The late-August morning sun was hot and steamy, and there was no breeze on the
balcony. The chaplain moved slowly. He was downcast and burdened with selfreproach when he stepped without noise from the colonel's office on his rubbersoled and rubber-heeled brown shoes. He hated himself for what he construed to be
his own cowardice. He had intended to take a much stronger stand with Colonel
Cathcart on the matter of the sixty missions, to speak out with courage, logic and
eloquence on a subject about which he had begun to feel very deeply. Instead he had
failed miserably, had choked up once again in the face of opposition from a stronger
personality. It was a familiar, ignominious experience, and his
of himself was low.
He choked up even more a second later when he spied Colonel Korn's tubby
monochrome figure trotting up the curved, wide, yellow stone staircase toward him in
lackadaisical haste from the great dilapidated lobby below with its lofty walls of
cracked dark marble and circular floor of cracked grimy tile. The chaplain was even
more frightened of Colonel Korn than he was of Colonel Cathcart. The swarthy,
middle-aged lieutenant colonel with the rimless, icy glasses and faceted, bald,
domelike pate that he was always touching sensitively with the tips of his splayed
fingers disliked the chaplain and was impolite to him frequently. He kept the chaplain
in a constant state of terror with his curt, derisive tongue and his knowing, cynical
eyes that the chaplain was never brave enough to meet for more than an accidental
second. Inevitably, the chaplain's attention, as he cowered meekly before him,
focused on Colonel Korn's midriff, where the shirttails bunching up from inside his
sagging belt and ballooning down over his waist gave him an appearance of slovenly
girth and made him seem inches shorter than his middle height. Colonel Korn was an
untidy disdainful man with an oily skin and deep, hard lines running almost straight
down from his nose between his crepuscular jowls and his square, clefted chin. His
face was dour, and he glanced at the chaplain without recognition as the two drew
close on the staircase and prepared to pass.
'Hiya, Father,' he said tonelessly without looking at the chaplain. 'How's it going?'
'Good morning, sir,' the chaplain replied, discerning wisely that Colonel Korn
expected nothing more in the way of a response.
Colonel Korn was proceeding up the stairs without slackening his pace, and the
chaplain resisted the temptation to remind him again that he was not a Catholic but
an Anabaptist, and that it was therefore neither necessary nor correct to address
him as Father.

He was almost certain now that Colonel Korn remembered and that calling him Father
with a look of such bland innocence was just another one of Colonel Korn's methods
of taunting him because he was only an Anabaptist.
Colonel Korn halted without warning when he was almost by and came whirling back
down upon the chaplain with a glare of infuriated suspicion.
The chaplain was petrified.
'What are you doing with that plum tomato, Chaplain?'
Colonel Korn demanded roughly.
The chaplain looked down his arm with surprise at the plum tomato Colonel Cathcart
had invited him to take. 'I got it in Colonel Cathcart's office, sir,'
he managed to reply.
'Does the colonel know you took it?'
'Yes, sir. He gave it to me.'
'Oh, in that case I guess it's okay,' Colonel Korn said, mollified. He smiled without
warmth, jabbing the crumpled folds of his shirt back down inside his trousers with
his thumbs. His eyes glinted keenly with a private and satisfying mischief. 'What did
Colonel Cathcart want to see you about, Father?' he asked suddenly.
The chaplain was tongue-tied with indecision for a moment. 'I don't think I ought -'
'Saying prayers to the editors of *The Saturday Evening Post?*'
The chaplain almost smiled. 'Yes, sir.'
Colonel Korn was enchanted with his own intuition. He laughed disparagingly. 'You
know, I was afraid he'd begin thinking about something so ridiculous as soon as he
saw this week's * Saturday Evening Post*. I hope you succeeded in showing him what
an atrocious idea it is.'
'He has decided against it, sir.'
'That's good. I'm glad you convinced him that the editors of *The Saturday *Evening
Post* were not likely to run that same story twice just to give some publicity to some
obscure colonel. How are things in the wilderness, Father? Are you able to manage
out there?'
'Yes, sir. Everything is working out.'

'That's good. I'm happy to hear you have nothing to complain about. Let us know if
you need anything to make you comfortable.
We all want you to have a good time out there.'
'Thank you, sir. I will.'
Noise of a growing stir rose from the lobby below. It was almost lunchtime, and the
earliest arrivals were drifting into the headquarters mess halls, the enlisted men and
officers separating into different dining halls on facing sides of the archaic rotunda.
Colonel Korn stopped smiling.
'You had lunch with us here just a day or so ago, didn't you, Father?'
he asked meaningfully.
'Yes, sir. The day before yesterday.'
'That's what I thought,' Colonel Korn said, and paused to let his point sink in. 'Well,
take it easy, Father. I'll see you around when it's time for you to eat here again.'
'Thank you, sir.'
The chaplain was not certain at which of the five officers' and five enlisted men's
mess halls he was scheduled to have lunch that day, for the system of rotation
worked out for him by Colonel Korn was complicated, and he had forgotten his
records back in his tent. The chaplain was the only officer attached to Group
Headquarters who did not reside in the moldering red-stone Group Headquarters
building itself or in any of the smaller satellite structures that rose about the
grounds in disjuncted relationship. The chaplain lived in a clearing in the woods about
four miles away between the officers' club and the first of the four squadron areas
that stretched away from Group Headquarters in a distant line. The chaplain lived
alone in a spacious, square tent that was also his office. Sounds of revelry traveled to
him at night from the officers' club and kept him awake often as he turned and
tossed on his cot in passive, half-voluntary exile. He was not able to gauge the effect
of the mild pills he took occasionally to help him sleep and felt guilty about it for
days afterward.
The only one who lived with the chaplain in his clearing in the woods was Corporal
Whitcomb, his assistant. Corporal Whitcomb, an atheist, was a disgruntled
subordinate who felt he could do the chaplain's job much better than the chaplain
was doing it and viewed himself, therefore, as an underprivileged victim of social
inequity. He lived in a tent of his own as spacious and square as the chaplain's. He was
openly rude and contemptuous to the chaplain once he discovered that the chaplain
would let him get away with it.

The borders of the two tents in the clearing stood no more than four
or five feet apart.
It was Colonel Korn who had mapped out this way of life for the chaplain. One good
reason for making the chaplain live outside the Group Headquarters building was
Colonel Korn's theory that dwelling in a tent as most of his parishioners did would
bring him into closer communication with them. Another good reason was the fact
that having the chaplain around Headquarters all the time made the other officers
uncomfortable. It was one thing to maintain liaison with the Lord, and they were all in
favor of that; it was something else, though, to have Him hanging around twenty-four
hours a day. All in all, as Colonel Korn described it to Major Danby, the jittery and
goggle-eyed group operations officer, the chaplain had it pretty soft; he had little
more to do than listen to the troubles of others, bury the dead, visit the bedridden
and conduct religious services. And there were not so many dead for him to bury any
more, Colonel Korn pointed out, since opposition from German fighter planes had
virtually ceased and since close to ninety per cent of what fatalities there still were,
he estimated, perished behind the enemy lines or disappeared inside the clouds,
where the chaplain had nothing to do with disposing of the remains. The religious
services were certainly no great strain, either, since they were conducted only once a
week at the Group Headquarters building and were attended by very few of the men.
Actually, the chaplain was learning to love it in his clearing in the woods. Both he and
Corporal Whitcomb had been provided with every convenience so that neither might
ever plead discomfort as a basis for seeking permission to return to the
Headquarters building. The chaplain rotated his breakfasts, lunches and dinners in
separate sets among the eight squadron mess halls and ate every fifth meal in the
enlisted men's mess at Group Headquarters and every tenth meal at the officers'
mess there. Back home in Wisconsin the chaplain had been very fond of gardening,
and his heart welled with a glorious impression of fertility and fruition each time he
contemplated the low, prickly boughs of the stunted trees and the waist-high weeds
and thickets by which he was almost walled in. In the spring he had longed to plant
begonias and zinnias in a narrow bed around his tent but had been deterred by his
fear of Corporal Whitcomb's rancor. The chaplain relished the privacy and isolation
of his verdant surroundings and the reverie and meditation that living there
fostered. Fewer people came to him with their troubles than formerly, and he allowed
himself a measure of gratitude for that too. The chaplain did not mix freely and was
not comfortable in conversation. He missed his wife and his three small children, and
she missed him.
What displeased Corporal Whitcomb most about the chaplain, apart from the fact
that the chaplain believed in God, was his lack of initiative and aggressiveness.
Corporal Whitcomb regarded the low attendance at religious services as a sad
reflection of his own status.

His mind germinated feverishly with challenging new ideas for sparking the great
spiritual revival of which he dreamed himself the architect - box lunches, church
socials, form letters to the families of men killed and injured in combat, censorship,
Bingo. But the chaplain blocked him. Corporal Whitcomb bridled with vexation
beneath the chaplain's restraint, for he spied room for improvement everywhere. It
was people like the chaplain, he concluded, who were responsible for giving religion
such a bad name and making pariahs out of them both. Unlike the chaplain, Corporal
Whitcomb detested the seclusion of the clearing in the woods. One of the first
things he intended to do after he deposed the chaplain was move back into the Group
Headquarters building, where he could be right in the thick of things.
When the chaplain drove back into the clearing after leaving Colonel Korn, Corporal
Whitcomb was outside in the muggy haze talking in conspiratorial tones to a strange
chubby man in a maroon corduroy bathrobe and gray flannel pajamas. The chaplain
recognized the bathrobe and pajamas as official hospital attire. Neither of the two
men gave him any sign of recognition. The stranger's gums had been painted purple;
his corduroy bathrobe was decorated in back with a picture of a B-25 nosing through
orange bursts of flak and in front with six neat rows of tiny bombs signifying sixty
combat missions flown. The chaplain was so struck by the sight that he stopped to
stare. Both men broke off their conversation and waited in stony silence for him to
go. The chaplain hurried inside his tent. He heard, or imagined he heard
them tittering.
Corporal Whitcomb walked in a moment later and demanded, 'What's doing?'
'There isn't anything new,' the chaplain replied with averted eyes.
'Was anyone here to see me?'
'Just that crackpot Yossarian again. He's a real troublemaker, isn't he?'
'I'm not so sure he's a crackpot,' the chaplain observed.
'That's right, take his part,' said Corporal Whitcomb in an injured tone,
and stamped out .
The chaplain could not believe that Corporal Whitcomb was offended again and had
really walked out. As soon as he did realize it, Corporal Whitcomb walked back in.
'You always side with other people,' Corporal Whitcomb accused. 'You don't back up
your men. That's one of the things that's wrong with you.'
'I didn't intend to side with him,' the chaplain apologized. 'I was just making a

'What did Colonel Cathcart want?'
'It wasn't anything important. He just wanted to discuss the possibility of saying
prayers in the briefing room before each mission.'
'All right, don't tell me,' Corporal Whitcomb snapped and walked out again.
The chaplain felt terrible. No matter how considerate he tried to be, it seemed he
always managed to hurt Corporal Whitcomb's feelings. He gazed down remorsefully
and saw that the orderly forced upon him by Colonel Korn to keep his tent clean and
attend to his belongings had neglected to shine his shoes again.
Corporal Whitcomb came back in. 'You never trust me with information,' he whined
truculently. 'You don't have confidence in your men. That's another one of the things
that's wrong with you.'
'Yes, I do,' the chaplain assured him guiltily. 'I have lots of confidence in you.'
'Then how about those letters?'
'No, not now,' the chaplain pleaded, cringing. 'Not the letters. Please don't bring
that up again. I'll let you know if I have a change of mind.'
Corporal Whitcomb looked furious. 'Is that so? Well, it's all right for you to just sit
there and shake your head while I do all the work. Didn't you see the guy outside
with all those pictures painted on his bathrobe?'
'Is he here to see me?'
'No,' Corporal Whitcomb said, and walked out.
It was hot and humid inside the tent, and the chaplain felt himself turning damp. He
listened like an unwilling eavesdropper to the muffled, indistinguishable drone of the
lowered voices outside. As he sat inertly at the rickety bridge table that served as a
desk, his lips were closed, his eyes were blank, and his face, with its pale ochre hue
and ancient, confined clusters of minute acne pits, had the color and texture of an
uncracked almond shell. He racked his memory for some clue to the origin of Corporal
Whitcomb's bitterness toward him. In some way he was unable to fathom, he was
convinced he had done him some unforgivable wrong. It seemed incredible that such
lasting ire as Corporal Whitcomb's could have stemmed from his rejection of Bingo
or the form letters home to the families of the men killed in combat. The chaplain
was despondent with an acceptance of his own ineptitude.

He had intended for some weeks to have a heart-to-heart talk with Corporal
Whitcomb in order to find out what was bothering him, but was already
ashamed of what he might find out.
Outside the tent, Corporal Whitcomb snickered. The other man chuckled. For a few
precarious seconds, the chaplain tingled with a weird, occult sensation of having
experienced the identical situation before in some prior time or existence. He
endeavored to trap and nourish the impression in order to predict, and perhaps even
control, what incident would occur next, but the afatus melted away unproductively,
as he had known beforehand it would. *D‚j… vu*. The subtle, recurring confusion
between illusion and reality that was characteristic of paramnesia fascinated the
chaplain, and he knew a number of things about it. He knew, for example, that it was
called paramnesia, and he was interested as well in such corollary optical phenomena
as *jamais vu*, never seen, and *presque vu*, almost seen. There were terrifying,
sudden moments when objects, concepts and even people that the chaplain had lived
with almost all his life inexplicably took on an unfamiliar and irregular aspect that he
had never seen before and which made them totally strange: *jamais vu*. And there
were other moments when he almost saw absolute truth in brilliant flashes of clarity
that almost came to him: *presque vu*. The episode of the naked man in the tree at
Snowden's funeral mystified him thoroughly. It was not *d‚j *… vu*, for at the time
he had experienced no sensation of ever having seen a naked man in a tree at
Snowden's funeral before. It was not *jamais vu*, since the apparition was not of
someone, or something, familiar appearing to him in an unfamiliar guise. And it was
certainly not *presque vu*, for the chaplain did see him.
A jeep started up with a backfire directly outside and roared away. Had the naked
man in the tree at Snowden's funeral been merely a hallucination? Or had it been a
true revelation? The chaplain trembled at the mere idea. He wanted desperately to
confide in Yossarian, but each time he thought about the occurrence he decided not
to think about it any further, although now that he did think about it he could not be
sure that he ever really *had* thought about it.
Corporal Whitcomb sauntered back in wearing a shiny new smirk and leaned his elbow
impertinently against the center pole of the chaplain's tent.
'Do you know who that guy in the red bathrobe was?' he asked boastfully. 'That was
a C.I.D. man with a fractured nose. He came down here from the hospital on official
business. He's conducting an investigation.'
The chaplain raised his eyes quickly in obsequious commiseration. 'I hope you're not
in any trouble. Is there anything I can do?'

'No, I'm not in any trouble,' Corporal Whitcomb replied with a grin. 'You are. They're
going to crack down on you for signing Washington Irving's name to all those letters
you've been signing Washington Irving's name to. How do you like that?'
'I haven't been signing Washington Irving's name to any letters,' said the chaplain.
'You don't have to lie to me,' Corporal Whitcomb answered.
'I'm not the one you have to convince.'
'But I'm not lying.'
'I don't care whether you're lying or not. They're going to get you for intercepting
Major Major's correspondence, too. A lot of that stuff is classified information.'
'What correspondence?' asked the chaplain plaintively in rising exasperation.
'I've never even seen any of Major Major's correspondence.'
'You don't have to lie to me,' Corporal Whitcomb replied.
'I'm not the one you have to convince.'
'But I'm not lying!' protested the chaplain.
'I don't see why you have to shout at me,' Corporal Whitcomb retorted with an
injured look. He came away from the center pole and shook his finger at the chaplain
for emphasis. 'I just did you the biggest favor anybody ever did you in your whole
life, and you don't even realize it. Every time he tries to report you to his superiors,
somebody up at the hospital censors out the details. He's been going batty for weeks
trying to turn you in. I just put a censor's okay on his letter without even reading it.
That will make a very good impression for you up at C.I.D. headquarters. It will let
them know that we're not the least bit afraid to have the whole truth about you
come out.'
The chaplain was reeling with confusion.
'But you aren't authorized to censor letters, are you?'
'Of course not,' Corporal Whitcomb answered.
'Only officers are ever authorized to do that. I censored it in your name.'
'But I'm not authorized to censor letters either. Am I?'
'I took care of that for you, too,' Corporal Whitcomb assured him. 'I signed
somebody else's name for you.'
'Isn't that forgery?'

'Oh, don't worry about that either. The only one who might complain in a case of
forgery is the person whose name you forged, and I looked out for your interests by
picking a dead man. I used Washington Irving's name.' Corporal Whitcomb
scrutinized the chaplain's face closely for some sign of rebellion and then breezed
ahead confidently with concealed irony.
'That was pretty quick thinking on my part, wasn't it?'
'I don't know,' the chaplain wailed softly in a quavering voice, squinting with
grotesque contortions of anguish and incomprehension. 'I don't think I understand all
you've been telling me. How will it make a good impression for me if you signed
Washington Irving's name instead of my own?'
'Because they're convinced that you are Washington Irving. Don't you see?
They'll know it was you.'
'But isn't that the very belief we want to dispel? Won't this help them prove it?'
'If I thought you were going to be so stuffy about it, I wouldn't even have tried to
help,' Corporal Whitcomb declared indignantly, and walked out. A second later he
walked back in. 'I just did you the biggest favor anybody ever did you in your whole
life and you don't even know it. You don't know how to show your appreciation. That's
another one of the things that's wrong with you.'
'I'm sorry,' the chaplain apologized contritely. 'I really am sorry. It's just that I'm
so completely stunned by all you're telling me that I don't even realize what I'm
saying. I'm really very grateful to you.'
'Then how about letting me send out those form letters?' Corporal Whitcomb
demanded immediately. 'Can I begin working on the first drafts?'
The chaplain's jaw dropped in astonishment. 'No, no,' he groaned. 'Not now.'
Corporal Whitcomb was incensed. 'I'm the best friend you've got and you don't even
know it,' he asserted belligerently, and walked out of the chaplain's tent. He walked
back in. 'I'm on your side and you don't even realize it. Don't you know what serious
trouble you're in? That C.I.D. man has gone rushing back to the hospital to write a
brand-new report on you about that tomato.'
'What tomato?' the chaplain asked, blinking.

'The plum tomato you were hiding in your hand when you first showed up here. There
it is. The tomato you're still holding in your hand right this very minute!'
The captain unclenched his fingers with surprise and saw that he was still holding the
plum tomato he had obtained in Colonel Cathcart's office. He set it down quickly on
the bridge table. 'I got this tomato from Colonel Cathcart,' he said, and was struck
by how ludicrous his explanation sounded. 'He insisted I take it.'
'You don't have to lie to me,' Corporal Whitcomb answered.
'I don't care whether you stole it from him or not.'
'Stole it?' the chaplain exclaimed with amazement.
'Why should I want to steal a plum tomato?'
'That's exactly what had us both stumped,' said Corporal Whitcomb. 'And then the
C.I.D. man figured out you might have some important secret papers hidden away
inside it.'
The chaplain sagged limply beneath the mountainous weight of his despair. 'I don't
have any important secret papers hidden away inside it,' he stated simply. 'I didn't
even want it to begin with. Here, you can have it and see for yourself.'
'I don't want it.'
'Please take it away,' the chaplain pleaded in a voice that was barely audible.
'I want to be rid of it.'
'I don't want it,' Corporal Whitcomb snapped again, and stalked out with an angry
face, suppressing a smile of great jubilation at having forged a powerful new alliance
with the C.I.D. man and at having succeeded again in convincing the chaplain that he
was really displeased.
Poor Whitcomb, sighed the chaplain, and blamed himself for his assistant's malaise.
He sat mutely in a ponderous, stultifying melancholy, waiting expectantly for Corporal
Whitcomb to walk back in. He was disappointed as he heard the peremptory crunch
of Corporal Whitcomb's footsteps recede into silence. There was nothing he wanted
to do next. He decided to pass up lunch for a Milky Way and a Baby Ruth from his
foot locker and a few swallows of luke-warm water from his canteen. He felt himself
surrounded by dense, overwhelming fogs of possibilities in which he could perceive no
glimmer of light. He dreaded what Colonel Cathcart would think when the news that
he was suspected of being Washington Irving was brought to him, then fell to
fretting over what Colonel Cathcart was already thinking about him for even having
broached the subject of sixty missions.

There was so much unhappiness in the world, he reflected, bowing his head dismally
beneath the tragic thought, and there was nothing he could do about anybody's, least
of all his own.

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