Catch-22 - Quotes

Joseph Heller

It was love at first sight.

Colonel Cargill was a forceful, ruddy man. Before the war, he had been an alert, hard-hitting, aggressive marketing executive. He was a very bad marketing executive. Colonel Cargill was so bad a marketing executive that his services were much sought after by firms eager to establish losses for tax purposes. Throughout the civilized world, from Battery Park to Fulton Street, he was known as a dependable man for a fast tax write-off. His prices were high, for failure often did not come easily. He had to start at the top and work himself down, and with sympathetic friends in Washington, losing money was no simple matter. It took months of hard work and careful misplanning. A person misplaced, disorganized, miscalculated, overlooked everything and opened every loophole, and just when he thought he had it made, the government gave him a lake or a forest or an oilfield and spoiled everything. Even with such handicaps, Colonel Cargill could be relied on to run the most prosperous enterprise into the ground. He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.

The colonel dwelt in a vortex of specialists who were still specializing in trying to determine what was troubling him. They hurled lights into his eyes to see if he could see, rammed needles into nerves to hear if he could feel. There was a urologist for his urine, a lymphologist for his lymph, an endorinologist for his endocrines, a psychologist for his psyche, a dermatologist for his derma; there was a pathologist for his pathos, a cystologist for his cysts, and a bald pendanic cetologist from the zoology department at Harvard who had been shanghaied ruthlessly into the Medical Corps by a faulty anode in an I.B.M. machine and spent his sessions with the dying colonel trying to discuss Moby Dick with him.

"Men," he began his address to the officers, measuring his pauses carefully. "You're American officers. The officers of no other country in the world can make that statement. Think about it." He waited a moment to permit them to think about it. "These people are your guests!" he shouted suddenly. "They've traveled over three thousand miles to entertain you. How are they going to feel if nobody wants to go out and watch them? What's going to happen to their morale? Now, men, it's no skin off my behind. But that girl that wants to play the accordion for you today is old enough to be my mother. How would you feel if your own mother traveled over three thousand miles to play the accordion to some troops that didn't want to watch her? How is that kid whose mother that accordion player is old enough to be going to feel when he grows up and learns about it? We all know the answer to that one. Now, men, don't misunderstand me. This is all voluntary, of course. I'd be the last colonel in the world to order you to go to that U.S.O show and have a good time, but I want every one of you who isn't sick enough to be in hospital to go to that U.S.O. show right now and have a good time, and that's an order!"

"Bomb bay clear," Sergeant Knight in the back would announce.

"Did we hit the bridge?" McWatt would ask.

"I couldn't see, sir, I kept getting bounce back here pretty hard and I couldn't see. Everything's covered with smoke now and I can't see."

"Hey, Aarfy, did the bombs hit the target?"

"What target?" Captain Aardvaark, Yossarian's plump, pipe-smoking navigator would say from the confusion of maps he had created at Yossarian's side at the nose of the ship. "I don't think we're at the target yet, are we?"

"Yossarian, did the bombs hit the target?"

"What bombs?" answered Yossarian, whose only concern had been the flak.

"Oh well," McWatt would sing, "what the hell."

"You're wasting your time," Doc Daneeka was forced to tell him.

"Can't you ground someone's who's crazy?"

"Oh sure, I have to. There's a rule saying I have to ground anyone who's crazy."

"Then why don't you ground me. Ask Clevinger."

"Clevinger? Where is Clevinger? You find Clevinger and I'll ask him."

"Then ask any of the others. They'll tell you how crazy I am."

"They're crazy."

"Then why don't you ground them?"

"Why don't they ask me to ground them?"

"Because they're crazy, that's why."

"Of course they're crazy," Doc Daneeka replied. "I just told you they're crazy didn't I? And you can't let crazy people decide whether you're crazy or not can you?"

Yossarian looked at him soberly and tried another approach. "Is Orr crazy?"

"He sure is," Doc Daneeka said.

"Can you ground him?"

"I sure can but first he has to ask me to. That's part of the rule."

"Then why doesn't he ask you to?"

"Because he's crazy," Doc Daneeka said. "He has to be crazy to keep flying combat missions after all the close calls he's had. Sure I can ground Orr. But first he has to ask me to."

"That's all he has to do to be grounded?"

"That's all. Let him ask me."

"And then you can ground him?" Yossarian asked.

"No, then I can't ground him."

"You mean there's a catch?"

"Sure there is a catch," Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, that specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of the clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.

"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka replied.

"Daneeka was telling the truth," ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen admitted. "Forty missions is all you have to fly as far as Twenty-seventh Air Force Headquarters is concerned."

Yossarian was jubilant. "Then I can go home right? I've got forty-eight."

"No, you can't go home," ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen corrected him. "Are you crazy of something?"

"Why not?"


"Catch-22?" Yoassarian was stunned. "What the hell has Catch-22 got to do with it?"

"Catch-22," Doc Daneeka answered patiently, when Hungry Joe had flown Yossarian back to Pianosa, "says you've always got to do what your commanding officer tells you to."

"But Twenty-seventh Air Force says I can go home with forty missions."

"But they don't say you have to go home. And regulations do say you have to obey every order. That's the catch. Even if the colonel were disobeying a Twenty-seventh Air Force order by making you fly more missions. you'd still have to fly them, or you'd be guilty of disobeying an order of his. And then Twenty-seventh Air Force Headquarters would really jump on you."

Yossarian slumped with disappointment. "Then I really do have to fly the fifty missions don't I?" he grieved.

"The fifty-five," Doc Daneeka correct him.

"What fifty-five?"

"The fifty-five the colonel wants all of you to fly."

"What would they do to me," he asked in confidential tones, "if I refuse to fly them?"

"We'd probably shoot you," ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen replied.

"We?" Yossarian cried in surprise. "What do you mean we? Since when are you on their side?"

"If you're going to be shot, whose side do you expect me to be on?" ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen retorted.

"Give Yossarian all the dried fruit and fruit juices he wants," Doc Daneeka had written. "He says he has a liver condition."

"A letter like this, " Milo mumbled despondently, "could ruin any mess officer in the world." Milo had come to Yossarian's tent to read the letter again, following his carton of lost provisions across the squadron like a mourner. "I have to give you as much as you ask for. Why, the letter doesn't even say you have to eat it all by yourself."

"And it's a good thing it doesn't," Yossarian told him, "because I never eat any of it. I have a liver condition."

"Oh yes, I forgot," said Milo, in a voice lowered derentially. "Is it bad?"

"Just bad enough," Yossarian answered cheerfully.

"I see," said Milo. "What does that mean?"

"It means it couldn't be better..."

"I don't think I understand."

"... without being worse. Now do you see?"

"Yes, now I see. But I still don't think I understand."

"Well, don't let it trouble you. Let it trouble me. You see, I don't really have a liver condition. I've just got the symptoms. I have a Garnett-Fleischaker syndrome."

"I see," said Milo. "And what is a Garnett-Fleischaker syndrome?"

"A liver condition."

Lieutenant Scheisskopf longed desperately to win parades and sat up half the night working on it while his wife waited amorously for him in bed thumbing through Krafft-Ebing to her favorite passages. He read books on marching. He manipulated boxes of chocolate until they melted in his hands and then maneuvered in ranks of twelve a set of plastic cowboys he had bought from a mail-order house under an assumed name and kept locked away from everyone's eyes during the day. Leonardo's exercises in anatomy proved indispensable. One evening he felt the need for a live model and directed his wife to march around the room.

"Naked?" she asked hopefully.

Lieutenant Scheisskopf smacked his hands over his eyes in exasperation. It was the despair of Lieutenant Scheisskopf's life to be chained to a woman who was incapable of looking beyond her own dirty, sexual desires to the titanic struggles for the unattainable in which noble man could become heroically engaged.

"Why don't you ever whip me?" she pouted one night.

"That Lieutenant Scheisskopf," Lieutenant Travers remarked. "He's a military genius."

"Yes he really is," Lieutenant Engle agreed. "It's a pity the schmuck won't whip his wife."

"I don't see what that has to do with it," Lieutenant Travers answered cooly. Lieutenant Bermis whips Mrs. Bermis beautifully everytime they have sexual intercourse, and he isn't worth a farthing at parades."

"I'm talking about flagellation," Lieutenant Engle retorted. "Who gives a damn about parades?"

"Just what the hell did you mean, you bastard, when you said we couldn't punish you?" said the corporal who could take shorthand reading from his steno pad.

"All right," said the colonel. "Just what the hell did you mean?"

"I didn't say you couldn't punish me, sir."

"When," asked the colonel.

"When what, sir?"

"Now you're asking me questions again."

"I'm sorry, sir. I'm afraid I don't understand your question."

"When didn't you say we couldn't punish you? Don't you understand my question?"

"No, sir, I don't understand."

"You've just told us that. Now suppose you answer my question."

"But how can I answer it?"

"That's another question you're asking me."

"I'm sorry, sir. But I don't know how to answer it. I never said you couldn't punish me."

"Now you're telling us what you did say. I'm asking you to tell us when you didn't say it."

Clevinger took a deep breath. "I always didn't say you couldn't punish me, sir."

"That's much better, Mr. Clevinger, even though it's a bare-faced lie. Didn't you whisper that we couldn't punish you to that other dirty son of a bitch we don't like? What's his name?"

"Yossarian, sir," Lieutenant Scheisskopf said.

"Yes, Yossarian. That's right. Yossarian. Yossarian? Is that his name? Yossarian? What the hell kind of name is Yossarian?"

Lieutenant Scheisskopf had the facts at his fingertips. "It's Yossarian's name, sir," he explained.

"Yes I suppose it is. Didn't you whisper to Yossarian that we couldn't punish you?"

"Oh, no, sir. I whispered to him that you couldn't find me guilty-"

"I may be stupid," interrupted the colonel, "but the distinction escapes me. I guess I'm pretty stupid, because the distinction escapes me."


"You're a windy son of bitch, aren't you? Nobody asked you for clarification and you're giving me clarification. I was making a statement, not asking for clarification. You're a windy son of a bitch, aren't you?"

"No, sir."

"No, sir? Are you calling me a goddam liar?"

"Oh, no, sir."

"Then you're a windy son of a bitch aren't you?"

"No, sir."

"Are you trying to pick a fight with me?"

"No, sir."

"Are you a windy son of a bitch?"

"No, sir."

"Goddamit, you are trying to pick a fight with me. For two stinking cents I'd jump over this big fat table and rip your stinking, cowardly body apart limb from limb."

"Do it! Do it!" cried Major Metcalf.

"Metcalf, you stinking son of a bitch. Didn't I tell you to keep you stinking, cowardly, stupid mouth shut?"

"Yes, sir. I'm sorry sir."

"Then suppose you do it."

"I was only trying to learn, sir. The only way a person can learn is by trying."

"Who says so?"

"Everybody says so, sir. Even Lieutenant Scheisskopf says so."

"Do you say so?"

"Yes, sir," said Lieutenant Scheisskopf. "But everybody says so."

"Well, Metcalf, suppose you try keeping that stupid mouth of yours shut,and maybe that's the way you learn how. Now where were we? Read me back the last line."

"'Read me back the last line,'" read back the corporal who could take shorthand.

"Not my last line, stupid!" the colonel shouted. "Somebody else's."

"'Read me back the last line,'" read back the corporal.

"That's my last line again!" shrieked the colonel, turning purple with anger.

"Oh, no, sir," corrected the corporal. "That's my last line. I read it to you just a moment ago. Don't you remember, sir? It was only a moment ago."

"Oh, my God! Read me back his last line, stupid. Say, what the hell's your name, anyway?"

"Popinjay, sir."

"Well, you're next, Popinjay. As soon as this trial ends, your trial begins. Get it?"

"Yes, sir. What will he be charged with?"

"What the hell difference does that make? Did you hear what he asked me? You're going to learn, Popinjay - the minute we finish with Clevinger you're going to learn. Cadet Clevinger, what did - You are Cadet Clevinger, aren't you, and not Popinjay?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good. What did-"

"I'm Popinjay, sir."

"Popinjay. Is your father a millionaire, or a member of the Senate?"

"No, sir."

"Then you're up shit creek, Popinjay, without a paddle.He's not a general or a high-ranking member of the Administration, is he?"

"No, sir."

"That's good. What does your father do?"

"He's dead, sir."

"That's very good. You really are up the creek, Popinjay. Is Popinjay really your name? Just what the hell kind of name is Popinjay, anyway? I don't like it."

"It's Popinjay''s name, sir," Lieutenant Scheisskopf explained.

Major Major Major Major had had a difficult time from the start.

Like Miniver Cheevy, he had been born too late - exactly thirty-six hours too late for the physical well-being of his mother, a gentle ailing woman who, after a full day and a half's agony in the rigors of childbirth, was depleted of all resolve to pursue further the argument over the child's new name.

Major Major had been born too late and too mediocre. Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.

"The Lord gave us farmers two strong hands so that we could take as much as we could grab with both of them," he preached with ardor on the courthouse steps or in front of the A & P as he waited for the bad-tempered gum-chewing young cashier he was after to step outside and give him a nasty look. "If the Lord didn't want us to take as much as we could get," he preached, "He wouldn't have given us two good hands to take it with." And the others mummured, "Amen."

"Colonel Cathcart is our commanding officer and we must obey him. Why don't you fly four more missions and see what happens?"

"I don't want to."

"Suppose we let you pick your missions and fly milk runs?" Major Major said. "That way you can fly the four missions and not run any risks."

"I don't want to fly milk runs. I don't want to be in the war anymore."

"Would you like to see our country lose?" Major Major asked.

"We won't lose. We've got more men, more money, and more material. There are ten million men in uniform who could replace me. Some people are getting killed and a lot more are making money and having fun. Let somebody else get killed."

"But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"

"Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"

"It's a matter of duty," he [ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen] observed, "and we each have to perform our own. My duty is to keep digging these holes, and I've been doing such a good job of it that I've just been recommended for the Good Conduct Medal. Your duty is to screw around in cadet school and hope the war ends before you get out. The duty of the men in combat is to win the war, and I just wish they were doing their duty as well as I've been doing mine. It wouldn't be fair if I were to go overseas and do their job too, wouldn't it?

"About how long will I have to wait before I can go in to see the major?"

"Just until he goes out to lunch," Sergeant Towser replied. "Then you can go right in."

"But he won't be in there then. Will he?"

"No, sir. Major Major won't be back in his office until after lunch."

"I see," Appleby decided uncertainly.

"I used to get a big kick out of saving people's lives. Now I wonder what the hell's the point, since they all have to die anyway."

"I really can't believe it," Clevinger exclaimed to Yossarian in a voice rising and falling in protest and wonder. "It's a complete reversion to primitive superstition. They're confusing cause and effect. It makes as much sense as knocking on wood or crossing your fingers. They really believe we wouldn't have to fly that mission tomorrow if someone would only tiptoe up to the map in the middle of night and move the bomb line over Bologna. Can you imagine? You and I must be the only rational ones left."

In the middle of the night Yossarian knocked on wood, crossed his fingers, and tiptoed out of his tent to move the bomb line up over Bologna.

"Flying combat missions for General Dreedle is not exactly what I had in mind," he [General Peckem] explained indulgently with a smooth laugh. I was thinking more in terms of replacing General Dreedle, or perhaps something above General Dreedle where I could exercise supervision over a great many other generals too. You see, my most precious abilities are mainly administrative ones. I have a happy facility for getting different people to agree."

"He has a happy facility for getting different people to agree what a prick he is," Colonel Cargill confided invidiously to ex-P.F.C Wintergreen in hope that the ex P.F.C would spread the unfavorable report along through Twenty-seventh Air Force headquarters. "If anyone deserves that combat post, I do. It was even my idea we ask for that medal."

"You really want to go into combat?" ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen inquired.

"Combat?" Colonel Cargill was aghast. "Oh no - you misunderstand me. Of course, I wouldn't mind going into combat, but my best abilities are mainly administrative ones. I too have a happy facility for getting different people to agree with me."

"He too has a happy facility for getting different people to agree what a prick he is," ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen confided with a laugh to Yossarian. If anyone deserves a promotion, I do."

"But I'm going to be killed at Bologna," Yossarian pleaded. "We're all going to be killed."

"Then you'll just have to be killed," replied ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen. "Why can't you be a fatalist about it the way I am? If I'm destined to upload these lighters at a profit and pick up some Egyptian cotton cheap from Milo, then that's what I'm going to do. And if you're destined to be killed over Bologna, then you're going to be killed, so you might just as well go out and die like a man. I hate to say this, Yossarian, but you're turning out to be a chronic complainer."

Clevinger agreed with ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen that it was Yossarian's job to get killed over Bologna and was livid with condemnation when Yossarian confessed that it was he who had moved the bomb line and caused the mission to be canceled.

"Why the hell not?" Yossarian snarled, arguing all the more vehemently because he suspected he was wrong. "Am I supposed to get my ass shot off because the colonel wants to be a general?"

"What about the men on the mainland?" Clevinger demanded with just as much emotion. "Are they supposed to get their asses shot off just because you don't want to go? Those men are entitled to air support!"

"But not necessarily by me. Look, they don't care who knocks out those ammunition dumps. The only reason we're going is because that bastard Cathcart volunteered us."

"Oh I know all that," Clevinger assured him, he gaunt face pale and his agitated eyes swimming in sincerity. "But the fact remains that the ammunition dumps are still standing. You know very well that I don't approve of Colonel Cathcart any more than you do. But it's not for us to determine what targets must be destroyed or who's to destroy them or -"

"Or who gets killed doing it? And why?"

"Yes, even that. We have no right to question -"

"You're insane!"

"- no right to question -"

"Do you really mean that it's not my business how or why I get killed and that it is Colonel Cathcart's? Do you really mean that?"

"Yes, I do," Clevinger insisted, seeming unsure. "There are men entrusted with winning the war who are in a much better position than we are to decide what targets have to be bombed."

"We are talking about two different things," Yossarian answered with exaggerated weariness. "You are talking about the relationship of the Air Corps to the infantry. You are talking about winning the war, and I am talking about winning the war and keeping alive."

"Exactly," Clevinger snapped smugly. "And which do you think is more important?"

"To whom?" Yossarian shot back. "Open your eyes, Clevinger. It doesn't make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead."

Clevinger sat for a moment as though he'd been slapped. "Congratulations!" he exclaimed bitterly... "I can't think of another attitude that could be dependent upon to give greater comfort to the enemy."

"The enemy," resorted Yossarian with weighted precision, "is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on, and that includes Colonel Cathcart. And don't you forget that, because the longer you remember it, the longer you might live."

"Please find out from Colonel Snark if he put laundry soap in the sweet potatoes again," he [Milo] requested furtively. "Corporal Snark trusts you and will tell you the truth if you give him your word you won't tell anyone else. As soon as he tells you, come and tell me."

"Of course I put laundry soap in the sweet potatoes," Corporal Snark admitted to Yossarian. "That's what you asked me to do, isn't it? Laundry soap is the best way."

"He swears to God he didn't have a thing to do with it," Yossarian reported back to Milo.

His heart cracked, and he fell in love. He wondered if she [Luciana] would marry him.

"Tu sei pazzo," she told him with a pleasant laugh.

"Why am I crazy?" he asked.

"Perchè non posso sposare."

"Why can't you get married?"

"Because I am not a virgin," she answered.

"What has that got to do with it?"

"Who will marry me? No one wants a girl who is not a virgin."

"I will. I'll marry you."

"Ma non posso sposarti."

"Why can't you marry me?"

"Perchè sei pozzo."

"Why am I crazy?"

"Perchè vuoi sposarmi."

Yossarian wrinkled his forehead with quizzical amusement. "You won't marry me because I'm crazy, and you say I'm crazy because I want to marry you. Is that right?"


There was a much lower death rate inside the hospital than outside the hospital, and a much healthier death rate. Few people died unnecessarily. People knew a lot more about dying in side the hospital, and made a much neater, more orderly job out of it. They couldn't dominate Death inside the hospital, but they certainly made her behave. They had taught her manners. They couldn't keep Death out, but while she was in she had to act like a lady. People gave up the ghost with delicacy and taste inside the hospital. There was none of that crude, ugly ostentations about dying that was so common outside the hospital...

They didn't explode into blood and clotted matter. They didn't drown or get struck by lightning, mangled in machinery or crushed in landslides. They didn't get shot to death in hold-ups, strangled to death in rapes, stabbed to death in saloons, blungeoned to death with axes by parents or children, or die summarily by some other act of God. Nobody choked to death. People bled to death like gentlemen in an operating room or expired without comment in an oxygen tent. There was none of that tricky now-you-see-me-now-you-don't business so much in vogue outside the hospital, none of that now-I-am-and-now-I-ain't. There were no famines or floods. Children didn't suffocate in cradles or iceboxes or fall under trucks. No one was beaten to death. People didn't stick their heads into ovens with the gas on, jump in front of subway trains or come plummeting like dead weights out of hotel windows with a whoosh!, accelerating at a rate of thirty-two feet per second to land with a hideous plop! on the sidewalk and die disgustingly there in public like an alpaca sack full of hairy strawberry ice cream, bleeding, pink toes awry.

"How the hell do you know he's even there?" he asked her.

"Don't you dare talk to me that way!" she replied indignantly.

"Well, how do you? You don't even know it's really him."


"Whoever's supposed to be in those bandages. You might really be weeping for somebody else. How do you know he's even alive?"

"What a terrible thing to say!" Nurse Cramer exclaimed. "Now you get right into bed and stop making jokes about him."

"I'm not making jokes. Anybody might be in there. For all we know, it might even be Mudd."

"What are you talking about?" Nurse Cramer pleade with him in a quavering voice.

"Maybe that's where the dead man is."

"What dead man?"

"I've got a dead man in my tent that nobody can throw out. His name is Mudd."

Nurse Cramer's face blanched and she turned to Dunbar desperately for aid. "Make him stop saying things like that," she begged.

"Maybe there's no one inside," Dunbar suggested helpfully. "Maybe they just sent the bandages here for a joke."

She stepped away from Dunbar in alarm. "You're crazy," she cried, glancing about imploring. "You're both crazy."

"I wonder what he did to deserve it," the warrant officer with malaria and a mosquito bite on his ass lamented after Nurse Cramer had read her thermometer and discovered that the soldier in white was dead.

"He went to war," the fighter pilot with the golden moustache surmised.

"We all went to war," Dunbar countered.

"That's what I mean," the warrant officer with malaria continued. "Why him? There just doesn't seem to be any logic to this system of rewards and punishment. Look what happened to me. If I had gotten syphilis or a does of clap for my five minutes of passion on the beach instead of this damned mosquito bite, I could see some justice. But malaria? Malaria? Who can explain malaria as a consequence of fornication? The warrant officer shook his head in numbed astonishment.

"What about me?" Yossarian said. "I stepped out of my tent in Marrakech one night to get a bar of candy and caught your dose of clap when that Wac I never even saw before hissed me into the bushes. All I really wanted was a bar of candy, but who could turn it down?"

"That sounds like my does of clap, alright," the warrant officer agreed. "But I've still got somebody else's malaria. Just for once I'd like to see all these things sort of straightened out, with each person getting exactly what he deserves. It might give me some confidence in the universe".

"I've got somebody else's three hundred thousand dollars," the dashing young fighter captain with the golden moustache admitted. "I've been goofing off since the day I was born. I cheated my way through prep school and college, and just about all I've been doing ever since is shacking up with pretty girls who think I'd make a good husband. I've got no ambition at all. The only thing I want to do after the war is to marry some girl who's got more money than I have and shack up with lots more pretty girls. The three hundred thousand bucks was left to me before I was born by a grandfather who made a fortune selling hogwash on an international scale. I know I don't deserve it, but I'll be damned if I give it back. I wonder who it really belongs to."

"Maybe it belongs to my father," Dunbar conjectured. "He spent a lifetime at hardwork and could never make enough money to send my sister and me through college. He's dead now, so you might as well keep it."

"Now, if we can just find out who my malaria belongs to, we'd be all set. It's not that I've got anything against malaria. I'd just as soon goldbrick with malaria as with anything else. It's only that I feel an injustice has been committed. Why should I have somebody else's malaria and you have my dose of clap?"

"I've got more than your dose of clap," Yossarian told him. "I've got to keep flying combat missions because of that dose of clap until they kill me."

"That makes it even worse. What's the justice in that?"

There were too many dangers for Yossarian to keep track of. There was Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo, and they were all out to kill him. There was Lieutenant Scheisskopf with his fanatism for parades and there was the bloated colonel with his big fat moustache and his fanatism for retribution, and they wanted to kill him, too. There was Appleby, Havermeyer, Black and Korn. There was Nurse Cramer and Nurse Duckett, who he was almost certain wanted him dead, and there was the Texan and the C.I.D. man about whom he had no doubt. There were bartenders, bricklayers and bus conductors all over the world who wanted him dead, landlords and tenants, traitors and patriots, lynchers, leeches, and lackeys, and they were all out to bump him off...

There were lymph glands that might do him in. There were kidneys, nerve sheathes and corpuscles. There were tumors of the brain. There was Hodgkin's disease, leukemia, amyotropic lacteral sclerosis. There were fertile meadows of epithelial tissue to catch and coddle a cancer cell. There were diseases of the skin, diseases of the bone, diseases of the lung, diseases of the stomach, diseases of the heart, blood and arteries. There were diseases of the head, diseases of the neck, diseases of the chest, diseases of the intestines, diseases of the crotch. There even were diseases of the feet. There were billions of conscientious body cells oxidating away day and night like dumb animals at their complicated job of keeping him alive and healthy, and every one was a potential traitor and foe.

"No, thank you. I'm not going to take any chances for you."

"Isn't it worth a try?" Yossarian argued. "What's so hot about Pianosa?"

"Pianosa is terrible. But it's better than the Pacific Ocean. I wouldn't mind being shipped someplace civilised where I might pick up a buck or two in abortion money every now and then. But all they've got in the Pacific is jungle and monsoons. I'd rot there."

"You're rotting here."

Doc Daneeka flared up angrily. "Yeah? Well at least I'm going to come out of this war alive, which is a lot of than you're going to do."

"That's just what I'm trying to tell you, goddammit. I'm asking you to save my life."

"It's not my business to save lives," Doc Daneeka retorted sullenly.

"What is your business?"

"I don't know what my business is. All they ever told me was to uphold the ethics of my profession and never give testomony against another physician."

"Beat it," said the doctor on duty there, who was doing a crossword puzzle.

"We can't tell him to beat it," said a corporal. "There's a new directive out about abdominal complaints. We have to keep them under observation five days because so many of them have been dying after we tell them to beat it."

"Alright," grumbled the doctor. "Keep him under observation for five days and then tell him to beat it."

"I bet I can name two things to be miserable about for every one you can name to be thankful for."

"Be thankful you've got me," she insisted...
"Be thankful you're healthy."

"Be bitter you're not going to stay that way."

"Be glad you're even alive."

"Be furious you're going to die."

"Things could be much worse," she cried.

"They could be one hell of a lot better," he answered heatedly.

"And don't tell me God works in mysterious ways," Yossarian continued, hurtling on over her objection. "There's nothing so mysterious about it. He's not working at all. He's playing. Or else, He's forgotten all about us. That's the kind of God you people talk about - a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a supreme being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when he robbed old people of their power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?"

"Pain?" Lieutenant Schiesskopf's wife pounced upon the word victoriously. "Pain is a useful symptom. Pain is a warning to us about bodily dangers."

"And who created the dangers?" Yossarian demanded, He laughed caustically. "Oh, He was really being charitable to us when He gave us pain! Why couldn't He have used a doorbell instead to notify us, or one of His celestial choirs? Or a system of blue-and-red neon tubes right in the middle of each person's forehead? Any jukebox manufacturer worth his salt could have done that. Why couldn't He?"

"People would certainly look silly walking around with red neon tubes in the middle of their foreheads."

"They certainly look beautiful now writhing in agony or stupified with morphine, don't they? What a colossal, immortal blunderer! When you consider the opportunity and power he had to really do a job, and then look at the stupid ugly little mess He made of it instead, His sheer incompetence is almost staggering. It's obvious. He never met a payroll. Why, no self-respecting businessman would hire a bungler like Him as even a shipping clerk!"

"You'd better not talk that way about Him, honey," she warned him reprovingly in a low and hostile voice. "He might punish you."

"Isn't He punishing me enough?" Yossarian snorted resentfully. "You know, we mustn't let him get away with it. Oh no, we certainly musn't let Him get away scot-free for all the sorrow He's caused us. Someday I'm going to make Him pay. I know when. On the Judgement Day. Yes, that's the day I'll be close enough to reach out and grab that little yokel by His neck and -"

"Stop it! Stop it!"

"What the hell are you getting so upset about?" he asked her bewilderedly in a tone of contrite amusement. "I thought you didn't believe in God."

"I don't," she sobbed, burting violently into tears. "But the God I don't believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He's not the mean and stupid God you make him out to be."

Yossarian laughed and turned her arms loose. "Let's have a little more religious freedom between us," he proposed obligingly. "You don't believe in a God you want to, and I won't believe in a God I want to. Is that a deal?"

"When you talk to the man upstairs," he said, "I want you to tell Him something for me. Tell Him it ain't right for people to die when they're young. I mean it. Tell Him if they got to die at all, they got to die when they're old. I want you to tell Him that. I don't think He knows it ain't right, because he's supposed to be good, and it's been going on for a long, long time. Okay?"

"Now I want you to give a lot of thought to the kind of prayers we're going to say. I don't want anything heavy or sad. I'd like you to keep it light and snappy, something that would send the boys out feeling pretty good. Do you know what I mean? I don't want any of this Kingdom of God or Valley of Death stuff. That's all too negative. What are you making such a sour face for?"

"I'm sorry, sir," the chaplain stammered. "I happened to be thinking of the Twenty-third Psalm just as you said that."

"How does that one go?"

"That's the one you were referring to, sir. 'The Lord is my shepherd; I -'"

"That's the one I was referring to. It's out. What else have you got?"

"'Save me, Oh God; for the waters are come in unto -'"

"No waters," the colonel decided. "Why don't we try something musical? How about the harps on the windows?"

"That has the rivers of Babylon in it, sir." the chaplain replied. "'... there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remember Zion."

"Zion? Let's forget about that one right now. I'd like to know how that one even got in there. Haven't you got anything humorous that stays away from waters and valleys and God? I'd like to keep away from the subject of religion altogether if we can."

The chaplain was apologetic. "I'm sorry, sir, but just about all the prayers I know are rather somber in tone and make at least some passing reference to God."

"Then let's get some new ones. The men are already doing enough bitching about the missions I send them on without our rubbing it in with our sermons about God or death or Paradise. We can't we take a more positive approach? Why can't we all pray for something good, like a tighter bomb pattern, for example? Couldn't we pray for a tighter bomb pattern?"

"We'll allocate a minute and a half for you in the schedule. Will a minute and a half be enough?"

"Yes, sir. If it doesn't include the time necessary to excuse the atheists from the room and admit the enlisted men."

Colonel Cathcart stopped in his tracks. "What atheists?" he bellowed defensively, his whole manner changing in a flash to one of virtuous and belligerrent denial. "There are no atheists in my outfit! Atheism is against the law, isn't it?"

"No, sir."

"It isn't?" The colonel was surprised. "Then it's un-American, isn't it?"

"I'm not sure, sir," answered the chaplain.

"Well, I am!" the colonel declared. "I'm not going to disrupt our religious services just to accommodate a bunch of lousy atheists. They're getting no special privileges from me. They can stay right where they are and pray with the rest of us. And what's this about enlisted men? Just how the hell do they get into this act?"

The chaplain felt his face flush. "I'm sorry, sir. I just assumed you would want the enlisted men to be present, since they would be going along on the same mission."

"Well, I don't. They've got a God and chaplain of their own, haven't they?"

"No, sir."

"What are you talking about? You mean they pray to same God we do?"

"Yes, sir."

"And He listens?"

"I think so, sir."

"Well I'll be damned..."

"Honestly now, Claplain, you wouldn't want your sister to marry an enlisted man, would you?"

"My sister is an enlisted man, sir," the chaplain replied.

The colonel stopped in his tracks again and eyed the chaplain sharply to make certain he was not being ridiculed. "Just what do you mean by that remark, Chaplain? Are you trying to be funny?"

"Oh, no, sir," the chaplain hastened to explain with a look of excrutiating discomfort. "She's a Master Sergeant in the Marines."

Yossarian - the very sight of the name made him shudder. There were so many esses in it. It just had to be subversive. It was like the word subversive itself. It was like sidicious and insidious too, and like socialist, suspicious, facist, and Communist. It was an odious, alien, distasteful name that just did not inspire confidence.

Maybe sixty missions were too many for the men to fly, Colonel Cathcart reasoned, if Yossarian objected to flying them, but he then remembered that forcing his men to fly more missions than everyone else was the most tangible achievement he had going for him... perhaps sixty combat missions were not nearly enough and that he ought to increase the number at once to seventy, eighty, a hundred, or even two hundred, three hundred, or six thousand!

"You should see her naked," General Dreedle chortled with croupy relish, while his nurse stood smiling proudly right at his shoulder. "Back at Wing she's got a uniform in my room made of purple silk so tight her nipples stand out like bing cherries. Milo got me the fabric. There isn't even room enough for panties or a brassiere underneath. I make her wear it some night when Moodus is around just to drive him crazy." General Dreedle laughed hoarsely. "You should see what goes on inside that blouse of hers everytime she shifts her weight. She drives him out of his mind. The first time I catch him putting a hand on her or any other woman I'll bust that horny bastard right down to private and put him on K.P. for a year.

"He keeps her around just to drive me crazy," Colonel Moodus accused aggrievedly at the other end of the bar. "Back at Wing she's got a uniform made of purple silk that's so tight her nipples stand out like bing cherries. There isn't even room for panties or a brassiere underneath. You should hear that silk rustle everytime she shifts her weight. The first time I make a pass at her or any other girl he'll bust me right down to private and put me on K.P. for a year. She drives me out of my mind.

"He hasn't gotten laid since we shipped overseas," confided General Dreedle, and his square grizzled head bobbed with sadistic laughter at the fiendish idea. "That's one of the reasons I never let him out of my sight, just so he can't get to a woman. Can you imagine what that poor son of a bitch is going through?"

"I haven't been to bed with a woman since we shipped overseas," Colonel Moodus whimpered tearfully. "Can you imagine what I'm going through?"

Colonel Moodus checked his roster. "This one is Yossarian, Dad. He gets a Distinguished Flying Cross."

"Well, I'll be damned," mumbled General Dreedle, and his ruddy monolithic face softened with amusement. "Why aren't you wearing clothes, Yossarian?"

"I don't want to."

"What do you mean you don't want to? Why the hell don't you want to?"

"I just don't want to, sir."

"Why isn't he wearing clothes?" General Dreedle demanded over to shoulder of Colonel Cathcart.

"He's talking to you," Colonel Korn whispered over Colonel Cathcart's shoulder from behind, jabbing his elbow sharply into Colonel Cathcart's back.

"Why isn't he wearing clothes," Colonel Cathcart demanded of Colonel Korn with a look of acute pain, tenderly nursing the spot Colonel Korn had just jabbed him.

"Why isn't he wearing clothes," Colonel Korn demanded of Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren.

"A man was killed in his plane over Avignon last week and bled all over him," Captain Wren replied. "He swears he's never going to wear a uniform ever again."

"A man was killed in his plane over Avignon last week and bled all over him," Colonel Korn reported directly to General Dreedle. "His uniform hasn't come back from the laundry yet."

"Where are his other uniforms?"

"They're in the laundry, too."

"What about his underwear?" General Dreedle demanded.

"All his underwear's in the laundry, too," answered Colonel Korn.

"That sounds like a lot of crap to me," General Dreedle declared.

"It is a lot of crap, sir," Yossarian said.

"Don't you worry, sir," Colonel Cathcart promised General Dreedle with a threatening look at Yossarian. "You have my personal word for it that this man will be severely punished."

"What the hell do I care if he's punished or not?" General Dreedle replied with surprise and irritation. "He's just won a medal. If he wants to receive it without any clothes on, what the hell business is it of yours?"

"Those are my sentiments exactly, sir," Colonel Cathcart echoed with resounding enthusiasm and mopped his brow with a damp white handkerchief. "But would you say that, sir, even in the light of General Peckem's recent memorandum on the subject of proper military attire in combat areas?"

"Peckem?" General Dreedle's face clouded.

"Yes, sir, sir," said Colonel Cathcart obsequiously. "General Peckem even recommends that we send our men into combat in full-dress uniform so they'll make a good impression on the enemy when they're shot down."

"Who is this man?"

"M-major Danby, sir," Colonel Cathcart stammered, "My group operations officer."

"Take him out and shoot him," General Dreedle demanded.


"I said take him out and shoot him. Can't you hear?"

"Yes, sir!" Colonel Cathcart responded smartly, swallowing hard, and turned in a brisk manner to his chauffeur and his meteorologist. "Take Major Danby out and shoot him."

"S-sir?" his chauffeur and meteorologist stammered.

"I said take Major Danby out and and shoot him," Colonel Cathcart snapped. "Can't you hear?"

"I think you'd better wait a minute, Dad," [Colonel Moodus] suggested hesitantly. "I don't think you can shoot him."

General Dreedle was infuriated by his intervention. "Who the hell says I can't?" he thundered pugnaciously in a voice loud enough to rattle the whole building. "Why the hell can't I? You mean I can't shoot anyone I want to? Is that a fact?" he inquired, his rage tamed by curiosity.

"Yes, Dad. I'm afraid it is."

"I guess you think you're pretty goddamn smart, don't you?"

"What's he say about me?" [Colonel Cathcart] demanded excitedly in a fervor of proud and blissful anticipation. "What did General Dreedle say?"

"He wanted to know who you were."

"I know that. I know that. But what'd he say about me? What'd he say?"

"You make him sick."

"I've got it all worked out," Dobbs whispered, gripping the side of Orr's cot with white-knuckled hands to constrain them from waving. "Thursday morning when he'd due back from that goddamn farmhouse of his in the hills, I'll sneak up to the woods to that hairpin turn in the road and hide in the bushes. He has to slow down there, and I can watch the road in both directions to make sure there's no one else around. When I see him coming I'll shove a big log out into the road to make him stop his jeep. Then I'll step out of the bushes with my Luger and shoot him in the head until he's dead. I'll bury the gun, come back down through the woods to the squadron, and go about my business just like everybody else. What could possibly go wrong?"

Yossarian had followed each step attentively. "Where do I come in, he asked in puzzlement.

"I couldn't do it without you," Dobbs explained. "I need you to tell me to go ahead."

Yossarian found it hard to believe him. "Is that all you want me to go ahead?"

"That's all I need from you, Dobbs answered. "Just tell me to go ahead and I'll blow his brains out all by myself the day after tomorrow." His voice was accelerating with emotion and rising again. "I'd like to shoot Colonel Korn in the head, too, while we're at it, although I'd like to spare Major Danby, if that's alright with you. Then I'd like to murder Appleby and Havermeyer also, and after we finish murdering Applyby and Havermeyer, I'd like to murder McWatt."

"McWatt?" cried Yossarian, almost jumping up in horror. "McWatt's a friend of mine. What do you want from McWatt?"

"I don't know," Dobbs confessed with an air of floundering embarrassment. "I just thought that as long as we're murdering Appleby and Havermeyer we might as well murder McWatt too. Don't you want to murder McWatt?"

Yossarian took a firm stand. "Look I might keep interested in this if you stop shouting it all over the island and if you stick to killing Colonel Cathcart. But if you're going to turn this into a bloodbath, you can forget about me."

"All right, all right," Dobbs sought to placate him. "Just Colonel Cathcart. Should I do it? Just tell me to go ahead."

Yossarian shook his head. "I don't think I could tell you to go ahead."

Dobbs was frantic. "I'm willing to compromise," he pleaded vehemently. "You don't have to tell me to go ahead. Just tell me it's a good idea, okay? Is it a good idea?"

"I don't understand why you buy eggs at seven cents a piece in Malta and sell them for five cents."

"I do it to make a profit."

"But how can you make a profit? You lose two cents an egg."

"But I make a profit of three and a quarter cents an egg by selling them at four and a quarter cents an egg to the people in Malta I buy them from for seven cents an egg. Of course, I don't make the profit. The syndicate makes the profit. And everybody has a share."

Yossarian felt he was beginning to understand. "And the people you sell the eggs to at four and a quarter cents a piece make a profit of two and three quarter cents a piece when they sell them back to you at seven cents a piece. Is that right? Why don't you sell the eggs directly to you and eliminate the people you buy them from?"

"Because I am the people I buy them from," Milo explained. "I make a profit of three and a quarter cents a piece when I sell them to me and a profit of two and three quarter cents apiece when I buy them back from me. That's a total profit of six cents an egg. I lose only two cents an egg when I sell them to the mess halls at five cents apiece, and that's how I can make a profit buying eggs for seven cents apiece and selling them for five cents apiece. I pay only one cent a piece at the hen when I buy them in Sicily."

"In Malta," Yossarian corrected. "You buy your eggs in Malta, not Sicily."

Milo chortled proudly. "I don't buy eggs from Malta," he confessed... "I buy them in Sicily at one cent apiece and transfer them to Malta secretly at four and a half cents apiece in order to get the price of eggs up to seven cents when people come to Malta looking for them."

"Why do people come to Malta for eggs when they're so expensive there?"

"Because they've always done it that way."

"Why don't they look for eggs in Sicily?"

"Because they've never done it that way."

"Now I really don't understand. Why don't you sell your mess halls the eggs for seven cents apiece instead of for five cents apiece?"

"Because my mess halls would have no need for me then. Anyone can buy seven-cents apiece eggs for seven cents apiece."

"Why don't they bypass you and buy the eggs directly from you in Malta at four and a quarter cents apiece?"

"Because I wouldn't sell it to them."

"Why wouldn't you sell it to them?"

"Because then there wouldn't be as much room for a profit..."

"Then you do make a profit for yourself," Yossarian declared.

"Of course I do. But it all goes to the syndicate. And everybody has a share. Don't you understand? It's exactly what happens with those plum tomatoes I sell to Colonel Cathcart."

"Buy," Yossarian corrected him. "You don't sell plum tomatoes to Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn. You buy plum tomatoes from them."

"No, sell," Milo corrected Yossarian. "I distribute my plum tomatoes in markets all over Pianosa under an assumed name so that Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn can buy them up from me under their assumed names at four cents apiece and sell them back to me the next day at five cents apiece. They make a profit of one cent apiece, I make a profit of three and a half cents apiece, and everybody comes out ahead."

"Do I have a share?"

"Everybody has a share."

"Does Orr have a share?"

"Everybody has a share."

"And Hungry Joe? He has a share too?"

"Everybody has a share."

"Well, I'll be damned."

Milo was Sir Major Milo Minderbinder in Malta... Milo had been knighted, commissioned a major in Royal Welsh Fusiliers and named assistant Governor General of Malta because he had brought the egg trade there... Milo was Vice-Shah of Oran. Milo was not only the Vice-Shah of Oran, as it turned out, but also the Caliph of Baghdad, the Imam of Damascus and the Shiek of Araby. Milo was the corn god, the rain god and the rice god...

"America," he said, "will lose the war. And Italy will win it."

"America is the stongest and most prosperous nation on earth," Nately informed him with lofty fervor and dignity. "And the American fighting man is second to none."

"Exactly," agreed the old man pleasantly, with a hint of taunting amusement. "Italy, on the other hand, is one of the least properous nations on earth. And the Italian fighting man is probably second to all. And that's exactly why my country is doing so well in this war while your country is doing so poorly."

"I'm sorry I laughed at you. But Italy was occupied by the Germans and is now being occupied by us. You don't call that doing very well, do you?"

"But of course I do," exclaimed the old man cheerfully. "The Germans are being driven out, and we're still here. In a few years, you will be gone, too, and we will still be here. You see, Italy is really a very poor and weak country, and that's what makes us so strong. Italian soldiers are not dying anymore. But American and German soldiers are. I call that doing extremely well. Yes, I'm quite certain Italy will survive this war and still be in existence long after your own country has been destroyed."

"America is not going to be destroyed!" he shouted passionately.

"Never?" prodded the old man softly.

"Well..." Nately faltered.

"Rome was destroyed, Greece was destroyed, Persia was destroyed, Spain was destroyed. All great countries are destroyed. Why not yours? How much longer do you really think your own country will last? Forever? Keep in mind that the earth itself is destined to be destroyed by the sun in twenty-five million years or so."

"I don't believe anything you tell me," Nately replied... "The only thing I do believe is that America is going to win the war."

"You put so much stock in winning wars. The real trick lies in losing wars, in knowing which wars can be lost. Italy has been losing wars for centuries, and just see how spendidly we've done nonetheless. France wins wars and is in a continual state of crisis. Germany loses and prospers. Look at our own recent history. Italy won a war in Ethiopia and promptly stumbled into serious trouble. Victory gave us such insane delusions of grandeur that we helped start a world war we hadn't a chance of winning. But now that we're losing again, everything has taken a turn for the better, and we will certainly come out on top again if we succeed in being defeated."

"There is nothing so absurd about risking your life for your country," [Nately] declared.

"Isn't there?" asked the old man. "What is a country? A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. Englishmen are dying for England. Americans are dying for America. Germans are dying for Germany. Russians are dying for Russia. There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war. Sure so many countries can't all be worth dying for."

"Anything worth living for," Nately said, "is worth dying for."

"And anything worth dying for," answered the sacrilegious old man, "is certainly worth living for."

"Why don't you use some sense and try to be more like me? You might live to be a hundred and seven too."

"Because it's better to die on one's feet than live on one's knees. I guess you're heard that saying before."

"Yes I certainly have," mused the treacherous old man, smiling again. "But I'm afraid you have it backward. It is better to live on one's feet than die on one's knees. That is the way the saying goes.

"Are you sure?" Nately asked with sober confusion. "It seems to make more sense my way."

"No, it makes more sense my way..."

Milo's planes were a familiar sight. They had freedom of passage everywhere, and one day, Milo contracted with the Amercian military authorities to bomb the German-held highway bridge at Orvieto and with the German military authorities to defend the highway bridge at Orvieto with antiaircraft fire against his own attack. His fee for attacking the bridge for America was the total cost of the operation plus six percent, and his fee from Germany for defending the bridge was the same cost-plus-six agreement augmented by a merit bonus of a thousand dollars for every American plane he shot down.

The arrangments were fair to both sides. Since Milo did have freedom of passage everywhere, his planes were able to steal over in a sneak attack without alerting the German aircraft gunners; and since Milo knew about the attack, he was able to alert the German antiaircraft gunners in sufficient time for them to begin firing accurately the moment the planes came into range.

"I didn't kill him!" Milo kept replying passionately to Yossarian's angry protest. "I wasn't even there that day, I tell you. Do you think I was down there on the ground firing an antiaircraft gun when the planes came over?"

"But you organized the whole thing, didn't you?"

"And I didn't organize anything. The Germans have the bridge, and we were going to bomb it, whether I stepped into the picture or not. I just saw a wonderful opportunity to make some profit out of the missions, and I took it. What's so terrible about that?"

"What's so terrible about it? Milo, a man in my tent was killed on that mission before he could even unpack his bags."

"But I didn't kill him."

"You got a thousand dollars extra for it."

"But I didn't kill him. I wasn't even there, I tell you... And I didn't get the thousand dollars. That thousand dollars went to the syndicate, and everybody got a share, even you. Look I didn't start this war, Yossarian, no matter what that lousy Wintergreen is saying. I'm just trying to put it on a businesslike basis. Is anything wrong with that? You know, a thousand dollars ain't such a bad price for a medium bomber and a crew. If I can persuade the Germans to pay me a thousand dollars for every plane they shoot down, why shouldn't I take it?"

"Because you're dealing with the enemy, that why. Can't you understand that we're fighting a war? People are dying. Look around you, for Christ's sake!"

Milo shook his head with weary forberance. "And the Germans are not our enemies," he declared. "Oh, I know what you're going to say: Sure, we're at war with them. But the Germans are also members in good standing of the syndicate, and it's my job to protect their rights are shareholders. Maybe they did start the way, and maybe they are killing millions of people, but they pay their bills a lot more promptly than some allies of ours I could name."

... one night, after a sumptuous evening meal, all Milo's fighters and bombers took off, joined in formation directly overhead and began dropping bombs on the group. he had landed another contract with the Germans, this time to bomb his own outfit. Milo's planes separated in a well-coordinated attack and bombed the fuel stocks and the ordance pump, the repair hangars and the B-25 bombers resting on the lollipop-shaped hardstands at the field. His crew spared the landing strip and the mess halls so that they could land safely when their work was done and enjoy a hot snack before retiring. They bomb with their landing lights on, since no one was shooting back. They bombed all four squadrons, the officer's club and the Group Headquarters building.

"Milo, you son of a bitch! Are you crazy? What the hell are you doing? Come down! Come down!"

"Stop hollering so much, will you?" answered Milo, who was standing there right beside him [Colonel Cathcart] in the control tower with a microphone of his own. "I'm right here." Milo looked at his with reproof and turned back to his work. "Very good, men, very good," he chanted into his miscrophone. "But I see one supply shed still standing. That will never do, Purvix - I've spoken to you about that kind of shoddy work before. Now, you go right back there this minute and try it again. And this time come in slowly... slowly. Haste makes waste, Purcvis. Haste makes waste. If I've told you once, I must have told you a hundred times. Haste makes waste."

The loud-speaker overhead began squawking. "Milo, this is Alvin Brown. I've finished dropping my bombs. What should I do?"

"Strafe," said Milo.

"Strafe?" Alvin Brown was shocked.

"We have no choice," Milo informed his resignedly. "It's in the contract."

"Oh, okay then," Alvin Brown acquiesced. "In that case I'll strafe."

This time Milo had gone too far. Bombing his own men and planes was more than even the most phlegmatic observer could stomach, and it looked like the end for him. High-ranking government officials poured in to investigate. Newspapers inveighed against Milo with glaring headlines, and Congressmen denoucned the atrocity in stentorian wrath and clamored for punishment. Mothers with children in the service organized into military groups and demanded revenge. Not one voice was raised in his defense. Decent people everywhere were affronted, and Milo was all washed up until he opened his books to the public and disclosed the tremendous profit he had made. He could reimburse the government for all the people and property he had destroyed and still have enoug money left over to continue buying Egyptian cotton. Everybody, of course, owned a share. And that sweetest part of the whole deal was that there really was no need to reimburse the government at all.

"In a democracy, the government is the people," Milo explained. "We're people, aren't we?" So we might just as well keep the money and eliminate the middleman. Frankly, I'd like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry. If we pay the government everything we owe it, we'll only be encouraging governmental control and discouraging other individuals from bombing their own men and planes. We'll be taking away their incentive."

"Please taste this and let me know what you think. I'd like to serve it to the men."

"What is it?" asked Yossarian, and took a bite.

"Chocolate-covered cotton."

"This stuff is better than cotton candy, really it is. It's made out of real cotton. Yossarian, you've got to help me make the men eat it. Egyptian cotton is the finest cotton in the world."

"But it's indigestible," Yossarian emphasized. "It will make them sick, don't you understand? Why don't you try living on it yourself if you don't believe me."

"I did try," admitted Milo gloomily. "And it made me sick."

"Why don't you sell your cotton to the government?"

Milo vetoed the idea brusquely. "It's a matter of principle," he explained firmly. "The government has no business in business, and I would be the last person in the world to ever try to involve the government in a business of mine. But the business of the government is business," he remembered alertly, and continued with elation. "Calvin Coolidge said that, and Calvin Coolidge was a President, so it must be true. And the government does have the responsibility of buying all the Egyptian cotton I've got that no one else wants so I can make a profit, doesn't it? But how will I get the government to do it?"

"Bribe it."

"Bribe it!" Milo was outraged and almost lost his balance and broke his neck again. "Shame on you," he scolded severely, breathing virtuous fire down and upward into his rusty mustache through his billowing nostrils and prim lips. "Bribery is against the law, and you know it. But it's not against the law to make a profit, isn't it? So it can't be against the law for me to bribe someone in order to make a fair profit, can it? No, of course not! But how would I know who to bribe?"

"Oh you don't worry about that. You make the bribe big enough and they will find you. Just make sure you do everything right out in the open. Let everyone know exactly what you want and how much you're willing to pay for it. The first time you act guilty or ashamed, you might get into trouble."

"I wish you'd come with me." Milo remarked. "I won't feel safe among people who take bribes. They're no better than a bunch of crooks."

"You'll be alright," Yossarian assured him with confidence. "If you run into trouble, just tell everybody that the security of the country requires a strong domestic Egyptian-cotton speculating industry."

"It does," Milo informed him solemnly. "A strong Egyptian-cotton speculating industry means a much stronger America."

"Of course it does. And if that doesn't work, point out the great number of American families that depend on it for income."

"A great many American families do depend on it for income."

"You see?" said Yossarian. "You're much better at it than I am. You almost make it sound true."

"It is true."

"I wished you'd put your uniform on instead of going around naked that way," [Milo] confided pensively before he climbed back down again and hurried away. "You might start a trend, and then I'll never get rid of all these goldarned cotton.

Was there a single true faith, or a life after death? How many angels could dance on the head of a pin, and with what matters did God occupy Himself in all the infinite aeons before the Creation? Why was it necessary to put a protective seal on the brow of Cain if there were no other people to protect him from? Did Adam and Eve produce any daughters?

"Do you live on berries, herbs and roots?" [the chaplain] asked.

"No, of course no," the captain replied with surprise. "I sneak into the mess hall through the back and eat in the kitchen. Milo gives me sandwiches and milk."

"What do you do when it rains?"

The captain answered frankly "I get wet."

"Do you think it does you credit to have your chaplain hanging around here every night? He's in here every goddamn time I come."

"You're right, sir, absolutely right," Colonel Cathcart responded. "It does me no credit at all. And I am going to do something about it, this very minute."

"Aren't you the one who ordered him to come here?"

"No, sir, that was Colonel Korn. I intend to punish him severely, too."

"If he wasn't a chaplain," General Dreedle muttered, "I'd have him taken outside and shot."

"He's not a chaplain," Colonel Carthcart advised helpfully.

"Isn't he? Then why the hell does he wear that cross on his collar if he's not a chaplain?"

"He doesn't wear a cross on his collar, sir. He wears a silver leaf. He's a lieutenant colonel."

"You've got a chaplain who's a lieutenant colonel?" inquired General Dreedle with amazement.

"Oh no, sir. My chaplain is only a captain."

"Then why the hell does he wear a silver leaf on his collar if he's only a captain?"

"He doesn't wear a silver lead on his collar, sir. He wears a cross."

"Go away from me now, you son of a bitch."

"I suppose you just don't care if you lose your leg, do you?"

"It's my leg."

"It certainly is not your leg!" Nurse Cramer retorted. "That leg belongs to the U.S. government. It's no different than a gear or a bedpan. The Army has invested a lot of money to make you an airplane pilot, and you've got no right to disobey the doctor's order."


"Just what's going on here?"

"He won't get back into his bed," Nurse Cramer reported zealously in an injured tone. "Sue Ann, he said something absolutely horrible to me. Oh, I can't even make myself repeat it."

"She called me a gear," Yossarian muttered.

Nurse Duckett was not sympathetic. "Will you get back into bed," she said, "or must I take you by the ear and put you there?"

"Take me by my ear and put me there," Yossarian dared her.

Nurse Duckett took him by his ear and put him back in bed.

"Are you both crazy?" the doctor cried shrilly, backing away in paling confusion.

"Yes he really is crazy, Doc" Dunbar assured him. "Every night he dreams he's holding a live fish in his hand."

"He does what?"

"He dreams he's holding a live fish in his hand."

"What kind of fish," the doctor inquired sternly of Yossarian.

"I don't know," Yossarian answered. "I can't tell one kind of fish from another."

"In which hand do you hold them?"

"It varies," answered Yossarian.

"It varies with the fish," Dunbar added helpfully.

The colonel turned and stared down at Dunbar suspiciously with a narrow squint. "Yes, and how come you seem to know so much about it?"

"I'm in the dream," Dunbar answered without cracking a smile.

"This fish you dream about. Let's talk about that, It's always the same fish, isn't it?"

"I don't know," Yossarian replied. "I have trouble recognizing fish."

"What does the fish remind you of?"

"Other fish."

"And what do the other fish remind you of?"

"Other fish."

Major Sanderson sat back disappointedly. "Do you like fish?"

"Not especially."

"Just why do you think you have such a morbid aversion to fish?" asked Major Sanderson triumphantly.

"They're too bland," Yossarian answered. "And too bony."

"That's a very interesting explanation. But we'll soon discover the true reason, I suppose. Do you like this particular fish? The one you're holding in your hand?"

"I have no feelings about it either way."

"Do you dislike the fish? Do you have any hostile or aggressive emotions toward it."

"No, not at all. In fact, I rather like the fish."

"Then you do like the fish."

"Oh no. I have no feelings toward it either way."

"But you just said you liked it. And now you say you have no feelings toward it either way. I've just caught you in a contradiction. Don't you see?"

"Yes, sir, I suppose you have caught me in a contradiction."

"Just why do you think that you made those two statements expressing contradictory emotional responses to the fish?"

"I suppose I have an ambivalent attitude toward it."

"You can save yourself the trouble, Doctor. Everything reminds me of sex."

"Does it?" cried Major Sanderson with a delight, as though unable to believe his ears. "Now we're really getting somewhere. Do you have any good sex dreams?"

"My fish dream is a sex dream."

"No, I mean real sex dreams - the kind where you grab some naked bitch and pinch her and punch her in the face until she's all bloody and then you throw yourself down to ravish and burst into tears because you love her and hate her so much you don't know what else to do. That's the kind of sex dreams I like to talk about. Don't you ever have sex dreams like that?"

Yossarian reflected with a wise look. "That's a fish dream," he decided.

Major Sanderson recoiled as though he had been slapped. "Yes, of course," he conceded frigidly, his manner changing to one of edgy and defensive antagonism. "But I'd like you to dream one like that anyway just to see how you react."

"I'll mention it to Dunbar," Yossarian replied.


"He's the one who started it all. It's his dream."

"Hasn't it ever occured to you that in your promiscuous pursuit of women you are merely trying to assuage your subconcious fears of sexual impotence?

"Yes, sir, it has."

"Then why do you do it?"

"To assuage my subconcious fears of sexual impotence."

"The trouble with you is that you think you're too good for all the conventions of society. You probably think you're too good for me too, just because I arrived at puberty late. Well, do you know what you are? You're a frustrated, unhappy, disillusioned, undisciplined, maladjusted young man!" Major Sanderson's disposition seemed to mellow as he reeled off the incomplimentary adjectives.

"Yes, sir," Yossarian agreed carefully. "I guess you're right."

"Of course I'm right. You're immature. You've been unable to adjust to the idea of war."

"Yes, sir."

"You have a morbid aversion to dying. You probably resent the fact that you're at war and might get your head blown off any second."

"I more than resent it, sir. I'm absolutely incensed."

"You have deep-seated survival anxieties. And you don't like bigots, bullies, snobs or hypocrites. Subconsciously there are many people you hate."

"Consciously, sir, consciously," Yossarian corrected in an effort to help. "I hate them consciously."

"You're antagonistic to the idea of being robbed, exploited, degraded, humiliated or deceived. Violence depresses you. Slums depress you. Greed depresses you. Crime depresses you. Corruption depresses you. You know, it wouldn't surprise me if you're a manic-depressive!"

"Yes, sir. Perhaps I am."

"Don't try to deny it."

"I'm not denying it, sir," said Yossarian, pleased with the miraculous rapport that finally existed between them. "I agree with all you've said."

"Then you admit you're crazy, do you?"

"Crazy?" Yossarian was shocked. "What are you talking about? Why am I crazy? You're the one who's crazy!"

Major Sanderson turned red with indignation again and crashed both fists down upon his thighs. "Calling me crazy," he shouted in a sputtering rage, "is a typically sadistic and vindictive paranoaic reaction! You really are crazy!"

"Then why don't you send me home?"

"And I'm going to send you home!"

"They're going to send me home!" Yossarian announced jubilantly as he hobbled back into the ward

"Are we losing?"

"Losing?" Doc Danneka cried. "The whole military situation has been going to hell ever since we captured Paris. I knew it would happen. American troops are pushing into German soil. The Russians have captured back all of Romania. Only yesterday the Greeks in the Eighth Army captured Rimini. The Germans are on the defensive everywhere! There's no more Luftwaffe left!" he wailed. He seemed ready to burst into tears. "The whole Gothic line is in danger of collapsing!"

"So?" asked Yossarian. "What's wrong?"

"What's wrong?" Doc Daneeka cried. "If something doesn't happen soon, Germany may surrender. And then we'll all be sent to the Pacific!"

Yossarian gawked at Doc Daneeka in grotesque dismay. "Are you crazy? Do you know what you're saying?"

"Yeah, it's easy for you to laugh," Doc Daneeka sneered.

"Who the hell is laughing?"

"At least you've got a chance. You're in combat and might get killed. But what about me? I've got nothing to hope for."

"You're out of your goddamn head!" Yossarian shouted at him emphatically, seizing him by the shirt front. "Do you know that? Now keep your stupid mouth shut and listen to me."

Doc Daneeka wrenched himself away. "Don't you dare talk to me like that. I'm a licensed physician."

"Then keep your stupid licensed physician's mouth shut and listen to what they told me up at the hospital. I'm crazy. Did you know that?"


"Really crazy."


"I'm nuts. Cuckoo. Don't you understand? I'm off my rocker. They sent someone else home in my place by mistake. They've got a licensed physician up at the hospital who examined me, and that was his verdict. I'm really insane."


"So?" Yossarian was puzzled by Doc Danneka's inability to comprehend. "Don't you see what that means? Now you can take me off combat duty and send me home. They're no going to send a crazy man out to be killed, are they?"

"Who else will go?"

Orr had been knocked down into the water again while Yossarian was still in the hospital and had eased his crippled airplane down gently into the glassy blue swells off Marseilles with such flawless skill that not one member of the six-man crew suffered the slightest bruise. The hatches in the front and rear sections flew open while the sea was still foaming white and green around the plane, and the men scrambled out as speedily as they could in their flaccis orange Mae West life jackets that failed to inflate and dangled limp and useless around their necks and waists. The life jackets failed to inflate because Milo had removed the twin carbon-dioxide cylinders from the inflating chambers to make the strawberry and crushed-pineapple ice-cream sodas he served in the officer's mess hall and had replaced them with mimeographed notes that read: "What's good the M & M Enterprises is good for the country."

"Then Orr began opening up compartments in the raft, and the fun really began. First he found a box of chocolate bars and he passed those around, so we sat there eating salty wet chocolate bars while the waves kept knocking us out of the raft into the water. Next he found some bouillon cubes and aluminium cups and make us some soup. Then he found some tea. Sure, he made it! Can't you see him serving us tea as we sat there soaking wet in water up to our ass? Now I was falling out of the raft because I was laughing so much. We were all laughing. And he was dead serious, except for that goofy giggle of his and that crazy grin. What a jerk! Whatever he found he used. He found some shark repellant and he sprinkled it right into the water. He found some marker dye and he threw it into the water. The next thing he finds is a fishing line and dried bait, and his face lights up as thought the Air-Sea Rescue launch had just sped up to save us before we died of exposure or before the Germans sent a boat out from Spezia to take us prisoner or machine-gun us. In no time at all, Orr had that fishing line out into the water, trolling away as happily as a lark. 'Lieutenant, what do you expect to catch?' I asked him. 'Cod,' he told me. And he meant it. And it's a good thing he didn't catch any, because he would have eaten that codfish raw if he had caught any, and would have many use eat it too, because he had found this little book that said it was all right to eat codfish raw.

"The next thing he found was this little blue oar about the size of a Dixie-cup spoon, and, sure enough, he began rowing with it, trying to move all nine hundred pounds of us with that little stick. Can you imagine? After that he found a small magnetic compass and a big waterproof map, and he spread the map open on his knees and set the compass on top of it. And that's how he spent the time until the launch picked us about thirty minutes later, sitting there with that baited fishing line out behind him, with the compass on his laps and the map spread out on his knees, and paddling away as hard as he could with that dinky blue oar as though he was speeding to Majorca. Jesus!"

"You've come to us just in time, Scheisskopf. The summer offensive has just petered out, thanks to the incompetent leadership with which we supply our troops, and I have a crying need for a tough, experienced, competent officer like you to help produce the memoranda upon which we rely so heavily to let people know how good we are and how much work we're turning out. I hope you are a prolific writer."

"I don't know anything about writing," Colonel Scheisskopf retorted sullenly.

"Well, don't let that trouble you," General Peckem continued with a carelsss flick of his wrist. "Just pass the work I assign you along to somebody else and trust to luck. We call that delegation of responsibility. Somewhere down near the lowest level of this coordinated organization I run are people who do get the work done when it reaches them, and everything manages to run along smoothly without too much effort on my part. I suppose that's because I am a good executive. Nothing we do in this large department of ours is really very important, and there's never any rush. On the other hand, it is important that we let people know we do a great deal of it. Let me know if you find yourself shorthanded. I've already put in a requisition for two majors, four captains and sixteen lieutenants to give you a hand. While none of the work we do is very important, it is important that we do a great deal of it."

"What about parades?" Colonel Scheisskopf broke in.

"What parades?" inquired General Peckem with a feeling that his polish just wasn't getting across.

"Won't I be able to conduct parades every Sunday afternoon?" Colonel Scheisskopf demanded petulantly.

"No. Of course now. What ever gave you that idea?"

"But they said I could."

"Who said you could?"

"The office who sent me overseas. They told me I'd be able to march the men around in parades all I wanted to."

"They lied to you."

"That wasn't fair, sir."

"I'm sorry, Scheisskopf. I'm willing to do everything I can to make you happy here, but parades are out of the questions."

"What about my wife?" Colonel Scheisskopf demanded with disgruntled suspicion. "I'll still be able to send for her, won't I?"

"Your wife? Why in the world should you want to?"

"A husband and wife should be together."

"That's out of the question also."

"But they said I could send for her!"

"They lied to you again."

"They had to right to lie to me!" Colonel Scheisskopf protested, his eyes wetting with indignation.

"Of course they had a right," General Peckem snapped with cold and calculated severity, resolving right then and there to test the mettle of his new colonel under fire. "Don't be such an ass, Scheisskopf. People have a right to do anything that's not forbidden by law, and there's no law against lying to you."

"I sometimes think of myself is Fortinbras - ha, ha - in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, who just keeped circling and circling around the action until everything falls apart, and then strolls in at the end to pick up all the pieces for himself. Shakespeare is -"

"I don't know anything about plays," Colonel Sheisskopf broke in bluntly.

General Peckem looked at him with amazement. Never before had a reference of his to Shakespeare's hallowed Hamlet been ignored and trampled upon with such rude indifference. He began to wonder with geniune concern just what sort of shithead the Pentagon had foisted on him. "What do you know about?" he asked acidly.

"Parades," answered Colonel Scheisskopf eagerly. "Will I be able to send out memos about parades?"

"As long as you don't schedule any. And as long as they don't interfere with your main assignment of recommending that the authority of Special Service be expanded to include combat activities."

"Can I schedule parades and then call them off?"

General Peckem brighteed instantly. "Why, that's a wonderful idea! But just send out weekly announcement postponing the parades. Don't ever bother to schedule them. That would be infinitely more disconcerting."

Colonel Cargill came storming into General Peckem's office a minute later in a furor of timid resentment. "I've been here longer than Scheisskopf," he complained. "Why can't I be the one to call off the parades?"

"Because Scheisskopf has experience with parades, and you haven't. You can call off U.S.O. shows if you want to. In fact, why don't you? Just think of all the places that won't be getting a U.S.O. show on any given day. Think of all the places each big-name entertainer won't be visiting. Yes, Cargill, I think you've hit on something. I think you've just thrown open a whole new area of operation for us. Tell Colonel Scheisskopf I want him to work along under your supervision on this. And send him in to see me when you're through giving him instructions."

"Colonel Cargill says you told him you want me to work along under his supervision on the U.S.O. project," Colonel Scheisskopf complained.

"I told him no such thing," answered General Peckem. "Confidentially, Scheisskopf, I'm not too happy with Colonel Cargill. He's bossy and he's slow. I'd like you to keep an eye on what he's doing and see if you can't get a little more work out of him."

"He keeps butting in," Colonel Cargill protested. "He won't let me get any work done."

"There's something very funny about Scheisskopf," General Peckem agreed reflectively. "Keep a very close eye on him and see if you can't find out what he's up to."

"Now he's butting into my business!" Colonel Scheisskopf cried.

"Don't let it worry you, Scheisskopf," said General Peckem, congratulating himself on how adeptly he had fit Colonel Scheisskopf into his standard method of operation. Already his two colonels were barely on speaking terms. "Colonel Cargill envies you because of the splendid job you're doing on parades. He's afraid I'm going to put you in charge of bomb patterns."

Colonel Scheisskopf was all ears. "What are bomb patterns?"

"Bomb patterns? A bomb pattern is a term I dreamed up just several weeks ago. It means nothing, but you'd be surprised at how rapidly it's caught on. Why, I've got all sorts of people convinced I think it's important for the bombs to explode close together and make a neat aerial photograph. There's one colonel in Pianosa who's hardly concerned any more with whether he hits the target or not."

"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... A white parachute popped open suddenly in a surprising puff. A second parachute popped open a few moments later and coasted down, like the first... The plan 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 Carthcart was so upset by the deaths of Kid Sampson and McWatt that he raised the missions to sixty-five.

When Colonel Carthcart learned that Doc Daneeka too had been killed in McWatt's plane, he increased the number of missions to seventy.

"Goddammit," [Doc Daneeka] 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. 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?"

"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."

"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?"

"Yes, he sure was," mourned the other. "But I'm glad the little fuck is gone. I was getting sick and tired to taking his blood pressure all the time."

[Doc Daneeka] 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 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 we would have Doc Daneeka cremated on the spot if he ever showed up at Group Headquarters.

There was nowhere to turn but his wife, and he scrobbled an impassioned letter begging her to bring his plight to the attention of 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 imposter. 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 the same Colonel Cathcart, her husband's group commande, 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 his children to Lansing, Michigan, and left no forwarding address.

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 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 football games. They were obtuse; their morale was good. They were glad 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.

Captain Flume had moved back into his trailer.


"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... "I'm not allowed to practice medicine, any more."

"He's dead," Chief White Halfoat gloated, with a hoarse laugh entangled with 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."

"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!"

"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'."


"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.

Tha 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 exhilirated 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.

"They're going to disappear him," she said. "Yossarian squinted at her uncomprehendingly. "They're what?" he asked in surprise, and laugh uneasily. "What does that mean?"

"I don't know. I heard them talking behind a door."


"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!"

"Where are you taking me?" he [Chaplain Tappman] asked in a voice soft with timidity and gilt, 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 majoy 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 office in front swung his head around swiftly with a quarrelsome expressions. "You've never been to heaven either, have you? But you know there's a heaven, don't you?"

"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 manner.

"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?"


"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?"

"Why'd you steal it [plum tomato] from Colonel Cathcart if you didn't want it?"

"I didn't steal it from Colonel Cathcart!"

"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?"

"And here I have another sworn statement from Sergeant Whitcomb that says you opposed to 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 to 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 will bring solace and comfort to the familes that receive them, don't they? Chaplain, I simply can't understand your thinking process."

"Chaplain, 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 office without insignia."Chaplain, we accuse you also of the commission of crimes and infractions we don't even know about yet. Guilty of 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."

"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."

"General Scheisskopf?" [General Peckem] 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..."

"Wintergreen! Wintergreen, have you heard what they've done? They put Schiesskopf 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 anymore. 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 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!"

"What the devil do you mean, he won't fly any more missions? Why won't he?"

"His friend Nately was killed in the crash over Spezia. Maybe that's why."

"Who does he think he is - Archilles? 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."

"Oh, there are plenty of other ways we can handle this one," Colonel Korn assured him confidently... "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.

She tried to trip him with her hand as he scrambled to his feet and scratched an excruciating chunk out of his ankle.

She kicked him in the groin. Whoosh! went the air out of him.

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.

She hurled a heavy glass ash tray at his head.

Then she came back to him with a full wine bottle and struck him squarely on the temple, knocking him down half stunned on one knee.

She plunged her nails into the side of his neck and gouged...

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 hrad, 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 want to kill him!

This time she wept with no other emotion than grief, debilitating, humble grief, forgetting all about him... 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 cheecks with a tiny polite smile and gave the handkerchief back, mumuring "Gracie, grazie" with a meek smile, maidenly propreity, 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!

Yossarian escaped, but kept looking back over his shoulder anxiously as he retreated through the street... 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. He had never seen a face so badly bruised and scratched as the one still blinking back at him in the mirrror with a dazes 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 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...

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 ouf of the plane on the taxi strip, and Hungry Joe took right off for Pianosa again without even cutting his engines

"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 while thing too."

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.

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 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.

"Say, do you think there's any chance they might take you off combat duty and send you home?" [Havermeyer]


"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 so 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?"

"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 one back here and eat your liver!"

"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?"


"What?" Yossarian froze in his tracks with fear and alarm and felt hiw while 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 a 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 ager 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?"


Yossarian left money in the old woman's lap - it was odd how many wrongs leaving money seemed to right...

"We're sending you home."

There was, of course, a catch.

"Catch-22?" inquired Yossarian.

"Of course," Colonel Korn answered pleasantly... "After all, we can't simply send you home for refusing to fly more missions and keep the rest of the men here, can we? That would hardly be fair to them... You know, you really have been making things terribly difficult for Colonel Cathcart. The men are unhappy and morale is beginning to deteriorate. And it's all your fault."

"It's your fault," Yossarian argued, "for raising the number of missions."

"No, it's your fault for refusing to fly them," Colonel Korn retorted. "The men were perfectly content to fly as many missions as we asked as long as they thought they had no alternative, Now you've given they hope, and they're unhappy. So the blame is all yours."

"Doesn't he know there's a way going on?" Colonel Cathcart, still stamping back and forth, demanded morosely without looking at Yossarian.

"I'm quite sure he does," Colonel Korn answered. "That's probably why he refuses to fly them."

"Doesn't it make any difference to him?"

"Will the knowledge that there's a war going on weaken your decision to refuse to participate in it?" Colonel Korn inquired with sarcastic seriousness, mocking Colonel Cathcart.

"No, sir," Yossarian replied.

"You know, in all fairness, we really haven't treated you too badly, have we? We've fed you and paid you on time. We gave you a medal and even made you a captain."

"I never should have made him a captain," Colonel Cathcart exclaimed bitterly. "I should have given him a court-martial after he loused up that Ferrara mission and went around twice."

"I told you not to promote him," said Colonel Korn, "but you wouldn't listen to me."

"No you didn't. You told me to promote him, didn't you?"

"I told you not to promote him. But you just didn't listen."

"I should have listened."

"You never listen to me," Colonel Korn persisted with relish. "That's the reason we're in this spot."

"All right, gee whiz. Stop rubbing it in, will you?"

"You know, Yossarian, I really do admire you a bit. You're an intelligent person of great moral character who has taken a very courageous stand. I'm an intelligent person with no moral character at all, so I'm in an ideal position to appreciate it."

"These are very critical times," Colonel Cathcart asserted petulantly from a far corner of the office, paying no attention to Colonel Korn.

"Very critical times indeed," Colonel Korn agreed with a placid nod. "We've just had a change of command above, and we can't afford a situation that might put us in a bad light with either General Scheisskopf of General Peckem. Isn't that what you mean, Colonel?"

"Hasn't he got any patriotism?"

"Won't you fight for your country?" Colonel Korn demanded... "Won't you give up your life for Colonel Cathcart and me?"

"What's that?" [Yossarian] exclaimed. "What have you and Colonel Cathcart got to do with my country? You're not the same."

"How can you separate us?" Colonel Korn inquired with ironical tranquility.

"That's right," Colonel Cathcart cried emphatically. "You're either for us or against us. There's no two way about it."

"I'm afraid he's got you," added Colonel Korn. "You're either for us or against your country. It's as simple as that."

"Oh, no, Colonel. I don't buy that.

Colonel Korn was unruffled. "Neither do I, frankly, but everyone else will. So there are you."

"You're a disgrace to your uniform!" Colonel Cathcart declared with blustering wrath to confront Yossarian for the first time. "I'd like to know how you ever got to be a captain, anyway."

"You promoted him," Colonel Korn reminded sweetly, stifling a snicker. "Don't you remember?"

"Well, I never should have done it."

"I told you not to do it," Colonel Korn said. "But you just wouldn't listen to me."

"Gee whzi, will you stop rubbing it in?" Colonel Cathcart cried.

"I wonder if it's really doing me any good."

"It's a feather in your cap with General Peckem, but a black eye for you with General Schiesskopf," Colonel Korn informed him with a mischievous look of innocence.

"Well, which one am I supposed to please?"


"How can I please them both? They hate each other. How am I ever going to get a feather in my cap from General Scheisskopf without getting a black eye from General Peckem?"


"Yeah, march. That's the only way to please him. March. March."

A private in green fatigues saluted him. Yossarian returned the salute happily, staring at the private with curiosity. He looked strangely familiar. When Yossarian returned the salute, the private in green fatigues turned suddenly into Nately's whore and lunged at him murderously with a bone-handled kitchen knife...

"Where were you born?"

"On a battlefield," [Yossarian] answered.

"No, no. In what state were you born?"

"In a state of innocence."

"Let's operate," said the other doctor. "Let's cut him open and get to the inside of things once and for all. He keeps complaining about his liver. His liver looks pretty small on the X-ray."

"That's his pancreas, you dope. This is his liver."

"No it isn't. That's his heart."

"It's part of the deal."

"What deal?"

"The deal I made with Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn. They'll let me go home a big hero if I say nice things about them to everybody and never criticize them to anyone for making the rest of the men flt more missions."

"But that's terrible! That's a shameful scandalous deal, isn't it?"


"Then how could you agree to it?"

"It's that or a court-martial, Chaplain."

"You must do whatever you think is right, then."

"Don't worry," Yossarian said with a sorrowful laugh after several moments has passed. "I'm not going to do it."

"But you must do it. Really you must. I had no right to influence you. I really had no right to say anything."

"You didn't influence me. Christ, Chaplain! Can you imagine that for a sin? Saving Colonel Cathcart's life! That's the one crime I don't want on my record.

"No, I don't think it's you he meant. I think it must be someone like Nately or Dunbar. You know, someone who was killed in the war, like Clevinger, Orr, Dobbs, Kid Sampson or McWatt." Yossaria exclaimed with a startled gasp and shook his head. "I just realized it," he exclaimed. "They've got all my pals, haven't they? They only ones left are me and Hungry Joe." He tingled with dread as he saw the chaplain's face go pale. "Chaplain, what is it?"

"Hungry was killed."

"God, no! On a mission?"

"He died in his sleep while having a dream. They found a cat on his face."

"I'm cold," Snowden whimpered. "I'm cold."

"There, there," Yossarian mumbled mechanically in a voice too low to be heard. "There, there."

Yossarian was cold, too, and shivering uncontrollably. He felt goose pimples clacking all ove rhim as he gazed down despondently at the grim secret Snowden had spilled all over the messy floor. It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden's secret. Drop him out a window and he'll fall. Set fire to him and he'll burn. Bury him and he'll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden's secret. Ripeness was all.

I'm cold," Snowden said. "I'm cold."

"There, there, said Yossarian. "There, there." He pulled the rip cord of Snowden's parachute and covered his body with the white nylon sheets.

"I'm cold."

"There, there."

"You must try to look up at the big picture."

Yossarian rejected the advice with a skeptical shake of his head. "When I look up, I see people cashing in. I don't see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and every human tragedy."

"This is not World War One. You must never forget that we're at war with aggressors who would not let either one of us live if they won."

"I know that," Yossarian replied tersely with a sudden surge of scowling annoyance. "Christ, Daby. I earned that medal I got, no matter what their reasons were for giving it to me. I've flown seventy goddam missions. Don't talk to me about fighting to save my country. I've been fighting all along to save my country. Now I'm going to fight a little to save myself. The country's not in danger any more, but I am."

"The war's not over yet. The Germans are driving toward Antwerp."

"The Germans will be beaten in a few months. And Japan will be beaten a few months after that. If I were to give up my life now, it wouldn't be for my country. It would be for Cathcart and Korn. So I'm turning my bombsight in for the duration. From now on I'm thinking only of me."

"But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way."

"Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn't I?"

"You must make decisions," Major Danby disagreed. "A person can't live like a vegetable."

"Why not?"

"It must be nice to live like a vegetable," he conceded wistfully.

"It's lousy."

"No, it must be very pleasant to be free from all this doubt and pressure," insisted Major Danby. "I think I'd like to live like a vegetable and make no important decisions."

"What kind of vegetable, Danby?"

"A cucumber or a carrot."

"What kind of cucumber? A good one or a bad one?"

"Oh, a good one, of course."

"They'd cut you up in your prime and slice you up for a salad."

Major Danby's face fell. "A poor one, then."

"They'd let you rot and use you for fertilizer to help the good ones grow."

But you can't just turn your back on all your responsibilities and run away from them," Major Danby insisted. "It's such a negative move. It's escapist."

"I'm not running away from my responsibilities. I'm running to them. There's nothing negative about running away to save my life."

"Goodbye, Yossarian," the chaplain called, "And good luck. I'll stay here and persevere, and we'll meet again when the fighting stops."

"So long, Chaplain. Thanks Danby."

"How do you feel, Yossarian?"

"Fine. No. I'm very frightened."

"That's good," said Major Danby. "It proves you're still alive. It won't be fun."

Yossarian started out. "Yes, it will."

"I mean it, Yossarian. You'll have to keep on your toes every minutes of every day. They'll bend heaven and earth to catch you."

"I'll keep on my toes every minute."

"You'll have to jump."

"I'll jump."

"Jump!" Major Danby cried.

Yossarian jumped. Nately's whore was hiding just outside the door. The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off.