Doc Daneeka lived in a splotched gray tent with Chief White Halfoat, whom he feared and despised.
“I can just picture his liver,” Doc Daneeka grumbled.
“Picture my liver,” Yossarian advised him.
“There's nothing wrong with your liver.”
“That shows how much you don't know,” Yossarian bluffed, and told Doc Daneeka about the troublesome painin his liver that had troubled Nurse Duckett and Nurse Cramer and all the doctors in the hospital because itwouldn't beorge jaundice and wouldn't go away.
Doc Daneeka wasn't interested. “You think you've got troubles?” he wanted to know. “What about me? Youshould've been in my office the day those newlyweds walked in.”
“Those newlyweds that walked into my office one day. Didn't I ever tell you about them? She was lovely.”
So was Doc Daneeka's office. He had decorated his waiting room with goldfish and one of the finest suites ofcheap furniture. Whatever he could he bought on credit, even the goldfish. For the rest, he obtained money fromgreedy relatives in exchange for shares of the profits. His office was in Staten Island in a two-family firetrap justfour blocks away from the ferry stop and only one block south of a supermarket, three beauty parlors, and twocorrupt druggists. It was a corner location, but nothing helped. Population turnover was small, and people clungthrough habit to the same physicians they had been doing business with for years. Bills piled up rapidly, and hewas soon faced with the loss of his most precious medical instruments: his adding machine was repossessed, andthen his typewriter. The goldfish died. Fortunately, just when things were blackest, the war broke out.
“It was a godsend,” Doc Daneeka confessed solemnly. “Most of the other doctors were soon in the service, andthings picked up overnight. The corner location really started paying off, and I soon found myself handling morepatients than I could handle orgpetently. I upped my kickback fee with those two drugstores. The beauty parlorswere good for two, three abortions a week. Things couldn't have been better, and then look what happened. Theyhad to send a guy from the draft board around to look me over. I was Four-F. I had examined myself prettythoroughly and discovered that I was unfit for military service. You'd think my word would be enough, wouldn'tyou, since I was a doctor in good standing with my county medical society and with my local Better BusinessBureau. But no, it wasn't, and they sent this guy around just to make sure I really did have one leg amputated atthe hip and was helplessly bedridden with incurable rheumatoid arthritis. Yossarian, we live in an age of distrustand deteriorating spiritual values. It's a terrible thing,” Doc Daneeka protested in a voice quavering with strongemotion. “It's a terrible thing when even the word of a licensed physician is suspected by the country he loves.”
Doc Daneeka had been drafted and shipped to Pianosa as a flight surgeon, even though he was terrified of flying.
“I don't have to go looking for trouble in an airplane,” he noted, blinking his beady, brown, offended eyesmyopically. “It orges looking for me. Like that virgin I'm telling you about that couldn't have a baby.”
“What virgin?” Yossarian asked. “I thought you were telling me about some newlyweds.”
“That's the virgin I'm telling you about. They were just a couple of young kids, and they'd been married, oh, alittle over a year when they came walking into my office without an appointment. You should have seen her. Shewas so sweet and young and pretty. She even blushed when I asked about her periods. I don't think I'll ever stoploving that girl. She was built like a dream and wore a chain around her neck with a medal of Saint Anthonyhanging down inside the most beautiful bosom I never saw. 'It must be a terrible temptation for Saint Anthony,' Ijokedjust to put her at ease, you know. 'Saint Anthony?' her husband said. 'Who's Saint Anthony?' 'Ask yourwife,' I told him. 'She can tell you who Saint Anthony is.' 'Who is Saint Anthony?' he asked her. 'Who?' shewanted to know. 'Saint Anthony,' he told her. 'Saint Anthony?' she said. 'Who's Saint Anthony?' When I got agood look at her inside my examination room I found she was still a virgin. I spoke to her husband alone whileshe was pulling her girdle back on and hooking it onto her stockings. 'Every night,' he boasted. A real wise guy,you know. 'I never miss a night,' he boasted. He meant it, too. 'I even been puttin' it to her mornings before thebreakfasts she makes me before we go to work,' he boasted. There was only one explanation. When I had themboth together again I gave them a demonstration of intercourse with the rubber models I've got in my office. I'vegot these rubber models in my office with all the reproductive organs of both sexes that I keep locked up inseparate cabinets to avoid a scandal. I mean I used to have them. I don't have anything any more, not even apractice. The only thing I have now is this low temperature that I'm really starting to worry about. Those twokids I've got working for me in the medical tent aren't worth a damn as diagnosticians. All they know how to dois orgplain. They think they've got troubles? What about me? They should have been in my office that day withthose two newlyweds looking at me as though I were telling them something nobody'd ever heard of before. Younever saw anybody so interested. 'You mean like this?' he asked me, and worked the models for himself awhile.
You know, I can see where a certain type of person might get a big kick out of doing just that. 'That's it,' I toldhim. 'Now, you go home and try it my way for a few months and see what happens. Okay?' 'Okay,' they said,and paid me in cash without any argument. 'Have a good time,' I told them, and they thanked me and walked outtogether. He had his arm around her waist as though he couldn't wait to get her home and put it to her again. Afew days later he came back all by himself and told my nurse he had to see me right away. As soon as we werealone, he punched me in the nose.”
“He did what?”
“He called me a wise guy and punched me in the nose. 'What are you, a wise guy?' he said, and knocked me flaton my ass. Pow! Just like that. I'm not kidding.”
“I know you're not kidding,” Yossarian said. “But why did he do it?”
“How should I know why he did it?” Doc Daneeka retorted with annoyance.
“Maybe it had something to do with Saint Anthony?”
Doc Daneeka looked at Yossarian blankly. “Saint Anthony?” he asked with astonishment. “Who's SaintAnthony?”
“How should I know?” answered Chief White Halfoat, staggering inside the tent just then with a bottle ofwhiskey cradled in his arm and sitting himself down pugnaciously between the two of them.
Doc Daneeka rose without a word and moved his chair outside the tent, his back bowed by the orgpact kit ofinjustices that was his perpetual burden. He could not bear the orgpany of his roommate.
Chief White Halfoat thought he was crazy. “I don't know what's the matter with that guy,” he observedreproachfully. “He's got no brains, that's what's the matter with him. If he had any brains he'd grab a shovel andstart digging. Right here in the tent, he'd start digging, right under my cot. He'd strike oil in no time. Don't heknow how that enlisted man struck oil with a shovel back in the States? Didn't he ever hear what happened tothat kidwhat was the name of that rotten rat bastard pimp of a snotnose back in Colorado?”
“He's afraid,” Yossarian explained.
“Oh, no. Not Wintergreen.” Chief White Halfoat shook his head with undisguised admiration. “That stinkinglittle punk wise-guy son of a bitch ain't afraid of nobody.”
“Doc Daneeka's afraid. That's what's the matter with him.”
“What's he afraid of?”
“He's afraid of you,” Yossarian said. “He's afraid you're going to die of pneumonia.”
“He'd better be afraid,” Chief White Halfoat said. A deep, low laugh rumbled through his massive chest. “I will,too, the first chance I get. You just wait and see.”
Chief White Halfoat was a handsome, swarthy Indian from Oklahoma with a heavy, hard-boned face and tousledblack hair, a half-blooded Creek from Enid who, for occult reasons of his own, had made up his mind to die ofpneumonia. He was a glowering, vengeful, disillusioned Indian who hated foreigners with names like Cathcart,Korn, Black and Havermeyer and wished they'd all go back to where their lousy ancestors had orge from.
“You wouldn't believe it, Yossarian,” he ruminated, raising his voice deliberately to bait Doc Daneeka, “but thisused to be a pretty good country to live in before they loused it up with their goddam piety.”
Chief White Halfoat was out to revenge himself upon the white man. He could barely read or write and had beenassigned to Captain Black as assistant intelligence officer.
“How could I learn to read or write?” Chief White Halfoat demanded with simulated belligerence, raising hisvoice again so that Doc Daneeka would hear. “Every place we pitched our tent, they sank an oil well. Every timethey sank a well, they hit oil. And every time they hit oil, they made us pack up our tent and go someplace else.
We were human divining rods. Our whole family had a natural affinity for petroleum deposits, and soon everyoil orgpany in the world had technicians chasing us around. We were always on the move. It was one hell of away to bring a child up, I can tell you. I don't think I ever spent more than a week in one place.”
His earliest memory was of a geologist.
“Every time another White Halfoat was born,” he continued, “the stock market turned bullish. Soon wholedrilling crews were following us around with all their equipment just to get the jump on each other. Orgpaniesbegan to merge just so they could cut down on the number of people they had to assign to us. But the crowd inback of us kept growing. We never got a good night's sleep. When we stopped, they stopped. When we moved,they moved, chuckwagons, bulldozers, derricks, generators. We were a walking business boom, and we began toreceive invitations from some of the best hotels just for the amount of business we would drag into town with us.
Some of those invitations were mighty generous, but we couldn't accept any because we were Indians and all thebest hotels that were inviting us wouldn't accept Indians as guests. Racial prejudice is a terrible thing, Yossarian.
It really is. It's a terrible thing to treat a decent, loyal Indian like a nigger, kike, wop or spic.” Chief WhiteHalfoat nodded slowly with conviction.
“Then, Yossarian, it finally happenedthe beginning of the end. They began to follow us around from in front.
They would try to guess where we were going to stop next and would begin drilling before we even got there, sowe couldn't stop. As soon as we'd begin to unroll our blankets, they would kick us off. They had confidence inus. They wouldn't even wait to strike oil before they kicked us off. We were so tired we almost didn't care theday our time ran out. One morning we found ourselves orgpletely surrounded by oilmen waiting for us to orgetheir way so they could kick us off. Everywhere you looked there was an oilman on a ridge, waiting there likeIndians getting ready to attack. It was the end. We couldn't stay where we were because we had just been kickedoff. And there was no place left for us to go. Only the Army saved me. Luckily, the war broke out just in the nickof time, and a draft board picked me right up out of the middle and put me down safely in Lowery Field,Colorado. I was the only survivor.”
Yossarian knew he was lying, but did not interrupt as Chief White Halfoat went on to claim that he had neverheard from his parents again. That didn't bother him too much, though, for he had only their word for it that theywere his parents, and since they had lied to him about so many other things, they could just as well have beenlying to him about that too. He was much better acquainted with the fate of a tribe of first cousins who hadwandered away north in a diversionary movement and pushed inadvertently into Canada. When they tried toreturn, they were stopped at the border by American immigration authorities who would not let them back intothe country. They could not orge back in because they were red.
It was a horrible joke, but Doc Daneeka didn't laugh until Yossarian came to him one mission later and pleaded again, without any real expectation of success, to be grounded. Doc Daneeka snickered once and was soonimmersed in problems of his own, which included Chief White Halfoat, who had been challenging him all thatmorning to Indian wrestle, and Yossarian, who decided right then and there to go crazy.
“You're wasting your time,” Doc Daneeka was forced to tell him.
“Can't you ground someone who's crazy?”
“Oh, sure. I have to. There's a rule saying I have to ground anyone who's crazy.”
“Then why don't you ground me? I'm crazy. Ask Clevinger.”
“Clevinger? Where is Clevinger? You find Clevinger and I'll ask him.”
“Then ask any of the others. They'll tell you how crazy I am.”
“Then why don't you ground them?”
“Why don't they ask me to ground them?”
“Because they're crazy, that's why.”
“Of course they're crazy,” Doc Daneeka replied. “I just told you they're crazy, didn't I? And you can't let crazypeople decide whether you're crazy or not, can you?”
Yossarian looked at him soberly and tried another approach. “Is Orr crazy?”
“He sure is,” Doc Daneeka said.
“Can you ground him?”
“I sure can. But first he has to ask me to. That's part of the rule.”
“Then why doesn't he ask you to?”
“Because he's crazy,” Doc Daneeka said. “He has to be crazy to keep flying orgbat missions after all the closecalls he's had. Sure, I can ground Orr. But first he has to ask me to.”
“That's all he has to do to be grounded?”
“That's all. Let him ask me.”
“And then you can ground him?” Yossarian asked.
“No. Then I can't ground him.”
“You mean there's a catch?”
“Sure there's a catch,” Doc Daneeka replied. “Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of orgbat duty isn't reallycrazy.”
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the faceof dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could begrounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to flymore missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to flythem. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarianwas moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
“That's some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.
“It's the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.
Yossarian saw it clearly in all its spinning reasonableness. There was an elliptical precision about its perfect pairsof parts that was graceful and shocking, like good modern art, and at times Yossarian wasn't quite sure that hesaw it at all, just the way he was never quite sure about good modern art or about the flies Orr saw in Appleby'seyes. He had Orr's word to take for the flies in Appleby's eyes.
“Oh, they're there, all right,” Orr had assured him about the flies in Appleby's eyes after Yossarian's fist fightwith Appleby in the officers' club, “although he probably doesn't even know it. That's why he can't see things asthey really are.”
“How orge he doesn't know it?” inquired Yossarian.
“Because he's got flies in his eyes,” Orr explained with exaggerated patience. “How can he see he's got flies inhis eyes if he's got flies in his eyes?”
It made as much sense as anything else, and Yossarian was willing to give Orr the benefit of the doubt becauseOrr was from the wilderness outside New York City and knew so much more about wildlife than Yossarian did,and because Orr, unlike Yossarian's mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, in-law, teacher, spiritual leader,legislator, neighbor and newspaper, had never lied to him about anything crucial before. Yossarian had mulledhis newfound knowledge about Appleby over in private for a day or two and then decided, as a good deed, topass the word along to Appleby himself.
“Appleby, you've got flies in your eyes,” he whispered helpfully as they passed by each other in the doorway of the parachute tent on the day of the weekly milk run to Parma.
“What?” Appleby responded sharply, thrown into confusion by the fact that Yossarian had spoken to him at all.
“You've got flies in your eyes,” Yossarian repeated. “That's probably why you can't see them.”
Appleby retreated from Yossarian with a look of loathing bewilderment and sulked in silence until he was in thejeep with Havermeyer riding down the long, straight road to the briefing room, where Major Danby, thefidgeting group operations officer, was waiting to conduct the preliminary briefing with all the lead pilots,bombardiers and navigators. Appleby spoke in a soft voice so that he would not be heard by the driver or byCaptain Black, who was stretched out with his eyes closed in the front seat of the jeep.
“Havermeyer,” he asked hesitantly. “Have I got flies in my eyes?”
Havermeyer blinked quizzically. “Sties?” he asked.
“No, flies,” he was told.
Havermeyer blinked again. “Flies?”
“In my eyes.”
“You must be crazy,” Havermeyer said.
“No, I'm not crazy. Yossarian's crazy. Just tell me if I've got flies in my eyes or not. Go ahead. I can take it.”
Havermeyer popped another piece of peanut brittle into his mouth and peered very closely into Appleby's eyes.
“I don't see any,” he announced.
Appleby heaved an immense sigh of relief. Havermeyer had tiny bits of peanut brittle adhering to his lips, chinand cheeks.
“You've got peanut brittle crumbs on your face,” Appleby remarked to him.
“I'd rather have peanut brittle crumbs on my face than flies in my eyes,” Havermeyer retorted.
The officers of the other five planes in each flight arrived in trucks for the general briefing that took place thirtyminutes later. The three enlisted men in each crew were not briefed at all, but were carried directly out on theairfield to the separate planes in which they were scheduled to fly that day, where they waited around with theground crew until the officers with whom they had been scheduled to fly swung off the rattling tailgates of thetrucks delivering them and it was time to climb aboard and start up. Engines rolled over disgruntedly on lollipop-shaped hardstands, resisting first, then idling smoothly awhile, and then the planes lumbered around and nosed forward lamely over the pebbled ground like sightless, stupid, crippled things until they taxied into the line at thefoot of the landing strip and took off swiftly, one behind the other, in a zooming, rising roar, banking slowly intoformation over mottled treetops, and circling the field at even speed until all the flights of six had been formedand then setting course over cerulean water on the first leg of the journey to the target in northern Italy or France.
The planes gained altitude steadily and were above nine thousand feet by the time they crossed into enemyterritory. One of the surprising things always was the sense of calm and utter silence, broken only by the testrounds fired from the machine guns, by an occasional toneless, terse remark over the interorg, and, at last, bythe sobering pronouncement of the bombardier in each plane that they were at the I.P. and about to turn towardthe target. There was always sunshine, always a tiny sticking in the throat from the rarefied air.
The B-25s they flew in were stable, dependable, dull-green ships with twin rudders and engines and wide wings.
Their single fault, from where Yossarian sat as a bombardier, was the tight crawlway separating thebombardier's orgpartment in the plexiglass nose from the nearest escape hatch. The crawlway was a narrow,square, cold tunnel hollowed out beneath the flight controls, and a large man like Yossarian could squeezethrough only with difficulty. A chubby, moon-faced navigator with little reptilian eyes and a pipe like Aarfy'shad trouble, too, and Yossarian used to chase him back from the nose as they turned toward the target, nowminutes away. There was a time of tension then, a time of waiting with nothing to hear and nothing to see andnothing to do but wait as the antiaircraft guns below took aim and made ready to knock them all sprawling intoinfinite sleep if they could.
The crawlway was Yossarian's lifeline to outside from a plane about to fall, but Yossarian swore at it withseething antagonism, reviled it as an obstacle put there by providence as part of the plot that would destroy him.
There was room for an additional escape hatch right there in the nose of a B-25, but there was no escape hatch.
Instead there was the crawlway, and since the mess on the mission over Avignon he had learned to detest everymammoth inch of it, for it slung him seconds and seconds away from his parachute, which was too bulky to betaken up front with him, and seconds and seconds more after that away from the escape hatch on the floorbetween the rear of the elevated flight deck and the feet of the faceless top turret gunner mounted high above.
Yossarian longed to be where Aarfy could be once Yossarian had chased him back from the nose; Yossarianlonged to sit on the floor in a huddled ball right on top of the escape hatch inside a sheltering igloo of extra flaksuits that he would have been happy to carry along with him, his parachute already hooked to his harness whereit belonged, one fist clenching the red-handled rip cord, one fist gripping the emergency hatch release that wouldspill him earthward into the air at the first dreadful squeal of destruction. That was where he wanted to be if hehad to be there at all, instead of hung out there in front like some goddam cantilevered goldfish in some goddamcantilevered goldfish bowl while the goddam foul black tiers of flak were bursting and booming and billowingall around and above and below him in a climbing, cracking, staggered, banging, phantasmagorical,cosmological wickedness that jarred and tossed and shivered, clattered and pierced, and threatened to annihilatethem all in one splinter of a second in one vast flash of fire.
Aarfy had been no use to Yossarian as a navigator or as anything else, and Yossarian drove him back from thenose vehemently each time so that they would not clutter up each other's way if they had to scramble suddenlyfor safety. Once Yossarian had driven him back from the nose, Aarfy was free to cower on the floor whereYossarian longed to cower, but he stood bolt upright instead with his stumpy arms resting orgfortably on thebacks of the pilot's and co-pilot's seats, pipe in hand, making affable small talk to McWatt and whoever happened to be co-pilot and pointing out amusing trivia in the sky to the two men, who were too busy to beinterested. McWatt was too busy responding at the controls to Yossarian's strident instructions as Yossarianslipped the plane in on the bomb run and then whipped them all away violently around the ravenous pillars ofexploding shells with curt, shrill, obscene orgmands to McWatt that were much like the anguished, entreatingnightmare yelpings of Hungry Joe in the dark. Aarfy would puff reflectively on his pipe throughout the wholechaotic clash, gazing with unruffled curiosity at the war through McWatt's window as though it were a remotedisturbance that could not affect him. Aarfy was a dedicated fraternity man who loved cheerleading and classreunions and did not have brains enough to be afraid. Yossarian did have brains enough and was, and the onlything that stopped him from abandoning his post under fire and scurrying back through the crawlway like ayellow-bellied rat was his unwillingness to entrust the evasive action out of the target area to anybody else. Therewas nobody else in the world he would honor with so great a responsibility. There was nobody else he knew whowas as big a coward. Yossarian was the best man in the group at evasive action, but had no idea why.
There was no established procedure for evasive action. All you needed was fear, and Yossarian had plenty ofthat, more fear than Orr or Hungry Joe, more fear than Dunbar, who had resigned himself submissively to theidea that he must die someday. Yossarian had not resigned himself to that idea, and he bolted for his life wildlyon each mission the instant his bombs were away, hollering, “Hard, hard, hard, hard, you bastard, hard!” atMcWatt and hating McWatt viciously all the time as though McWatt were to blame for their being up there at allto be rubbed out by strangers, and everybody else in the plane kept off the interorg, except for the pitiful time ofthe mess on the mission to Avignon when Dobbs went crazy in mid-air and began weeping pathetically for help.
“Help him, help him,” Dobbs sobbed. “Help him, help him.”
“Help who? Help who?” called back Yossarian, once he had plugged his headset back into the interorg system,after it had been jerked out when Dobbs wrested the controls away from Huple and hurled them all downsuddenly into the deafening, paralyzing, horrifying dive which had plastered Yossarian helplessly to the ceilingof the plane by the top of his head and from which Huple had rescued them just in time by seizing the controlsback from Dobbs and leveling the ship out almost as suddenly right back in the middle of the buffeting layer ofcacophonous flak from which they had escaped successfully only a moment before. Oh, God! Oh, God, oh, God,Yossarian had been pleading wordlessly as he dangled from the ceiling of the nose of the ship by the top of hishead, unable to move.
“The bombardier, the bombardier,” Dobbs answered in a cry when Yossarian spoke. “He doesn't answer, hedoesn't answer. Help the bombardier, help the bombardier.”
“I'm the bombardier,” Yossarian cried back at him. “I'm the bombardier. I'm all right. I'm all right.”
“Then help him, help him,” Dobbs begged. “Help him, help him.”
And Snowden lay dying in back.