- Black Rose
- The Great Train Robbery
- Blue Dahlia
- Carnal Innocence
- Dance Upon the Air
- High Noon
- Sacred Sins
- Face the Fire
- Holding the Dream
- A Man for Amanda
- All the Possibilities
- Black Rose
- The Great Train Robbery
- Blue Dahlia
- Carnal Innocence
- Dance Upon the Air
- High Noon
- Sacred Sins
- Face the Fire
- Holding the Dream
- A Man for Amanda
CHAPTER 12 - BOLOGNA
(AnyBooksFree) CHAPTER 12 - BOLOGNA
Actually, it was not Captain Black but Sergeant Knight who triggered the solemn
panic of Bologna, slipping silently off the truck for two extra flak suits as soon as he
learned the target and signaling the start of the grim procession back into the
parachute tent that degenerated into a frantic stampede finally before all the extra
flak suits were gone.
'Hey, what's going on?' Kid Sampson asked nervously. 'Bologna can't be that rough,
Nately, sitting trancelike on the floor of the truck, held his grave young face in both
hands and did not answer him.
It was Sergeant Knight and the cruel series of postponements, for just as they were
climbing up into their planes that first morning, along came a jeep with the news that
it was raining in Bologna and that the mission would be delayed. It was raining in
Pianosa too by the time they returned to the squadron, and they had the rest of that
day to stare woodenly at the bomb line on the map under the awning of the
intelligence tent and ruminate hypnotically on the fact that there was no escape. The
evidence was there vividly in the narrow red ribbon tacked across the mainland: the
ground forces in Italy were pinned down forty-two insurmountable miles south of the
target and could not possibly capture the city in time. Nothing could save the men in
Pianosa from the mission to Bologna. They were trapped.
Their only hope was that it would never stop raining, and they had no hope because
they all knew it would. When it did stop raining in Pianosa, it rained in Bologna. When
it stopped raining in Bologna, it began again in Pianosa. If there was no rain at all,
there were freakish, inexplicable phenomena like the epidemic of diarrhea or the
bomb line that moved. Four times during the first six days they were assembled and
briefed and then sent back. Once, they took off and were flying in formation when
the control tower summoned them down. The more it rained, the worse they
suffered. The worse they suffered, the more they prayed that it would continue
raining. All through the night, men looked at the sky and were saddened by the stars.
All through the day, they looked at the bomb line on the big, wobbling easel map of
Italy that blew over in the wind and was dragged in under the awning of the
intelligence tent every time the rain began. The bomb line was a scarlet band of
narrow satin ribbon that delineated the forwardmost position of the Allied ground
forces in every sector of the Italian mainland.
The morning after Hungry Joe's fist fight with Huple's cat, the rain stopped falling
in both places. The landing strip began to dry. It would take a full twenty-four hours
to harden; but the sky remained cloudless. The resentments incubating in each man
hatched into hatred. First they hated the infantrymen on the mainland because they
had failed to capture Bologna. Then they began to hate the bomb line itself. For
hours they stared relentlessly at the scarlet ribbon on the map and hated it because
it would not move up high enough to encompass the city. When night fell, they
congregated in the darkness with flashlights, continuing their macabre vigil at the
bomb line in brooding entreaty as though hoping to move the ribbon up by the
collective weight of their sullen prayers.
'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 that we wouldn't have to fly that mission tomorrow
if someone would only tiptoe up to the map in the middle of the 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.
Corporal Kolodny tiptoed stealthily into Captain Black's tent early the next morning,
reached inside the mosquito net and gently shook the moist shoulder-blade he found
there until Captain Black opened his eyes.
'What are you waking me up for?' whimpered Captain Black.
'They captured Bologna, sir,' said Corporal Kolodny. 'I thought you'd want to know.
Is the mission canceled?'
Captain Black tugged himself erect and began scratching his scrawny long thighs
methodically. In a little while he dressed and emerged from his tent, squinting, cross
and unshaven. The sky was clear and warm. He peered without emotion at the map.
Sure enough, they had captured Bologna. Inside the intelligence tent, Corporal
Kolodny was already removing the maps of Bologna from the navigation kits. Captain
Black seated himself with a loud yawn, lifted his feet to the top of his desk and
phoned Colonel Korn.
'What are you waking me up for?' whimpered Colonel Korn.
'They captured Bologna during the night, sir. Is the mission canceled?'
'What are you talking about, Black?' Colonel Korn growled.
'Why should the mission be canceled?'
'Because they captured Bologna, sir. Isn't the mission canceled?'
'Of course the mission is canceled. Do you think we're bombing our own troops now?'
'What are you waking me up for?' Colonel Cathcart whimpered to Colonel Korn.
'They captured Bologna,' Colonel Korn told him. 'I thought you'd want to know.'
'Who captured Bologna?'
Colonel Cathcart was overjoyed, for he was relieved of the embarrassing commitment
to bomb Bologna without blemish to the reputation for valor he had earned by
volunteering his men to do it. General Dreedle was pleased with the capture of
Bologna, too, although he was angry with Colonel Moodus for waking him up to tell him
about it. Headquarters was also pleased and decided to award a medal to the officer
who captured the city. There was no officer who had captured the city, so they gave
the medal to General Peckem instead, because General Peckem was the only officer
with sufficient initiative to ask for it.
As soon as General Peckem had received his medal, he began asking for increased
responsibility. It was General Peckem's opinion that all combat units in the theater
should be placed under the jurisdiction of the Special Service Corps, of which
General Peckem himself was the commanding officer. If dropping bombs on the
enemy was not a special service, he reflected aloud frequently with the martyred
smile of sweet reasonableness that was his loyal confederate in every dispute, then
he could not help wondering what in the world was. With amiable regret, he declined
the offer of a combat post under General Dreedle.
'Flying combat missions *for* General Dreedle is not exactly what I had in mind,' he
explained indulgently with a smooth laugh. 'I was thinking more in terms of
*replacing* General Dreedle, or perhaps of 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 the hope that ex-P.F.C.
Wintergreen 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
that we ask for the 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 actually mind going into combat, but my best abilities are mainly
administrative ones. I too have a happy facility for getting different people to
'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, after he had come to
Pianosa to learn if it was really true about Milo and the Egyptian cotton. 'If anyone
deserves a promotion, I do.' Actually, he had risen already to ex-corporal, having
shot through the ranks shortly after his transfer to Twenty-seventh Air Force
Headquarters as a mail clerk and been busted right down to private for making odious
audible comparisons about the commissioned officers for whom he worked. The heady
taste of success had infused him further with morality and fired him with ambition
for loftier attainments. 'Do you want to buy some Zippo lighters?' he asked
Yossarian. 'They were stolen right from quartermaster.'
'Does Milo know you're selling cigarette lighters?'
'What's it his business? Milo's not carrying cigarette lighters too now, is he?'
'He sure is,' Yossarian told him. 'And his aren't stolen.'
'That's what you think,' ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen answered with a laconic snort. 'I'm
selling mine for a buck apiece. What's he getting for his?'
'A dollar and a penny.'
Ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen snickered triumphantly. 'I beat him every time,' he gloated.
'Say, what about all that Egyptian cotton he's stuck with? How much did he buy?'
'In the whole world? Well, I'll be danmed!' ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen crowed with
malicious glee. 'What a dope! You were in Cairo with him. Why'd you let him do it?'
'Me?' Yossarian answered with a shrug. 'I have no influence on him. It was those
teletype machines they have in all the good restaurants there. Milo had never seen a
stock ticker before, and the quotation for Egyptian cotton happened to be coming in
just as he asked the headwaiter to explain it to him. "Egyptian cotton?" Milo said
with that look of his. "How much is Egyptian cotton selling for?" The next thing I
knew he had bought the whole goddamn harvest. And now he can't unload any of it.'
'He has no imagination. I can unload plenty of it in the black market if he'll
make a deal.'
'Milo knows the black market. There's no demand for cotton.'
'But there is a demand for medical supplies. I can roll the cotton up on wooden
toothpicks and peddle them as sterile swabs. Will he sell to me at a good price?'
'He won't sell to you at any price,' Yossarian answered. 'He's pretty sore at you for
going into competition with him. In fact, he's pretty sore at everybody for getting
diarrhea last weekend and giving his mess hall a bad name. Say, you can help us.'
Yossarian suddenly seized his arm. 'Couldn't you forge some official orders on that
mimeograph machine of yours and get us out of flying to Bologna?'
Ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen pulled away slowly with a look of scorn. 'Sure I could,' he
explained with pride. 'But I would never dream of doing anything like that.'
'Because it's your job. We all have our jobs to do. My job is to unload these Zippo
lighters at a profit if I can and pick up some cotton from Milo. Your job is to bomb
the ammunition dumps at Bologna.'
'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 unload 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 into 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 just 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, his gaunt face pale and his agitated
brown eyes swimming in sincerity. 'But the fact remains that those ammunition dumps
are still standing. You know very well that I don't approve of Colonel Cathcart any
more than you do.' Clevinger paused for emphasis, his mouth quivering, and then beat
his fist down softly against his sleeping-bag. '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 -'
'- 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,
and I am talking about the relationship of me to Colonel Cathcart. 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, the thinnest milk-white line enclosing his lips tightly in a
bloodless, squeezing ring. 'I can't think of another attitude that could be depended
upon to give greater comfort to the enemy.'
'The enemy,' retorted 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.'
But Clevinger did forget it, and now he was dead . At the time, Clevinger was so upset
by the incident that Yossarian did not dare tell him he had also been responsible for
the epidemic of diarrhea that had caused the other unnecessary postponement. Milo
was even more upset by the possibility that someone had poisoned his squadron again,
and he came bustling fretfully to Yossarian for assistance.
'Please find out from Corporal Snark if he put laundry soap in the sweet potatoes
again,' he 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.
Milo pouted dubiously. 'Dunbar says there is no God.'
There was no hope left. By the middle of the second week, everyone in the squadron
began to look like Hungry Joe, who was not scheduled to fly and screamed horribly in
his sleep. He was the only one who could sleep. All night long, men moved through the
darkness outside their tents like tongueless wraiths with cigarettes. In the daytime
they stared at the bomb line in futile, drooping clusters or at the still figure of Doc
Daneeka sitting in front of the closed door of the medical tent beneath the morbid
hand-lettered sign. They began to invent humorless, glum jokes of their own and
disastrous rumors about the destruction awaiting them at Bologna.
Yossarian sidled up drunkenly to Colonel Korn at the officers' club one night to kid
with him about the new Lepage gun that the Germans had moved in.
'What Lepage gun?' Colonel Korn inquired with curiosity.
'The new three-hundred-and-forty-four-millimeter Lepage glue gun,' Yossarian
answered. 'It glues a whole formation of planes together in mid-air.'
Colonel Korn jerked his elbow free from Yossarian's clutching fingers in startled
affront. 'Let go of me, you idiot!' he cried out furiously, glaring with vindictive
approval as Nately leaped upon Yossarian's back and pulled him away. 'Who is that
Colonel Cathcart chortled merrily. 'That's the man you made me give a medal to after
Ferrara. You had me promote him to captain, too, remember? It serves you right.'
Nately was lighter than Yossarian and had great difficulty maneuvering Yossarian's
lurching bulk across the room to an unoccupied table. 'Are you crazy?' Nately kept
hissing with trepidation. 'That was Colonel Korn. Are you crazy?'
Yossarian wanted another drink and promised to leave quietly if Nately brought him
one. Then he made Nately bring him two more. When Nately finally coaxed him to the
door, Captain Black came stomping in from outside, banging his sloshing shoes down
hard on the wood floor and spilling water from his eaves like a high roof.
'Boy, are you bastards in for it!' he announced exuberantly, splashing away from the
puddle forming at his feet. 'I just got a call from Colonel Korn. Do you know what
they've got waiting for you at Bologna? Ha! Ha! They've got the new Lepage glue gun.
It glues a whole formation of planes together in mid-air.'
'My God, it's true!' Yossarian shrieked, and collapsed against Nately in terror.
'There is no God,' answered Dunbar calmly, coming up with a slight stagger.
'Hey, give me a hand with him, will you? I've got to get him back in his tent.'
'Says me. Gee, look at the rain.'
'We've got to get a car.'
'Steal Captain Black's car,' said Yossarian. 'That's what I always do.'
'We can't steal anybody's car. Since you began stealing the nearest car every time
you wanted one, nobody leaves the ignition on.'
'Hop in,' said Chief White Halfoat, driving up drunk in a covered jeep. He waited until
they had crowded inside and then spurted ahead with a suddenness that rolled them
all over backward. He roared with laughter at their curses. He drove straight ahead
when he left the parking lot and rammed the car into the embankment on the other
side of the road. The others piled forward in a helpless heap and began cursing him
again. 'I forgot to turn,' he explained.
'Be careful, will you?' Nately cautioned. 'You'd better put your headlights on.'
Chief White Halfoat pulled back in reverse, made his turn and shot away up the road
at top speed. The wheels were sibilant on the whizzing blacktop surface.
'Not so fast,' urged Nately.
'You'd better take me to your squadron first so I can help you put him to bed. Then
you can drive me back to my squadron.'
'Who the hell are you?'
'Hey, put your headlights on,' Nately shouted. 'And watch the road!'
'They are on. Isn't Yossarian in this car? That's the only reason I let the rest of you
bastards in.' Chief White Halfoat turned completely around to stare into
the back seat.
'Watch the road!'
'Yossarian? Is Yossarian in here?'
'I'm here, Chief. Let's go home. What makes you so sure?
You never answered my question.'
'You see? I told you he was here.'
'Whatever it was we were talking about.'
'Was it important?'
'I don't remember if it was important or not. I wish to God I knew what it was.'
'There is no God.'
'That's what we were talking about,' Yossarian cried. 'What makes you so sure?'
'Hey, are you sure your headlights are on?' Nately called out.
'They're on, they're on. What does he want from me? It's all this rain on the
windshield that makes it look dark from back there.'
'Beautiful, beautiful rain.'
'I hope it never stops raining. Rain, rain, go a -'
'- way. Come a -'
'- again some oth -'
'- er day. Little Yo-Yo wants -'
'- to play. In -'
'- the meadow, in -'
Chief White Halfoat missed the next turn in the road and ran the jeep all the way up
to the crest of a steep embankment. Rolling back down, the jeep turned over on its
side and settled softly in the mud. There was a frightened silence.
'Is everyone all right?' Chief White Halfoat inquired in a hushed voice. No one was
injured, and he heaved a long sigh of relief. 'You know, that's my trouble,' he
groaned. 'I never listen to anybody. Somebody kept telling me to put my headlights
on, but I just wouldn't listen.'
'I kept telling you to put your headlights on.'
'I know, I know. And I just wouldn't listen, would I? I wish I had a drink.
I *do* have a drink. Look. It's not broken.'
'It's raining in,' Nately noticed. 'I'm getting wet.'
Chief White Halfoat got the bottle of rye open, drank and handed it off. Lying
tangled up on top of each other, they all drank but Nately, who kept groping
ineffectually for the door handle. The bottle fell against his head with a clunk, and
whiskey poured down his neck. He began writhing convulsively.
'Hey, we've got to get out of here!' he cried. 'We'll all drown.'
'Is anybody in there?' asked Clevinger with concern, shining a flashlight
down from the top.
'It's Clevinger!' they shouted, and tried to pull him in through the window as he
reached down to aid them.
'Look at them!' Clevinger exclaimed indignantly to McWatt, who sat grinning at the
wheel of the staff car. 'Lying there like a bunch of drunken animals. You too, Nately?
You ought to be ashamed! Come on - help me get them out of here before they all die
'You know, that don't sound like such a bad idea,' Chief White Halfoat reflected.
'I think I will die of pneumonia.'
'Why not?' answered Chief White Halfoat, and lay back in the mud contentedly with
the bottle of rye cuddled in his arms.
'Oh, now look what he's doing!' Clevinger exclaimed with irritation. 'Will you get up
and get into the car so we can all go back to the squadron?'
'We can't all go back. Someone has to stay here to help the Chief with this car he
signed out of the motor pool.'
Chief White Halfoat settled back in the staff car with an ebullient, prideful chuckle.
'That's Captain Black's car,' he informed them jubilantly. 'I stole it from him at the
officers' club just now with an extra set of keys he thought he lost this morning.'
'Well, I'll be damned! That calls for a drink.'
'Haven't you had enough to drink?' Clevinger began scolding as soon as McWatt
started the car. 'Look at you. You don't care if you drink yourselves to death or
drown yourselves to death, do you?'
'Just as long as we don't fly ourselves to death.'
'Hey, open it up, open it up,' Chief White Halfoat urged McWatt.
'And turn off the headlights. That's the only way to do it.'
'Doc Daneeka is right,' Clevinger went on. 'People don't know enough to take care of
themselves. I really am disgusted with all of you.'
'Okay, fatmouth, out of the car,' Chief White Halfoat ordered. 'Everybody get out
of the car but Yossarian. Where's Yossarian?'
'Get the hell off me.' Yossarian laughed, pushing him away.
'You're all covered with mud.'
Clevinger focused on Nately. 'You're the one who really surprises me. Do you know
what you smell like? Instead of trying to keep him out of trouble, you get just as
drunk as he is. Suppose he got in another fight with Appleby?' Clevinger's eyes
opened wide with alarm when he heard Yossarian chuckle. 'He didn't get in another
fight with Appleby, did he?'
'Not this time,' said Dunbar.
'No, not this time. This time I did even better.'
'This time he got in a fight with Colonel Korn.'
'He didn't!' gasped Clevinger.
'He did?' exclaimed Chief White Halfoat with delight. 'That calls for a drink.'
'But that's terrible!' Clevinger declared with deep apprehension. 'Why in the world
did you have to pick on Colonel Korn? Say, what happened to the lights? Why is
everything so dark?'
'I turned them off,' answered McWatt. 'You know, Chief White Halfoat is right.
It's much better with the headlights off.'
'Are you crazy?' Clevinger screamed, and lunged forward to snap the headlights on.
He whirled around upon Yossarian in near hysteria. 'You see what you're doing?
You've got them all acting like you! Suppose it stops raining and we have to fly to
Bologna tomorrow. You'll be in fine physical condition.'
'It won't ever gonna stop raining. No, sir, a rain like this really might go on forever.'
'It has stopped raining!' someone said, and the whole car fell silent.
'You poor bastards,' Chief White Halfoat murmured compassionately after a few
moments had passed.
'Did it really stop raining?' Yossarian asked meekly.
McWatt switched off the windshield wipers to make certain. The rain had stopped.
The sky was starting to clear. The moon was sharp behind a gauzy brown mist.
'Oh, well,' sang McWatt soberly. 'What the hell.'
'Don't worry, fellas,' Chief White Halfoat said. 'The landing strip is too soft to use
tomorrow. Maybe it'll start raining again before the field dries out.'
'You goddam stinking lousy son of a bitch,' Hungry Joe screamed from his tent as
they sped into the squadron.
'Jesus, is he back here tonight? I thought he was still in Rome with the courier ship.'
'Oh! Ooooh! Oooooooh!' Hungry Joe screamed.
Chief White Halfoat shuddered. 'That guy gives me the willies,' he confessed in a
grouchy whisper. 'Hey, whatever happened to Captain Flume?'
'There's a guy that gives me the willies. I saw him in the woods last week eating wild
berries. He never sleeps in his trailer any more. He looked like hell.'
'Hungry Joe's afraid he'll have to replace somebody who goes on sick call, even
though there is no sick call. Did you see him the other night when he tried to kill
Havermeyer and fell into Yossarian's slit trench?'
'Ooooh!' screamed Hungry Joe. 'Oh! Ooooh! Ooooooh!'
'It sure is a pleasure not having Flume around in the mess hall any more. No more of
that "Pass the salt, Walt." '
'Or "Pass the bread, Fred." '
'Or "Shoot me a beet, Pete." '
'Keep away, keep away,' Hungry Joe screamed. 'I said keep away, keep away, you
goddamn stinking lousy son of a bitch.'
'At least we found out what he dreams about,' Dunbar observed wryly. 'He dreams
about goddamn stinking lousy sons of bitches.'
Late that night Hungry Joe dreamed that Huple's cat was sleeping on his face,
suffocating him, and when he woke up, Huple's cat was sleeping on his face. His agony
was terrifying, the piercing, unearthly howl with which he split the moonlit dark
vibrating in its own impact for seconds afterward like a devastating shock. A numbing
silence followed, and then a riotous din rose from inside his tent.
Yossarian was among the first ones there. When he burst through the entrance,
Hungry Joe had his gun out and was struggling to wrench his arm free from Huple to
shoot the cat, who kept spitting and feinting at him ferociously to distract him from
shooting Huple. Both humans were in their GI underwear. The unfrosted light bulb
overhead was swinging crazily on its loose wire, and the jumbled black shadows kept
swirling and bobbing chaotically, so that the entire tent seemed to be reeling.
Yossarian reached out instinctively for balance and then launched himself forward in
a prodigious dive that crushed the three combatants to the ground beneath him. He
emerged from the melee with the scruff of a neck in each hand - Hungry Joe's neck
and the cat's. Hungry Joe and the cat glared at each other savagely. The cat spat
viciously at Hungry Joe, and Hungry Joe tried to hit it with a haymaker.
'A fair fight,' Yossarian decreed, and all the others who had come running to the
uproar in horror began cheering ecstatically in a tremendous overflow of relief.
'We'll have a fair fight,' he explained officially to Hungry Joe and the cat after he
had carried them both outside, still holding them apart by the scruffs of their necks.
'Fists, fangs and claws. But no guns,' he warned Hungry Joe. 'And no spitting,' he
warned the cat sternly. 'When I turn you both loose, go. Break clean in the clinches
and come back fighting. Go!'
There was a huge, giddy crowd of men who were avid for any diversion, but the cat
turned chicken the moment Yossarian released him and fled from Hungry Joe
ignominiously like a yellow dog. Hungry Joe was declared the winner. He swaggered
away happily with the proud smile of a champion, his shriveled head high and his
emaciated chest out. He went back to bed victorious and dreamed again that Huple's
cat was sleeping on his face, suffocating him.
Back to Table of content
- Terry Pratchett
- Darren Shan
- Samantha Young
- Gav Thorpe
- Pamela Palmer
- Gene Wolfe
- F. Paul Wilson
- Amanda Maxlyn
- Jodi Ellen Malpas
- Jill Shalvis
- Susan Hill
- Sherrilyn Kenyon
- Megan Shepherd
- Colleen Gleason
- Kylie Scott
- Courtney Summers
- Elizabeth Kostova
- Yanna Lee
- Tobias S. Buckell
- Jennifer Estep
- Georgia Cates
- Emma Chase
- J.C. Reed
- C.J. Ellisson
- Brent Weeks
- Kendare Blake
- Sam Sykes
- Meg Cabot
- Nicole Peeler
- Philip Athans
- Lauren Kate
- S.D. Perry
- Max Brooks
- Fritz Leiber
- MaryJanice Davidson
- James S.A. Corey
- R.K. Lilley
- Molly McAdams
- Robert McCammon
- Katja Millay