(AnyBooksFree) CHAPTER 38 - KID SISTER
Yossarian marched backward with his gun on his hip and refused to fly any more
missions. He marched backward because he was continously spinning around as he
walked to make certain no one was sneaking up on him from behind. Every sound to his
rear was a warning, every person he passed a potential assassin. He kept his hand on
his gun butt constantly and smiled at no one but Hungry Joe. He told Captain
Piltchard and Captain Wren that he was through flying. Captain Piltchard and Captain
Wren left his name off the flight schedule for the next mission and reported the
matter to Group Headquarters.
Colonel Korn laughed cahnly. 'What the devil do you mean, he won't fly more
missions?' he asked with a smile, as Colonel Cathcart crept away into a corner to
brood about the sinister import of the name Yossarian popping up
to plague him once again.
'Why won't he?'
'His friend Nately was killed in the crash over Spezia. Maybe that's why.'
'Who does he think he is - Achilles?' Colonel Korn was pleased with the simile and
filed a mental reminder to repeat it the next time he found himself in General
Peckem's presence. 'He has to fly more missions. He has no choice. Go back and tell
him you'll report the matter to us if he doesn't change his mind.'
'We already did tell him that, sir. It made no difference.'
'What does Major Major say?'
'We never see Major Major. He seems to have disappeared.'
'I wish we could disappear *him!*' Colonel Cathcart blurted out from the corner
peevishly. 'The way they did that fellow Dunbar.'
'Oh, there are plenty of other ways we can handle this one,' Colonel Korn assured him
confidently, and continued to Piltchard and Wren, 'Let's begin with the kindest. Send
him to Rome for a rest for a few days.
Maybe this fellow's death really did hurt him a bit.'
Nately's death, in fact, almost killed Yossarian too, for when he broke the news to
Nately's whore in Rome she uttered a piercing, heartbroken shriek and tried to stab
him to death with a potato peeler.

*'Bruto!'* she howled at him in hysterical fury as he bent her arm up around behind
her back and twisted gradually until the potato peeler dropped from her grasp.
*'Bruto! Bruto!'* She lashed at him swiftly with the long-nailed fingers of her free
hand and raked open his cheek. She spat in his face viciously.
'What's the matter?' he screamed in stinging pain and bewilderment, flinging her
away from him all the way across the room to the wall. 'What do you want from me?'
She flew back at him with both fists flailing and bloodied his mouth with a solid
punch before he was able to grab her wrists and hold her still. Her hair tossed wildly.
Tears were streaming in single torrents from her flashing, hate-filled eyes as she
struggled against him fiercely in an irrational frenzy of maddened might, snarling and
cursing savagely and screaming * 'Bruto! Bruto!'* each time he tried to explain. Her
great strength caught him off guard, and he lost his footing. She was nearly as tall as
Yossarian, and for a few fantastic, terror-filled moments he was certain she would
overpower him in her crazed determination, crush him to the ground and rip him
apart mercilessly limb from limb for some heinous crime he had never committed. He
wanted to yell for help as they strove against each other frantically in a grunting,
panting stalemate, arm against arm. At last she weakened, and he was able to force
her back and plead with her to let him talk, swearing to her that Nately's death had
not been his fault.
She spat in his face again, and he pushed her away hard in disgusted anger and
frustration. She hurled herself down toward the potato peeler the instant he
released her. He flung himself down after her, and they rolled over each other on
the floor several times before he could tear the potato peeler away. She tried to
trip him with her hand as he scrambled to his feet and scratched an excruciating
chunk out of his ankle. He hopped across the room in pain and threw the potato
peeler out the window. He heaved a huge sigh of relief once he saw he was safe.
'Now, please let me explain something to you,' he cajoled in a mature, reasoning,
earnest voice.
She kicked him in the groin. *Whoosh!* went the air out of him, and he sank down on
his side with a shrill and ululating cry, doubled up over his knees in chaotic agony and
retching for breath. Nately's whore ran from the room. Yossarian staggered up to
his feet not a moment too soon, for she came charging back in from the kitchen
carrying a long bread knife. A moan of incredulous dismay wafted from his lips as,
still clutching his throbbing, tender, burning bowels in both hands, he dropped his full
weight down against her shins and knocked her legs out from under her. She flipped
completely over his head and landed on the floor on her elbows with a jarring thud.
The knife skittered free, and he slapped it out of sight under the bed. She tried to
lunge after it, and he seized her by the arm and yanked her up.

She tried to kick him in the groin again, and he slung her away with a violent oath of
his own. She slammed into the wall off balance and smashed a chair over into a vanity
table covered with combs, hairbrushes and cosmetic jars that all went crashing off.
A framed picture fell to the floor at the other end of the room,
the glass front shattering.
'What do you *want* from me?' he yelled at her in whining and exasperated
confusion. 'I didn't kill him.'
She hurled a heavy glass ash tray at his head. He made a fist and wanted to punch
her in the stomach when she came charging at him again, but he was afraid he might
harm her. He wanted to clip her very neatly on the point of the jaw and run from the
room, but there was no clear target, and he merely skipped aside neatly at the last
second and helped her along past him with a strong shove. She banged hard against
the other wall. Now she was blocking the door. She threw a large vase at him. Then
she came at him with a full wine bottle and struck him squarely on the temple,
knocking him down half-stunned on one knee. His ears were buzzing, his whole face
was numb. More than anything else, he was embarrassed. He felt awkward because
she was going to murder him. He simply did not understand what was going on.
He had no idea *what to do*. But he did know he had to save himself, and he
catapulted forward off the floor when he saw her raise the wine bottle to clout him
again and barreled into her midriff before she could strike him. He had momentum,
and he propelled her before him backward in his driving rush until her knees buckled
against the side of the bed and she fell over onto the mattress with Yossarian
sprawled on top of her between her legs. She plunged her nails into the side of his
neck and gouged as he worked his way up the supple, full hills and ledges of her
rounded body until he covered her completely and pressed her into submission, his
fingers pursuing her thrashing arm persistently until they arrived at the wine bottle
finally and wrenched it free. She was still kicking and cursing and scratching
ferociously. She tried to bite him cruelly, her coarse, sensual lips stretched back
over her teeth like an enraged omnivorous beast's. Now that she lay captive beneath
him, he wondered how he would ever escape her without leaving himself vulnerable.
He could feel the tensed, straddling inside of her buffeting thighs and knees
squeezing and churning around one of his legs. He was stirred by thoughts of sex
that made him ashamed. He was conscious of the voluptuous flesh of her firm, youngwoman's body straining and beating against him like a humid, fluid, delectable,
unyielding tide, her belly and warm, live, plastic breasts thrusting upward against him
vigorously in sweet and menacing temptation. Her breath was scalding.

All at once he realized - though the writhing turbulence beneath him had not
diminished one whit - that she was no longer grappling with him, recognized with a
quiver that she was not fighting him but heaving her pelvis up against him
remorselessly in the primal, powerful, rhapsodic instinctual rhythm of erotic ardor
and abandonment. He gasped in delighted surprise. Her face - as beautiful as a
blooming flower to him now - was distorted with a new kind of torture, the tissues
serenely swollen, her half-closed eyes misty and unseeing with the stultifying
languor of desire.
'*Caro*,' she murmured hoarsely as though from the depths of a tranquil and
luxurious trance. 'Ooooh, *caro mio*.'
He stroked her hair. She drove her mouth against his face with savage passion. He
licked her neck. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged. He felt himself
falling, falling ecstatically in love with her as she kissed him again and again with lips
that were steaming and wet and soft and hard, mumbling deep sounds to him
adoringly in an incoherent oblivion of rapture, one caressing hand on his back slipping
deftly down inside his trouser belt while the other groped secretly and treacherously
about on the floor for the bread knife and found it. He saved himself just in time.
She still wanted to kill him! He was shocked and astounded by her depraved
subteruge as he tore the knife from her grasp and hurled it away.
He bounded out of the bed to his feet. His face was agog with befuddlement and
disillusion. He did not know whether to dart through the door to freedom or collapse
on the bed to fall in love with her and place himself abjectly at her mercy again. She
spared him from doing either by bursting unpredictably into tears.
He was stunned again.
This time she wept with no other emotion than grief, profound, debilitating, humble
grief, forgetting all about him. Her desolation was pathetic as she sat with her
tempestuous, proud, lovely head bowed, her shoulders sagging, her spirit melting.
This time there was no mistaking her anguish. Great racking sobs choked and shook
her. She was no longer aware of him, no longer cared. He could have walked from the
room safely then. But he chose to remain and console and help her.
'Please,' he urged her inarticulately with his arm about her shoulders, recollecting
with pained sadness how inarticulate and enfeebled he had felt in the plane coming
back from Avignon when Snowden kept whimpering to him that he was cold, he was
cold, and all Yossarian could offer him in return was 'There, there. There, there.'
'Please,' he repeated to her sympathetically. 'Please, please.'

She rested against him and cried until she seemed too weak to cry any longer, and did
not look at him once until he extended his handkerchief when she had finished. She
wiped her cheeks with a tiny, polite smile and gave the handkerchief back, murmuring
'*Grazie, grazie*' with meek, maidenly propriety, and then, without any warning
whatsoever of a change in mood, clawed suddenly at his eyes with both hands.
She landed with each and let out a victorious shriek.
'Ha! *Assassino!*' she hooted, and raced joyously across the room for
the bread knife to finish him off.
Half blinded, he rose and stumbled after her. A noise behind him made him turn. His
senses reeled in horror at what he saw. Nately's whore's kid sister, of all people, was
coming after him with another long bread knife!
'Oh, no,' he wailed with a shudder, and he knocked the knife out of her hand with a
sharp downward blow on her wrist. He lost patience entirely with the whole grotesque
and incomprehensible melee. There was no telling who might lunge at him next
through the doorway with another long bread knife, and he lifted Nately's whore's
kid sister off the floor, threw her at Nately's whore and ran out of the room, out of
the apartment and down the stairs. The two girls chased out into the hall after him.
He heard their footsteps lag farther and farther behind as he fled and then cease
altogether. He heard sobbing directly overhead. Glancing backward up the stair well,
he spied Nately's whore sitting in a heap on one of the steps, weeping with her face
in both hands, while her pagan, irrepressible kid sister hung dangerously over the
banister shouting *'Bruto! Bruto!'* down at him happily and brandished her bread
knife at him as though it were an exciting new toy she was eager to use.
Yossarian escaped, but kept looking back over his shoulder anxiously as he retreated
through the street. People stared at him strangely, making him more apprehensive.
He walked in nervous haste, wondering what there was in his appearance that caught
everyone's attention. When he touched his hand to a sore spot on his forehead, his
fingers turned gooey with blood, and he understood. He dabbed his face and neck
with a handkerchief. Wherever it pressed, he picked up new red smudges. He was
bleeding everywhere. He hurried into the Red Cross building and down the two steep
flights of white marble stairs to the men's washroom, where he cleansed and nursed
his innumerable visible wounds with cold water and soap and straightened his shirt
collar and combed his hair. He had never seen a face so badly bruised and scratched
as the one still blinking back at him in the mirror with a dazed and startled
uneasiness. What on earth had she wanted from *him?*

When he left the men's room, Nately's whore was waiting outside in ambush. She was
crouched against the wall near the bottom of the staircase and came pouncing down
upon him like a hawk with a glittering silver steak knife in her fist. He broke the
brunt of her assault with his upraised elbow and punched her neatly on the jaw. Her
eyes rolled. He caught her before she dropped and sat her down gently. Then he ran
up the steps and out of the building and spent the next three hours hunting through
the city for Hungry Joe so that he could get away from Rome before she could find
him again. He did not feel really safe until the plane had taken off .
When they landed in Pianosa, Nately's whore, disguised in a mechanic's green
overalls, was waiting with her steak knife exactly where the plane stopped, and all
that saved him as she stabbed at his chest in her leather-soled high-heeled shoes
was the gravel underfoot that made her feet roll out from under her. Yossarian,
astounded, hauled her up into the plane and held her motionless on the floor in a
double armlock while Hungry Joe radioed the control tower for permission to return
to Rome. At the airport in Rome, Yossarian dumped her out of the plane on the taxi
strip, and Hungry Joe took right off for Pianosa again without even cutting his
engines. Scarcely breathing, Yossarian scrutinized every figure warily as he and
Hungry Joe walked back through the squadron toward their tents.
Hungry Joe eyed him steadily with a funny expression.
'Are you sure you didn't imagine the whole thing?'
Hungry Joe inquired hesitantly after a while.
'Imagine it? You were right there with me, weren't you?
You just flew her back to Rome.'
'Maybe I imagined the whole thing, too. Why does she want to kill you for?'
'She never did like me. Maybe it's because I broke his nose, or maybe it's because I
was the only one in sight she could hate when she got the news.
Do you think she'll come back?'
Yossarian went to the officers' club that night and stayed very late. He kept a leery
eye out for Nately's whore as he approached his tent. He stopped when he saw her
hiding in the bushes around the side, gripping a huge carving knife and all dressed up
to look like a Pianosan farmer. Yossarian tiptoed around the back noiselessly and
seized her from behind.
*'Caramba!'* she exclaimed in a rage, and resisted like a wildcat as he dragged her
inside the tent and hurled her down on the floor.
'Hey, what's going on?' queried one of his roommates drowsily.

'Hold her till I get back,' Yossarian ordered, yanking him out of bed on top of her
and running out. 'Hold her!'
'Let me kill him and I'll ficky-fick you all,' she offered.
The other roommates leaped out of their cots when they saw it was a girl and tried
to make her ficky-fick them all first as Yossarian ran to get Hungry Joe, who was
sleeping like a baby. Yossarian lifted Huple's cat off Hungry Joe's face and shook
him awake. Hungry Joe dressed rapidly. This time they flew the plane north and
turned in over Italy far behind the enemy lines. When they were over level land, they
strapped a parachute on Nately's whore and shoved her out the escape hatch.
Yossarian was positive that he was at last rid of her and was relieved. As he
approached his tent back in Pianosa, a figure reared up in the darkness right beside
the path, and he fainted. He came to sitting on the ground and waited for the knife
to strike him, almost welcoming the mortal blow for the peace it would bring. A
friendly hand helped him up instead. It belonged to a pilot in Dunbar's squadron.
'How are you doing?' asked the pilot, whispering.
'Pretty good,' Yossarian answered.
'I saw you fall down just now. I thought something happened to you.'
'I think I fainted.'
'There's a rumor in my squadron that you told them you weren't going to fly any
more combat missions.'
'That's the truth.'
'Then they came around from Group and told us that the rumor wasn't true,
that you were just kidding around.'
'That was a lie.'
'Do you think they'll let you get away with it?'
'I don't know.'
'What will they do to you?'
'I don't know.'

'Do you think they'll court-martial you for desertion in the face of the enemy?'
'I don't know.'
'I hope you get away with it,' said the pilot in Dunbar's squadron, stealing out of
sight into the shadows. 'Let me know how you're doing.'
Yossarian stared after him a few seconds and continued toward his tent.
'Pssst!' said a voice a few paces onward. It was Appleby, hiding in back of a tree.
'How are you doing?'
'Pretty good,' said Yossarian.
'I heard them say they were going to threaten to court-martial you for deserting in
the face of the enemy. But that they wouldn't try to go through with it because
they're not even sure they've got a case against you on that. And because it might
make them look bad with the new commanders. Besides, you're still a pretty big hero
for going around twice over the bridge at Ferrara. I guess you're just about the
biggest hero we've got now in the group. I just thought you'd like to know that
they'll only be bluffing.'
'Thanks, Appleby.'
'That's the only reason I started talking to you, to warn you.'
'I appreciate it.'
Appleby scuffed the toes of his shoes into the ground sheepishly.
'I'm sorry we had that fist fight in the officers' club, Yossarian.'
'That's all right.'
'But I didn't start it. I guess that was Orr's fault for hitting me in the face with his
ping-pong paddle. What'd he want to do that for?'
'You were beating him.'
'Wasn't I supposed to beat him? Isn't that the point? Now that he's dead, I guess it
doesn't matter any more whether I'm a better ping-pong player or not, does it?'
'I guess not.'

'And I'm sorry about making such a fuss about those Atabrine tablets on the way
over. If you want to catch malaria, I guess it's your business, isn't it?'
'That's all right, Appleby.'
'But I was only trying to do my duty. I was obeying orders.
I was always taught that I had to obey orders.'
'That's all right.'
'You know, I said to Colonel Korn and Colonel Cathcart that I didn't think they ought
to make you fly any more missions if you didn't want to, and they said they were very
disappointed in me.'
Yossarian smiled with rueful amusement. 'I'll bet they are.'
'Well, I don't care. Hell, you've flown seventy-one. That ought to be enough.
Do you think they'll let you get away with it?'
'Say, if they do let you get away with it, they'll have to let the rest of us
get away with it, won't they?'
'That's why they can't let me get away with it.'
'What do you think they'll do?'
'I don't know.'
'Do you think they will try to court-martial you?'
'I don't know.'
'Are you afraid?'
'Are you going to fly more missions?'
'I hope you do get away with it,' Appleby whispered with conviction. 'I really do.'

'Thanks, Appleby.'
'I don't feel too happy about flying so many missions either now that it looks as
though we've got the war won. I'll let you know if I hear anything else.'
'Thanks, Appleby.'
'Hey!' called a muted, peremptory voice from the leafless shrubs growing beside his
tent in a waist-high clump after Appleby had gone. Havermeyer was hiding there in a
squat. He was eating peanut brittle, and his pimples and large, oily pores looked like
dark scales. 'How you doing?' he asked when Yossarian had walked to him.
'Pretty good.'
'Are you going to fly more missions?'
'Suppose they try to make you?'
'I won't let them.'
'Are you yellow?'
'Will they court-martial you?'
'They'll probably try.'
'What did Major Major say?'
'Major Major's gone.'
'Did they disappear him?'
'I don't know.'
'What will you do if they decide to disappear you?'
'I'll try to stop them.'
'Didn't they offer you any deals or anything if you did fly?'

'Piltchard and Wren said they'd arrange things so I'd only go on milk runs.'
Havermeyer perked up. 'Say, that sounds like a pretty good deal.
I wouldn't mind a deal like that myself. I bet you snapped it up.'
'I turned it down.'
'That was dumb.' Havermeyer's stolid, dull face furrowed with consternation.
'Say, a deal like that wasn't so fair to the rest of us, was it? If you only flew on milk
runs, then some of us would have to fly your share of the dangerous missions,
wouldn't we?'
'That's right.'
'Say, I don't like that,' Havermeyer exclaimed, rising resentfully with his hands
clenched on his hips. 'I don't like that a bit. That's a real royal screwing they're
getting ready to give me just because you're too goddam yellow to fly any more
missions, isn't it?'
'Take it up with them,' said Yossarian and moved his hand to his gun vigilantly.
'No, I'm not blaming you,' said Havermeyer, 'even though I don't like you. You know,
I'm not too happy about flying so many missions any more either. Isn't there some
way I can get out of it, too?'
Yossarian snickered ironically and joked, 'Put a gun on and start marching with me.'
Havermeyer shook his head thoughtfully. 'Nah, I couldn't do that. I might bring
some disgrace on my wife and kid if I acted like a coward. Nobody likes a coward.
Besides, I want to stay in the reserves when the war is over. You get five hundred
dollars a year if you stay in the reserves.'
'Then fly more missions.'
'Yeah, I guess I have to. Say, do you think there's any chance they might take you
off combat duty and send you home?'
'But if they do and let you take one person with you, will you pick me?
Don't pick anyone like Appleby. Pick me.'

'Why in the world should they do something like that?'
'I don't know. But if they do, just remember that I asked you first, will you? And let
me know how you're doing. I'll wait for you here in these bushes every night. Maybe
if they don't do anything bad to you, I won't fly any more missions either. Okay?'
All the next evening, people kept popping up at him out of the darkness to ask him
how he was doing, appealing to him for confidential information with weary, troubled
faces on the basis of some morbid and clandestine kinship he had not guessed
existed. People in the squadron he barely knew popped into sight out of nowhere as
he passed and asked him how he was doing. Even men from other squadrons came one
by one to conceal themselves in the darkness and pop out. Everywhere he stepped
after sundown someone was lying in wait to pop out and ask him how he was doing.
People popped out at him from trees and bushes, from ditches and tall weeds, from
around the corners of tents and from behind the fenders of parked cars. Even one of
his roommates popped out to ask him how he was doing and pleaded with him not to
tell any of his other roommates he had popped out. Yossarian drew near each
beckoning, overly cautious silhouette with his hand on his gun, never knowing which
hissing shadow would finally turn dishonestly into Nately's whore or, worse, into some
duly constituted governmental authority sent to club him ruthlessly into insensibility.
It began to look as if they would have to do something like that.
They did not want to court-martial him for desertion in the face of the enemy
because a hundred and thirty-five miles away from the enemy could hardly be called
the face of the enemy, and because Yossarian was the one who had finally knocked
down the bridge at Ferrara by going around twice over the target and killing Kraft -
he was always almost forgetting Kraft when he counted the dead men he knew.
But they had to do something to him, and everyone waited grimly to see what
horrible thing it would be.
During the day, they avoided him, even Aarfy, and Yossarian understood that they
were different people together in daylight than they were alone in the dark. He did
not care about them at all as he walked about backward with his hand on his gun and
awaited the latest blandishments, threats and inducements from Group each time
Captains Piltchard and Wren drove back from another urgent conference with Colonel
Cathcart and Colonel Korn. Hungry Joe was hardly around, and the only other person
who ever spoke to him was Captain Black, who called him 'Old Blood and Guts' in a
merry, taunting voice each time he hailed him and who came back from Rome toward
the end of the week to tell him Nately's whore was gone. Yossarian turned sorry with
a stab of yearning and remorse. He missed her.
'Gone?' he echoed in a hollow tone.

'Yeah, gone.' Captain Black laughed, his bleary eyes narrow with fatigue and his
peaked, sharp face sprouting as usual with a sparse reddish-blond stubble. He rubbed
the bags under his eyes with both fists. 'I thought I might as well give the stupid
broad another boff just for old times' sake as long as I was in Rome anyway. You
know, just to keep that kid Nately's body spinning in his grave, ha, ha! Remember the
way I used to needle him? But the place was empty.'
'Was there any word from her?' prodded Yossarian, who had been brooding
incessantly about the girl, wondering how much she was suffering, and feeling almost
lonely and deserted without her ferocious and unappeasable attacks.
'There's no one there,' Captain Black exclaimed cheerfully,
trying to make Yossarian understand.
'Don't you understand? They're all gone. The whole place is busted.'
'Yeah, gone. Flushed right out into the street.' Captain Black chuckled heartily again,
and his pointed Adam's apple jumped up and down with glee inside his scraggly neck.
'The joint's empty. The M.P.s busted the whole apartment up and drove the whores
right out. Ain't that a laugh?'
Yossarian was scared and began to tremble. 'Why'd they do that?'
'What difference does it make? responded Captain Black with an exuberant gesture.
'They flushed them right out into the street. How do you like that?
The whole batch.'
'What about the kid sister?'
'Flushed away,' laughed Captain Black. 'Flushed away with the rest of the broads.
Right out into the street.'
'But she's only a kid!' Yossarian objected passionately. 'She doesn't know anybody
else in the whole city. What's going to happen to her?'
'What the hell do I care?' responded Captain Black with an indifferent shrug, and
then gawked suddenly at Yossarian with surprise and with a crafty gleam of prying
elation. 'Say, what's the matter? If I knew this was going to make you so unhappy, I
would have come right over and told you, just to make you eat your liver. Hey, where
are you going? Come on back! Come on back here and eat your liver!'

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