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第二十二条军规 Catch-22

Chapter 42 Yossarian
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    “Colonel Korn says,” said Major Danby to Yossarian with a prissy, gratified smile, “that the deal is still on.

    Everything is working out fine.”

    “No it isn't.”

    “Oh, yes, indeed,” Major Danby insisted benevolently. “In fact, everything is much better. It was really a strokeof luck that you were almost murdered by that girl. Now the deal can go through perfectly.”

    “I'm not making any deals with Colonel Korn.”

    Major Danby's effervescent optimism vanished instantly, and he broke out all at once into a bubbling sweat.

    “But you do have a deal with him, don't you?” he asked in anguished puzzlement. “Don't you have anagreement?”

    “I'm breaking the agreement.”

    “But you shook hands on it, didn't you? You gave him your word as a gentleman.”

    “I'm breaking my word.”

    “Oh, dear,” sighed Major Danby, and began dabbing ineffectually at his careworn brow with a folded whitehandkerchief. “But why, Yossarian? It's a very good deal they're offering you.”

    “It's a lousy deal, Danby. It's an odious deal.”

    “Oh, dear,” Major Danby fretted, running his bare hand over his dark, wiry hair, which was already soaked withperspiration to the tops of the thick, close-cropped waves. “Oh dear.”

    “Danby, don't you think it's odious?”

    Major Danby pondered a moment. “Yes, I suppose it is odious,” he conceded with reluctance. His globular,exophthalmic eyes were quite distraught. “But why did you make such a deal if you didn't like it?”

    “I did it in a moment of weakness,” Yossarian wisecracked with glum irony. “I was trying to save my life.”

    “Don't you want to save your life now?”

    “That's why I won't let them make me fly more missions.”

    “Then let them send you home and you'll be in no more danger.”

    “Let them send me home because I flew more than fifty missions,” Yossarian said, “and not because I wasstabbed by that girl, or because I've turned into such a stubborn son of a bitch.”

    Major Danby shook his head emphatically in sincere and bespectacled vexation. “They'd have to send nearlyevery man home if they did that. Most of the men have more than fifty missions. Colonel Cathcart couldn'tpossibly requisition so many inexperienced replacement crews at one time without causing an investigation. He'scaught in his own trap.”

    “That's his problem.”

    “No, no, no, Yossarian,” Major Danby disagreed solicitously. “It's your problem. Because if you don't gothrough with the deal, they're going to institute court-martial proceedings as soon as you sign out of thehospital.”

    Yossarian thumbed his nose at Major Danby and laughed with smug elation. “The hell they will! Don't lie to me,Danby. They wouldn't even try.”

    “But why wouldn't they?” inquired Major Danby, blinking with astonishment.

    “Because I've really got them over a barrel now. There's an official report that says I was stabbed by a Naziassassin trying to kill them. They'd certainly look silly trying to court-martial me after that.”

    “But, Yossarian!” Major Danby exclaimed. “There's another official report that says you were stabbed by aninnocent girl in the course of extensive black-market operations involving acts of sabotage and the sale ofmilitary secrets to the enemy.”

    Yossarian was taken back severely with surprise and disappointment. “Another official report?”

    “Yossarian, they can prepare as many official reports as they want and choose whichever ones they need on anygiven occasion. Didn't you know that?”

    “Oh, dear,” Yossarian murmured in heavy dejection, the blood draining from his face. “Oh, dear.”

    Major Danby pressed forward avidly with a look of vulturous well-meaning. “Yossarian, do what they want andlet them send you home. It's best for everyone that way.”

    “It's best for Cathcart, Korn and me, not for everyone.”

    “For everyone,” Major Danby insisted. “It will solve the whole problem.”

    “Is it best for the men in the group who will have to keep flying more missions?”

    Major Danby flinched and turned his face away unorgfortably for a second. “Yossarian,” he replied, “it willhelp nobody if you force Colonel Cathcart to court-martial you and prove you guilty of all the crimes with whichyou'll be charged. You will go to prison for a long time, and your whole life will be ruined.”

    Yossarian listened to him with a growing feeling of concern. “What crimes will they charge me with?”

    “Inorgpetence over Ferrara, insubordination, refusal to engage the enemy in orgbat when ordered to do so, anddesertion.”

    Yossarian sucked his cheeks in soberly. “They could charge me with all that, could they? They gave me a medalfor Ferrara. How could they charge me with inorgpetence now?”

    “Aarfy will swear that you and McWatt lied in your official report.”

    “I'll bet the bastard would!”

    “They will also find you guilty,” Major Danby recited, “of rape, extensive black-market operations, acts ofsabotage and the sale of military secrets to the enemy.”

    “How will they prove any of that? I never did a single one of those things.”

    “But they have witnesses who will swear you did. They can get all the witnesses they need simply by persuadingthem that destroying you is for the good of the country. And in a way, it would be for the good of the country.”

    “In what way?” Yossarian demanded, rising up slowly on one elbow with bridling hostility.

    Major Danby drew back a bit and began mopping his forehead again. “Well, Yossarian,” he began with anapologetic stammer, “it would not help the war effort to bring Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn into disreputenow. Let's face it, Yossarianin spite of everything, the group does have a very good record. If you were courtmartialedand found innocent, other men would probably refuse to fly missions, too. Colonel Cathcart would bein disgrace, and the military efficiency of the unit might be destroyed. So in that way it would be for the good ofthe country to have you found guilty and put in prison, even though you are innocent.”

    “What a sweet way you have of putting things!” Yossarian snapped with caustic resentment.

    Major Danby turned red and squirmed and squinted uneasily. “Please don't blame me,” he pleaded with a look ofanxious integrity. “You know it's not my fault. All I'm doing is trying to look at things objectively and arrive ata solution to a very difficult situation.”

    “I didn't create the situation.”

    “But you can resolve it. And what else can you do? You don't want to fly more missions.”

    “I can run away.”

    “Run away?”

    “Desert. Take off I can turn my back on the whole damned mess and start running.”

    Major Danby was shocked. “Where to? Where could you go?”

    “I could get to Rome easily enough. And I could hide myself there.”

    “And live in danger every minute of your life that they would find you? No, no, no, no, Yossarian. That wouldbe a disastrous and ignoble thing to do. Running away from problems never solved them. Please believe me. Iam only trying to help you.”

    “That's what that kind detective said before he decided to jab his thumb into my wound,” Yossarian retortedsarcastically.

    “I am not a detective,” Major Danby replied with indignation, his cheeks flushing again. “I'm a universityprofessor with a highly developed sense of right and wrong, and I wouldn't try to deceive you. I wouldn't lie toanyone.”

    “What would you do if one of the men in the group asked you about this conversation?”

    “I would lie to him.”

    Yossarian laughed mockingly, and Major Danby, despite his blushing disorgfort, leaned back with relief, asthough welorging the respite Yossarian's changing mood promised. Yossarian gazed at him with a mixture ofreserved pity and contempt. He sat up in bed with his back resting against the headboard, lit a cigarette, smiledslightly with wry amusement, and stared with whimsical sympathy at the vivid, pop-eyed horror that hadimplanted itself permanently on Major Danby's face the day of the mission to Avignon, when General Dreedlehad ordered him taken outside and shot. The startled wrinkles would always remain, like deep black scars, andYossarian felt sorry for the gentle, moral, middle-aged idealist, as he felt sorry for so many people whoseshortorgings were not large and whose troubles were light.

    With deliberate amiability he said, “Danby, how can you work along with people like Cathcart and Korn?

    Doesn't it turn your stomach?”

    Major Danby seemed surprised by Yossarian's question. “I do it to help my country,” he replied, as though theanswer should have been obvious. “Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn are my superiors, and obeying theirorders is the only contribution I can make to the war effort. I work along with them because it's my duty. Andalso,” he added in a much lower voice, dropping his eyes, “because I am not a very aggressive person.”

    “Your country doesn't need your help any more,” Yossarian reasoned with antagonism. “So all you're doing ishelping them.”

    “I try not to think of that,” Major Danby admitted frankly. “But I try to concentrate on only the big result and toforget that they are succeeding, too. I try to pretend that they are not significant.”

    “That's my trouble, you know,” Yossarian mused sympathetically, folding his arms. “Between me and everyideal I always find Scheisskopfs, Peckems, Korns and Cathcarts. And that sort of changes the ideal.”

    “You must try not to think of them,” Major Danby advised affirmatively. “And you must never let them changeyour values. Ideals are good, but people are sometimes not so good. You must try to look up at the big picture.”

    Yossarian rejected the advice with a skeptical shake of his head. “When I look up, I see people cashing in. Idon't see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and every human tragedy.”

    “But you must try not to think of that, too,” Major Danby insisted. “And you must try not to let it upset you.”

    “Oh, it doesn't really upset me. What does upset me, though, is that they think I'm a sucker. They think thatthey're smart, and that the rest of us are dumb. And, you know, Danby, the thought occurs to me right now, forthe first time, that maybe they're right.”

    “But you must try not to think of that too,” argued Major Danby. “You must think only of the welfare of yourcountry and the dignity of man.”

    “Yeah,” said Yossarian.

    “I mean it, Yossarian. This is not World War One. You must never forget that we're at war with aggressors whowould not let either one of us live if they won.”

    “I know that,” Yossarian replied tersely, with a sudden surge of scowling annoyance. “Christ, Danby, I earnedthat medal I got, no matter what their reasons were for giving it to me. I've flown seventy goddam orgbatmissions. Don't talk to me about fighting to save my country. I've been fighting all along to save my country.

    Now I'm going to fight a little to save myself. The country's not in danger any more, but I am.”

    “The war's not over yet. The Germans are driving toward Antwerp.”

    “The Germans will be beaten in a few months. And Japan will be beaten a few months after that. If I were to giveup my life now, it wouldn't be for my country. It would be for Cathcart and Korn. So I'm turning my bombsightin for the duration. From now on I'm thinking only of me.”

    Major Danby replied indulgently with a superior smile, “But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way.”

    “Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn't I?” Yossarian sat up straighter with aquizzical expression. “You know, I have a queer feeling that I've been through this exact conversation beforewith someone. It's just like the chaplain's sensation of having experienced everything twice.”

    “The chaplain wants you to let them send you home,” Major Danby remarked.

    “The chaplain can jump in the lake.”

    “Oh, dear.” Major Danby sighed, shaking his head in regretful disappointment. “He's afraid he might haveinfluenced you.”

    “He didn't influence me. You know what I might do? I might stay right here in this hospital bed and vegetate. Icould vegetate very orgfortably right here and let other people make the decisions.”

    “You must make decisions,” Major Danby disagreed. “A person can't live like a vegetable.”

    “Why not?”

    A distant warm look entered Major Danby's eyes. “It must be nice to live like a vegetable,” he concededwistfully.

    “It's lousy,” answered Yossarian.

    “No, it must be very pleasant to be free from all this doubt and pressure,” insisted Major Danby. “I think I'd liketo live like a vegetable and make no important decisions.”

    “What kind of vegetable, Danby?”

    “A cucumber or a carrot.”

    “What kind of cucumber? A good one or a bad one?”

    “Oh, a good one, of course.”

    “They'd cut you off in your prime and slice you up for a salad.”

    Major Danby's face fell. “A poor one, then.”

    “They'd let you rot and use you for fertilizer to help the good ones grow.”

    “I guess I don't want to live like a vegetable, then,” said Major Danby with a smile of sad resignation.

    “Danby, must I really let them send me home?” Yossarian inquired of him seriously.

    Major Danby shrugged. “It's a way to save yourself.”

    “It's a way to lose myself, Danby. You ought to know that.”

    “You could have lots of things you want.”

    “I don't want lots of things I want,” Yossarian replied, and then beat his fist down against the mattress in anoutburst of rage and frustration. “Goddammit, Danby! I've got friends who were killed in this war. I can't makea deal now. Getting stabbed by that bitch was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

    “Would you rather go to jail?”

    “Would you let them send you home?”

    “Of course I would!” Major Danby declared with conviction. “Certainly I would,” he added a few moments later,in a less positive manner. “Yes, I suppose I would let them send me home if I were in your place,” he decidedunorgfortably, after lapsing into troubled contemplation. Then he threw his face sideways disgustedly in agesture of violent distress and blurted out, “Oh, yes, of course I'd let them send me home! But I'm such a terriblecoward I couldn't really be in your place.”

    “But suppose you weren't a coward?” Yossarian demanded, studying him closely. “Suppose you did have thecourage to defy somebody?”

    “Then I wouldn't let them send me home,” Major Danby vowed emphatically with vigorous joy and enthusiasm.

    “But I certainly wouldn't let them court-martial me.”

    “Would you fly more missions?”

    “No, of course not. That would be total capitulation. And I might be killed.”

    “Then you'd run away?”

    Major Danby started to retort with proud spirit and came to an abrupt stop, his half-opened jaw swinging closeddumbly. He pursed his lips in a tired pout. “I guess there just wouldn't be any hope for me, then, would there?”

    His forehead and protuberant white eyeballs were soon glistening nervously again. He crossed his limp wrists inhis lap and hardly seemed to be breathing as he sat with his gaze drooping toward the floor in acquiescent defeat.

    Dark, steep shadows slanted in from the window. Yossarian watched him solemnly, and neither of the two menstirred at the rattling noise of a speeding vehicle skidding to a stop outside and the sound of racing footstepspounding toward the building in haste.

    “Yes, there's hope for you,” Yossarian remembered with a sluggish flow of inspiration. “Milo might help you.

    He's bigger than Colonel Cathcart, and he owes me a few favors.”

    Major Danby shook his head and answered tonelessly. “Milo and Colonel Cathcart are pals now. He madeColonel Cathcart a vice-president and promised him an important job after the war.”

    “Then ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen will help us,” Yossarian exclaimed. “He hates them both, and this will infuriatehim.”

    Major Danby shook his head bleakly again. “Milo and ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen merged last week. They're allpartners now in M & M Enterprises.”

    “Then there is no hope for us, is there?”

    “No hope.”

    “No hope at all, is there?”

    “No, no hope at all,” Major Danby conceded. He looked up after a while with a half-formed notion. “Wouldn't itbe nice if they could disappear us the way they disappeared the others and relieve us of all these crushingburdens?”

    Yossarian said no. Major Danby agreed with a melancholy nod, lowering his eyes again, and there was no hopeat all for either of them until footsteps exploded in the corridor suddenly and the chaplain, shouting at the top ofhis voice, came bursting into the room with the electrifying news about Orr, so overorge with hilariousexcitement that he was almost incoherent for a minute or two. Tears of great elation were sparkling in his eyes,and Yossarian leaped out of bed with an incredulous yelp when he finally understood.

    “Sweden?” he cried.

    “Orr!” cried the chaplain.

    “Orr?” cried Yossarian.

    “Sweden!” cried the chaplain, shaking his head up and down with gleeful rapture and prancing aboutuncontrollably from spot to spot in a grinning, delicious frenzy. “It's a miracle, I tell you! A miracle! I believe inGod again. I really do. Washed ashore in Sweden after so many weeks at sea! It's a miracle.”

    “Washed ashore, hell!” Yossarian declared, jumping all about also and roaring in laughing exultation at thewalls, the ceiling, the chaplain and Major Danby. “He didn't wash ashore in Sweden. He rowed there! He rowedthere, Chaplain, he rowed there.”

    “Rowed there?”

    “He planned it that way! He went to Sweden deliberately.”

    “Well, I don't care!” the chaplain flung back with undiminished zeal. “It's still a miracle, a miracle of humanintelligence and human endurance. Look how much he acorgplished!” The chaplain clutched his head with bothhands and doubled over in laughter. “Can't you just picture him?” he exclaimed with amazement. “Can't you justpicture him in that yellow raft, paddling through the Straits of Gibraltar at night with that tiny little blue oar““With that fishing line trailing out behind him, eating raw codfish all the way to Sweden, and serving himself teaevery afternoon““I can just see him!” cried the chaplain, pausing a moment in his celebration to catch his breath. “It's a miracle ofhuman perseverance, I tell you. And that's just what I'm going to do from now on! I'm going to persevere. Yes,I'm going to persevere.”

    “He knew what he was doing every step of the way!” Yossarian rejoiced, holding both fists aloft triumphantly asthough hoping to squeeze revelations from them. He spun to a stop facing Major Danby. “Danby, you dope!

    There is hope, after all. Can't you see? Even Clevinger might be alive somewhere in that cloud of his, hidinginside until it's safe to orge out.”

    “What are you talking about?” Major Danby asked in confusion. “What are you both talking about?”

    “Bring me apples, Danby, and chestnuts too. Run, Danby, run. Bring me crab apples and horse chestnuts beforeit's too late, and get some for yourself.”

    “Horse chestnuts? Crab apples? What in the world for?”

    “To pop into our cheeks, of course.” Yossarian threw his arms up into the air in a gesture of mighty anddespairing selfrecrimination. “Oh, why didn't I listen to him? Why wouldn't I have some faith?”

    “Have you gone crazy?” Major Danby demanded with alarm and bewilderment. “Yossarian, will you please tellme what you are talking about?”

    “Danby, Orr planned it that way. Don't you understandhe planned it that way from the beginning. He evenpracticed getting shot down. He rehearsed for it on every mission he flew. And I wouldn't go with him! Oh, whywouldn't I listen? He invited me along, and I wouldn't go with him! Danby, bring me buck teeth too, and a valveto fix and a look of stupid innocence that nobody would ever suspect of any cleverness. I'll need them all. Oh,why wouldn't I listen to him. Now I understand what he was trying to tell me. I even understand why that girlwas hitting him on the head with her shoe.”

    “Why?” inquired the chaplain sharply.

    Yossarian whirled and seized the chaplain by the shirt front in an importuning grip. “Chaplain, help me! Pleasehelp me. Get my clothes. And hurry, will you? I need them right away.”

    The chaplain started away alertly. “Yes, Yossarian, I will. But where are they? How will I get them?”

    “By bullying and browbeating anybody who tries to stop you. Chaplain, get me my uniform! It's around thishospital somewhere. For once in your life, succeed at something.”

    The chaplain straightened his shoulders with determination and tightened his jaw. “Don't worry, Yossarian. I'llget your uniform. But why was that girl hitting Orr over the head with her shoe? Please tell me.”

    “Because he was paying her to, that's why! But she wouldn't hit him hard enough, so he had to row to Sweden.

    Chaplain, find me my uniform so I can get out of here. Ask Nurse Duckett for it. She'll help you. She'll doanything she can to be rid of me.”

    “Where are you going?” Major Danby asked apprehensively when the chaplain had shot from the room. “Whatare you going to do?”

    “I'm going to run away,” Yossarian announced in an exuberant, clear voice, already tearing open the buttons ofhis pajama tops.

    “Oh, no,” Major Danby groaned, and began patting his perspiring face rapidly with the bare palms of both hands.

    “You can't run away. Where can you run to? Where can you go?”

    “To Sweden.”

    “To Sweden?” Major Danby exclaimed in astonishment. “You're going to run to Sweden? Are you crazy?”

    “Orr did it.”

    “Oh, no, no, no, no, no,” Major Danby pleaded. “No, Yossarian, you'll never get there. You can't run away toSweden. You can't even row.”

    “But I can get to Rome if you'll keep your mouth shut when you leave here and give me a chance to catch a ride.

    Will you do it?”

    “But they'll find you,” Major Danby argued desperately, “and bring you back and punish you even moreseverely.”

    “They'll have to try like hell to catch me this time.”

    “They will try like hell. And even if they don't find you, what kind of way is that to live? You'll always bealone. No one will ever be on your side, and you'll always live in danger of betrayal.”

    “I live that way now.”

    “But you can't just turn your back on all your responsibilities and run away from them,” Major Danby insisted.

    “It's such a negative move. It's escapist.”

    Yossarian laughed with buoyant scorn and shook his head. “I'm not running away from my responsibilities. I'mrunning to them. There's nothing negative about running away to save my life. You know who the escapists are,don't you, Danby? Not me and Orr.”

    “Chaplain, please talk to him, will you? He's deserting. He wants to run away to Sweden.”

    “Wonderful!” cheered the chaplain, proudly throwing on the bed a pillowcase full of Yossarian's clothing. “Runaway to Sweden, Yossarian. And I'll stay here and persevere. Yes. I'll persevere. I'll nag and badger ColonelCathcart and Colonel Korn every time I see them. I'm not afraid. I'll even pick on General Dreedle.”

    “General Dreedle's out,” Yossarian reminded, pulling on his trousers and hastily stuffing the tails of his shirtinside. “It's General Peckem now.”

    The chaplain's babbling confidence did not falter for an instant. “Then I'll pick on General Peckem, and even onGeneral Scheisskopf. And do you know what else I'm going to do? I'm going to punch Captain Black in the nosethe very next time I see him. Yes, I'm going to punch him in the nose. I'll do it when lots of people are around sothat he may not have a chance to hit me back.”

    “Have you both gone crazy?” Major Danby protested, his bulging eyes straining in their sockets with torturedawe and exasperation. “Have you both taken leave of your senses? Yossarian, listen““It's a miracle, I tell you,” the chaplain proclaimed, seizing Major Danby about the waist and dancing himaround with his elbows extended for a waltz. “A real miracle. If Orr could row to Sweden, then I can triumphover Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn, if only I persevere.”

    “Chaplain, will you please shut up?” Major Danby entreated politely, pulling free and patting his perspiring browwith a fluttering motion. He bent toward Yossarian, who was reaching for his shoes. “What about Colonel““I couldn't care less.”

    “But this may actua-““To hell with them both!”

    “This may actually help them,” Major Danby persisted stubbornly. “Have you thought of that?”

    “Let the bastards thrive, for all I care, since I can't do a thing to stop them but embarrass them by running away.

    I've got responsibilities of my own now, Danby. I've got to get to Sweden.”

    “You'll never make it. It's impossible. It's almost a geographical impossibility to get there from here.”

    “Hell, Danby, I know that. But at least I'll be trying. There's a young kid in Rome whose life I'd like to save if Ican find her. I'll take her to Sweden with me if I can find her, so it isn't all selfish, is it?”

    “It's absolutely insane. Your conscience will never let you rest.”

    “God bless it.” Yossarian laughed. “I wouldn't want to live without strong misgivings. Right, Chaplain?”

    “I'm going to punch Captain Black right in the nose the next time I see him,” gloried the chaplain, throwing twoleft jabs in the air and then a clumsy haymaker. “Just like that.”

    “What about the disgrace?” demanded Major Danby.

    “What disgrace? I'm more in disgrace now.” Yossarian tied a hard knot in the second shoelace and sprang to hisfeet. “Well, Danby, I'm ready. What do you say? Will you keep your mouth shut and let me catch a ride?”

    Major Danby regarded Yossarian in silence, with a strange, sad smile. He had stopped sweating and seemedabsolutely calm. “What would you do if I did try to stop you?” he asked with rueful mockery. “Beat me up?”

    Yossarian reacted to the question with hurt surprise. “No, of course not. Why do you say that?”

    “I will beat you up,” boasted the chaplain, dancing up very close to Major Danby and shadowboxing. “You andCaptain Black, and maybe even Corporal Whitorgb. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I found I didn't have to beafraid of Corporal Whitorgb any more?”

    “Are you going to stop me?” Yossarian asked Major Danby, and gazed at him steadily.

    Major Danby skipped away from the chaplain and hesitated a moment longer. “No, of course not!” he blurtedout, and suddenly was waving both arms toward the door in a gesture of exuberant urgency. “Of course I won'tstop you. Go, for God sakes, and hurry! Do you need any money?”

    “I have some money.”

    “Well, here's some more.” With fervent, excited enthusiasm, Major Danby pressed a thick wad of Italiancurrency upon Yossarian and clasped his hand in both his own, as much to still his own trembling fingers as togive encouragement to Yossarian. “It must be nice to be in Sweden now,” he observed yearningly. “The girls areso sweet. And the people are so advanced.”

    “Goodbye, Yossarian,” the chaplain called. “And good luck. I'll stay here and persevere, and we'll meet againwhen the fighting stops.”

    “So long, Chaplain. Thanks, Danby.”

    “How do you feel, Yossarian?”

    “Fine. No, I'm very frightened.”

    “That's good,” said Major Danby. “It proves you're still alive. It won't be fun.”

    Yossarian started out. “Yes it will.”

    “I mean it, Yossarian. You'll have to keep on your toes every minute of every day. They'll bend heaven andearth to catch you.”

    “I'll keep on my toes every minute.”

    “You'll have to jump.”

    “I'll jump.”

    “Jump!” Major Danby cried.

    Yossarian jumped. Nately's whore was hiding just outside the door. The knife came down, missing him byinches, and he took off.

    42、约塞连

    “科恩中校说,”丹比少校既谨慎又满意地笑着告诉约塞连,“那笔交易仍然有效。一切都正在顺利进展之中。”

    “不,不是的。”

    “噢,是的,的确是的,”丹比少校关切地坚持道,“事实上,一切都比以前好多了。你真是交了好运,差一点就叫那个女人给杀死了。现在,这笔交易可以顺利进行了。”

    “我没跟科恩中校做任何交易。”

    丹比少校兴致勃勃的乐观劲头突然间全没了,顿时冒出一身冷汗。“可你确实跟他谈过一笔交易,不是吗?”他苦恼而困惑地问道,“你们难道没有达成协议吗?”

    “我撕毁了协议。”

    “可你们达成协议时是握了手的,不是吗?你像个正人君子那样答应了他。”

    “现在我改主意了。”

    “哦,唉。”丹比少校叹了口气。他用一块折叠起来的白手帕徒劳无益地擦拭着他那忧郁的前额。“可为什么呢,约塞连?他们向你提出的是一笔很好的交易。”

    “是一笔卑鄙下流的交易,丹比。是一笔令人作呕的交易。”

    “哦,唉,”丹比少校烦躁地叹气道。他抬起一只光溜溜的手,抹了抹自己金属丝般的黑头发,他那一头又粗又短的卷发早已让汗水给浸透了。“哦,唉。”

    “丹比,你难道不认为这笔交易令人作呕吗?”

    丹比少校思索了一下。“是的,我是觉得它令人作呕,”他勉勉强强地承认道。他那双眼球突出的圆眼睛里流露出困惑不解的神情。“可既然你不喜欢,那又为什么要做这笔交易呢?”

    “我是一时软弱才这样做的,”约塞连阴郁地、嘲讽地打趣道,“我是想救自己的命。”

    “难道你现在就不想救自己的命了吗?”

    “正是为了这个,我才不让他们派我去执行更多的飞行任务。”

    “那么,让他们送你回国,你就不会再有任何危险了。”

    “我让他们送我回国,是因为我已经执行了五十次以上的飞行任务,”约塞连说,“并不是因为我被那个姑娘捅了一刀,也不是因为我变成了这么个顽固不化的狗杂种。”

    戴着眼镜的丹比少校使劲摇了摇头,一脸诚恳的苦恼神情。

    “那样一来,他们就不得不把几乎所有人送回国去。大多数人都已经执行了五十次以上的飞行任务。如果卡思卡特上校一下子要求增派这么多毫无经验的补充机组人员的话,上头不可能不派人来调查的:那样一来,他就掉进他自己设的陷阱里去了。”

    “那是他的问题。”

    “不,不不,约塞连,”丹比少校焦虑地反对道,“这是你的问题。

    因为;如果你不履行这笔交易的话,只要你办好手续出了医院,他们马上就会对你进行军法审判。”

    约塞连把大拇指搁在鼻尖上朝丹比少校做了个蔑视的手势,沾沾自喜;洋洋得意地哈哈一笑。“叫他们见鬼去吧:别骗我啦,丹比、他们根本不会这样做。”

    “可他们为什么不会?”丹比少校惊奇地眨着眼睛问道。

    “因为我眼下已经把他们握在手心里了。有份官方报告说,我是被一个前来暗杀他们的纳粹刺客刺伤的。在这种情况下,他们要是再对我进行军法审判的话,那不是出他们自己的洋相嘛。”

    “可是,约塞连!”丹比少校叫道,“还有另一份官方报告说,你是在从事黑市交易时被一个单纯的姑娘刺伤的。那上面说,你参与的黑市交易范围广泛,你甚至还卷入了破坏活动以及向敌方出售军事秘密的勾当。”

    约塞连不由得大吃一惊,又是诧异又是失望,“另一份官方报告?”

    “约塞连,他们想准备多少份官方报告就可以准备多少份,这样一来,在任何一种特定情况下,他们需要哪人份就可以选用哪一份;这儿点你难道不知道吗?”

    “哦,唉,”约塞连垂头丧气地嘟哝着,脸上一点血色都没有了。

    “哦,唉。”

    丹比少校露出一副出于好意的急切神情,热心地劝说者他。

    “约塞连,他们叫你做什么你就做什么,让他们送你回国吧,这样做对每个人都有好处。”

    “是对卡思卡特、科恩和我有好处,并不是对每个人。”

    “是对每个人。”丹比少校坚持道,“这样做整个问题全都解决了。”

    “对大队里那些将不得不执行更多飞行任务的人也有好处吗?”

    丹比少校畏缩了一下,不安地把脸转过去了一会儿。“约塞连,”他回答道,“如果你逼得卡思卡特上校对你进行军法审判,并证明你犯有他们指控你的所有罪行的话,那对任何人都没有好处,你会坐很长一段时间牢的,你的一生就全给毁了。”

    约塞连越往下听心里越着急。“他们会指控我犯了什么罪呢?”

    “在弗拉拉上空作战失利;违抗上级,拒绝执行与敌方交战的命令,以及开小差等等。”

    约塞连严肃地吸了吸两颊,“他们能指控我犯了这么一大堆罪状吗?在弗拉拉的那场空战后,他们还发给我一枚勋章呢。现在他们又怎么能够指控我作战失利呢?”

    “阿费将宣誓作证,说你和麦克沃特在你们给上级的报告中说了假话。”

    “我敢打赌,那个杂种准会这么干的。”

    “他们还将证明你犯有下列罪行,”丹比少校一件一件地列举着,“强奸,参与范围广泛的黑市交易,从事破坏活动,以及向敌方出售军事秘密等等。”

    “他们将如何证明这些呢?这些事情我一样也没有干过。”

    “可是他们手里有证人,那些人会宣誓作证说你干过。他们只需说服人家相信,除掉你对国家有好处,就可以找到他们所需要的全部证人。从某一方面说,除掉你对国家会有好处的。”

    “从哪方面呢?”约塞连追问道。他强压住心头的敌意,用一只胳膊肘撑着慢慢抬起身子来。

    丹比少校往后缩了缩身体,又擦拭起额头来。“唉,约塞连,”他结结巴巴地争辩道,“在目前这个时候,把卡思卡特上校和科恩中校搞得声名狼藉,对我们的作战行动是没有好处的。让我们面对现实,约塞连不管怎么说,我们大队的战绩确实出色。如果对你进行军法审判而最后又证实你无罪的话,其他人很可能也会拒绝执行更多的飞行任务,卡思卡特上校就会当众丢脸,部队的作战能力也许就全部丧失了。所以,从这方面讲,证明你有罪并把你关进监狱,对国家是会有好处的,即使你没罪也得这样做。”

    “你把事情说得多么动听啊!”约塞连刻薄而怨恨地厉声说道。

    丹比少校的脸红了。他局促不安地扭动着身体,不敢正眼看约塞连。“请不要怪我,”他带着焦虑而诚恳的神情恳求道,“你也知道这不是我的过错。我现在所做的不过是试图客观地看问题,并且找出办法来解决一个极为困难的局面。”

    “这个局面又不是我造成的。”

    “可你能够解决它。要不你还能干些什么呢?你又不愿意执行更多的飞行任务。”

    “我可以逃走。”

    “逃走?”

    “开小差,溜之大吉。我可以甩开眼前这个乌七八糟的局面,掉头就跑。”

    丹比少校大吃一惊。“往哪儿跑?你能去哪儿呢?”

    “我可以轻而易举地跑到罗马去,在那儿藏起来。”

    “那样你的生命就无时无刻不处在危险之中,他们随时会找到你的。不,不,不,不,约塞连。那样做是卑鄙可耻的,会带来灾难。

    逃避问题是永远解决不了问题的。请相信我,我是想尽力帮助你的。”

    “那个好心的密探把大拇指戳进我的伤口之前就是这么说的,”约塞连嘲讽地反驳道。

    “我不是密探,”丹比少校愤怒地回答道。他的双颊又涨红了。

    “我是个大学教授,我具有极强的是非感,我决不会欺骗你,也决不会对任何人撒谎。”

    “要是大队里有谁向你问起我们的这次谈话,那你怎么办?”

    “那我就对他撒个谎。”

    约塞连嘲讽地大笑起来。丹比少校虽然面红耳赤,浑身不自在,却也松了口气,靠坐到椅背上。约塞连情绪上的变化预示着短暂的缓和气氛的出现,这似乎正是丹比少校希望看见的,约塞连凝视着丹比少校,神情中既流露出淡淡的怜悯又包含着轻蔑。他背靠着床头坐了起来,点燃一支香烟,露出一副苦中取乐的神情微笑着,怀着一种奇特的同情盯着丹比少校的脸。自从执行轰炸阿维尼翁的任务那一天德里德尔将军下令把丹比少校拖出去枪毙时起,丹比少校的脸上就流露出一种强烈的惊恐表情来,而且再也无法抹去。那些给惊吓出来的皱纹也像深深的黑色伤疤一样永久地留在了他的脸上。约塞连为这位文雅正派的中年理想主义者感到惋惜,正像他总是为许多有着这样或那样的小毛病、遇到这种或那种小麻烦的人感到惋惜一样。

    他故作亲热地说:“丹比,你怎么能够跟卡思卡特和科恩这样的人一块共事呢?这难道不使你倒胃口吗?”

    约塞连的这个问题似乎使丹比少校感到惊奇。“我跟他们共事是为了帮助我的祖国,”他回答说,好像这个回答是不言而喻的。

    “卡思卡特上校和科恩中校是我的上级,执行他们的命令是我能对我们所进行的这场战争作出的唯一贡献。我和他们共事,是因为这是我的职责,而且,”他垂下眼睛,压低嗓门补充说,也因为我不是个富于进取心的人。”

    “你的祖国已经不再需要你的帮助了,”约塞连心平气和地开导他说,“所以你现在所做的一切只不过是在帮助他们。”

    “我尽量不这么考虑问题,”丹比少校坦率地承认道,“我极力把注意力只集中在已取得的巨大成果上,极力忘掉他们也在获得成功这一事实。我极力骗自己说,他们不过是些微不足道的小人物而已。”

    “你知道,我的麻烦也就在这里,”约塞连抱拢双臂,摆出一副沉思的模样说道,“在我和我的全部理想之间,我总是发现许多个沙伊斯科普夫、佩克姆、科恩、卡思卡特那样的人,而这种人又多多少少改变了我的理想。”

    “你应当尽量不去想他们,”丹比少校口气肯定地劝告说,“你决不能让他们改变你的行为准则。理想是美好的,但人有时却不是那么美好、你应当尽量抬起头来看大局。”

    约塞连怀疑地摇了摇头,拒绝接受丹比的劝告。“当我抬起头来时,我看到人们全在设法赚钱。我看不见天堂,看不见圣人,也看不见天使。我只看见人们利用每一次正当的冲动和每一场人类的悲剧大把大把地捞钱。”

    “可你应当尽量不去想这类事情。”丹比少校坚持道,“你应当尽量不让这类事情弄得你心烦意乱。”

    “噢,我倒也没有真的心烦意乱。不过,叫我心烦意乱的是,他们把我当成了傻瓜。他们以为自己很聪明,而我们其余的人都笨得很,你知道,丹比,我刚才突然头一回冒出这么个念头,也许他们是对的。”

    “可你也应当尽量不去想这种事。”丹比少校争辩道,“你应当只考虑国家的利益和人类的尊严。”

    “是啊,”约塞连说。

    “我真的是这个意思,约塞连。这不是第一次世界大战。你千万不要忘了,我们现在是在跟侵略者作战。如果他们打赢了,他们不会让我们俩中的任何一个活下去。”

    “这我知道,”约塞连硬邦邦地回答道。他突然恼怒地板起了脸。“哼,丹比,无论他们发给我那枚勋章的理由是什么,那勋章反正是我自己挣来的。我已经执行了七十次该死的飞行任务,别再对我讲那些为拯救祖国而战斗的废话啦。我一直在为拯救祖国而战斗,现在我要为救我自己而战斗一下。祖国已经没有什么危险了,而我却正处在危险之中呢。”

    “战争还没有结束呢。德国人正朝安特卫普推进。”

    “几个月之内,德国人就会被打败。那之后再过几个月,日本人也会被打败。如果我现在战死了,那就不是为国捐躯,而是替卡思卡特和科恩送死。所以,在此期间,我要交回我的轰炸瞄准器。从现在起,我只考虑我自己。”

    丹比少校高傲地笑笑,颇为宽容地反问道,“可是,约塞连,要是每个人都这么想呢?”

    “要是那样,如果我不这么想,我不就成了个头号大傻瓜了吗?”约塞连露出一副嘲讽的表情,身体坐得更直了。“你知道吗?我有一种奇怪的感觉,好像我以前也和什么人进行过一次跟这次一模一样的谈话。这跟牧师的感觉一样,他觉得每件事他都经历过两次。”

    “牧师希望你让他们把你送回国去。”

    “牧师希望什么,我才不在乎呢。”

    “哦,唉。”丹比少校叹了口气,遗憾而失望地摇了摇头,“他担心自己可能影响了你。”

    “他没有影响我。你知道我可能会干什么吗?我可能会一直呆在医院的这张病床上,像株植物那样生活。我在这儿可以舒舒服服地过植物般的生活,让别人去拿主意吧。”

    “你必须自己拿主意,”丹比少校反驳道,“一个人不能像一株植物那样生活。”

    “为什么不能?”

    丹比少校眼中出现了一丝淡淡的热情。“像一株植物那样生活必定是很愉快的,”他若有所思地承认道。

    “是糟糕透顶的,”约塞连说。

    “不,摆脱了所有这些疑虑和压力的生活必定是非常舒适的,”丹比少校坚持道,“我觉得我很愿意像一株植物那样生活,那样就不必为大事情操心拿主意了。”

    “什么样的植物呢,丹比?”

    “黄瓜,或者胡萝卜。”

    “什么样的黄瓜?是好黄瓜还是坏黄瓜?”

    “噢,当然是好黄瓜咯。”

    “那么,你只要一成熟,他们就会把你摘下来,切成片做色拉。”

    丹比少校沉下脸来。“那只能是坏黄瓜啦。”

    “那么,他们会让你腐烂掉,把你拿去给好黄瓜当肥料,好让它们快些成熟。”

    “要是那样的话,恐怕我不会愿意像一株植物那样生活的,”丹比少校无可奈何地微微一笑,伤感地说。

    “丹比,我真的必须让他们送我回国吗?”约塞连严肃地问他。

    丹比少校耸了耸肩。“这是救你自己的一种方法。”

    “这是毁掉我自己的一种方法,丹比。这个道理你应该明白的。”

    “你可以得到许多你想要的东西。”

    “没有多少我想要的东西,”约塞连回答道。他内心突然涌起一股愤怒和失望,举起拳头狠狠地捶着床垫。“真***,丹比!我有不少朋友在这场战争中送了命。这笔交易我不能做。让那个娼妇捅了一刀,这算是我所经历过的最好的事情了。”

    “那你宁愿进监狱吗?”

    “你会愿意让他们送你回国吗?”

    “我当然愿意!”丹比少校斩钉截铁地说,“我肯定愿意。”过了一会,他又用不那么肯定的口气加上了一句。“不错,要是我处在你的地位,我想我会让他们送我回国的。”他忧虑不安地思索了片刻之后,很不自在地拿定了主意。接着,他流露出极为痛苦的神情,厌恶地猛然把脸扭向一边,脱口叫道,“噢,是的,当然啦,我会让他们送我回国的!可我是一个最最胆小的人,我根本不可能处在你的位置上。”

    “可假如你不是个胆小的人呢?”约塞连目不转睛地打量着他问道,“假如你的确有勇气跟某个人作对呢?”

    “要真是那样,我是不会让他们送我回国的,”丹比少校断然发誓说。他的声音强劲有力,欢快热情。“可我肯定不会让他们对我进行军法审判的。”

    “你愿意执行更多的飞行任务吗?”

    “不,当然不愿意。那样做无异于全面投降。再说,我可能会送命的。”

    “那你会逃走吗?”

    丹比少校露出高傲的神色,刚要反驳,又突然停住了,他那半张开的嘴巴也默默地闭上了。他厌烦地噘起了嘴唇。“我想,我根本就没有什么希望,不是吗?”

    不一会,他的前额和暴出的白眼球又显出了紧张不安。他把两只软绵绵的手腕交叉着放在膝盖上,坐在那儿屏住呼吸,垂下眼睛盯着地板,默默地承认了自己的失败。陡斜的暗影从窗外映了进来。约塞连神情严肃地看着他。一辆疾驶而来的汽车在外面猛然刹住,发出一阵嘎的声响。随后,传来了什么人匆匆跑进大楼的咯咯脚步声。可是他们俩谁也没有动一动。

    “不,你还有希望。”约塞连愣了好一会,才想出一个主意来。

    “米洛也许会帮助你。他比卡思卡特上校有来头,他还欠我几桩人情呢。”

    丹比摇了摇头,语调平淡地回答道:“米洛和卡思卡特上校现在是伙伴啦。他让卡思卡特上校当上了副总裁,还答应他战争结束后给他安排一个重要的职务。”

    “那么,前一等兵温特格林会帮助我们的,”约塞连叫道。“他恨他们两个,这件事准会把他惹火的。”

    丹比少校又一次悲哀地摇了摇头。“米洛和前一等兵温特格林上个星期合伙了,他们现在全都是MM辛迪加联合体的合伙人了。”

    “这么说我们没有希望了,是吗?”

    “没有希望了。”

    “没有一点希望了,是吗?”

    “没有,没有一点希望了,”丹比少校承认道。过了一会,他抬起脸,说出一个尚未成熟的想法来。“如果他们能够像使其他人失踪那样让我们失踪,使我们摆脱这些沉重的负担,那不是件好事情吗?”

    约塞连认为那不是好事。丹比少校忧郁地点点头,表示同意,随后便又垂下了眼睛。两个人全都觉得毫无希望了。突然,走廊里传来一阵很响的脚步声,牧师可着嗓门嚷嚷着冲进门来。他带来了一个令人振奋的消息,是关于奥尔的。他又高兴又激动、有那么一两分钟连话都说不成句了。他的眼睛里闪动着喜悦的泪花、当约塞连终于听明白牧师的话时,他不敢相信地大叫一声,抬腿从床上跳了下来。

    “瑞典?”他大声问。

    “奥尔!”牧师大声说。

    “奥尔?”约塞连大声问。

    “瑞典!”牧师叫道。他兴高采烈地不住地点着头,开心地、兴奋地咧嘴笑着,得意洋洋地满屋子走个不停。“我告诉你,这是个奇迹!奇迹,我又信仰上帝啦!真的。在海上漂了这么多个星期,最后竟被冲到瑞典海岸上去啦!这是个奇迹!”

    “冲到岸上去的?见鬼!”约塞连大声说,他在屋里蹦来蹦去,欣喜若狂地冲着墙壁、冲着天花板、冲着牧师和丹比少校吼叫着。

    “他不是被冲到瑞典海岸上去的。他是划到那儿去的。他是划到那儿去的,牧师,他是划到那儿去的。”

    “划到那儿去的?”

    “他预先就这么计划好的!他是存心去瑞典的。”

    “噢,这我不管。”牧师依旧热情洋溢地回答说,“这仍然是个奇迹,这是人类智慧和忍耐力所创造的奇迹;瞧瞧,他干出了什么事情来!”牧师伸出双手捂往脑袋,笑得弯下了腰,“你们难道想象不出来他的样子吗?”他惊奇地叫道,“你们难道想象不出来他的样子?坐在黄色的救生艇里,握着那把小小的蓝色船桨,趁着黑夜划过直布罗陀海峡”

    “身后拖着那根钓鱼线,一路上吃着生鳕鱼划到瑞典,每天下午还给自己泡茶喝。”

    “我甚至能看见他的样子!”牧师大叫道,他停了一下,趁机喘了口气,接着又赞叹下去。“我告诉你们,这是人类不屈不挠的毅力所创造的奇迹;这也正是我从现在起要做的事情。我也要不屈不挠,是的,我要不屈不挠。”

    “奥尔自始至终都知道自己在干什么!”约塞连欣喜若狂地叫道;他得意洋洋地高高举起两个拳头,似乎想从拳头里面挤压出什么启示来。他猛地转过身面对着丹比少校。“丹比,你这个笨蛋,到底还是有希望的、你难道没看出来吗?甚至克莱文杰也可能还活在那片云彩里面呢,他就藏在那里面一个什么地方,要一直等到安全了才出来。”

    “你们在说些什么呀?”丹比少校困惑地问,“你们两个在说些什么呀?”

    “给我弄些酸苹果来,丹比,还有坚果。快去呀,丹比,快去呀。

    趁着这会儿还来得及,给我弄些酸苹果和七叶树坚果来,给你自己也弄一些。”

    “七叶树坚果?酸苹果?要这些做什么?”

    “当然是塞到我们的腮帮子里去咯。”约塞连自责而又绝望地高高扬起两只手臂。“唉,我为什么不听他的呢?我为什么就没有信心呢?”

    “你疯了吗?”丹比少校惊恐而困惑地问道,“约塞连,请你告诉我你们在讲些什么,好吗?”

    “丹比,奥尔预先就这么计划好的。你难道不明白吗?他从一开始就是这么打算的。他甚至演习过如何让自己的飞机被击落下来。每次执行飞行任务时,他都要演习一遍。可我竟然不愿意跟他一起飞!唉,我为什么不听他的呢?他叫我跟他一起飞,可我竟然不愿意!丹比,再给我弄些龅牙来,还有装牙的牙套。只要装成一副愚蠢无知的傻瓜模样,就没有人会怀疑你其实是个机灵鬼。所有这些东西我都需要。唉,我为什么不听他的话呢?现在我明白他一直想跟我说什么了,我甚至明白了那个姑娘为什么拿鞋砸他的脑袋。”

    “为什么?”牧师追问道。

    约塞连猛地转过身,一把抓住牧师衬衣的前襟,恳求道:“牧师,帮帮我吧!请帮帮我。把我的衣服找来。赶快去找,行吗?我现在就需要它们。”

    牧师抬起腿就往外走。“好吧,约塞连,我去找。可你的衣服在哪儿呢?我怎么才能拿到它们呢?”

    “谁要是拦住你不让拿,你就吓唬他们,对他们吹胡子瞪眼睛。

    牧师,给我把制服拿来!我的衣服肯定在这医院里的某个地方。你这辈子就这么一次,干成件事情吧。”

    牧师坚定地挺了挺肩膀,又咬了咬牙。“别着急,约塞连。我会给你把制服拿来的。可那个姑娘为什么拿她的鞋砸奥尔的脑袋呢?

    求你告诉我吧。”

    “因为是他出钱叫她干的,就为这个!可她打得还不够狠,所以他只好划到瑞典去了。牧师,给我把制服找来,我好离开这个地方。

    问问达克特护士吧,她会帮你找到的。只要能甩开我,她什么都愿意干的。”

    “你要去哪儿呀?”牧师冲出房间后,丹比少校担心地问道,“你打算干什么呀?”

    “我打算逃走,”约塞连用欢快而清晰的嗓音宣布道。他已经拉开了睡衣领口处的扣子。

    “噢,不。”丹比少校叹息了一声,用两只手掌来来口口地轻轻拍着自己那张汗淋淋的脸。“你不能逃走。你能逃到哪儿去?你能到哪儿去呢?”

    “去瑞典。”

    “去瑞典?”丹比少校惊奇地叫道,“你要跑到瑞典去?你疯了吗?”

    “奥尔已经去了。”

    “噢,不不,不不,不,”丹比少校恳求道,“不,约塞连,你永远也到不了那儿。你不能跑到瑞典去。你连船都不会划。”

    “可是,只要你离开这儿后闭上嘴不吭气,找个机会让我搭上一架飞机,我就可以到罗马去。”

    “可他们会找到你的,”丹比少校固执地争辩道,“会把你抓回来,会更加严厉地惩罚你的。”

    “这一回,他们要想抓住我可得使出吃奶的力气来。”

    “他们会使出吃奶的力气来的。就算他们找不到你,你过的将会是一种什么样的日子呀?你永远只能孤零零地一个人呆着,没有任何人会跟你在一起,而且,你随时随地可能会被人出卖。”

    “我现在就是过的这种日子。”

    “可你不能就这么背弃你的职责一走了之,”丹比坚持道,“这是一种十分消极的行为,是逃避现实。”

    约塞连轻快而蔑视地哈哈一笑,又摇了摇头。“我并没有逃离我的职责,我正冲着它跑过去呢,为了救自己的性命而逃走,这根本算不上消极。你当然知道是谁在逃避现实,丹比,对吗?不是我,也不是奥尔。”

    “牧师,请你跟他谈谈,好吗?他要开小差,他想逃到瑞典去。”

    “太棒了!”牧师欢呼起来。他得意地把一个装满约塞连衣服的枕套扔到床上。“逃到瑞典去吧,约塞连。我要留在这儿,不屈不挠地坚持下去,是的,我要不屈不挠地坚持下去。每次我遇到卡思卡特上校和科恩中校时,我都要找他们的碴儿,跟他们胡搅蛮缠。我不怕他们,就连德里德尔将军我也敢找他闹事。”

    “德里德尔将军调走了。”约塞连一边提醒他,一边套上裤子;

    匆匆忙忙地把衬衣下摆塞进裤腰里。“现在是佩克姆将军当指挥官了。”

    牧师依旧信心十足地唠叨着,“那么,我就找佩克姆将军闹事,甚至找沙伊斯科普夫将军闹事。你知道我还要于什么吗?我下回见到布莱克上尉时要朝他的鼻子狠揍一拳。是的,我要朝他的鼻子狠揍一拳。我要找个周围有许多人的时候揍他,这样他就没有机会还手了。”

    “你们两个都疯了吗?”丹比少校抗议道。他内心充满了痛苦、敬畏和恼怒,两只突出的眼球楞睁着。“你们两个是不是都失去理智了?约塞连,听着”

    “我告诉你,这是个奇迹,”牧师宣布道,他一手抓住丹比少校的手腕,拾起胳膊肘,拖着他转着圈子跳起华尔兹舞来。“一个真正的奇迹。如果奥尔能划到瑞典去,那我只要不屈不挠地坚持下去、就一定能战胜卡思卡特上校和科恩中校。”

    “牧师,请你住嘴好吗?”丹比少校一边有礼貌地恳求着,一边从牧师手里挣脱出来,焦虑不安地轻轻拍了几下自己那汗淋淋的前额。随后,他俯下身去对正在伸手拿鞋子的约塞连说,“可上校那儿”

    “他那儿怎么样我才不管呢。”

    “但这实际上可能会”

    “叫他们两人全都见鬼去吧!”

    “但这实际上可能会帮他们的忙,”丹比少校固执地
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