane had taken off. When they landed in Pianosa, Nately’s whore, disguised in a mechanic’s green overalls, was waiting with her steak knife exactly where the plane stopped, and all that saved him as she stabbed at his chest in her leather-soled high-heeled shoes was the gravel underfoot that made her feet roll out from under her. Yossarian, astounded, hauled her up into the plane and held her motionless on the floor in a double armlock while Hungry Joe radioed the control tower for permission to return to Rome. At the airport in Rome, Yossarian dumped her out of the plane on the taxi strip, and Hungry Joe took right off for Pianosa again without even cutting his engines. Scarcely breathing, Yossarian scrutinized every figure warily as he and Hungry Joe walked back through the squadron toward their tents. Hungry Joe eyed him steadily with a funny expression.
   ‘Are you sure you didn’t imagine the whole thing?’ Hungry Joe inquired hesitantly after a while.
   ‘Imagine it? You were right there with me, weren’t you? You just flew her back to Rome.’
   ‘Maybe I imagined the whole thing, too. Why does she want to kill you for?’
   ‘She never did like me. Maybe it’s because I broke his nose, or maybe it’s because I was the only one in sight she could hate when she got the news. Do you think she’ll come back?’ Yossarian went to the officers’ club that night and stayed very late. He kept a leery eye out for Nately’s whore as he approached his tent. He stopped when he saw her hiding in the bushes around the side, gripping a huge carving knife and all dressed up to look like a Pianosan farmer. Yossarian tiptoed around the back noiselessly and seized her from behind.
   ‘Caramba!’ she exclaimed in a rage, and resisted like a wildcat as he dragged her inside the tent and hurled her down on the floor.
   ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ queried one of his roommates drowsily.
   ‘Hold her till I get back,’ Yossarian ordered, yanking him out of bed on top of her and running out. ‘Hold her!’
   ‘Let me kill him and I’ll ficky-fick you all,’ she offered.
   The other roommates leaped out of their cots when they saw it was a girl and tried to make her ficky-fick them all first as Yossarian ran to get Hungry Joe, who was sleeping like a baby. Yossarian lifted Huple’s cat off Hungry Joe’s face and shook him awake. Hungry Joe dressed rapidly. This time they flew the plane north and turned in over Italy far behind the enemy lines. When they were over level land, they strapped a parachute on Nately’s whore and shoved her out the escape hatch. Yossarian was positive that he was at last rid of her and was relieved. As he approached his tent back in Pianosa, a figure reared up in the darkness right beside the path, and he fainted. He came to sitting on the ground and waited for the knife to strike him, almost welcoming the mortal blow for the peace it would bring. A friendly hand helped him up instead. It belonged to a pilot in Dunbar’s squadron.
   ‘How are you doing?’ asked the pilot, whispering.
   ‘Pretty good,’ Yossarian answered.
   ‘I saw you fall down just now. I thought something happened to you.’
   ‘I think I fainted.’
   ‘There’s a rumor in my squadron that you told them you weren’t going to fly any more combat missions.’
   ‘That’s the truth.’
   ‘Then they came around from Group and told us that the rumor wasn’t true, that you were just kidding around.’
   ‘That was a lie.’
   ‘Do you think they’ll let you get away with it?’
   ‘I don’t know.’
   ‘What will they do to you?’
   ‘I don’t know.’
   ‘Do you think they’ll court-martial you for desertion in the face of the enemy?’
   ‘I don’t know.’
   ‘I hope you get away with it,’ said the pilot in Dunbar’s squadron, stealing out of sight into the shadows. ‘Let me know how you’re doing.’ Yossarian stared after him a few seconds and continued toward his tent.
   ‘Pssst!’ said a voice a few paces onward. It was Appleby, hiding in back of a tree. ‘How are you doing?’
   ‘Pretty good,’ said Yossarian.
   ‘I heard them say they were going to threaten to court-martial you for deserting in the face of the enemy. But that they wouldn’t try to go through with it because they’re not even sure they’ve got a case against you on that. And because it might make them look bad with the new commanders. Besides, you’re still a pretty big hero for going around twice over the bridge at Ferrara. I guess you’re just about the biggest hero we’ve got now in the group. I just thought you’d like to know that they’ll only be bluffing.’
   ‘Thanks, Appleby.’
   ‘That’s the only reason I started talking to you, to warn you.’
   ‘I appreciate it.’ Appleby scuffed the toes of his shoes into the ground sheepishly. ‘I’m sorry we had that fist fight in the officers’ club, Yossarian.’
   ‘That’s all right.’
   ‘But I didn’t start it. I guess that was Orr’s fault for hitting me in the face with his ping-pong paddle. What’d he want to do that for?’
   ‘You were beating him.’
   ‘Wasn’t I supposed to beat him? Isn’t that the point? Now that he’s dead, I guess it doesn’t matter any more whether I’m a better ping-pong player or not, does it?’
   ‘I guess not.’
   ‘And I’m sorry about making such a fuss about those Atabrine tablets on the way over. If you want to catch malaria, I guess it’s your business, isn’t it?’
   ‘That’s all right, Appleby.’
   ‘But I was only trying to do my duty. I was obeying orders. I was always taught that I had to obey orders.’
   ‘That’s all right.’
   ‘You know, I said to Colonel Korn and Colonel Cathcart that I didn’t think they ought to make you fly any more missions if you didn’t want to, and they said they were very disappointed in me.’ Yossarian smiled with rueful amusement. ‘I’ll bet they are.’
   ‘Well, I don’t care. Hell, you’ve flown seventy-one. That ought to be enough. Do you think they’ll let you get away with it?’
   ‘No.’
   ‘Say, if they do let you get away with it, they’ll have to let the rest of us get away with it, won’t they?’
   ‘That’s why they can’t let me get away with it.’
   ‘What do you think they’ll do?’
   ‘I don’t know.’
   ‘Do you think they will try to court-martial you?’
   ‘I don’t know.’
   ‘Are you afraid?’
   ‘Yes.’
   ‘Are you going to fly more missions?’
   ‘No.’
   ‘I hope you do get away with it,’ Appleby whispered with conviction. ‘I really do.’
   ‘Thanks, Appleby.’
   ‘I don’t feel too happy about flying so many missions either now that it looks as though we’ve got the war won. I’ll let you know if I hear anything else.’
   ‘Thanks, Appleby.’
   ‘Hey!’ called a muted, peremptory voice from the leafless shrubs growing beside his tent in a waist-high clump after Appleby had gone. Havermeyer was hiding there in a squat. He was eating peanut brittle, and his pimples and large, oily pores looked like dark scales. ‘How you doing?’ he asked when Yossarian had walked to him.
   ‘Pretty good.’
   ‘Are you going to fly more missions?’
   ‘No.’
   ‘Suppose they try to make you?’
   ‘I won’t let them.’
   ‘Are you yellow?’
   ‘Yes.’
   ‘Will they court-martial you?’
   ‘They’ll probably try.’
   ‘What did Major Major say?’
   ‘Major Major’s gone.’
   ‘Did they disappear him?’
   ‘I don’t know.’
   ‘What will you do if they decide to disappear you?’
   ‘I’ll try to stop them.’
   ‘Didn’t they offer you any deals or anything if you did fly?’
   ‘Piltchard and Wren said they’d arrange things so I’d only go on milk runs.’ Havermeyer perked up. ‘Say, that sounds like a pretty good deal. I wouldn’t mind a deal like that myself. I bet you snapped it up.’
   ‘I turned it down.’
   ‘That was dumb.’ Havermeyer’s stolid, dull face furrowed with consternation. ‘Say, a deal like that wasn’t so fair to the rest of us, was it? If you only flew on milk runs, then some of us would have to fly your share of the dangerous missions, wouldn’t we?’
   ‘That’s right.’
   ‘Say, I don’t like that,’ Havermeyer exclaimed, rising resentfully with his hands clenched on his hips. ‘I don’t like that a bit. That’s a real royal screwing they’re getting ready to give me just because you’re too goddam yellow to fly any more missions, isn’t it?’
   ‘Take it up with them,’ said Yossarian and moved his hand to his gun vigilantly.
   ‘No, I’m not blaming you,’ said Havermeyer, ‘even though I don’t like you. You know, I’m not too happy about flying so many missions any more either. Isn’t there some way I can get out of it, too?’ Yossarian snickered ironically and joked, ‘Put a gun on and start marching with me.’ Havermeyer shook his head thoughtfully. ‘Nah, I couldn’t do that. I might bring some disgrace on my wife and kid if I acted like a coward. Nobody likes a coward. Besides, I want to stay in the reserves when the war is over. You get five hundred dollars a year if you stay in the reserves.’
   ‘Then fly more missions.’
   ‘Yeah, I guess I have to. Say, do you think there’s any chance they might take you off combat duty and send you home?’
   ‘No.’
   ‘But if they do and let you take one person with you, will you pick me? Don’t pick anyone like Appleby. Pick me.’
   ‘Why in the world should they do something like that?’
   ‘I don’t know. But if they do, just remember that I asked you first, will you? And let me know how you’re doing. I’ll wait for you here in these bushes every night. Maybe if they don’t do anything bad to you, I won’t fly any more missions either. Okay?’ All the next evening, people kept popping up at him out of the darkness to ask him how he was doing, appealing to him for confidential information with weary, troubled faces on the basis of some morbid and clandestine kinship he had not guessed existed. People in the squadron he barely knew popped into sight out of nowhere as he passed and asked him how he was doing. Even men from other squadrons came one by one to conceal themselves in the darkness and pop out. Everywhere he stepped after sundown someone was lying in wait to pop out and ask him how he was doing. People popped out at him from trees and bushes, from ditches and tall weeds, from around the corners of tents and from behind the fenders of parked cars. Even one of his roommates popped out to ask him how he was doing and pleaded with him not to tell any of his other roommates he had popped out. Yossarian drew near each beckoning, overly cautious silhouette with his hand on his gun, never knowing which hissing shadow would finally turn dishonestly into Nately’s whore or, worse, into some duly constituted governmental authority sent to club him ruthlessly into insensibility. It began to look as if they would have to do something like that. They did not want to court-martial him for desertion in the face of the enemy because a hundred and thirty-five miles away from the enemy could hardly be called the face of the enemy, and because Yossarian was the one who had finally knocked down the bridge at Ferrara by going around twice over the target and killing Kraft—he was always almost forgetting Kraft when he counted the dead men he knew. But they had to do something to him, and everyone waited grimly to see what horrible thing it would be.
   During the day, they avoided him, even Aarfy, and Yossarian understood that they were different people together in daylight than they were alone in the dark. He did not care about them at all as he walked about backward with his hand on his gun and awaited the latest blandishments, threats and inducements from Group each time Captains Piltchard and Wren drove back from another urgent conference with Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn. Hungry Joe was hardly around, and the only other person who ever spoke to him was Captain Black, who called him ‘Old Blood and Guts’ in a merry, taunting voice each time he hailed him and who came back from Rome toward the end of the week to tell him Nately’s whore was gone. Yossarian turned sorry with a stab of yearning and remorse. He missed her.
   ‘Gone?’ he echoed in a hollow tone.
   ‘Yeah, gone.’ Captain Black laughed, his bleary eyes narrow with fatigue and his peaked, sharp face sprouting as usual with a sparse reddish-blond stubble. He rubbed the bags under his eyes with both fists. ‘I thought I might as well give the stupid broad another boff just for old times’ sake as long as I was in Rome anyway. You know, just to keep that kid Nately’s body spinning in his grave, ha, ha! Remember the way I used to needle him? But the place was empty.’
   ‘Was there any word from her?’ prodded Yossarian, who had been brooding incessantly about the girl, wondering how much she was suffering, and feeling almost lonely and deserted without her ferocious and unappeasable attacks.
   ‘There’s no one there,’ Captain Black exclaimed cheerfully, trying to make Yossarian understand. ‘Don’t you understand? They’re all gone. The whole place is busted.’
   ‘Gone?’
   ‘Yeah, gone. Flushed right out into the street.’ Captain Black chuckled heartily again, and his pointed Adam’s apple jumped up and down with glee inside his scraggly neck. ‘The joint’s empty. The M.P.s busted the whole apartment up and drove the whores right out. Ain’t that a laugh?’ Yossarian was scared and began to tremble. ‘Why’d they do that?’
   ‘What difference does it make? responded Captain Black with an exuberant gesture. ‘They flushed them right out into the street. How do you like that? The whole batch.’
   ‘What about the kid sister?’
   ‘Flushed away,’ laughed Captain Black. ‘Flushed away with the rest of the broads. Right out into the street.’
   ‘But she’s only a kid!’ Yossarian objected passionately. ‘She doesn’t know anybody else in the whole city. What’s going to happen to her?’
   ‘What the hell do I care?’ responded Captain Black with an indifferent shrug, and then gawked suddenly at Yossarian with surprise and with a crafty gleam of prying elation. ‘Say, what’s the matter? If I knew this was going to make you so unhappy, I would have come right over and told you, just to make you eat your liver. Hey, where are you going? Come on back! Come on back here and eat your liver!’
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The Eternal City

   Yossarian was going absent without official leave with Milo, who, as the plane cruised toward Rome, shook his head reproachfully and, with pious lips pulsed, informed Yossarian in ecclesiastical tones that he was ashamed of him. Yossarian nodded. Yossarian was making an uncouth spectacle of himself by walking around backward with his gun on his hip and refusing to fly more combat missions, Milo said. Yossarian nodded. It was disloyal to his squadron and embarrassing to his superiors. He was placing Milo in a very uncomfortable position, too. Yossarian nodded again. The men were starting to grumble. It was not fair for Yossarian to think only of his own safety while men like Milo, Colonel Cathcart, Colonel Korn and ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen were willing to do everything they could to win the war. The men with seventy missions were starring to grumble because they had to fly eighty, and there was a danger some of them might put on guns and begin walking around backward, too. Morale was deteriorating and it was all Yossarian’s fault. The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.
   Yossarian kept nodding in the co-pilot’s seat and tried not to listen as Milo prattled on. Nately’s whore was on his mind, as were Kraft and Orr and Nately and Dunbar, and Kid Sampson and McWatt, and all the poor and stupid and diseased people he had seen in Italy, Egypt and North Africa and knew about in other areas of the world, and Snowden and Nately’s whore’s kid sister were on his conscience, too. Yossarian thought he knew why Nately’s whore held him responsible for Nately’s death and wanted to kill him. Why the hell shouldn’t she? It was a man’s world, and she and everyone younger had every right to blame him and everyone older for every unnatural tragedy that befell them; just as she, even in her grief, was to blame for every man-made misery that landed on her kid sister and on all other children behind her. Someone had to do something sometime. Every victim was a culprit, every culprit a victim, and somebody had to stand up sometime to try to break the lousy chain of inherited habit that was imperiling them all. In parts of Africa little boys were still stolen away by adult slave traders and sold for money to men who disemboweled them and ate them. Yossarian marveled that children could suffer such barbaric sacrifice without evincing the slightest hint of fear or pain. He took it for granted that they did submit so stoically. If not, he reasoned, the custom would certainly have died, for no craving for wealth or immortality could be so great, he felt, as to subsist on the sorrow of children.
   He was rocking the boat, Milo said, and Yossarian nodded once more. He was not a good member of the team, Milo said. Yossarian nodded and listened to Milo tell him that the decent thing to do if he did not like the way Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn were running the group was go to Russia, instead of stirring up trouble. Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn had both been very good to Yossarian, Milo said; hadn’t they given him a medal after the last mission to Ferrara and promoted him to captain? Yossarian nodded. Didn’t they feed him and give him his pay every month? Yossarian nodded again. Milo was sure they would be charitable if he went to them to apologize and recant and promise to fly eighty missions. Yossarian said he would think it over, and held his breath and prayed for a safe landing as Milo dropped his wheels and glided in toward the runway. It was funny how he had really come to detest flying.
   Rome was in ruins, he saw, when the plane was down. The airdrome had been bombed eight months before, and knobby slabs of white stone rubble had been bulldozed into flat-topped heaps on both sides of the entrance through the wire fence surrounding the field. The Colosseum was a dilapidated shell, and the Arch of Constantine had fallen. Nately’s whore’s apartment was a shambles. The girls were gone, and the only one there was the old woman. The windows in the apartment had been smashed. She was bundled up in sweaters and skirts and wore a dark shawl about her head. She sat on a wooden chair near an electric hot plate, her arms folded, boiling water in a battered aluminum pot. She was talking aloud to herself when Yossarian entered and began moaning as soon as she saw him.
   ‘Gone,’ she moaned before he could even inquire. Holding her elbows, she rocked back and forth mournfully on her creaking chair. ‘Gone.’
   ‘Who?’
   ‘All. All the poor young girls.’
   ‘Where?’
   ‘Away. Chased away into the street. All of them gone. All the poor young girls.’
   ‘Chased away by who? Who did it?’
   ‘The mean tall soldiers with the hard white hats and clubs. And by our carabinieri. They came with their clubs and chased them away. They would not even let them take their coats. The poor things. They just chased them away into the cold.’
   ‘Did they arrest them?’
   ‘They chased them away. They just chased them away.’
   ‘Then why did they do it if they didn’t arrest them?’
   ‘I don’t know,’ sobbed the old woman. ‘I don’t know. Who will take care of me? Who will take care of me now that all the poor young girls are gone? Who will take care of me?’
   ‘There must have been a reason,’ Yossarian persisted, pounding his fist into his hand. ‘They couldn’t just barge in here and chase everyone out.’
   ‘No reason,’ wailed the old woman. ‘No reason.’
   ‘What right did they have?’
   ‘Catch-22.’
   ‘What?’ Yossarian froze in his tracks with fear and alarm and felt his whole body begin to tingle. ‘What did you say?’
   ‘Catch-22’ the old woman repeated, rocking her head up and down. ‘Catch-22. Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.’
   ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ Yossarian shouted at her in bewildered, furious protest. ‘How did you know it was Catch-22? Who the hell told you it was Catch-22?’
   ‘The soldiers with the hard white hats and clubs. The girls were crying. "Did we do anything wrong?" they said. The men said no and pushed them away out the door with the ends of their clubs. "Then why are you chasing us out?" the girls said. "Catch-22," the men said. "What right do you have?" the girls said. "Catch-22," the men said. All they kept saying was "Catch-22, Catch-22." What does it mean, Catch-22? What is Catch-22?’
   ‘Didn’t they show it to you?’ Yossarian demanded, stamping about in anger and distress. ‘Didn’t you even make them read it?’
   ‘They don’t have to show us Catch-22,’ the old woman answered. ‘The law says they don’t have to.’
   ‘What law says they don’t have to?’
   ‘Catch-22.’
   ‘Oh, God damn!’ Yossarian exclaimed bitterly. ‘I bet it wasn’t even really there.’ He stopped walking and glanced about the room disconsolately. ‘Where’s the old man?’
   ‘Gone,’ mourned the old woman.
   ‘Gone?’
   ‘Dead,’ the old woman told him, nodding in emphatic lament, pointing to her head with the flat of her hand. ‘Something broke in here. One minute he was living, one minute he was dead.’
   ‘But he can’t be dead!’ Yossarian cried, ready to argue insistently. But of course he knew it was true, knew it was logical and true; once again the old man had marched along with the majority.
   Yossarian turned away and trudged through the apartment with a gloomy scowl, peering with pessimistic curiosity into all the rooms. Everything made of glass had been smashed by the men with the clubs. Torn drapes and bedding lay dumped on the floor. Chairs, tables and dressers had been overturned. Everything breakable had been broken. The destruction was total. No wild vandals could have been more thorough. Every window was smashed, and darkness poured like inky clouds into each room through the shattered panes. Yossarian could imagine the heavy, crashing footfalls of the tall M.P.s in the hard white hats. He could picture the fiery and malicious exhilaration with which they had made their wreckage, and their sanctimonious, ruthless sense of right and dedication. All the poor young girls were gone. Everyone was gone but the weeping old woman in the bulky brown and gray sweaters and black head shawl, and soon she too would be gone.
   ‘Gone,’ she grieved, when he walked back in, before he could even speak. ‘Who will take care of me now?’ Yossarian ignored the question. ‘Nately’s girl friend—did anyone hear from her?’ he asked.
   ‘Gone.’
   ‘I know she’s gone. But did anyone hear from her? Does anyone know where she is?’
   ‘Gone.’
   ‘The little sister. What happened to her?’
   ‘Gone.’ The old woman’s tone had not changed.
   ‘Do you know what I’m talking about?’ Yossarian asked sharply, staring into her eyes to see if she were not speaking to him from a coma. He raised his voice. ‘What happened to the kid sister, to the little girl?’
   ‘Gone, gone,’ the old woman replied with a crabby shrug, irritated by his persistence, her low wail growing louder. ‘Chased away with the rest, chased away into the street. They would not even let her take her coat.’
   ‘Where did she go?’
   ‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’
   ‘Who will take care of her?’
   ‘Who will take care of me?’
   ‘She doesn’t know anybody else, does she?’
   ‘Who will take care of me?’ Yossarian left money in the old woman’s lap—it was odd how many wrongs leaving money seemed to right—and strode out of the apartment, cursing Catch-22 vehemently as he descended the stairs, even though he knew there was no such thing. Catch-22 did not exist, he was positive of that, but it made no difference. What did matter was that everyone thought it existed, and that was much worse, for there was no object or text to ridicule or refute, to accuse, criticize, attack, amend, hate, revile, spit at, rip to shreds, trample upon or burn up.
   It was cold outside, and dark, and a leaky, insipid mist lay swollen in the air and trickled down the large, unpolished stone blocks of the houses and the pedestals of monuments. Yossarian hurried back to Milo and recanted. He said he was sorry and, knowing he was lying, promised to fly as many more missions as Colonel Cathcart wanted if Milo would only use all his influence in Rome to help him locate Nately’s whore’s kid sister.
   ‘She’s just a twelve-year-old virgin, Milo,’ he explained anxiously, ‘and I want to find her before it’s too late.’ Milo responded to his request with a benign smile. ‘I’ve got just the twelve-year-old virgin you’re looking for,’ he announced jubilantly. ‘This twelve-year-old virgin is really only thirty-four, but she was brought up on a low-protein diet by very strict parents and didn’t start sleeping with men until—’
   ‘ Milo, I’m talking about a little girl!’ Yossarian interrupted him with desperate impatience. ‘Don’t you understand? I don’t want to sleep with her. I want to help her. You’ve got daughters. She’s just a little kid, and she’s all alone in this city with no one to take care of her. I want to protect her from harm. Don’t you know what I’m talking about?’ Milo did understand and was deeply touched. ‘Yossarian, I’m proud of you,’ he exclaimed with profound emotion. ‘I really am. You don’t know how glad I am to see that everything isn’t always just sex with you. You’ve got principles. Certainly I’ve got daughters, and I know exactly what you’re talking about. We’ll find that girl if we have to turn this whole city upside down. Come along.’ Yossarian went along in Milo Minderbinder’s speeding M & M staff car to police headquarters to meet a swarthy, untidy police commissioner with a narrow black mustache and unbuttoned tunic who was fiddling with a stout woman with warts and two chins when they entered his office and who greeted Milo with warm surprise and bowed and scraped in obscene servility as though Milo were some elegant marquis.
   ‘Ah, Marchese Milo,’ he declared with effusive pleasure, pushing the fat, disgruntled woman out the door without even looking toward her. ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were coming? I would have a big party for you. Come in, come in, Marchese. You almost never visit us any more.’ Milo knew that there was not one moment to waste. ‘Hello, Luigi,’ he said, nodding so briskly that he almost seemed rude. ‘Luigi, I need your help. My friend here wants to find a girl.’
   ‘A girl, Marchese?’ said Luigi, scratching his face pensively. ‘There are lots of girls in Rome. For an American officer, a girl should not be too difficult.’
   ‘No, Luigi, you don’t understand. This is a twelve-year-old virgin that he has to find right away.’
   ‘Ah, yes, now I understand,’ Luigi said sagaciously. ‘A virgin might take a little time. But if he waits at the bus terminal where the young farm girls looking for work arrive, I—’
   ‘Luigi, you still don’t understand,’ Milo snapped with such brusque impatience that the police commissioner’s face flushed and he jumped to attention and began buttoning his uniform in confusion. ‘This girl is a friend, an old friend of the family, and we want to help her. She’s only a child. She’s all alone in this city somewhere, and we have to find her before somebody harms her. Now do you understand? Luigi, this is very important to me. I have a daughter the same age as that little girl, and nothing in the world means more to me right now than saving that poor child before it’s too late. Will you help?’
   ‘Si, Marchese, now I understand,’ said Luigi. ‘And I will do everything in my power to find her. But tonight I have almost no men. Tonight all my men are busy trying to break up the traffic in illegal tobacco.’
   ‘Illegal tobacco?’ asked Milo.
   ‘ Milo,’ Yossarian bleated faintly with a sinking heart, sensing at once that all was lost.
   ‘Si, Marchese,’ said Luigi. ‘The profit in illegal tobacco is so high that the smuggling is almost impossible to control.’
   ‘Is there really that much profit in illegal tobacco?’ Milo inquired with keen interest, his rust-colored eyebrows arching avidly and his nostrils sniffing.
   ‘ Milo,’ Yossarian called to him. ‘Pay attention to me, will you?’
   ‘Si, Marchese,’ Luigi answered. ‘The profit in illegal tobacco is very high. The smuggling is a national scandal, Marchese, truly a national disgrace.’
   ‘Is that a fact?’ Milo observed with a preoccupied smile and started toward the door as though in a spell.
   ‘ Milo!’ Yossarian yelled, and bounded forward impulsively to intercept him. ‘ Milo, you’ve got to help me.’
   ‘Illegal tobacco,’ Milo explained to him with a look of epileptic lust, struggling doggedly to get by. ‘Let me go. I’ve got to smuggle illegal tobacco.’
   ‘Stay here and help me find her,’ pleaded Yossarian. ‘You can smuggle illegal tobacco tomorrow.’ But Milo was deaf and kept pushing forward, nonviolently but irresistibly, sweating, his eyes, as though he were in the grip of a blind fixation, burning feverishly, and his twitching mouth slavering. He moaned calmly as though in remote, instinctive distress and kept repeating, ‘Illegal tobacco, illegal tobacco.’ Yossarian stepped out of the way with resignation finally when he saw it was hopeless to try to reason with him. Milo was gone like a shot. The commissioner of police unbuttoned his tunic again and looked at Yossarian with contempt.
   ‘What do you want here?’ he asked coldly. ‘Do you want me to arrest you?’ Yossarian walked out of the office and down the stairs into the dark, tomblike street, passing in the hall the stout woman with warts and two chins, who was already on her way back in. There was no sign of Milo outside. There were no lights in any of the windows. The deserted sidewalk rose steeply and continuously for several blocks. He could see the glare of a broad avenue at the top of the long cobblestone incline. The police station was almost at the bottom; the yellow bulbs at the entrance sizzled in the dampness like wet torches. A frigid, fine rain was falling. He began walking slowly, pushing uphill. Soon he came to a quiet, cozy, inviting restaurant with red velvet drapes in the windows and a blue neon sign near the door that said: TONY’S RESTAURANT FINE FOOD AND DRINK. KEEP OUT. The words on the blue neon sign surprised him mildly for only an instant. Nothing warped seemed bizarre any more in his strange, distorted surroundings. The tops of the sheer buildings slanted in weird, surrealistic perspective, and the street seemed tilted. He raised the collar of his warm woolen coat and hugged it around him. The night was raw. A boy in a thin shirt and thin tattered trousers walked out of the darkness on bare feet. The boy had black hair and needed a haircut and shoes and socks. His sickly face was pale and sad. His feet made grisly, soft, sucking sounds in the rain puddles on the wet pavement as he passed, and Yossarian was moved by such intense pity for his poverty that he wanted to smash his pale, sad, sickly face with his fist and knock him out of existence because he brought to mind all the pale, sad, sickly children in Italy that same night who needed haircuts and needed shoes and socks. He made Yossarian think of cripples and of cold and hungry men and women, and of all the dumb, passive, devout mothers with catatonic eyes nursing infants outdoors that same night with chilled animal udders bared insensibly to that same raw rain. Cows. Almost on cue, a nursing mother padded past holding an infant in black rags, and Yossarian wanted to smash her too, because she reminded him of the barefoot boy in the thin shirt and thin, tattered trousers and of all the shivering, stupefying misery in a world that never yet had provided enough heat and food and justice for all but an ingenious and unscrupulous handful. What a lousy earth! He wondered how many people were destitute that same night even in his own prosperous country, how many homes were shanties, how many husbands were drunk and wives socked, and how many children were bullied, abused or abandoned. How many families hungered for food they could not afford to buy? How many hearts were broken? How many suicides would take place that same night, how many people would go insane? How many cockroaches and landlords would triumph? How many winners were losers, successes failures, rich men poor men? How many wise guys were stupid? How many happy endings were unhappy endings? How many honest men were liars, brave men cowards, loyal men traitors, how many sainted men were corrupt, how many people in positions of trust had sold their souls to blackguards for petty cash, how many had never had souls? How many straight-and-narrow paths were crooked paths? How many best families were worst families and how many good people were bad people? When you added them all up and then subtracted, you might be left with only the children, and perhaps with Albert Einstein and an old violinist or sculptor somewhere. Yossarian walked in lonely torture, feeling estranged, and could not wipe from his mind the excruciating image of the barefoot boy with sickly cheeks until he turned the corner into the avenue finally and came upon an Allied soldier having convulsions on the ground, a young lieutenant with a small, pale, boyish face. Six other soldiers from different countries wrestled with different parts of him, striving to help him and hold him still. He yelped and groaned unintelligibly through clenched teeth, his eyes rolled up into his head. ‘Don’t let him bite his tongue off,’ a short sergeant near Yossarian advised shrewdly, and a seventh man threw himself into the fray to wrestle with the ill lieutenant’s face. All at once the wrestlers won and turned to each other undecidedly, for now that they held the young lieutenant rigid they did not know what to do with him. A quiver of moronic panic spread from one straining brute face to another. ‘Why don’t you lift him up and put him on the hood of that car?’ a corporal standing in back of Yossarian drawled. That seemed to make sense, so the seven men lifted the young lieutenant up and stretched him out carefully on the hood of a parked car, still pinning each struggling part of him down. Once they had him stretched out on the hood of the parked car, they stared at each other uneasily again, for they had no idea what to do with him next. ‘Why don’t you lift him up off the hood of that car and lay him down on the ground?’ drawled the same corporal behind Yossarian. That seemed like a good idea, too, and they began to move him back to the sidewalk, but before they could finish, a jeep raced up with a flashing red spotlight at the side and two military policemen in the front seat.
   ‘What’s going on?’ the driver yelled.
   ‘He’s having convulsions,’ one of the men grappling with one of the young lieutenant’s limbs answered. ‘We’re holding him still.’
   ‘That’s good. He’s under arrest.’
   ‘What should we do with him?’
   ‘Keep him under arrest!’ the M.P. shouted, doubling over with raucous laughter at his jest, and sped away in his jeep.
   Yossarian recalled that he had no leave papers and moved prudently past the strange group toward the sound of muffled voices emanating from a distance inside the murky darkness ahead. The broad, rain-blotched boulevard was illuminated every half-block by short, curling lampposts with eerie, shimmering glares surrounded by smoky brown mist. From a window overhead he heard an unhappy female voice pleading, ‘Please don’t. Please don’t.’ A despondent young woman in a black raincoat with much black hair on her face passed with her eyes lowered. At the Ministry of Public Affairs on the next block, a drunken lady was backed up against one of the fluted Corinthian columns by a drunken young soldier, while three drunken comrades in arms sat watching nearby on the steps with wine bottles standing between their legs. ‘Pleeshe don’t,’ begged the drunken lady. ‘I want to go home now. Pleeshe don’t.’ One of the sitting men cursed pugnaciously and hurled a wine bottle at Yossarian when he turned to look up. The bottle shattered harmlessly far away with a brief and muted noise. Yossarian continued walking away at the same listless, unhurried pace, hands buried in his pockets. ‘Come on, baby,’ he heard the drunken soldier urge determinedly. ‘It’s my turn now.’
   ‘Pleeshe don’t,’ begged the drunken lady. ‘Pleeshe don’t.’ At the very next corner, deep inside the dense, impenetrable shadows of a narrow, winding side street, he heard the mysterious, unmistakable sound of someone shoveling snow. The measured, labored, evocative scrape of iron shovel against concrete made his flesh crawl with terror as he stepped from the curb to cross the ominous alley and hurried onward until the haunting, incongruous noise had been left behind. Now he knew where he was: soon, if he continued without turning, he would come to the dry fountain in the middle of the boulevard, then to the officers’ apartment seven blocks beyond. He heard snarling, inhuman voices cutting through the ghostly blackness in front suddenly. The bulb on the corner lamp post had died, spilling gloom over half the street, throwing everything visible off balance. On the other side of the intersection, a man was beating a dog with a stick like the man who was beating the horse with a whip in Raskolnikov’s dream. Yossarian strained helplessly not to see or hear. The dog whimpered and squealed in brute, dumbfounded hysteria at the end of an old Manila rope and groveled and crawled on its belly without resisting, but the man beat it and beat it anyway with his heavy, flat stick. A small crowd watched. A squat woman stepped out and asked him please to stop. ‘Mind your own business,’ the man barked gruffly, lifting his stick as though he might beat her too, and the woman retreated sheepishly with an abject and humiliated air. Yossarian quickened his pace to get away, almost ran. The night was filled with horrors, and he thought he knew how Christ must have felt as he walked through the world, like a psychiatrist through a ward full of nuts, like a victim through a prison full of thieves. What a welcome sight a leper must have been! At the next corner a man was beating a small boy brutally in the midst of an immobile crowd of adult spectators who made no effort to intervene. Yossarian recoiled with sickening recognition. He was certain he had witnessed that same horrible scene sometime before. Déjà vu? The sinister coincidence shook him and filled him with doubt and dread. It was the same scene he had witnessed a block before, although everything in it seemed quite different. What in the world was happening? Would a squat woman step out and ask the man to please stop? Would he raise his hand to strike her and would she retreat? Nobody moved. The child cried steadily as though in drugged misery. The man kept knocking him down with hard, resounding open-palm blows to the head, then jerking him up to his feet in order to knock him down again. No one in the sullen, cowering crowd seemed to care enough about the stunned and beaten boy to interfere. The child was no more than nine. One drab woman was weeping silently into a dirty dish towel. The boy was emaciated and needed a haircut. Bright-red blood was streaming from both ears. Yossarian crossed quickly to the other side of the immense avenue to escape the nauseating sight and found himself walking on human teeth lying on the drenched, glistening pavement near splotches of blood kept sticky by the pelting raindrops poking each one like sharp fingernails. Molars and broken incisors lay scattered everywhere. He circled on tiptoe the grotesque debris and came near a doorway containing a crying soldier holding a saturated handkerchief to his mouth, supported as he sagged by two other soldiers waiting in grave impatience for the military ambulance that finally came clanging up with amber fog lights on and passed them by for an altercation on the next block between a civilian Italian with books and a slew of civilian policemen with armlocks and clubs. The screaming, struggling civilian was a dark man with a face white as flour from fear. His eyes were pulsating in hectic desperation, flapping like bat’s wings, as the many tall policemen seized him by the arms and legs and lifted him up. His books were spilled on the ground.
   ‘Help!’ he shrieked shrilly in a voice strangling in its own emotion, as the policemen carried him to the open doors in the rear of the ambulance and threw him inside. ‘Police! Help! Police!’ The doors were shut and bolted, and the ambulance raced away. There was a humorless irony in the ludicrous panic of the man screaming for help to the police while policemen were all around him. Yossarian smiled wryly at the futile and ridiculous cry for aid, then saw with a start that the words were ambiguous, realized with alarm that they were not, perhaps, intended as a call for police but as a heroic warning from the grave by a doomed friend to everyone who was not a policeman with a club and a gun and a mob of other policemen with clubs and guns to back him up. ‘Help! Police!’ the man had cried, and he could have been shouting of danger. Yossarian responded to the thought by slipping away stealthily from the police and almost tripped over the feet of a burly woman of forty hastening across the intersection guiltily, darting furtive, vindictive glances behind her toward a woman of eighty with thick, bandaged ankles doddering after her in a losing pursuit. The old woman was gasping for breath as she minced along and muttering to herself in distracted agitation. There was no mistaking the nature of the scene; it was a chase. The triumphant first woman was halfway across the wide avenue before the second woman reached the curb. The nasty, small, gloating smile with which she glanced back at the laboring old woman was both wicked and apprehensive. Yossarian knew he could help the troubled old woman if she would only cry out, knew he could spring forward and capture the sturdy first woman and hold her for the mob of policemen nearby if the second woman would only give him license with a shriek of distress. But the old woman passed by without even seeing him, mumbling in terrible, tragic vexation, and soon the first woman had vanished into the deepening layers of darkness and the old woman was left standing helplessly in the center of the thoroughfare, dazed, uncertain which way to proceed, alone. Yossarian tore his eyes from her and hurried away in shame because he had done nothing to assist her. He darted furtive, guilty glances back as he fled in defeat, afraid the old woman might now start following him, and he welcomed the concealing shelter of the drizzling, drifting, lightless, nearly opaque gloom. Mobs… mobs of policemen—everything but England was in the hands of mobs, mobs, mobs. Mobs with clubs were in control everywhere.
   The surface of the collar and shoulders of Yossarian’s coat was soaked. His socks were wet and cold. The light on the next lamppost was out, too, the glass globe broken. Buildings and featureless shapes flowed by him noiselessly as though borne past immutably on the surface of some rank and timeless tide. A tall monk passed, his face buried entirely inside a coarse gray cowl, even the eyes hidden. Footsteps sloshed toward him steadily through a puddle, and he feared it would be another barefoot child. He brushed by a gaunt, cadaverous, tristful man in a black raincoat with a star-shaped scar in his cheek and a glossy mutilated depression the size of an egg in one temple. On squishing straw sandals, a young woman materialized with her whole face disfigured by a God-awful pink and piebald burn that started on her neck and stretched in a raw, corrugated mass up both cheeks past her eyes! Yossarian could not bear to look, and shuddered. No one would ever love her. His spirit was sick; he longed to lie down with some girl he could love who would soothe and excite him and put him to sleep. A mob with a club was waiting for him in Pianosa. The girls were all gone. The countess and her daughter-in-law were no longer good enough; he had grown too old for fun, he no longer had the time. Luciana was gone, dead, probably; if not yet, then soon enough. Aarfy’s buxom trollop had vanished with her smutty cameo ring, and Nurse Duckett was ashamed of him because he had refused to fly more combat missions and would cause a scandal. The only girl he knew nearby was the plain maid in the officers’ apartment, whom none of the men had ever slept with. Her name was Michaela, but the men called her filthy things in dulcet, ingratiating voices, and she giggled with childish joy because she understood no English and thought they were flattering her and making harmless jokes. Everything wild she watched them do filled her with enchanted delight. She was a happy, simple-minded, hard-working girl who could not read and was barely able to write her name. Her straight hair was the color of rotting straw. She had sallow skin and myopic eyes, and none of the men had ever slept with her because none of the men had ever wanted to, none but Aarfy, who had raped her once that same evening and had then held her prisoner in a clothes closet for almost two hours with his hand over her mouth until the civilian curfew sirens sounded and it was unlawful for her to be outside.
   Then he threw her out the window. Her dead body was still lying on the pavement when Yossarian arrived and pushed his way politely through the circle of solemn neighbors with dim lanterns, who glared with venom as they shrank away from him and pointed up bitterly toward the second-floor windows in their private, grim, accusing conversations. Yossarian’s heart pounded with fright and horror at the pitiful, ominous, gory spectacle of the broken corpse. He ducked into the hallway and bolted up the stairs into the apartment, where he found Aarfy pacing about uneasily with a pompous, slightly uncomfortable smile. Aarfy seemed a bit unsettled as he fidgeted with his pipe and assured Yossarian that everything was going to be all right. There was nothing to worry about.
   ‘I only raped her once,’ he explained.
   Yossarian was aghast. ‘But you killed her, Aarfy! You killed her!’
   ‘Oh, I had to do that after I raped her,’ Aarfy replied in his most condescending manner. ‘I couldn’t very well let her go around saying bad things about us, could I?’
   ‘But why did you have to touch her at all, you dumb bastard?’ Yossarian shouted. ‘Why couldn’t you get yourself a girl off the street if you wanted one? The city is full of prostitutes.’
   ‘Oh, no, not me,’ Aarfy bragged. ‘I never paid for it in my life.’
   ‘Aarfy, are you insane?’ Yossarian was almost speechless. ‘You killed a girl. They’re going to put you in jail!’
   ‘Oh, no,’ Aarfy answered with a forced smile. ‘Not me. They aren’t going to put good old Aarfy in jail. Not for killing her.’
   ‘But you threw her out the window. She’s lying dead in the street.’
   ‘She has no right to be there,’ Aarfy answered. ‘It’s after curfew.’
   ‘Stupid! Don’t you realize what you’ve done?’ Yossarian wanted to grab Aarfy by his well-fed, caterpillar-soft shoulders and shake some sense into him. ‘You’ve murdered a human being. They are going to put you in jail. They might even hang you!’
   ‘Oh, I hardly think they’ll do that,’ Aarfy replied with a jovial chuckle, although his symptoms of nervousness increased. He spilled tobacco crumbs unconsciously as his short fingers fumbled with the bowl of his pipe. ‘No, sirree. Not to good old Aarfy.’ He chortled again. ‘She was only a servant girl. I hardly think they’re going to make too much of a fuss over one poor Italian servant girl when so many thousands of lives are being lost every day. Do you?’
   ‘Listen!’ Yossarian cried, almost in joy. He pricked up his ears and watched the blood drain from Aarfy’s face as sirens mourned far away, police sirens, and then ascended almost instantaneously to a howling, strident, onrushing cacophony of overwhelming sound that seemed to crash into the room around them from every side. ‘Aarfy, they’re coming for you,’ he said in a flood of compassion, shouting to be heard above the noise. ‘They’re coming to arrest you. Aarfy, don’t you understand? You can’t take the life of another human being and get away with it, even if she is just a poor servant girl. Don’t you see? Can’t you understand?’
   ‘Oh, no,’ Aarfy insisted with a lame laugh and a weak smile. ‘They’re not coming to arrest me. Not good old Aarfy.’ All at once he looked sick. He sank down on a chair in a trembling stupor, his stumpy, lax hands quaking in his lap. Cars skidded to a stop outside. Spotlights hit the windows immediately. Car doors slammed and police whistles screeched. Voices rose harshly. Aarfy was green. He kept shaking his head mechanically with a queer, numb smile and repeating in a weak, hollow monotone that they were not coming for him, not for good old Aarfy, no sirree, striving to convince himself that this was so even as heavy footsteps raced up the stairs and pounded across the landing, even as fists beat on the door four times with a deafening, inexorable force. Then the door to the apartment flew open, and two large, tough, brawny M.P.s with icy eyes and firm, sinewy, unsmiling jaws entered quickly, strode across the room, and arrested Yossarian.
   They arrested Yossarian for being in Rome without a pass.
   They apologized to Aarfy for intruding and led Yossarian away between them, gripping him under each arm with fingers as hard as steel manacles. They said nothing at all to him on the way down. Two more tall M.P.s with clubs and hard white helmets were waiting outside at a closed car. They marched Yossarian into the back seat, and the car roared away and weaved through the rain and muddy fog to a police station. The M.P.s locked him up for the night in a cell with four stone walls. At dawn they gave him a pail for a latrine and drove him to the airport, where two more giant M.P.s with clubs and white helmets were waiting at a transport plane whose engines were already warming up when they arrived, the cylindrical green cowlings oozing quivering beads of condensation. None of the M.P.s said anything to each other either. They did not even nod. Yossarian had never seen such granite faces. The plane flew to Pianosa. Two more silent M.P.s were waiting at the landing strip. There were now eight, and they filed with precise, wordless discipline into two cars and sped on humming tires past the four squadron areas to the Group Headquarters building, where still two more M.P.s were waiting at the parking area. All ten tall, strong, purposeful, silent men towered around him as they turned toward the entrance. Their footsteps crunched in loud unison on the cindered ground. He had an impression of accelerating haste. He was terrified. Every one of the ten M.P.s seemed powerful enough to bash him to death with a single blow. They had only to press their massive, toughened, boulderous shoulders against him to crush all life from his body. There was nothing he could do to save himself. He could not even see which two were gripping him under the arms as they marched him rapidly between the two tight single-file columns they had formed. Their pace quickened, and he felt as though he were flying along with his feet off the ground as they trotted in resolute cadence up the wide marble staircase to the upper landing, where still two more inscrutable military policemen with hard faces were waiting to lead them all at an even faster pace down the long, cantilevered balcony overhanging the immense lobby. Their marching footsteps on the dull tile floor thundered like an awesome, quickening drum roll through the vacant center of the building as they moved with even greater speed and precision toward Colonel Cathcart’s office, and violent winds of panic began blowing in Yossarian’s ears when they turned him toward his doom inside the office, where Colonel Korn, his rump spreading comfortably on a corner of Colonel Cathcart’s desk, sat waiting to greet him with a genial smile and said, ‘We’re sending you home.
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