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第二十二条军规 Catch-22

Chapter 6 Hunger Joe
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    Hungry Joe did have fifty missions, but they were no help. He had his bags packed and was waiting again to gohome. At night he had eerie, ear-splitting nightmares that kept everyone in the squadron awake but Huple, thefifteen-year-old pilot who had lied about his age to get into the Army and lived with his pet cat in the same tentwith Hungry Joe. Huple was a light sleeper, but claimed he never heard Hungry Joe scream. Hungry Joe wassick.

    “So what?” Doc Daneeka snarled resentfully. “I had it made, I tell you. Fifty grand a year I was knocking down,and almost all of it tax-free, since I made my customers pay me in cash. I had the strongest trade association inthe world backing me up. And look what happened. Just when I was all set to really start stashing it away, theyhad to manufacture fascism and start a war horrible enough to affect even me. I gotta laugh when I hear someonelike Hungry Joe screaming his brains out every night. I really gotta laugh. He's sick? How does he think I feel?”

    Hungry Joe was too firmly embedded in calamities of his own to care how Doc Daneeka felt. There were thenoises, for instance. Small ones enraged him and he hollered himself hoarse at Aarfy for the wet, sucking soundshe made puffing on his pipe, at Orr for tinkering, at McWatt for the explosive snap he gave each card he turnedover when he dealt at blackjack or poker, at Dobbs for letting his teeth chatter as he went blundering clumsilyabout bumping into things. Hungry Joe was a throbbing, ragged mass of motile irritability. The steady ticking ofa watch in a quiet room crashed like torture against his unshielded brain.

    “Listen, kid,” he explained harshly to Huple very late one evening, “if you want to live in this tent, you've got todo like I do. You've got to roll your wrist watch up in a pair of wool socks every night and keep it on the bottomof your foot locker on the other side of the room.”

    Huple thrust his jaw out defiantly to let Hungry Joe know he couldn't be pushed around and then did exactly ashe had been told.

    Hungry Joe was a jumpy, emaciated wretch with a fleshless face of dingy skin and bone and twitching veinssquirming subcutaneously in the blackened hollows behind his eyes like severed sections of snake. It was adesolate, cratered face, sooty with care like an abandoned mining town. Hungry Joe ate voraciously, gnawedincessantly at the tips of his fingers, stammered, choked, itched, sweated, salivated, and sprang from spot to spotfanatically with an intricate black camera with which he was always trying to take pictures of naked girls. Theynever came out. He was always forgetting to put film in the camera or turn on lights or remove the cover fromthe lens opening. It wasn't easy persuading naked girls to pose, but Hungry Joe had the knack.

    “Me big man,” he would shout. “Me big photographer from Life magazine. Big picture on heap big cover. Si, si,si! Hollywood star. Multi dinero. Multi divorces. Multi ficky-fick all day long.”

    Few women anywhere could resist such wily cajolery, and prostitutes would spring to their feet eagerly and hurlthemselves into whatever fantastic poses he requested for them. Women killed Hungry Joe. His response to them as sexual beings was one of frenzied worship and idolatry. They were lovely, satisfying, maddeningmanifestations of the miraculous, instruments of pleasure too powerful to be measured, too keen to be endured,and too exquisite to be intended for employment by base, unworthy man. He could interpret their naked presencein his hands only as a cosmic oversight destined to be rectified speedily, and he was driven always to make whatcarnal use of them he could in the fleeting moment or two he felt he had before Someone caught wise andwhisked them away. He could never decide whether to furgle them or photograph them, for he had found itimpossible to do both simultaneously. In fact, he was finding it almost impossible to do either, so scrambledwere his powers of performance by the orgpulsive need for haste that invariably possessed him. The picturesnever came out, and Hungry Joe never got in. The odd thing was that in civilian life Hungry Joe really had beena photographer for Life magazine.

    He was a hero now, the biggest hero the Air Force had, Yossarian felt, for he had flown more orgbat tours ofduty than any other hero the Air Force had. He had flown six orgbat tours of duty. Hungry Joe had finishedflying his first orgbat tour of duty when twenty-five missions were all that were necessary for him to pack hisbags, write happy letters home and begin hounding Sergeant Towser humorously for the arrival of the ordersrotating him back to the States. While he waited, he spent each day shuffling rhythmically around the entrance ofthe operations tent, making boisterous wisecracks to everybody who came by and jocosely calling SergeantTowser a lousy son of a bitch every time Sergeant Towser popped out of the orderly room.

    Hungry Joe had finished flying his first twenty-five missions during the week of the Salerno beachhead, whenYossarian was laid up in the hospital with a burst of clap he had caught on a low-level mission over a Wac inbushes on a supply flight to Marrakech. Yossarian did his best to catch up with Hungry Joe and almost did,flying six missions in six days, but his twenty-third mission was to Arezzo, where Colonel Nevers was killed,and that was as close as he had ever been able to orge to going home. The next day Colonel Cathcart was there,brimming with tough pride in his new outfit and celebrating his assumption of orgmand by raising the numberof missions required from twenty-five to thirty. Hungry Joe unpacked his bags and rewrote the happy lettershome. He stopped hounding Sergeant Towser humorously. He began hating Sergeant Towser, focusing all blameupon him venomously, even though he knew Sergeant Towser had nothing to do with the arrival of ColonelCathcart or the delay in the processing of shipping orders that might have rescued him seven days earlier and fivetimes since.

    Hungry Joe could no longer stand the strain of waiting for shipping orders and crumbled promptly into ruinevery time he finished another tour of duty. Each time he was taken off orgbat status, he gave a big party for thelittle circle of friends he had. He broke out the bottles of bourbon he had managed to buy on his four-day weeklycircuits with the courier plane and laughed, sang, shuffled and shouted in a festival of inebriated ecstasy until hecould no longer keep awake and receded peacefully into slumber. As soon as Yossarian, Nately and Dunbar puthim to bed he began screaming in his sleep. In the morning he stepped from his tent looking haggard, fearful andguilt-ridden, an eaten shell of a human building rocking perilously on the brink of collapse.

    The nightmares appeared to Hungry Joe with celestial punctuality every single night he spent in the squadronthroughout the whole harrowing ordeal when he was not flying orgbat missions and was waiting once again forthe orders sending him home that never came. Impressionable men in the squadron like Dobbs and Captain Flume were so deeply disturbed by Hungry Joe's shrieking nightmares that they would begin to have shriekingnightmares of their own, and the piercing obscenities they flung into the air every night from their separateplaces in the squadron rang against each other in the darkness romantically like the mating calls of songbirdswith filthy minds. Colonel Korn acted decisively to arrest what seemed to him to be the beginning of anunwholesome trend in Major Major's squadron. The solution he provided was to have Hungry Joe fly the couriership once a week, removing him from the squadron for four nights, and the remedy, like all Colonel Korn'sremedies, was successful.

    Every time Colonel Cathcart increased the number of missions and returned Hungry Joe to orgbat duty, thenightmares stopped and Hungry Joe settled down into a normal state of terror with a smile of relief. Yossarianread Hungry Joe's shrunken face like a headline. It was good when Hungry Joe looked bad and terrible whenHungry Joe looked good. Hungry Joe's inverted set of responses was a curious phenomenon to everyone butHungry Joe, who denied the whole thing stubbornly.

    “Who dreams?” he answered, when Yossarian asked him what he dreamed about.

    “Joe, why don't you go see Doc Daneeka?” Yossarian advised.

    “Why should I go see Doc Daneeka? I'm not sick.”

    “What about your nightmares?”

    “I don't have nightmares,” Hungry Joe lied.

    “Maybe he can do something about them.”

    “There's nothing wrong with nightmares,” Hungry Joe answered. “Everybody has nightmares.”

    Yossarian thought he had him. “Every night?” he asked.

    “Why not every night?” Hungry Joe demanded.

    And suddenly it all made sense. Why not every night, indeed? It made sense to cry out in pain every night. Itmade more sense than Appleby, who was a stickler for regulations and had ordered Kraft to order Yossarian totake his Atabrine tablets on the flight overseas after Yossarian and Appleby had stopped talking to each other.

    Hungry Joe made more sense than Kraft, too, who was dead, dumped unceremoniously into doom over Ferraraby an exploding engine after Yossarian took his flight of six planes in over the target a second time. The grouphad missed the bridge at Ferrara again for the seventh straight day with the bombsight that could put bombs intoa pickle barrel at forty thousand feet, and one whole week had already passed since Colonel Cathcart hadvolunteered to have his men destroy the bridge in twenty-four hours. Kraft was a skinny, harmless kid fromPennsylvania who wanted only to be liked, and was destined to be disappointed in even so humble and degradingan ambition. Instead of being liked, he was dead, a bleeding cinder on the barbarous pile whom nobody hadheard in those last precious moments while the plane with one wing plummeted. He had lived innocuously for a little while and then had gone down in flame over Ferrara on the seventh day, while God was resting, whenMcWatt turned and Yossarian guided him in over the target on a second bomb run because Aarfy was confusedand Yossarian had been unable to drop his bombs the first time.

    “I guess we do have to go back again, don't we?” McWatt had said somberly over the interorg.

    “I guess we do,” said Yossarian.

    “Do we?” said McWatt.

    “Yeah.”

    “Oh, well,” sang McWatt, “what the hell.”

    And back they had gone while the planes in the other flights circled safely off in the distance and every crashingcannon in the Hermann Goering Division below was busy crashing shells this time only at them.

    Colonel Cathcart had courage and never hesitated to volunteer his men for any target available. No target was toodangerous for his group to attack, just as no shot was too difficult for Appleby to handle on the ping-pong table.

    Appleby was a good pilot and a superhuman ping-pong player with flies in his eyes who never lost a point.

    Twenty-one serves were all it ever took for Appleby to disgrace another opponent. His prowess on the ping-pongtable was legendary, and Appleby won every game he started until the night Orr got tipsy on gin and juice andsmashed open Appleby's forehead with his paddle after Appleby had smashed back each of Orr's first fiveserves. Orr leaped on top of the table after hurling his paddle and came sailing off the other end in a runningbroad jump with both feet planted squarely in Appleby's face. Pandemonium broke loose. It took almost a fullminute for Appleby to disentangle himself from Orr's flailing arms and legs and grope his way to his feet, withOrr held off the ground before him by the shirt front in one hand and his other arm drawn back in a fist to smitehim dead, and at that moment Yossarian stepped forward and took Orr away from him. It was a night of surprisesfor Appleby, who was as large as Yossarian and as strong and who swung at Yossarian as hard as he could with apunch that flooded Chief White Halfoat with such joyous excitement that he turned and busted Colonel Moodusin the nose with a punch that filled General Dreedle with such mellow gratification that he had Colonel Cathcartthrow the chaplain out of the officers' club and ordered Chief White Halfoat moved into Doc Daneeka's tent,where he could be under a doctor's care twenty-four hours a day and be kept in good enough physical conditionto bust Colonel Moodus in the nose again whenever General Dreedle wanted him to. Sometimes General Dreedlemade special trips down from Wing Headquarters with Colonel Moodus and his nurse just to have Chief WhiteHalfoat bust his son-in-law in the nose.

    Chief White Halfoat would much rather have remained in the trailer he shared with Captain Flume, the silent,haunted squadron public-relations officer who spent most of each evening developing the pictures he took duringthe day to be sent out with his publicity releases. Captain Flume spent as much of each evening as he couldworking in his darkroom and then lay down on his cot with his fingers crossed and a rabbit's foot around hisneck and tried with all his might to stay awake. He lived in mortal fear of Chief White Halfoat. Captain Flumewas obsessed with the idea that Chief White Halfoat would tiptoe up to his cot one night when he was sound asleep and slit his throat open for him from ear to ear. Captain Flume had obtained this idea from Chief WhiteHalfoat himself, who did tiptoe up to his cot one night as he was dozing off, to hiss portentously that one nightwhen he, Captain Flume, was sound asleep he, Chief White Halfoat, was going to slit his throat open for himfrom ear to ear. Captain Flume turned to ice, his eyes, flung open wide, staring directly up into Chief WhiteHalfoat's, glinting drunkenly only inches away.

    “Why?” Captain Flume managed to croak finally.

    “Why not?” was Chief White Halfoat's answer.

    Each night after that, Captain Flume forced himself to keep awake as long as possible. He was aidedimmeasurably by Hungry Joe's nightmares. Listening so intently to Hungry Joe's maniacal howling night afternight, Captain Flume grew to hate him and began wishing that Chief White Halfoat would tiptoe up to his cotone night and slit his throat open for him from ear to ear. Actually, Captain Flume slept like a log most nightsand merely dreamed he was awake. So convincing were these dreams of lying awake that he woke from themeach morning in orgplete exhaustion and fell right back to sleep.

    Chief White Halfoat had grown almost fond of Captain Flume since his amazing metamorphosis. Captain Flumehad entered his bed that night a buoyant extrovert and left it the next morning a brooding introvert, and ChiefWhite Halfoat proudly regarded the new Captain Flume as his own creation. He had never intended to slitCaptain Flume's throat open for him from ear to ear. Threatening to do so was merely his idea of a joke, likedying of pneumonia, busting Colonel Moodus in the nose or challenging Doc Daneeka to Indian wrestle. AllChief White Halfoat wanted to do when he staggered in drunk each night was go right to sleep, and Hungry Joeoften made that impossible. Hungry Joe's nightmares gave Chief White Halfoat the heebie-jeebies, and he oftenwished that someone would tiptoe into Hungry Joe's tent, lift Huple's cat off his face and slit his throat open forhim from ear to ear, so that everybody in the squadron but Captain Flume could get a good night's sleep.

    Even though Chief White Halfoat kept busting Colonel Moodus in the nose for General Dreedle's benefit, hewas still outside the pale. Also outside the pale was Major Major, the squadron orgmander, who had found thatout the same time he found out that he was squadron orgmander from Colonel Cathcart, who came blasting intothe squadron in his hopped-up jeep the day after Major Duluth was killed over Perugia. Colonel Cathcartslammed to a screeching stop inches short of the railroad ditch separating the nose of his jeep from the lopsidedbasketball court on the other side, from which Major Major was eventually driven by the kicks and shoves andstones and punches of the men who had almost beorge his friends.

    “You're the new squadron orgmander,” Colonel Cathcart had bellowed across the ditch at him. “But don't thinkit means anything, because it doesn't. All it means is that you're the new squadron orgmander.”

    And Colonel Cathcart had roared away as abruptly as he'd orge, whipping the jeep around with a viciousspinning of wheels that sent a spray of fine grit blowing into Major Major's face. Major Major was immobilizedby the news. He stood speechless, lanky and gawking, with a scuffed basketball in his long hands as the seeds ofrancor sown so swiftly by Colonel Cathcart took root in the soldiers around him who had been playing basketballwith him and who had let him orge as close to making friends with them as anyone had ever let him orge before. The whites of his moony eyes grew large and misty as his mouth struggled yearningly and lost againstthe familiar, impregnable loneliness drifting in around him again like suffocating fog.

    Like all the other officers at Group Headquarters except Major Danby, Colonel Cathcart was infused with thedemocratic spirit: he believed that all men were created equal, and he therefore spurned all men outside GroupHeadquarters with equal fervor. Nevertheless, he believed in his men. As he told them frequently in the briefingroom, he believed they were at least ten missions better than any other outfit and felt that any who did not sharethis confidence he had placed in them could get the hell out. The only way they could get the hell out, though, asYossarian learned when he flew to visit ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen, was by flying the extra ten missions.

    “I still don't get it,” Yossarian protested. “Is Doc Daneeka right or isn't he?”

    “How many did he say?”

    “Forty.”

    “Daneeka was telling the truth,” ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen admitted. “Forty missions is all you have to fly as far asTwenty-seventh Air Force Headquarters is concerned.”

    Yossarian was jubilant. “Then I can go home, right? I've got forty-eight.”

    “No, you can't go home,” ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen corrected him. “Are you crazy or something?”

    “Why not?”

    “Catch-22.”

    “Catch-22?” Yossarian was stunned. “What the hell has Catch-22 got to do with it?”

    “Catch-22,” Doc Daneeka answered patiently, when Hungry Joe had flown Yossarian back to Pianosa, “saysyou've always got to do what your orgmanding officer tells you to.”

    “But Twenty-seventh Air Force says I can go home with forty missions.”

    “But they don't say you have to go home. And regulations do say you have to obey every order. That's the catch.

    Even if the colonel were disobeying a Twenty-seventh Air Force order by making you fly more missions, you'dstill have to fly them, or you'd be guilty of disobeying an order of his. And then Twenty-seventh Air ForceHeadquarters would really jump on you.”

    Yossarian slumped with disappointment. “Then I really have to fly the fifty missions, don't I?” he grieved.

    “The fifty-five,” Doc Daneeka corrected him.

    “What fifty-five?”

    “The fifty-five missions the colonel now wants all of you to fly.”

    Hungry Joe heaved a huge sigh of relief when he heard Doc Daneeka and broke into a grin. Yossarian grabbedHungry Joe by the neck and made him fly them both right back to ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen.

    “What would they do to me,” he asked in confidential tones, “if I refused to fly them?”

    “We'd probably shoot you,” ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen replied.

    “We?” Yossarian cried in surprise. “What do you mean, we? Since when are you on their side?”

    “If you're going to be shot, whose side do you expect me to be on?” ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen retorted.

    Yossarian winced. Colonel Cathcart had raised him again.

    06、亨格利乔

    亨格利乔的确早已完成了五十次飞行任务,但这于他实在是毫无益处,他把行装打点好了,又等着回家。到了晚上,他就做可怖的噩梦,乱叫乱吼,闹得中队全体官兵无法入眠,只有赫普尔除外。

    赫普尔才十五岁,是个飞行员,当初是虚报了年龄才入伍的。他和自己那只宝贝猫跟亨格利乔合住一顶帐篷。赫普尔睡觉一向容易惊醒,但他声称自己从未听见亨格利乔惊叫过。亨格利乔心里觉得难受。

    “那又怎么样呢?”丹尼卡医生满是怨恨地吼叫道,“不瞒你说,我以前可有钱啦,一年净赚五万美元,而且差不多是免税的,因为我要求来就诊的病人一概支付现金。此外,我还有世界上最有实力的同业协会做后盾。可你瞧瞧,后来出了什么事。就在我做好准备,开始积攒一笔钱的当儿,他们却炮制出什么法西斯主义,发动了一场令人悚然的战争,竟连我也没逃脱这场灾难。每天晚上听见亨格利乔这样的家伙歇斯底里地喊叫,我就憋不住想大笑。我实在是憋不住想大笑。他觉得难受?我心里啥感受,他哪里晓得?”

    亨格利乔自己多灾多难,实在是管不了丹尼卡医生心里究竟是什么感受。就拿那些噪声来说吧,即便是些很轻的噪声,也会让他勃然大怒。每当阿费口含唾沫,咂咂地一口一口抽烟斗,或是奥尔丁丁当当做些修补活计,或是麦克沃特玩二十一点或扑克牌时,每出一张牌总会摔得劈啪直响,或是多布斯一边笨手笨脚、跌跌撞撞四处乱跑,一边喀塔地牙齿直打战,这种时候,亨格利乔便会直冲着他们吼叫,直到把嗓门吼哑了为止。亨格利乔患的是运动表象型兴奋增盛症,性情激动暴躁。静静的房间里,手表有规律的嘀嗒声,似酷刑一般,猛击着他全无保护的脑袋。

    “听着,小家伙,”一天深夜,亨格利乔没好气地跟赫普尔说,“假如你想在这顶帐篷里住下去,我喜欢怎么做,你就得怎么做:每天晚上,你必须得用羊毛袜裹好你自己的手表,然后把它放在帐篷那头你自己的床脚柜的最底层。”

    赫普尔很不服气地猛抬起下巴,让亨格利乔明白,他可不是任人摆布的,于是,便不折不扣地依亨格利乔的吩咐去做了。

    亨格利乔是很神经质的,长得极瘦削,一副可怜相,脸色憔悴泛黄,两侧黑黢黢的太阳穴上,一根根抽搐着的青筋,似被切成若干的蛇段,在皮下蠕动。那张脸瘦得两颊凹陷,透着孤独凄凉,因久虑而显得阴沉,全无了光泽,恰似一座废弃的矿工城。亨格利乔吃起来狼吞虎咽,总是不停地啃手指尖,说话结巴,有时又会因情绪激动而哽得说不出半句活来,身上处处发痒,又好出汗,嘴角常挂着口水。他时常背着一架复杂精密的黑色照相机,着了魔似地东奔西颠,一直想拍些女人的裸体照片。可是从未拍出一张照片。他总是忘记装胶卷、打灯光,或是忘记打开镜头盖。说服裸体女人摆各种姿势,这实在不是桩容易的事,不过,亨格利乔在这方面倒是颇有些诀窍。

    “我可是个大名人,”他总会这么大声说道,“我是《生活》杂志大名鼎鼎的摄影记者,想给杂志的大封面拍张顶刮刮的照片。没错,没错,没错!好莱坞大明星。用不完的钞票,离不完的婚,整天跟男人寻欢作乐。”

    这世上,恐怕很少有女人能抵挡住这种甜言蜜语的劝诱。妓女总会急不可耐地一跃而起,只要是亨格利乔的吩咐,不管摆的姿势有多怪,她们必定会全身心地投入。女人简直让亨格利乔神魂颠倒。女性是他狂热崇拜的偶像。女人于他,是人间奇迹,美丽动人,令人赏心悦目,心醉神迷;是取乐的工具,威力之巨实在难以估量,欲望之强令人无法招架,造就得又是这般精美,不足道的卑劣男人是没资格享用的。在他看来,女人赤裸了玉体任他摆弄,只是一个天大的疏忽终究会迅速得到纠正。因此,他总是不得不赶在别人获悉内情匆匆把她们带走之前,尽一切可能以极短的时间,充分利用她们的肉体。究竟是玩弄她们,还是给她们拍照,他一直举棋不定,因为他发觉这两件事实在无法同时进行。其实,他开始觉得,这两桩事体他几乎一桩也干不了。原因是,他自始至终摆脱不了行事匆忙草率的积习,结果导致了他的办事能力极度低下,老是东一郎头,西一棒子。照片是一张也没拍成,到了手的女人一个也没玩成。令人奇怪的是,亨格利乔服役前确曾当过《生活》杂志的摄影记者。

    如今,他可是位英雄。在约塞连眼里,他是最了不起的空军英雄,因为他完成作战飞行任务的次数超过了空军里的其他英雄。他已经完成了六次作战飞行任务。亨格利乔完成第一次作战飞行任务时,那时的规定要求每人必须完成二十五次飞行任务。只要完成了这二十五次飞行任务,他便可以打点好行装,喜滋滋地给家里写信报喜讯,然后开始兴致勃勃地缠住陶塞军士,探问让他轮换调防回美国的命令是否下达。待命期间,他每天在作战指挥室门口周围,极有节奏地跳着曳步舞。每每有人路过,他便扯大了嗓门,没完没了地说俏皮话;每次见到陶塞军士匆匆走出中队办公室,就打趣地骂他是讨厌的狗杂种。

    驻屯萨莱诺滩头堡的一周内,亨格利乔就完成了最初规定的二十五次飞行任务。当时,约塞连因染上了淋病住在医院治疗。

    这种花柳病,是一次他正在执行前往马拉喀什空运补给的低空飞行任务他跟一名陆军妇女队队员在灌木丛里野合时传染上的。后来,约塞连全力以赴,拼命追赶亨格利乔,结果几乎就让他赶上了,六天里,他完成了六次飞行任务。可是,他的第二十三次任务是飞往阿雷佐,内弗斯上校便是在那儿阵亡的。那次任务完成以后,再飞两次,他就可以回家了。可是到了第二天,卡思卡特上校着一身崭新的制服来到中队,摆出一副傲慢专横不可一世的模样。他将规定的飞行次数从二十五提高到三十,以此来庆贺自己接任大队指挥官的职位。亨格利乔解开行装,把写给家里的报喜信重新又写了一遍。他不再兴致勃勃地缠住陶塞军士。他开始仇恨陶塞军士,极凶狠地将一切归罪于陶塞军士,即便他心里很清楚,卡思卡特上校的到任,或是遣送他们回国的命令一直搁着不下达本来完全可以让他提早七天回家,逃掉后来新增的五次飞行任务,这一切跟陶塞军士实在是毫不相干的。

    亨格利乔再也经受不住等待回国命令时的极度紧张,每每完成又一次飞行任务,他的身心健康便迅速崩溃。每次被撤下不执行作战任务,他就举行一个规模不小的酒会,请上自己那一小帮朋友聚一聚。他打开一瓶瓶波旁威士忌是他每周四天驾驶军邮班机巡回递送邮件时想了法子才买到的以飨朋友。随后,他又是笑又是唱,还跳起曳步舞,大声喊叫,似过节一般陶醉,欣喜若狂,直到后来睡意袭来,再也支撑不住,方才安静入睡。待约塞连、内特利和邓巴刚安顿好他上床,他就开始尖声叫喊。第二天上午,他走出帐篷,形容枯槁,流出恐惧和负疚的神情,整个人看似一座蛀空的建筑物,只剩下个空骨架,摇摇欲坠,一触便会倒坍。

    每当亨格利乔不再执行作战飞行任务,再次等待永远等不来的回国命令,他便受尽了痛苦的折磨。期间,他在中队度过的每一个晚上,那一个个噩梦总是准时出现在他的梦乡,就同天体的运行一样正点,不差分秒。亨格利乔每做噩梦,必定歇斯底里地尖叫,扰得中队里像多布斯和弗卢姆上尉那些神经过敏的人心绪不宁,结果,他们也开始做噩梦,歇斯底里地尖叫。于是,每天晚上,他们便从中队各个不同的角落把各种尖厉的下流话吐入空中,在黑夜里回响着,颇有些趣味,仿佛发情的鸟交尾时的欢叫。在科恩中校看来,这是梅杰少校的中队里露出的不良倾向,于是,他便采取了果断行动,决定杜绝这股苗头。他的措施是,下令亨格利乔每周驾驶一次军邮班机巡回递送邮件,这样,有四个晚上他就没法在中队过夜了。这一补救办法同科恩中校采取的所有补救办法一样,的确很奏效。

    每次卡思卡特上校增加飞行任务的次数并让亨格利乔重返战斗岗位时,亨格利乔便不再梦魇。他只是宽心地微微一笑,又恢复了平常的恐惧状态。约塞连琢磨亨格利乔那张皱缩的脸,就像是在读报纸上的一条大标题。每当亨格利乔神情阴郁,表明一切正常,可一旦他兴致勃勃,那就说明出了什么麻烦事。亨格利乔这种阴阳错乱的反应,在大伙看来,确实是个怪现象,只有他本人对此断然否认。

    “谁做梦?”当约塞连问他都做些什么梦时,亨格利乔反问道。

    “乔,你干吗不去丹尼卡医生那里看看?”约塞连劝说道。

    “我干吗非得去看丹尼卡医生?我又没病。”

    “你不是老做噩梦吗?”

    “我可没做噩梦。”亨格利乔说了个谎。

    “或许丹尼卡医生有办法治那些噩梦。”

    “做噩梦又不是什么病,”亨格利乔答道,“哪个不做噩梦?”

    约塞连心想,这下他可上了圈套。“你是不是每天晚上做噩梦?”他问。

    “难道每天晚上做噩梦就不成吗?”亨格利乔反诘道。

    亨格利乔这一反诘,突然让约塞连茅塞顿开。他问得没错,为什么就不能天天晚上做噩梦?这样,每天晚上梦魇时痛苦地狂叫,也就可以理解了。比起阿普尔比来,这就更容易理解了。阿普尔比一向严守规章制度。在一次前往海外执行飞行任务途中,他曾授命克拉夫特,下令约塞连吞服阿的平药片,尽管当时他和约塞连彼此早已不再搭腔。亨格利乔比克拉夫特要懂道理得多。克拉夫特已经不在人世。当时在弗拉拉,约塞连再一次把自己小队的六架飞机导入目标上空,一台发动机爆炸了,克拉夫特就这样死于非命。飞行大队连续轰炸了七天,还是没有炸悼弗拉拉的那座桥梁,尽管他们使用的轰炸瞄准器十分精密,可以在四万英尺的高空把一枚枚炸弹扔进一只腌菜桶。早一个星期前,卡思卡特上校可是自告奋勇要部下在二十四小时内炸毁那座桥。克拉夫特是宾夕法尼亚州人,小伙子长得极瘦弱,没丝毫要害人的坏心眼。他唯一的希望就是讨人喜欢,然而,就连这一点点有辱人格的卑贱的愿望,也终究注定要破灭的。他死了,没有受到别人的怜爱,就像熊熊燃烧的烈火堆上的一块血淋淋的炭渣,无声无息地离开了人世。就在那架只剩一片机翼的飞机快速坠落的当儿,谁也不曾听见他在生命最后的宝贵瞬间里说了些什么。克拉夫特与世靡争地生活了一小段时间,然后到了第七天,在弗拉拉上空随烈火一起消逝。当时,上帝正在安息,麦克沃特将飞机调了头,约塞连引导他飞至目标上空,作又一轮轰炸飞行,因为第一轮轰炸飞行时,阿费慌了手脚,结果,约塞连没能扔下炸弹。

    “我想我们只得再往回飞了,是不是?”麦克沃特通过对讲机闷闷不乐地说了一句。

    “我想是吧,”约塞连说。

    “是吗?”麦克沃特问道。

    “是的。”

    “那好吧,”麦克沃特说,“只好如此了。”

    他俩重新飞回目标上空,而其他小队的飞机在远处盘旋了一圈后,便安全飞走了。这时,地面上赫尔曼戈林师的每一门火炮,便都一齐对准他俩猛烈开炮。

    卡思卡待上校是个极果敢的人。只要有什么现成的轰炸目标,他向来毫不迟疑地主动提出请求,让自己的部下前去摧毁。在他的飞行大队看来,任何一个目标,不管有多危险,都是攻无不克的,正如对阿普尔比来说,在乒乓球台上没有什么险球是救不起的。阿普尔比是位很出色的飞行员,又是一名球艺超绝的乒乓球选手,尽管眼睛里有苍蝇,却从未失过一球。对阿普尔比来说,要让对手输得丢尽脸面,发二十一次球便足够了。他的乒乓球球技实在是高超非凡。只要举行球赛,他必定是场场都赢。后来,有一天晚上,奥尔喝过杜松子酒和威士忌后,醉醺醺地跑去找阿普尔比打乒乓球。开局时,他接连发的头五个球,全让阿普尔比给猛抽了回去,于是,他便拿起球拍,把阿普尔比的前额砸了个口子。奥尔扔掉球拍,纵身一跃,跳到乒乓球台上,紧接着一个急行跳远,从台子的另一端猛跳了下去;两脚恰好踩在了阿普尔比的脸上,立时一片混乱。阿普尔比差不多花了足足一分钟,才好不容易挣脱掉奥尔的拳打脚踢,摸索着爬了起来,一手揪住奥尔的衬衣前胸,把他提了起来,另一手握成拳头缩回去,正欲猛力击去,把他打死。就在这当儿,约塞连跨步上前,把奥尔从他身边拉走。这一夜对阿普尔比来说,是充满意外的一夜。阿普尔比和约塞连一样魁梧粗壮,他挥起拳,狠狠地打了约塞连一拳。这一拳打得一级准尉怀特哈尔福特乐不可支,于是,他转过身,照准穆达士上校的鼻子也重重击了一拳。德里德尔将军可高兴极了,便让卡思卡特上校把随军牧师逐出军官俱乐部,又命令一级准尉怀特哈尔福特搬进丹尼卡医生的帐篷,这样,每天二十四小时他就可以得到医生的照料,身体健康也有了保障,这样,德里德尔将军什么时候要他拳打穆达士上校的鼻子,他便可以再应付了。有的时候,德里德尔将军带着穆达士上校和护士,特地从联队司令部下来,只是想让一级准尉怀特哈尔福特在他女婿的鼻子上狠狠打一拳。

    一级准尉怀特哈尔福特是极愿意留在他跟弗卢姆上尉合住的那间活动房里的。弗卢姆上尉是中队的新闻发布官,不爱说笑,性情烦闷。每天晚上,他总要花上一大半时间冲洗白天拍摄的照片,然后跟他的宣传稿一同发出去。他每天晚上尽量留在暗房工作,之后,便躺在自己的帆布床上,交叉着食指和中指,脖子上缠了只兔子的后足,想足了法子不让自己睡着。跟一级准尉怀特哈尔福特合住,他始终处于极度的恐惧之中。他脑子里老是困扰着一个念头:说不定哪个晚上,一级准尉怀特哈尔福特会趁他酣睡之际,悄悄走到他的床前,一刀切开他的咽喉。他之所以生出这么个念头,也全因一级准尉怀特哈尔福特本人。有天晚上,弗卢姆上尉正打着盹儿,一级准尉怀特哈尔福特确实蹑手蹑脚地走到他的床前,极凶险地用尖利的嘘声威胁道:总有一天晚上,趁他,弗卢姆上尉,熟睡的时候,他,一级准尉怀特哈尔福特,会一刀割开他的咽喉。弗卢姆上尉吓得浑身直冒冷汗,睁大了双眼,抬起头,直愣愣地注视着一级准尉怀特哈尔福特那双离他仅几英寸远的闪闪发亮的醉眼。

    “为什么?”弗卢姆上尉最终用低沉而沙哑的声音总算问了一句。

    “为什么不?”一级准尉怀特哈尔福特的答复倒是极干脆。

    此后的每个晚上,弗卢姆上尉尽量迫使自己不睡着。亨格利乔的噩梦着实给他帮了极大的忙。他一夜夜专注地倾听亨格利乔疯狂般的号叫,渐渐地仇恨起他来了,真希望哪天晚上,一级准尉怀特哈尔福特会悄悄地走到他的床前,一刀割开他的咽喉。其实,大多数晚上,弗卢姆上尉睡得很沉,只是梦见自己醒着。这些梦极其真实,结果,每天早晨他从睡梦中醒来时,已是筋疲力尽,顷刻又复睡去。

    自弗卢姆上尉发生惊人的巨变后,一级准尉怀特哈尔福特渐渐地喜欢上他了。那天晚上,弗卢姆上尉上床时,还相当活泼开朗,可第二天上午起身时,却变得阴郁寡欢,性格内向。一级准尉怀特哈尔福特很自豪地视这个新的弗卢姆上尉为自己创造的作品。他从未打算要割断弗卢姆上尉的咽喉。他扬言这么做,就如同他说要死于肺炎、要给穆达士上校的鼻子狠狠一拳或者要同丹尼卡医生比角力,全都只是想开个玩笑而已。每天晚上,他醉醺醺地蹒跚着走进帐篷,想做的头一桩事,便是即刻睡觉,可亨格利乔经常让他入睡不得。亨格利乔梦魇时歇斯底里地狂叫,吵得他烦躁不安。于是,他便经常希望有人悄悄溜进亨格利乔的帐篷,从他脸上把赫普尔的猫拎走,再一刀割开他的咽喉。这样,中队上下除弗卢姆上尉外,就可以好好睡一个安稳觉了。

    一级准尉怀特哈尔福特不时地替德里德尔将军重重拳击穆达士上校的鼻子,纵然如此,他依旧还是个局外人。中队长梅杰少校也是个局外人。梅杰少校在从卡思卡特上校那里得知自己晋升中队长的同时,发现自己本是个局外人。杜鲁斯少校于佩鲁贾上空阵亡后的第二天,卡思卡特上校坐了他那辆特大马力的吉普车,飞速驶进中队驻地。卡思卡特上校在离那条铁路壕沟几英寸的地方,嘎然把车刹住。壕沟就横在吉普车和那片倾斜的篮球场之间。

    卡思卡特上校一到,梅杰少校便遭到那些球友几乎和他交上了朋友的拳打脚踢,左推右搡,还有乱石的袭击,最终,被逐出了球场;

    “你现在是新任的中队长,”卡思卡特上校隔着壕沟朝梅杰少校高声喊道,“不过,别以为这有什么了不起,因为这算不得什么。

    只不过是由你来担任新的中队长罢了。”

    卡思卡特上校来得突然,去得也同样突然。说罢,他就猛地掉转车头,车轮一阵飞转,扬起一片细砂砾,吹了梅杰少校一脸,于是,车便轰隆隆地开走了。这个消息把梅杰少校惊呆了。他呆呆地站在那儿,一句话也说不出来,瘦长的身体愈发显得难看,两只长手捧着一只磨损了的破篮球,看着卡思卡特上校如此迅速播下的仇恨的种子在他身边的士兵们心中扎了根。而这些弟兄一直跟他打篮球,又允许他像先前谁都乐意的那样跟他们交朋友。梅杰少校两眼毫无光泽,眼白增大,模糊不清,嘴巴翕动着,极想说些什么,可就是出不了声,那种熟悉的、驱赶不了的孤寂,再一次飘来,似令人窒息的烟雾,将他团团困住。

    像大队司令部的其他所有军官丹比少校除外一样,卡思卡特上校亦极具民主精神:他认为,人生来是平等的。所以,他便以同样的热情,一脚踢开了大队司令部以外的所有官兵。不过,他信任自己的部下。正如他在简令下达室常跟他们说的那样,他相信,同其他任何部队相比,他们要强得多,至少可以多完成十次飞行任务。同时,他还认为,谁要是对部下没有这样的信心,他就可以滚出去。不过,他们要滚出去,唯一的办法,就像约塞连飞去见前一等兵温特格林时探听到的那样,便是完成这另增的十次飞行任务。

    “我还是搞不明白,”约塞连抗辩道,“丹尼卡医生究竟是错还是对?”

    “他说是多少次?”

    “四十次。”

    “丹尼卡说的没错,”前一等兵温特格林认可道,“就第二十六空军司令部来说,只要完成四十次飞行任务就可以了。”

    约塞连听了心花怒放。“这么说,我可以回家咯?我已经飞了四十八次。”

    “不行,你还不能回家,”前一等兵温特格林纠正道,“你不会是疯了吧?”

    “为什么不能回家?”

    “第二十二条军规规定这样。”

    “第二十二条军规?”约塞连很感吃惊。“第二十二条军规跟回家到底有什么关系?”

    “第二十二条军规规定,”亨格利乔开飞机送约塞连回皮亚诺萨岛后,丹尼卡医生极耐心地答复他说,“你自始至终得服从指挥官的命令。”

    “但第二十六空军司令部说,我完成四十次飞行任务就可以回家了。”

    “可他们没说你必须回家。军规明文规定,你必须服从每一个命令。圈套便在这里。即便上校违反了第二十六空军司令部的命令,非要你继续飞行不可,你还是得执行任务,否则,你违抗他的命令,便是犯罪。而且第二十七空军司令部必定会问你的罪。”

    约塞连彻底灰了心。“这么说,我必须完成规定的五十次飞行任务咯?”他极伤心地问。

    “是五十五次,”丹尼卡医生纠正道。

    “什么五十五次?”

    “上校现在要求你们大家完成五十五次飞行任务。”

    亨格利乔听了丹尼卡医生的后,如释重负地深叹了一口气,咧嘴笑了笑。约塞连一把揪住亨格利乔的脖子;迫使他立刻开飞机跟他一块回去见前一等兵温特格林。

    “要是我拒飞的话,”约塞连极信任地问道,“他们会怎么对待我?”

    “我们或许会毙了你,”前一等兵温特格林回答他说。

    “我们?”约塞连吃惊地大声叫道,“你说我们是什么意思?你什么时候站在他们一边了?”

    “要是你给毙了,你指望我跟谁站在一边。”前一等兵温特格林反驳道。

    约塞连畏缩了。卡思卡特上校又一次让他上了圈套。
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