8. Lieutenant Seheisskopf
Not even Clevinger understood how Milo could do that, and Clevinger
knew everything. Clevinger knew everything about the war
except why Yossarian had to die while Corporal Snark was allowed to
live, or why Corporal Snark had to die while Yossarian was allowed to
live. It was a vile and muddy war, and Yossarian could have lived without
it-lived forever, perhaps. Only a fraction of his countrymen
would give up their lives to win it, and it was not his ambition to be
among them. To die or not to die, that was the question, and Clevinger
grew limp trying to answer it. History did not demand Yossarian's premature
demise, justice could be satisfied without it, progress did not
hinge upon it, victory did not depend on it. That men would die was a
matter of necessity; which men would die, though, was a matter of circumstance,
and Yossarian was willing to be the victim of anything but
circumstance. But that was war. Just about all he could find in its favor
was that it paid well and liberated children from the pernicious influence
of their parents.
Clevinger knew so much because Clevinger was a genius with a
pounding heart and blanching face. He was a gangling, gawky, feverish,
famish-eyed brain. As a Harvard undergraduate he had won prizes
in scholarship for just about everything, and the only reason he had not
won prizes in scholarship for everything else was that he was too busy
signing petitions, circulating petitions and challenging petitions, joining
discussion groups and resigning from discussion groups, attending
youth congresses, picketing other youth congresses and organizing
student committees in defense of dismissed faculty members. Everyone
agreed that Clevinger was certain to go far in the academic world.
In short, Clevinger was one of those people with lots of intelligence
and no brains, and everyone knew it except those who soon found
In short, he was a dope. He often looked to Yossarian like one of
those people hanging around modern museums with both eyes together
on one side of a face. It was an illusion, of course, generated by
Clevinger's predilection for staring fixedly at one side of a question and
never seeing the other side at all. Politically, he was a humanitarian
who did know right from left and was trapped uncomfortably between
the two. He was constantly defending his Communist friends to his
right-wing enemies and his right-wing friends to his Communist enemies,
and he was thoroughly detested by both groups, who never
defended him to anyone because they thought he was a dope.
He was a very serious, very earnest and very conscientious dope. It
was impossible to go to a movie with him without getting involved
afterward in a discussion on empathy, Aristotle, universals, messages
and the obligations of the cinema as an art form in a materialistic society.
Girls he took to the theater had to wait until the first intermission
to find out from him whether or not they were seeing a good or a bad
play, and then found out at once. He was a militant idealist who crusaded
against racial bigotry by growing faint in its presence. He knew
everything about literature except how to enjoy it.
Yossarian tried to help him. "Don't be a dope," he had counseled
Clevinger when they were both at cadet school in Santa Ana, California.
"I'm going to tell him," Clevinger insisted, as the two of them sat
high in the reviewing stands looking down on the auxiliary parade-ground
at Lieutenant Scheisskopf raging back and forth like a beardless
"Why me?" Lieutenant Scheisskopf wailed.
"Keep still, idiot," Yossarian advised Clevinger avuncularly.
"You don't know what you're talking about," Clevinger objected.
"I know enough to keep still, idiot."
Lieutenant Scheisskopf tore his hair and gnashed his teeth. His rubbery
cheeks shook with gusts of anguish. His problem was a squadron
of aviation cadets with low morale who marched atrociously in the
parade competition that took place every Sunday afternoon. Their
morale was low because they did not want to march in parades every
Sunday afternoon and because Lieutenant Scheisskopf had appointed
cadet officers from their ranks instead of permitting them to elect their
"I want someone to tell me," Lieutenant Scheisskopf beseeched
them all prayerfully. "If any of it is my fault, I want to be told."
"He wants someone to tell him," Clevinger said.
"He wants everyone to keep still, idiot," Yossarian answered.
"Didn't you hear him?" Clevinger argued.
"I heard him," Yossarian replied. "I heard him say very loudly and
very distinctly that he wants every one of us to keep our mouths shut
if we know what's good for us."
"I won't punish you," Lieutenant Scheisskopf swore.
"He says he won't punish me," said Clevinger.
"He'll castrate you," said Yossarian.
"I swear I won't punish you," said Lieutenant Scheisskopf. "I'll be
grateful to the man who tells me the truth."
"He'll hate you," said Yossarian. "To his dying day he'll hate you."
Lieutenant Scheisskopf was an R.O.TC. graduate who was rather
glad that war had broken out, since it gave him an opportunity to wear
an officer's uniform every day and say "Men" in a clipped, military voice
to the bunches of kids who fell into his clutches every eight weeks on
their way to the butcher's block. He was an ambitious and humorless
Lieutenant Scheisskopf, who confronted his responsibilities soberly and
smiled only when some rival officer at the Santa Ana Army Air Force
Base came down with a lingering disease. He had poor eyesight and
chronic sinus trouble, which made war especially exciting for him, since
he was in no danger of going overseas. The best thing about him was
his wife and the best thing about his wife was a girl friend named Dori
Duz who did whenever she could and had a Wac uniform that Lieutenant
Scheisskopfs wife put on every weekend and took off every
weekend for every cadet in her husband's squadron who wanted to
creep into her.
Dori Duz was a lively little tart of copper-green and gold who loved
doing it best in toolsheds, phone booths, field houses and bus kiosks.
There was little she hadn't tried and less she wouldn't. She was shameless,
slim, nineteen and aggressive. She destroyed egos by the score and
made men hate themselves in the morning for the way she found them,
used them and tossed them aside. Yossarian loved her. She was a marvelous
piece of ass who found him only fair. He loved the feel of
springy muscle beneath her skin everywhere he touched her the only
time she'd let him. Yossarian loved Dori Duz so much that he couldn't
help flinging himself down passionately on top of Lieutenant Scheisskopfs
wife every week to revenge himself upon Lieutenant Scheisskopf
for the way Lieutenant Scheisskopf was revenging himself upon Clevinger.
Lieutenant Scheisskopfs wife was revenging herself upon Lieutenant
Scheisskopf for some unforgettable crime of his she couldn't recall. She
was a plump, pink, sluggish girl who read good books and kept urging
Yossarian not to be so bourgeois without the r. She was never without a
good book close by, not even when she was lying in bed with nothing on
her but Yossanan and Don Duz's dog tags. She bored Yossarian, but he
was in love with her, too. She was a crazy mathematics major from the
Wharton School of Business who could not count to twenty-eight each
month without getting into trouble.
"Darling, we're going to have a baby again," she would say to
Yossarian every month.
"You're out of your goddam head," he would reply.
"I mean it, baby," she insisted.
"So do 1."
"Darling, we're going to have a baby again," she would say to her
"I haven't the time," Lieutenant Scheisskopf would grumble petulantly.
"Don't you know there's a parade going on?"
Lieutenant Scheisskopf cared very deeply about winning parades
and about bringing Clevinger up on charges before the Action Board
for conspiring to advocate the overthrow of the cadet officers Lieutenant
Scheisskopf had appointed. Clevinger was a troublemaker and a
wise guy. Lieutenant Scheisskopf knew that Clevinger might cause
even more trouble if he wasn't watched. Yesterday it was the cadet
officers; tomorrow it might be the world. Clevinger had a mind, and
Lieutenant Scheisskopf had noticed that people with minds tended
to get pretty smart at times. Such men were dangerous, and even the
new cadet officers whom Clevinger had helped into office were eager
to give damning testimony against him. The case against Clevinger
was open and shut. The only thing missing was something to charge
It could not be anything to do with parades, for Clevinger took the
parades almost as seriously as Lieutenant Scheisskopf himself. The
men fell out for the parades early each Sunday afternoon and groped
their way into ranks of twelve outside the barracks. Groaning with
hangovers, they limped in step to their station on the main parade-ground,
where they stood motionless in the heat for an hour or two
with the men from the sixty or seventy other cadet squadrons until
enough of them had collapsed to call it a day. On the edge of the field
stood a row of ambulances and teams of trained stretcher bearers with
walkie-talkies. On the roofs of the ambulances were spotters with
binoculars. A tally clerk kept score. Supervising this entire phase of the
operation was a medical officer with a flair for accounting who okayed
pulses and checked the figures of the tally clerk. As soon as enough
unconscious men had been collected in the ambulances, the medical
officer signaled the bandmaster to strike up the band and end the
parade. One behind the other, the squadrons marched up the field,
executed a cumbersome turn around the reviewing stand and marched
down the field and back to their barracks.
Each of the parading squadrons was graded as it marched past the
reviewing stand, where a bloated colonel with a big fat mustache sat
with the other officers. The best squadron in each wing won a yellow
pennant on a pole that was utterly worthless. The best squadron on the
base won a red pennant on a longer pole that was worth even less, since
the pole was heavier and was that much more of a nuisance to lug
around all week until some other squadron won it the following
Sunday. To Yossarian, the idea of pennants as prizes was absurd. No
money went with them, no class privileges. Like Olympic medals and
tennis trophies, all they signified was that the owner had done something
of no benefit to anyone more capably than everyone else.
The parades themselves seemed equally absurd. Yossarian hated a
parade. Parades were so martial. He hated hearing them, hated seeing
them, hated being tied up in traffic by them. He hated being made to
take part in them. It was bad enough being an aviation cadet without
having to act like a soldier in the blistering heat every Sunday afternoon.
It was bad enough being an aviation cadet because it was obvious
now that the war would not be over before he had finished his training.
That was the only reason he had volunteered for cadet training in the
first place. As a soldier who had qualified for aviation cadet training, he
had weeks and weeks of waiting for assignment to a class, weeks and
weeks more to become a bombardier-navigator, weeks and weeks more
of operational training after that to prepare him for overseas duty. It
seemed inconceivable then that the war could last that long, for God
was on his side, he had been told, and God, he had also been told, could
do whatever He wanted to. But the war was not nearly over, and his
training was almost complete.
Lieutenant Scheisskopf longed desperately to· win parades and sat
up half the night working on it while his wife waited amorously for him
in bed thumbing through Krafft-Ebing to her favorite passages. He
read books on marching. He manipulated boxes of chocolate soldiers
until they melted in his hands and then maneuvered in ranks of twelve
a set of plastic cowboys he had bought from a mail-order house under
an assumed name and kept locked away from everyone's eyes during
the day. Leonardo's exercises in anatomy proved indispensable. One
evening he felt the need for a live model and directed his wife to march
around the room.
"Naked?" she asked hopefully.
Lieutenant Scheisskopf smacked his hands over his eyes in exasperation.
It was the despair of Lieutenant Scheisskopfs life to be chained to
a woman who was incapable of looking beyond her own dirty, sexual
desires to the titanic struggles for the unattainable in which noble man
could become heroically engaged.
"Why don't you ever whip me?" she pouted one night.
"Because I haven't the time," he snapped at her impatiently. "1
haven't the time. Don't you know there's a parade going on?"
And he really did not have the time. There it was Sunday already, with
only seven days left in the week to get ready for the next parade. He had
no idea where the hours went. Finishing last in three successive parades
had given Lieutenant Scheisskopf an unsavory reputation, and he considered
every means of improvement, even nailing the twelve men in
each rank to a long two-by-four beam of seasoned oak to keep them in
line. The plan was not feasible, for making a ninety-degree turn would
have been impossible without nickel-alloy swivels inserted in the small
of every man's back, and Lieutenant Scheisskopf was not sanguine at all
about obtaining that many nickel-alloy swivels from Quartermaster or
enlisting the co-operation of the surgeons at the hospital.
The week after Lieutenant Scheisskopf followed Clevinger's recommendation
and let the men elect their own cadet officers, the squadron
won the yellow pennant. Lieutenant Scheisskopf was so elated by this
unexpected achievement that he gave his wife a sharp. crack over the
head with the pole when she tried to drag him into bed to celebrate by
showing their contempt for the sexual mores of the lower middle
classes in Western civilization. The next week the squadron won the red
flag, and Lieutenant Scheisskopf was beside himself with rapture. And
the week after that his squadron made history by winning the red pennant
two weeks in a row! Now Lieutenant Scheisskopf had confidence
enough in his powers to spring his big surprise. Lieutenant Scheisskopf
had discovered in his extensive research that the hands of marchers,
instead of swinging freely, as was then the popular fashion, ought never
to be moved more than three inches from the center of the thigh, which
meant, in effect, that they were scarcely to be swung at all.
Lieutenant Scheisskopfs preparations were elaborate and clandestine.
All the cadets in his squadron were sworn to secrecy and rehearsed
in the dead of night on the auxiliary parade-ground. They marched in
darkness that was pitch and bumped into each other blindly, but they
did not panic, and they were learning to march without swinging their
hands. Lieutenant Scheisskopfs first thought had been to have a friend
of his in the sheet metal shop sink pegs of nickel alloy into each man's
thighbones and link them to the wrists by strands of copper wire with
exactly three inches of play, but there wasn't time-there was never
enough time-and good copper wire was hard to come by in wartime.
He remembered also that the men, so hampered, would be unable to
fall properly during the impressive fainting ceremony preceding the
marching and that an inability to faint properly might affect the unit's
rating as a whole.
And all week long he chortled with repressed delight at the officers'
club. Speculation grew rampant among his closest friends.
"I wonder what that Shithead is up to," Lieutenant Engle said.
Lieutenant Scheisskopf responded with a knowing smile to the
queries of his colleagues. "You'll find out Sunday," he promised.
"You'll find out."
Lieutenant Scheisskopf unveiled his epochal surprise that Sunday
with all the aplomb of an experienced impresario. He said nothing
while the other squadrons ambled past the reviewing stand crookedly
in their customary manner. He gave no sign even when the first ranks
of his own squadron hove into sight with their swingless marching and
the first stricken gasps of alarm were hissing from his startled fellow
officers. He held back even then until the bloated colonel with the big
fat mustache whirled upon him savagely with a purpling face, and then
he offered the explanation that made him immortal.
"Look, Colonel," he announced. "No hands."
And to an audience stilled with awe, he distributed certified photostatic
copies of the obscure regulation on which he had built his unforgettable
triumph. This was Lieutenant Scheisskopfs finest hour. He
won the parade, of course, hands down, obtaining permanent possession
of the red pennant and ending the Sunday parades altogether,
since good red pennants were as hard to come by in wartime as good
copper wire. Lieutenant Scheisskopf was made First Lieutenant
Scheisskopf on the spot and began his rapid rise through the ranks.
There were few who did not hail him as a true military genius for his
"That Lieutenant Scheisskopf," Lieutenant Travers remarked.
"He's a military genius."
"Yes, he really is," Lieutenant Engle agreed. "It's a pity the schmuck
won't whip his wife."
"I don't see what that has to do with it," Lieutenant Travers
answered coolly. "Lieutenant Bemis whips Mrs. Bemis beautifully
every time they have sexual intercourse, and he isn't worth a farthing
"I'm talking about flagellation," Lieutenant Engle retorted. "Who
gives a damn about parades?"
Actually, no one but Lieutenant Scheisskopf really gave a damn
about the parades, least of all the bloated colonel with the big fat mustache,
who was chairman of the Action Board and began bellowing at
Clevinger the moment Clevinger stepped gingerly into the room to
plead innocent to the charges Lieutenant Scheisskopf had lodged
against him. The colonel beat his fist down upon the table and hurt his
hand and became so further enraged with Clevinger that he beat his
fist down upon the table even harder and hurt his hand some more.
Lieutenant Scheisskopf glared at Clevinger with tight lips, mortified
by the poor impression Clevinger was making.
"In sixty days you'll be fighting Billy Petrolle," the colonel with the
big fat mustache roared. "And you think it's a big fat joke."
"I don't think it's a joke, sir," Clevinger replied.
"Don't interrupt." .
"And say 'sir' when you do," ordered Major Metcalf.
"Weren't you Just ordered not to interrupt?" Major Metcalf inquired
"But I didn't interrupt, sir," Clevinger protested.
"No. And you didn't say 'sir,' either. Add that to the charges against
him," Major Metcalf directed the corporal who could take shorthand.
"Failure to say 'sir' to superior officers when not interrupting them."
"Metcalf," said the colonel, "you're a goddam fool. Do you know
Major Metcalf swallowed with difficulty. "Yes, sir."
"Then keep your goddam mouth shut. You don't make sense."
There were three members of the Action Board, the bloated colonel
with the big fat mustache, Lieutenant Scheisskopf and Major Metcalf,
who was trying to develop a steely gaze. As a member of the Action
Board, Lieutenant Scheisskopf was one of the judges who would weigh
the merits of the case against Clevinger as presented by the prosecutor. Lieutenant Scheisskopf was also the prosecutor. Clevinger had an
officer defending him. The officer defending him was Lieutenant
It was all very confusing to Clevinger, who began vibrating in terror
as the colonel surged to his feet like a gigantic belch and threatened to
rip his stinking, cowardly body apart limb from limb. One day he had
stumbled while marching to class; the next day he was formally
charged with "breaking ranks while in formation, felonious assault,
indiscriminate behavior, mopery, high treason, provoking, being a
smart guy, listening to classical music, and so on." In short, they threw
the book at him, and there he was, standing in dread before the bloated
colonel, who roared once more that in sixty days he would be fighting
Billy Petrolle and demanded to know how the hell he would like being
washed out and shipped to the Solomon Islands to bury bodies.
Clevinger replied with courtesy that he would not like it; he was a dope
who would rather be a corpse than bury one. The colonel sat down and
settled back, calm and cagey suddenly, and ingratiatingly polite.
"What did you mean," he inquired slowly, "when you said we
couldn't punish you?"
"I'm asking the questions. You're answering them."
"Yes, sir. I-"
"Did you think we brought you here to ask questions and for me to
"No, sir. I-"
"What did we bring you here for?"
"To answer questions."
"You're goddam right," roared the colonel. "Now suppose you start
answering some before I break your goddam head. Just what the hell
did you mean, you bastard, when you said we couldn't punish you?"
"I don't think I ever made that statement, sir."
"Will you speak up, please? I couldn't hear you."
"Yes, sir. I-"
"Will you speak up, please? He couldn't hear you."
"Yes, sir. I-"
"Didn't I tell you to keep your stupid mouth shut?"
"Then keep your stupid mouth shut when I tell you to keep your
stupid mouth shut. Do you understand? Will you speak up, please? I
couldn't hear you."
"Yes, sir. I-"
"Metcalf, is that your foot I'm stepping on?"
"No, sir. It must be Lieutenant Scheisskopfs foot."
"It isn't my foot," said Lieutenant Scheisskopf.
"Then maybe it is my foot after all," said Major Metcalf.
"Yes, sir. You'll have to move your foot first, Colonel. It's on top of
"Are you telling me to move my foot?" .
"No, sir. Oh, no, sir."
"Then move your foot and keep your stupid mouth shut. Will you
speak up, please? I still couldn't hear you."
"Yes, sir. I said that I didn't say that you couldn't punish me."
"Just what the hell are you talking about?"
"I'm answering your question, sir."
"'Just what the hell did you mean, you bastard, when you said we
couldn't punish you?'" said the corporal who could take shorthand,
reading from his steno pad.
"All right," said the colonel. "Just what the hell did you mean?"
"I didn't say you couldn't punish me, sir."
"When?" asked the colonel.
"When what, sir?"
"Now you're asking me questions again."
"I'm sorry, sir. I'm afraid I don't understand your question."
"When didn't you say we couldn't punish you? Don't you understand
"No, sir. I don't understand."
"You've just told us that. Now suppose you answer my question."
"But how can I answer it?"
"That's another question you're asking me."
"I'm sorry, sir. But I don't know how to answer it. I never said you
couldn't punish me."
"Now you're telling us when you did say it. I'm asking you to tell us
when you didn't say it."
Clevinger took a deep breath. "I always didn't say you couldn't punish
"That's much better, Mr. Clevinger, even though it is a barefaced
lie. Last night in the latrine. Didn't you whisper that we couldn't punish
you to that other dirty son of a bitch we don't like? What's his
"Yossarian, sir," Lieutenant Scheisskopf said.
"Yes, Yossarian. That's right. Yossarian. Yossarian? Is that his name?
Yossarian? What the hell kind of a name is Yossarian?"
.Lieutenant Scheisskopf had the facts at his finger tips. "It's Yossarian's
name, sir," he explained.
"Yes, I suppose it is. Didn't you whisper to Yossarian that we
couldn't punish you?"
"Oh, no, sir. I whispered to him that you couldn't find me guilty-"
"I may be stupid," interrupted the colonel, "but the distinction escapes
me. I guess I am pretty stupid, because the distinction escapes me."
"You're a windy son of a bitch, aren't you? Nobody asked you for clarification
and you're giving me clarification. 1 was making a statement,
not asking for clarification. You are a windy son of a bitch, aren't you?"
"O, sir? Are you calling me a goddam liar?"
"Oh, no, sir."
"Then you're a windy son. of a bitch, aren't you?"
"Are you trying to pick a fight with me?"
"Are you a windy son of a bitch?"
"Goddammit, you are trying to pick a fight with me. For two stinking
cents I'd jump over this big fat table and rip your stinking, cowardly
body apart limb from limb."
"Do it! Do it!" cried Major Metcalf.
"Metcalf, you stinking son of a bitch. Didn't I tell you to keep your
stinking, cowardly, stupid mouth shut?"
"Yes, sir. I'm sorry, sir."
"Then suppose you do it."
"I was only trying to learn, sir. The only way a person can learn is
"Who says so?"
"Everybody says so, sir. Even Lieutenant Scheisskopf says so."
"Do you say so?"
"Yes, sir," said Lieutenant Scheisskopf. "But everybody says so."
"Well, Metcalf, suppose you try keeping that stupid mouth of yours
shut, and maybe that's the way you'll learn how. Now, where were we?
Read me back the last line."
"'Read me back the last line,'" read back the corporal who could
"Not my last line, stupid!" the colonel shouted. "Somebody else's."
"'Read me back the last line,'" read back the corporal.
"That's my last line again!" shrieked the colonel, turning purple with
"Oh, no, sir," corrected the corporal. "That's my last line. I read it
to you just a moment ago. Don't you remember, sir? It was only a
"Oh, my God! Read me back his last line, stupid. Say, what the hell's
your name, anyway?"
"Well, you're next, Popinjay. As soon as this ,trial ends, your trial
begins. Get it?"
"Yes, sir. What will I be charged with?"
"What the hell difference does that make? Did you hear what he
asked me? You're going to learn, Popinjay -- the minute we finish with
Clevinger you're going to learn. Cadet Clevinger, what did -- You are
Cadet Clevinger, aren't you, and not Popinjay?"
"Good. What did-"
"I'm Popinjay, sir."
"Popinjay, is your father a millionaire, or a member of the Senate?"
"Then you're up shit creek, Popinjay, without a paddle. He's not a
general or a high-ranking member of the Administration, is he?"
"That's good. What does your father do?"
"He's dead, sir."
"That's very good. You really are up the creek, Popinjay. Is Popinjay
really your name? Just what the hell kind of a name is Popinjay, anyway?
I don't like it."
"It's Popinjay's name, sir," Lieutenant Scheisskopf explained.
"Well, I don't like it, Popinjay, and I just can't wait to rip your stinking,
cowardly body apart limb from limb. Cadet Clevinger, will you
please repeat what the hell it was you did or didn't whisper to Yossarian
late last night in the latrine?"
"Yes, sir. I said that you couldn't find me guilty-"
"We'll take it from there. Precisely what did you mean, Cadet
Clevinger, when you said we couldn't find you guilty?"
"I didn't say you couldn't find me guilty, sir."
"When what, sir?"
"Goddammit, are you going to start pumping me again?"
"No, sir. I'm sorry, sir."
"Then answer the question. When didn't you say we couldn't find
"Late last night in the latrine, sir."
"Is that the only time you didn't say it?"
"No, sir. I always didn't say you couldn't find me guilty, sir. What I
did say to Yossarian was-"
"Nobody asked you what you did say to Yossarian. We asked you
what you didn't say to him. We're not at all interested in what you did
say to Yossarian. Is that clear?"
"Then we'll go on. What did you say to Yossarian?"
"I said to him, sir, that you couldn't find me guilty of the offense
with which I am charged and still be faithful to the cause of ... "
"Of what;! You're mumbling."
"And mumble 'sir' when you do."
"Metcalf, you bastard!"
"Yes, sir," mumbled Clevinger. "Of justice, sir. That you couldn't
"Justice?" The colonel was astounded. "What is justice?"
"That's not what justice is," the colonel jeered, and began pounding
the table again with his big fat hand. "That's what Karl Marx is. I'll tell
you what justice is. Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the
chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of
a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of
warning. Garroting. That's what justice is when we've all got to be
tough enough and rough enough to fight Billy Petrolle. From the hip.
"Don't sir me!"
"And say 'sir' when you don't," ordered Major Metcalf.
Clevinger was guilty, of course, or he would not have been accused,
and since the only way to prove it was to find him guilty, it was their
patriotic duty to do so. He was sentenced to walk fifty-seven punishment
tours. Popinjay was locked up to be taught a lesson, and Major
Metcalf was shipped to the Solomon Islands to bury bodies. A punishment
tour for Clevinger was fifty minutes of a weekend hour spent
pacing back and forth before the provost marshal's building with a ~on
of an unloaded rifle on his shoulder.
It was all very confusing to Clevinger. There were many strange
things taking place, but the strangest of all, to Clevinger, was the hatred,
the brutal, uncloaked, inexorable hatred of the members of the Action
Board, glazing their unforgiving expressions with a hard, vindictive surface,
glowing in their narrowed eyes malignantly like inextinguishable
coals. Clevinger was stunned to discover it. They would have lynched
him if they could. They were three grown men and he was a boy, and
they hated him and wished him dead. They had hated him before he
came, hated him while he was there, hated him after he left, carried
their hatred for him away malignantly like some pampered treasure
after they separated from each other and went to their solitude.
Yossarian had done his best to warn him the night before. "You
haven't got a chance, kid," he had told him glumly. "They hate Jews."
"But I'm not Jewish," answered Clevinger.
"It will make no difference," Yossarian promised, and Yossarian was
right. "They're after everybody."
Clevinger recoiled from their hatred as though from a blinding
light. These three men who hated him spoke his language and wore his
uniform, but he saw their loveless faces set immutably into cramped,
mean lines of hostility and understood instantly that nowhere in the
world, not in all the fascist tanks or planes or submarines, not in the
bunkers behind the machine guns or mortars or behind the blowing
flame throwers, not even among all the expert gunners of the crack
Hermann Goering Antiaircraft Division or among the grisly connivers
in all the beer halls in Munich and everywhere else, were there men
who hated him more.