In a way the C.I.D. man was pretty lucky, because outside the hospital the war was
still going on. Men went mad and were rewarded with medals. All over the world, boys
on every side of the bomb line were laying down their lives for what they had been
told was their country, and no one seemed to mind, least of all the boys who were
laying down their young lives. There was no end in sight. The only end in sight was
Yossarian's own, and he might have remained in the hospital until doomsday had it not
been for that patriotic Texan with his infundibuliform jowls and his lumpy,
rumpleheaded, indestructible smile cracked forever across the front of his face like
the brim of a black ten-gallon hat. The Texan wanted everybody in the ward to be
happy but Yossarian and Dunbar. He was really very sick.
But Yossarian couldn't be happy, even though the Texan didn't want him to be,
because outside the hospital there was still nothing funny going on. The only thing
going on was a war, and no one seemed to notice but Yossarian and Dunbar. And when
Yossarian tried to remind people, they drew away from him and thought he was crazy.
Even Clevinger, who should have known better but didn't, had told him he was crazy
the last time they had seen each other, which was just before Yossarian had fled
into the hospital.
Clevinger had stared at him with apoplectic rage and indignation and, clawing the
table with both hands, had shouted, 'You're crazy!'
'Clevinger, what do you want from people?' Dunbar had replied wearily above the
noises of the officers' club.
'I'm not joking,' Clevinger persisted.
'They're trying to kill me,' Yossarian told him calmly.
'No one's trying to kill you,' Clevinger cried.
'Then why are they shooting at me?' Yossarian asked.
'They're shooting at *everyone*,' Clevinger answered.
'They're trying to kill everyone.'
'And what difference does that make?'

Clevinger was already on the way, half out of his chair with emotion, his eyes moist
and his lips quivering and pale. As always occurred when he quarreled over principles
in which he believed passionately, he would end up gasping furiously for air and
blinking back bitter tears of conviction.
There were many principles in which Clevinger believed passionately. He was crazy.
'Who's they?' he wanted to know. 'Who, specifically, do you think is trying
to murder you?'
'Every one of them,' Yossarian told him.
'Every one of whom?'
'Every one of whom do you think?'
'I haven't any idea.'
'Then how do you know they aren't?'
'Because' Clevinger sputtered, and turned speechless with frustration.
Clevinger really thought he was right, but Yossarian had proof, because strangers he
didn't know shot at him with cannons every time he flew up into the air to drop
bombs on them, and it wasn't funny at all. And if that wasn't funny, there were lots
of things that weren't even funnier. There was nothing funny about living like a bum
in a tent in Pianosa between fat mountains behind him and a placid blue sea in front
that could gulp down a person with a cramp in the twinkling of an eye and ship him
back to shore three days later, all charges paid, bloated, blue and putrescent, water
draining out through both cold nostrils.
The tent he lived in stood right smack up against the wall of the shallow, dull-colored
forest separating his own squadron from Dunbar's. Immediately alongside was the
abandoned railroad ditch that carried the pipe that carried the aviation gasoline
down to the fuel trucks at the airfield. Thanks to Orr, his roommate, it was the most
luxurious tent in the squadron. Each time Yossarian returned from one of his holidays
in the hospital or rest leaves in Rome, he was surprised by some new comfort Orr had
installed in his absence - running water, wood-burning fireplace, cement floor.
Yossarian had chosen the site, and he and Orr had raised the tent together. Orr, who
was a grinning pygmy with pilot's wings and thick, wavy brown hair parted in the
middle, furnished all the knowledge, while Yossarian, who was taller, stronger,
broader and faster, did most of the work. Just the two of them lived there, although
the tent was big enough for six.

When summer came, Orr rolled up the side flaps to allow a breeze that never blew to
flush away the air baking inside.
Immediately next door to Yossarian was Havermeyer, who liked peanut brittle and
lived all by himself in the two-man tent in which he shot tiny field mice every night
with huge bullets from the .45 he had stolen from the dead man in Yossarian's tent.
On the other side of Havermeyer stood the tent McWatt no longer shared with
Clevinger, who had still not returned when Yossarian came out of the hospital.
McWatt shared his tent now with Nately, who was away in Rome courting the sleepy
whore he had fallen so deeply in love with there who was bored with her work and
bored with him too. McWatt was crazy. He was a pilot and flew his plane as low as he
dared over Yossarian's tent as often as he could, just to see how much he could
frighten him, and loved to go buzzing with a wild, close roar over the wooden raft
floating on empty oil drums out past the sand bar at the immaculate white beach
where the men went swimming naked. Sharing a tent with a man who was crazy wasn't
easy, but Nately didn't care. He was crazy, too, and had gone every free day to work
on the officers' club that Yossarian had not helped build.
Actually, there were many officers' clubs that Yossarian had not helped build, but he
was proudest of the one on Pianosa. It was a sturdy and complex monument to his
powers of determination. Yossarian never went there to help until it was finished;
then he went there often, so pleased was he with the large, fine, rambling, shingled
building. It was truly a splendid structure, and Yossarian throbbed with a mighty
sense of accomplishment each time he gazed at it and reflected that none of the
work that had gone into it was his.
There were four of them seated together at a table in the officers' club the last
time he and Clevinger had called each other crazy. They were seated in back near the
crap table on which Appleby always managed to win. Appleby was as good at shooting
crap as he was at playing ping-pong, and he was as good at playing ping-pong as he was
at everything else. Everything Appleby did, he did well . Appleby was a fair-haired boy
from Iowa who believed in God, Motherhood and the American Way of Life, without
ever thinking about any of them, and everybody who knew him liked him.
'I hate that son of a bitch,' Yossarian growled.
The argument with Clevinger had begun a few minutes earlier when Yossarian had
been unable to find a machine gun. It was a busy night. The bar was busy, the crap
table was busy, the ping-gong table was busy. The people Yossarian wanted to
machine-gun were busy at the bar singing sentimental old favorites that nobody else
ever tired of.

Instead of machine-gunning them, he brought his heel down hard on the ping-pong
ball that came rolling toward him off the paddle of one of the two officers playing.
'That Yossarian,' the two officers laughed, shaking their heads, and got another ball
from the box on the shelf.
'That Yossarian,' Yossarian answered them.
'Yossarian,' Nately whispered cautioningly.
'You see what I mean?' asked Clevinger.
The officers laughed again when they heard Yossarian mimicking them.
'That Yossarian,' they said more loudly.
'That Yossarian,' Yossarian echoed.
'Yossarian, please,' Nately pleaded.
'You see what I mean?' asked Clevinger. 'He has antisocial aggressions.'
'Oh, shut up,' Dunbar told Clevinger. Dunbar liked Clevinger because Clevinger
annoyed him and made the time go slow.
'Appleby isn't even here,' Clevinger pointed out triumphantly to Yossarian.
'Who said anything about Appleby?' Yossarian wanted to know.
'Colonel Cathcart isn't here, either.'
'Who said anything about Colonel Cathcart?'
'What son of a bitch do you hate, then?'
'What son of a bitch is here?'
'I'm not going to argue with you,' Clevinger decided. 'You don't know who you hate.'
'Whoever's trying to poison me,' Yossarian told him.
'Nobody's trying to poison you.'

'They poisoned my food twice, didn't they? Didn't they put poison in my food during
Ferrara and during the Great Big Siege of Bologna?'
'They put poison in *everybody's* food,' Clevinger explained.
'And what difference does *that* make?'
'And it wasn't even poison!' Clevinger cried heatedly, growing more emphatic as he
grew more confused.
As far back as Yossarian could recall, he explained to Clevinger with a patient smile,
somebody was always hatching a plot to kill him. There were people who cared for him
and people who didn't, and those who didn't hated him and were out to get him. They
hated him because he was Assyrian. But they couldn't touch him, he told Clevinger,
because he had a sound mind in a pure body and was as strong as an ox. They couldn't
touch him because he was Tarzan, Mandrake, Flash Gordon. He was Bill Shakespeare.
He was Cain, Ulysses, the Flying Dutchman; he was Lot in Sodom, Deirdre of the
Sorrows, Sweeney in the nightingales among trees. He was miracle ingredient Z-247.
He was -
'Crazy!' Clevinger interrupted, shrieking. 'That's what you are! Crazy!
'- immense. I'm a real, slam-bang, honest-to-goodness, three-fisted humdinger.
I'm a bona fide supraman.'
'Superman?' Clevinger cried. 'Superman?'
'Supraman,' Yossarian corrected.
'Hey, fellas, cut it out,' Nately begged with embarrassment.
'Everybody's looking at us.'
'You're crazy,' Clevinger shouted vehemently, his eyes filling with tears. 'You've got
a Jehovah complex.'
'I think everyone is Nathaniel.'
Clevinger arrested himself in mid-declamation, suspiciously. 'Who's Nathaniel?'
'Nathaniel who?' inquired Yossarian innocently.
Clevinger skirted the trap neatly. 'You think everybody is Jehovah.
You're no better than Raskolnkov-'

'- yes, Raskolnikov, who -'
'- who - I mean it - who felt he could justify killing an old woman -'
'No better than?'
'- yes, justify, that's right - with an ax! And I can prove it to you!' Gasping furiously
for air, Clevinger enumerated Yossarian's symptoms: an unreasonable belief that
everybody around him was crazy, a homicidal impulse to machine-gun strangers,
retrospective falsification, an unfounded suspicion that people hated him and were
conspiring to kill him.
But Yossarian knew he was right, because, as he explained to Clevinger, to the best
of his knowledge he had never been wrong. Everywhere he looked was a nut, and it
was all a sensible young gentleman like himself could do to maintain his perspective
amid so much madness. And it was urgent that he did, for he knew his
life was in peril.
Yossarian eyed everyone he saw warily when he returned to the squadron from the
hospital. Milo was away, too, in Smyrna for the fig harvest. The mess hall ran
smoothly in Milo's absence. Yossarian had responded ravenously to the pungent aroma
of spicy lamb while he was still in the cab of the ambulance bouncing down along the
knotted road that lay like a broken suspender between the hospital and the squadron.
There was shish-kabob for lunch, huge, savory hunks of spitted meat sizzling like the
devil over charcoal after marinating seventy-two hours in a secret mixture Milo had
stolen from a crooked trader in the Levant, served with Iranian rice and asparagus
tips Parmesan, followed by cherries jubilee for dessert and then steaming cups of
fresh coffee with Benedictine and brandy. The meal was served in enormous helpings
on damask tablecloths by the skilled Italian waiters Major - de Coverley had kidnaped
from the mainland and given to Milo.
Yossarian gorged himself in the mess hall until he thought he would explode and then
sagged back in a contented stupor, his mouth filmy with a succulent residue. None of
the officers in the squadron had ever eaten so well as they ate regularly in Milo's
mess hall, and Yossarian wondered awhile if it wasn't perhaps all worth it. But then
he burped and remembered that they were trying to kill him, and he sprinted out of
the mess hall wildly and ran looking for Doc Daneeka to have himself taken off
combat duty and sent home. He found Doc Daneeka in sunlight, sitting on a high stool
outside his tent.

'Fifty missions,' Doc Daneeka told him, shaking his head.
'The colonel wants fifty missions.'
'But I've only got forty-four!'
Doc Daneeka was unmoved. He was a sad, birdlike man with the spatulate face and
scrubbed, tapering features of a well-groomed rat.
'Fifty missions,' he repeated, still shaking his head.
'The colonel wants fifty missions.'

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