Catch - 22

a dramatized version of Joseph Heller's novel

Act - I
Scene I

Major Major, sitting at his desk, head in hands.

Major Major : Actually, life is neither earnest nor real, much as Shakespeare may have said so. And mistake me not, for I mean no disrespect to the great Bard. It is simply that a man gets tired of so many files and so many files only. Having to read through them and sign them, too. So, to escape boredom, I decided to sign these files and documents under a different name - Washington Irving. You may ask why I chose such a name- it was because if spelt the other way it still sounds the same i.e., if I sign "Irving Washington" it will sound the same as "Washington Irving" ! Pause.  But...(He is interrupted in his soliloquy by a CIA man)
CIA man : You are the only one in the squadron who knows that I am a CIA man and it is absolutely essential that it remain a secret so that my efficiency won't be impaired. Do you understand ?
M.M. : Sgt. Towser knows.
CIA man : Yes, I know. I had to tell him in order to get in to see you. But, I know he won't tell a soul under any circumstances.
M.M. : He told me. He told me there was a CIA man outside to see me.
CIA man : That bastard. I'll have to throw a security check on him. I wouldn't leave any top-secret documents lying around here if I were you. At least not until I make my report.
M.M. : I don't get any top-secret documents.
CIA man : That's the kind I mean. Lock them in your cabinet where Sgt. Towser can't get his hands on them.
M.M.Sgt. Towser has the only key to the cabinet.
CIA man (shakes his head: I'm afraid we're wasting time. (Takes out a few Photostats) Have you ever seen any of these? (Major Major looks with a blank expression at the copies of personal correspondence signed "Irving Washington").
M.M. : No.
CIA man : How about these ?
M.M. : No.
CIA man : Is the man who signed these names in your squadron ?
M.M. : Which one ? There are two names here.
CIA man : Either one. We figure that Washington Irving and Irving Washington are one man and that he's using two names to throw us off the track. That's done very often, you know.
M.M. : I don't think there's a man with either of those names in my squadron.
CIA man : He's a lot cleverer than we thought. He's using a third name and posing as someone else. And I think...yes, I think I know what the third name is. (He holds out another photocopy). How about this ?
M.M. : (On the photocopy was written " I yearn for you tragically. A.T. Tappman, Chaplain, U.S. Army".) I've never seen it before.
CIA man : Do you know who A.T. Tappman is ?
M.M. : He's the group chaplain.
CIA man : That locks it up. Washington Irving is the group chaplain.
M.M. : A.T.Tappman is the group chaplain.
CIA man : Are you sure ?
M.M. : Yes.
CIA man : Why should the group chaplain write this on a letter ?
M.M. : Perhaps somebody else wrote it and forged his name.
CIA man : Why should somebody want to forge the group chaplain's name ?
M.M. : To escape detection.
CIA man : You may be right. Maybe we're confronted with a gang, with two men working together who just happen to have opposite names. Yes, I'm sure that's it. One of them, here, in the squadron, one of them up at the hospital and one of them with the chaplain. That makes three men, doesn't it ? Are you absolutely sure you never saw any of these official documents before ?
M.M. : I would have signed them if I had.
CIA man : With whose name ? Yours or Washington Irving's ?
M.M. : With my own name. I don't even know Washington Irving's name.
CIA man : Major, I'm glad you're in the clear. It means we'll be able to work together, and I'm going to need every man I can get. Somewhere in the European theater of operations is a man who's getting his hands on communications addressed to you. Have you any idea who it can be ?
M.M. : No.
CIA man : I have a pretty good idea. That bastard Towser. Why else would he go around shooting his mouth off about me ? Now, you keep your eyes open and let me know the minute you hear anyone even talking about Washington Irving. I'll throw a security check on the chaplain and everyone else around here. (Leaves. Immediately, another CIA man enters).
Another CIA man : Who was he ?
M.M.: He was a CIA man.
Another CIA man : Like hell he was. I'm the CIA man around here.  I came down from the hospital to warn you that Washington Irving seems to have shifted his base of operations from the hospital to your squadron. You haven't heard anyone around here talking about Washington Irving, have you ?
M.M: As a matter of fact, I have. That man who was just in here. He was talking about Washington Irving. 
Another CIA man : Was he really ? This might be just what we needed to crack the case wide open ! You keep him under any surveillance twenty-four hours a day while I rush back to the hospital and write to my superiors for further instructions.
(Leaves. Immediately the first CIA man enters).
CIA man : I just saw a man in red pajamas come jumping out of your window and go running up the road ! Didn't you see him ?
M.M. : He was here talking to me.
CIA man : I thought that looked mighty suspicious, a man jumping out of the window in red pajamas. At first I thought it was you high tailing for Mexico. But now, I see it wasn't you. He didn't say anything about Washington Irving, did he?
M.M. : As a matter of fact, he did.
CIA man : He did ? That's fine ! This might be just the break we needed to crack the case wide open. Do you know where we can find him ?
M.M. : At the hospital. He's really a very sick man.
CIA man : That's great ! I'll go right up there after him. It would be best if I went incognito. I'll go explain the situation at the medical tent and have them send me there as a patient.

Scene - II

In his office. Major Major is anxious and tense, seated at his table. Enter Sergeant Towser.

Major Major : From now on, I don't want anyone to come in to see me while I'm here. Is that clear?
Sergeant Towser : Yes, sir. Does that include me?
Major Major : Yes.
Sgt. T. : I see. Will that be all?
M.M. : Yes.
S.T. : What shall I say to the people who do come in to see you while you're here?
M.M. : Tell them I'm in and ask them to wait.
S.T: Yes, sir. For how long?
M.M. : Until I've left.
S.T. : And then what shall I do with them?
M.M. : I don't care.
S.T. : May I send them in to see you after you've left ?
M.M. : Yes.
S.T. : But you won't be here then, will you?
M.M. : No.
S.T. : Yes, sir. Will that be all?
M.M. : Yes.
S.T. : Yes, sir. (Sergeant Towser leaves. A middle-aged enlisted man enters. Major Major gets even more irritated. )
Major Major : From now on, I don't want you to come here while I'm here to ask me if there's anything you can do for me. Is that clear?
The orderly : Yes, sir. When should I come here to find out if there's anything you want me to do for you ? 
M.M. : When I'm not here.
The orderly : Yes, sir. And what should I do?
M.M. : Whatever I tell you to.
T.O. : But you won't be here to tell me, will you?
M.M. : (smirks) No.
T.O: Then what should I do?
M.M. : Whatever has to be done.
T.O. : (understandingly) Yes, sir.
M.M. : That will be all.
T.O : Yes, sir. Will that be all ? Pause.
M.M. : (slowly) No. Don't come in to clean, either. Don't come in for anything unless you're sure I'm not here. 
T.O. : Yes, sir. But how can I always be sure ?
M.M. : If you're not sure, just assume that I'm here and go away until you're not sure. Is that clear ? 
T.O. : Yes, sir. 
M.M. : (kindly) I'm sorry to have to talk to you in this way, but I have to. Goodbye.
T.O. : Goodbye, sir.
M.M. : And thank you. For everything.
T.O: Yes, sir. (The orderly leaves. Major Major, much more relaxed, tries to stretch and relax when Milo Mindbinder enters hurriedly with a plate and a glass of water on it.)
M.M: (irritated again, bellows) From now on...(Milo stumbles and the glass falls on the Major's face. Spluttering, Major Major stands up glowering at Milo)...from now on, I'm not going to come to the mess hall any more. I'll have all my meals brought to me in my trailer.
Milo: I think that's a good idea, sir. I'll be able to serve you special dishes that the others will never know about. 
M.M. : I don't want any. Just have whoever brings it knock on my door and leave the tray on the step. Is that clear?
Milo : Yes, sir. I've got some live Maine lobsters hidden away that I can serve you tonight with an excellent Roquefort salad and two frozen Éclairs that were smuggled out of Paris only yesterday together with an important member of the French underground. Will that do for a start?
M.M. : No.
Milo : Yes, sir. I understand.

Scene - III

Major Major, pensive, is pacing up and down when Captain Flume jumps in and grapples with Major Major, knife at the Major Major's throat. Major Major bellows and frees himself.
M.M. : If you ever frighten me like that again, I will slit your throat open from ear to ear. (Captain Flume gasps and dissolves right back. Heaving a sigh of relief and freeing his collar a little bit, Major Major continues his pacing when he is brought down by a flying tackle by Yossarian).
Yossarian : Captain Yossarian requests permission to speak to the major at once about a matter of life or death.
M.M. : Let me up, please. I can't return your salute lying on my arm. (Y. releases him. They stand up slowly. Y. salutes again and repeats his request.)
M.M: Let's go to my office. I don't think this is the best place to talk.
Y. : Yes, sir. (They smack the gravel from their clothing and walk to M.M.'s office. Major Major stops at the door.)
M.M. : Give me a minute or two to put some mercurochrome on these cuts. Then have Sgt. Towser send you in.
Y. : Yes, sir. (On his return, Y. blocks his path.)
Y. : Captain Yossarian requests permission to speak to the major at once about a matter of life or death.
M.M. : (snaps) Permission denied.
Y. : That won't do it.
M.M. : Allright. I'll talk to you. Jump in.
Y. : After you. (They jump in to M.M.'s office). I don't want to fly any more combat missions.
M.M. : Why not ? 
Y.: I'm afraid. 
M.M. (kindly) : That's nothing to be ashamed of. They're all afraid.
Y.: I'm not ashamed. I'm just afraid.
M.M. : You wouldn't be normal if you were not afraid. Even the bravest men experience fear. One of the biggest jobs we all face in combat is to overcome our fear.
Y. : Oh, come on Major. Can't we do without that horseshit?
M.M. : (lowers his gaze sheepishly and fiddles with his fingers) What do you want me to tell you ?
Y. : That I've flown enough missions and can go home.
M.M. : How many have you flown ?
Y. : Fifty-one.
M.M. : You've only got four more to fly.
Y. : He'll raise them. Every time I get close he raises them.
M.M. : Perhaps he won't this time.
Y. : He never sends them home anyway.
M.M. : You mustn't blame Col. Cathcart for any delay with the orders. It's 27th Air Force's responsibility to process the orders promptly once they get them from us.
Y. : He could still ask for replacements and send us home. Anyway, I don't want to fly anymore missions.
M.M. : Suppose we let you fly milk runs.
Y. : I don't want to fly milk runs. I don't want to be in the war any more.
M.M. : Would you like to see our country lose?

Scene - IV

(Appleby enters, wants to see Major MajorSgt. Towser invites him to be seated. )

Appleby : Thank you, Sgt. About how long will I have to wait? I've still got a lot to get done today so that I can be fully prepared bright and early tomorrow morning to go into combat the minute they want me to.
Sgt. T. : Sir?
A. : What's that Sgt.?
Sgt. T. : What was your question ?
A. : About how long will I have to wait?
Sgt. T. : Just until he goes out to lunch. Then you can go right in.
A. : But he won't be there then, will he?
Sgt. T.: No, sir. Major Major won't be back in his office until after lunch.
A. : (uncertainly) I see. I think I'd better come back after lunch then (leaves in slight confusion. Re-enters after some time. S.T. invites him to be seated.) Thank you, Sgt. Will he be back soon ?
S.T. : He'll be back right after lunch. Then you'll have to go right out and wait for him in front, till he leaves for dinner. Major Major never sees anyone in his office while he's in his office.
A. : (puzzledSgt. What did you say ?
S.T. repeats.
A. : (staring at S.T.Sgt., are you trying to fool me just because I'm new in the squadron ?
S.T. : Oh, no, sir. Those are my orders. You can ask Major Major when you see him.
A. : That's just what I intend to do, Sgt. When can I see him ?
S.T. : Never.

Scene - V

Medical tent. Signboard outside reads "CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. DEATH IN THE FAMILY." Dunbar pokes his head in cautiously. Dr. Stubbs is sitting with a bottle of whisky.

Dunbar : Are you all right ?
Dr. Stubbs : Terrible.
D. : What are you doing here ?
Dr. S. : Sitting.
D. : Oh, I thought you were standing.
Dr. S. : Now you know. I'm not standing.
D. : Then why are you sitting here ?
Dr. S. : (shouts) Where else should I sit ? At the goddam officer's club with Col. Cathcart and Korn ? Do you know what I'm doing here ?
D. : Sitting. Pause.
Dr. S: In the squadron, I mean. Not in the tent. Don't be such a goddam wise guy. Can you figure out what a doctor is doing here in the squadron ?
D. : They've got the doors to the medical tents nailed shut in the other squadrons.
Dr. S. : If anyone sick walks through my door, I'm going to ground him. (Yossarian, walking by, overhears). I don't give a damn what they say. (Yossarian walks off).
D. : You can't ground anyone. Don't you know the orders ?
Dr. S. : I'll knock him out flat on his ass with an injection and really ground him. They think they can order sick call out of existence. (Laughs out sardonically). The bastards. Oops, there it goes again. (Rains heavily). Everything's wet. The whole goddam world smells like a charnel house. Silence. It gets dark. Blue light slowly on.
D. : Turn on the light.
Dr. S. : There's no light. I don't feel like starting my generator. I used to get a kick out of saving people's lives. Now I wonder what the hell's the point, since they all have to die anyway.
D. : Oh, there's a point all right.
Dr. S. : Is there ? What is the point ?
D. : The point is to keep them from dying for as long as you can.
Dr. S. : Yeah, but what's the point since they all have to die anyway? D. : The trick is not to think about that.
Dr. S: Never mind the trick. What the hell's the point ?
D. : It's for my friend, Yossarian. He's sure he's going to be killed.
Dr. S. : Who the hell is Yossarian ? What the hell kind of a name is Yossarian anyway ? Hey ! Isn't he the one who got drunk and started that fight with Col. Korn at the officer's club the other night ?
D. : That's right. He's Assyrian.
Dr. S. : That crazy bastard.
D. : He's not so crazy. He swears he's not going to fly to Bologna.
Dr. S. : That's just what I mean. That crazy bastard may be the only sane one left.

Scene - VI

Captain Black and Doc. Daneeka in conversation. Seated across a table.

Captain Black : National defense is everybody's job. And it's wholly voluntary. The men don't have to sign Plitchard and Wren's loyalty oath if they don't want to. But we need to starve them to death if they don't. It's just like Catch - 22. Don't you get it ? You're not against catch - 22, are you ?
Doc. D: (muttering) I never said anything. What makes you so sure Major Major is a communist ?
Capt. B. : You never heard him denying it until we began accusing him, did you ? And you don't see him signing any of our loyalty oaths.
Doc. D. : You aren't letting him sign any.
Capt. B. : Of course not. That would defeat the whole purpose of our crusade. Look, you don't have to play ball with us if you don't want to. But what's the point of the rest of us working so hard if you're going to give Major Major medical attention the minute Milo begins starving him to death. I just wonder what they're going to think up at Group about the man who's undermining our whole security program. They'll probably transfer you to the pacific.
Doc. D. : I'll go tell Gus and Wes to do whatever you want them to. (leavesFollowed by Capt. Black). (Col. Cathcart & Korn walk in, looking at Capt. Retreating back.)
Col. Korn : It's that idiot Black off on a patriotism binge. I think you'd better play ball with him for a while, since you're the one who promoted Major Major to squadron commander.
Col. Cathcart : That was your idea. I never should have let you talk me into it.
Col. Korn : And a very good idea it was too since it eliminated that superfluous major that's been giving you such an awful black eye as an administrator. Don't worry, this will probably run its course soon. The best thing to do now is send capt. Black a letter of total support and hope he drops dead before he does too much damage.
Col. Korn : I wonder ! You don’t suppose that imbecile will try to turn Major out of his trailer, do you?

Scene VII

A Corporal wakes up Capt. Black.
Capt. Black : What are you waking me for ?
Corp. : They captured Bologna, sir. I thought you would want to know. Is the mission cancelled ?
Capt. Black doesn’t answer but wakes up Col. Korn.
Col. Korn : What are you waking me for ?
Capt. Black. : They captured Bologna, sir. I thought you would want to know. Is the mission cancelled ?
Col. Korn : What are you talking about, Black ? Why should the mission be cancelled ?
Capt. Black. :  Because they captured Bologna, sir. I thought you would want to know. Isn’t the mission cancelled ?
Col. Korn : Of course the mission is cancelled. Do you think we’d bomb our own troops ?
Col. Korn wakes up Col. Cathcart.
Col. Cathcart : What are you waking me for ?
Col. Korn : They captured Bologna, sir. I thought you would want to know.
Col. Cathcart : Who did ?
Col. Korn : We did.
Col. Cathcart : I’m not asking you what we did. I’m asking you who are ‘they’ ?
Col. Korn : ‘They’ are we, sir.
Col. Cathcart : What the hell are you talking about ? Are you mad ? (Goes back to sleep)

Scene VIII

Milo : What do you mean ? Your job is to bomb the ammunition dumps at Bologna.

Yossarian : But I’m going to be killed at Bologna. We’re all going to be killed.
Milo : Then you’ll just have to be killed. Why can’t you be a fatalist about it the way I am ? If I’m destined to unload lighters at a profit and pick up some Egyptian cotton cheap, then that’s what I’m going to do. And if you’re going to be killed, so you might just as well and die like a man.
And what do you mean when you say that you moved the bomb line ?
Yossarian : Well, I moved the bomb line, that’s why the mission to Bologna has been cancelled because they think we have captured Bologna.
Milo : What ?
Yossarian : Look, they don’t care who knocks out those ammunition dumps. The only reason we were to go was because that bastard col. Cathcart volunteered us.
Milo :  But the fact remains that those ammunition dumps are still standing. And that’s no reason or excuse for you to move the bomb line.
Yossarian : Well, I don’t want to be killed. Is that good reason for you ?
Milo : Yes. But we have no right to question...
Yossarian : You are insane !
Milo : …no right to question …
Yossarian : Do you really mean that it’s not my business how or why I get killed and that it’s Col. Cathcart’s ?
Milo : (Unsurely) Yes, I do. There are men entrusted with winning the war who are in a much better position than we are to decide what targets have to be bombed.
Yossarian : We’re talking about two different things. You are talking about winning the war. I’m talking about losing it…I mean...winning the war and staying alive !
Milo : And which do you think is more important ?
Yossarian : To whom ? Open your eyes, Milo. It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who is dead.
Milo : Congratulations ! I can’t think of another attitude that could be depended upon to give greater comfort to the enemy.
Yossarian : The enemy is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on, and that includes Col. Cathcart. And don’t forget that !

Scene IX

Yossarian enters a club. Luciana, a voluptuous call girl, is seated. Moves towards him as soon as he seats himself. 

Luciana : All right, I’ll dance with you but I won’t let you sleep with me.

Yossarian : Who asked you ?
Luciana : You don’t want to sleep with me ?
Yossarian : I don’t want to dance with you.
(Moves away to get a drink. Luciana follows him.)
Luciana : All right, I’ll let you buy me dinner. But I won’t let you sleep with me.
Yossarian : Who asked you ?
Luciana : You don’t want to sleep with me ?
Yossarian : I don’t want to buy you dinner.
Luciana pulls him to a table and sits. Food arrives and she attacks it with a rude gusto. Yossarian watches.
Luciana : All right, Joe. Now I will let you sleep with me.
Yossarian : Who asked you ?
Luciana (stunned): You don’t want to sleep with me ?
Yossarian shakes his head and then nods. Luciana stretches.
Luciana : Now I will let you sleep with me. But not now.
Yossarian : I know. When we get back to your room.
(Luciana shakes her head)
Luciana : No, now I must go home to my mama. To-morrow morning I will come to your room for fick-fick.
Yossarian : Bullshit !
Luciana : Cosa vuoi dire bullshit ?
Yossarian laughs out loudly.
Luciana : Come ?
Yossarian : Subitosubito. Mama is waiting. Remember ?
Luciana : Si, siMama. (Luciana drags him along with her, laughing).

Scene X

Aarfy is lounging in Yossarian’s room. Yossarian and Hungry Joe enter.

Yossarian : What are you doing here ?

Hungry Joe : That’s right, ask him ! Make him tell you. What he’s doing here !
Yossarian : Didn’t you go home with that girl ?
Aarfy : Oh, sure, I went home with her. You didn’t think I was going to let her try to find her way home alone, did you ?
Yossarian : Wouldn’t she let you stay with her ?
Aarfy (chuckling) : Oh, she wanted me to stay with her all right. But I wasn’t going to take advantage of a sweet kid like that just because she’d had a little too much to drink. What kind of a guy do you think I am ?
Yossarian : Who said anything about taking advantage of her ? All she wanted to do was get into bed with someone. That’s the only thing she kept talking about all night long.
Aarfy : That’s because she was a little mixed up. But I gave her a little talking to and really put some sense into her.
Yossarian : You bastard ! Why the hell didn’t you give her to one of us if you didn’t want her ?
Hungry Joe : You see ? There’s something wrong with him.
Y. : Aarfy, tell me something. Don’t you ever screw any of them ?
A. : Oh, sure, I prod them. But never any nice girls. This one was a sweet kid. You could see her family had money. Why, I even get her to throw that ring of hers away right out the car window.
Hungry Joe (screaming) : You did what ? You did what ? He’s sinful that’s what he is. He’s got a dirty mind, a’int he ? A’int he got a dirty mind ?
Y. : The dirtiest.

Scene XI

Yossarian : What are you waking me up for ?

Luciana : Pig ! Vive com’ un animale!

Y. quickly jumps up and dresses up.

L. : Now I’ll let you sleep with me.
(Y. sits and keeps looking at her.)
Y. : Will you marry me ?
L. : Tu sei pazzo.
Y. : Why am I crazy ?
L. : Perche non poso sposare.
Y. : Why can’t you get married ?
L. : Because I’m not a virgin.
Y. : What has that got to do with it ?
L. : Who will marry me ? No one wants a girl who is not a virgin.
Y. : I will. I’ll marry you.
L. : Ma non posso sposarti.
Y. : You won’t marry me because I want to marry you ? Is that right?
L. : Si.
Y. : Tu sei pazzo !
L.Perche ? Why am I crazy ?
Y. : Because you can’t marry me.
L. : Stupido !Non posso sposarti ! Non capisci ! Non posso sposarti.
Y. : Oh, sure, I understand. And why can’t you marry me ?
L. : Perche sei pazzo !
Y. : And why am I crazy ?
L. : Perche vuoi sposarmi.
Y. : Because I want to marry you. Carina, ti amo. Ti amo molto.
L. : Tu sei pazzo.
Y. : Perche ?
L. : Because you say you love me. How can you love a girl who is not a virgin ?
Y. : Because I can’t marry you.
L. : Why can’t you marry me ? Just because I’m not a virgin.
Y. : No, no, darling. Because you’re crazy.
(She glares at him and suddenly jumps on him to clout him. Enter Hungry Joe. Seeing H.J., Y. pushes L. away and grabs hold of H.J.)
H.J. : Let me go ! Me no Hungry Joe. Me heap big photographer from life magazine. Heap big picture on heap big cover. I make you big Hollywood star. Yossarian. Multi dinero. Multi divorces. Multi ficky-fick all day long. Si, sisi !
(Yossarian gives him one on the jaw. H.J. is laid out flat)
Y. : Vitevite ! Get your things on.
L. : What the hell are you talking about ?
Y. : Fast ! Fast ! Can’t you understand English ? Get yourself up fast !
L. : Stupido ! Vite is French, not Italian. Subitosubito ! That’s what you mean.
Y. : When did I talk Italian ? I am talking English. Can't you understand English ?
L. : Stupido ! Vite is French, not English. Quick, quick ! That’s what you mean.
Y. : Sisi. That’s what I mean. Subitosubito
L: Si, si.
(As they get ready H.J. wakes up and grins at Yossarian.)
H.J. : Sixty missions.
Y. : What ?
H.J. : The colonel raised them again.
Y. : I’m for the hospital ! (and runs off).

Scene XII

Hospital. A soldier is sheathed in bandages. Yossarian, Dunbar in the same room. 

Nurse Duckett enters with a glass jar in her hand.

Nurse Duckett : I don’t know what I’ll do if he begins moaning. It means he will moan during the night, too, because he won’t be able to tell night from day.
(Y and D. start moaning.)
N.D. : He’s all right, I tell you. Deep down inside he is a real regular guy. He’s just feeling a little shy and insecure because he doesn’t know anybody here and can’t talk. Why don’t you both just step right up to him and introduce yourselves ? He won’t hurt you.
D. : What the goddam hell are you talking about ? Does he even know what you’re talking about ?
N.D. : Sure he knows what I ‘m talking about. He’s not stupid. There a’int nothing wrong with him.
D. : Can he hear you ?
N.D. : Well, I don’t know if he can hear me or not but I’m sure he knows what I’m talking about.
Y. : Does that hole over his mouth ever move ?
N.D. (uneasily): Now what kinda crazy question is that ?
D. : How can you tell it’s a ‘he’ ?
Y. : Does he have pads over his eye underneath that bandage over his face ?
D. : Does he ever wiggle his toes or move the tips of his fingers ?
N.D. : Now what kinda crazy question is that ?
Y. : How the hell do you know he’s even in there ?
N.D. : Don’t you dare talk to me that way !
Y. : Well, how do you ? You don’t even know if it’s really him.
N.D. : Who ?
Y. : Whoever is supposed to be underneath all those bandages. How do you  know he’s even alive ?
N.D. : What a terrible thing to say ! Now get right into bed and stop making jokes about him.
Y. : I’m not making jokes. Anybody might be in there. For all we know, it might even be Mudd.
N.D. : What are you talking about ?
Y. : Maybe that’s where the dead man is.
N.D. : What dead man ?
Y. : I’ve got a dead man in my tent that nobody can throw out. His name is Mudd.
N.D. (to Dunbar) : Make him stop saying things like that.
D. : Maybe there’s no one inside. Maybe they just sent the bandages here for a joke.
N.D. : You’re crazy. You’re both crazy.
(She exits after changing the jar for the soldier)
D. : Why can’t she hook the two jars up to each other and eliminate the middleman ?
Y. : What the hell do they need him for ?
D. : I wonder what he did to deserve it.
(Doc. D. enters angrily, grabs Y. by the scruff of his neck.)
Dunbar : What do you want from him ? He didn’t do anything.
Doc. D. : I’m talking about you. You’re going to be punished for what you did.
Y. : What do you want from him ? All he did was fall on his head when he was a baby.
Doc. D. : And I’m talking about you too. You’re going to be good and sorry you grabbed Nurse Duckett by the bosom.
D. : I grabbed her by the bosom.
Doc. D. : Are you both crazy ?
D. : Yes. He really is crazy, Doc.. Every night he dreams he’s holding a live fish in his hands.
Doc. D. : He does what ?
D. : He dreams he’s….
Doc. D. : What kind fish ?
Y. : I don’t know. I can’t tell one kind of a fish from another.
Doc. D. : In which hand do you hold them ?
Y. : It varies.
D. : It varies with the fish.
Doc. D. : Yes ? And how come you seem to know so much about it?
D. : I’m in the dream.


Doc. D. (frustrated):  Get up off the floor and onto your bed.

D. : Just why do you think that the Doc. finds your dream disgusting ?
Y. : I suppose it’s either some quality in the dream or some quality in the Doc.
D. : That’s very well put. For some reason, the Doc. has always reminded me of a sea gull.
Y. : You don’t like sea-gulls, do you?
D. : No, not very much. Would you like a cigarette ?
Y. : No.
D. : Just why do you think that you have such a strong aversion to accepting a cigarette from me ?
Y. : I put one out a second ago. It’s still smoldering in your ash tray.
D. : That’s a very ingenious explanation. (A slight pause). This fish you dream about. Let’s talk about that. It’s always the same fish, is it ?
Y. : I don’t know. I have trouble recognizing fish.
D. : What does the fish remind you of ?
Y. : Other fish.
D. : Do you like fish ?
Y. : Not particularly.
D. : Just why do you think you have such a morbid aversion to fish?
Y. : They are too bland. And too bony.
D. : That’s a very interesting explanation. But we’ll soon discover the real reason. Do you like this particular fish ? The one you’re holding in your hand ?
Y. : I have no feelings about it either way.
D. : Do you dislike the fish ? Do you have any hostile or aggressive, emotions towards it ?
Y. : No, not at all. In fact, I rather like the fish.
D.: Do you like the fish ?
Y. : Oh no. I have no feelings about it either way.
D. : But you just said you liked it. And now you say you have no feelings towards either way. I’ve just caught you in a contradiction. Don’t you see ?
Y. : Yes.
D.: So, maybe you didn't dream about fishes at all but about something else, maybe cluster bombs.
Y. : Cluster bombs don't look in the least like fishes.
D. : In dreams they do.
Y. : How do you know ? Have you ever dreamt a fish ?
D. : No, but I have dreamt of cluster bombs.
Y. : What difference does that make ? You wouldn't know a bomb from a fish in a dream, if you haven't seen a fish in a dream.
D. : What do you mean, difference ? A fish is different from a bomb. That's what the difference is all about.
Y. : As long as you know the difference, it is fine.
D. : But, you just said I didn't know a bomb from a fish and my opinion was no use.
Y. : I never said that.
D. : If you are going to contradict every statement that you utter, what is the use of arguing ?
Y. : Who is arguing ? It is my dream and I can see anything in it. How can you say that it was not a fish ? You haven't even seen a dream in a fish...(Trails off to sleep).

Scene XIII

Doctor walks in again. Dunbar is asleep. Yossarian sits fretting.
Doc. D. : You think you’ve got something to be afraid about ? What about me ? My precious medical skills are rusting away here on this lousy island while other doctors are cleaning up. And saying no to your requests is no easy task either.
Y. : Then stop saying no. Ground me.
Doc. D. : I can’t ground you. How many times do you have to be told ?
Y. : Yes, you can. Major Major told me you’re the only one in the squadron who can ground me.
Doc. D. : Major Major told you that ? When ?
Y. : When I tackled him in the ditch.
Doc. D. : A ditch ?
Y. : He told me not to tell anyone he told me, so don’t start shooting your mouth off.
Doc. D. : Why that dirty, scheming liar ! He wasn’t supposed to tell anyone. Did he tell you how I could ground you ?
Y. : Just by filling out a little slip of paper saying I’m on the verge of a nervous collapse and sending it to group. Dr. Stubbs grounds men in his squadron all the time, so why can’t you ?
Doc. D. : And what happens to the men after Stubbs does ground them ? They go right back to combat status, don’t they ? And he finds himself right up shit creek. Sure I can ground you by filling out a slip saying you’re unfit to fly. But there’s a catch.
Y. : Catch – 22?
Doc. D. : Sure. If I take you off combat duty, Group has to approve my action, and Group isn’t going to. They’ll put you right back on combat status and then where will I be ? On my way to the pacific ocean, probably. No, thank you. I’m not going to take any chances for you.
Y. : Isn’t it worth a try ? What’s so hot about Pianosa ?
Doc. D: Pianosa is terrible. But it’s better than the pacific ocean. All they’ve got in the pacific is jungles and monsoons. I’d rot there.
Y. : You’re rotting here.
Doc. D: Yeah ? Well. At least I’m going to come out of it alive which is a lot more than you’re going to do.
Y. : That’s just what I’m trying to tell you, goddammit. I’m asking you to save my life.
Doc. D: It’s not my business to save lives.
Y. : Then what is your business ?
Doc. D: I don’t know what my business is. All they ever told me was to uphold the ethics of my profession and never give testimony against another physician. Listen. You think you’re the only one whose life is in danger ? What about me ? Those two quacks I’ve got working for me in the medical tent still can’t find out what’s wrong with me.
Y. (sarcastically) : Maybe it’s Ewing’s tumor.
Doc. D. : Do you really think so ?
Y. : Oh. I don’t know. I just know I’m not going to fly any more missions. They wouldn’t really shoot me, will they ? I’ve got fifty-one.
Doc. D. : Why don’t you at least finish the fifty-one missions before you take a stand ? With all your bitching you’ve never finished a tour of duty even once.
Y. : How the hell can I ? The colonel keeps raising them just when I am about to finish them.
Doc. D. : You never finish any mission because you keep running into the hospital or going off to Rome.

End of ACT - I

Act II

Scene I

Yossarian brought in by the Corporal on duty (CoD).

Doctor on duty (barely looking up from the crossword puzzle): Beat it!

CoDWe can't tell him to beat it. So many of them die after e tell them to beat it.

DoD: Alright, keep him for a few days and then ask him to beat it.

Yossarian put in to a ward.

Y.: I think it is the appendix...

DoD: The appendix is no good. If it goes wrong, we can take it out and put you back on active duty but come to us with a liver and you can fool us for weeks. If you have ever eaten liver, you know what I mean.

The DoD goes off.

Next morning, a group of Doctors troop in.

Y: There is nothing wrong with the appendix. The DoD yesterday said it is my liver.
Doc 1: What DoD?
Y: I don't know.  That's what is written here.


The Docs troop off. Soon, one Doc returns to announce Yossarian could be discharged. Just as they begin t wheel off Y., another patient suddenly cries out.

Patient: I see everything twice.

The Doctors run to attend. Nurses rush with all kinds of equipment. Soon, one Doctor extricates himself from the group, thoughtfully. Slowly, the rest did the same.

Doc: Quarantine everyone.

Nurse walks in.

Nurse: There are some people here to see you. They've traveled all the way from New York to see a dying soldier.
Y: What are you talking about? I am not dying.
N: Well, you are the handiest one we've got. Everyone is dying. Where the devil else do you think everyone is heading towards?
Y: They didn't come to see me. They came to see their son or ...
N: They'll have to take what they get. I will make a deal with you. You let them see you and I will not tell anyone that you lied about your liver symptoms.
Y: You knew?
N: If you keep grabbing at every nurse's tits every time they get near you, few will be convinced that you have a liver problem.
Y: But they came to see their son.
N: They won't notice the difference.
Y: Suppose they start crying?
N: They will start crying. That is what they have come for.
Y: It is so crazy. What do they want to watch their son die for, anyway?
N: All you've to do is lie and die for a few seconds.
Y: All right. If it is only for a few minutes. Say, why don't you wrap a bandage around me for good effect?
N: That sounds like a splendid idea.

Nurse goes out. Visitors walk in cautiously, looking around. Finally they stand at the side of Yossarian's bed.
Silence. Yossarian coughs. 
Silence. Yossarian grunts and shifts in the bed.
Pa: He looks terrible.
Son: He is sick, Pa.
Ma; Giuseppe.
Y: My name is Yossarian.
Son: His name is Yossarian, Ma. Yossarian, don't you recognize me? I am your brother, John.
Y: Sure I do. You are my brother John.
Son: He does recognize me. Say hello to Pa.
Y: Hello, Pa.
Pa: Hello, Giuseppe.
Son: His name s Yossarian, Pa.
Pa: I can't get over how terrible he looks.
Son: He's sick, Pa. The Doctors say he is going to die.
Pa: I didn't know whether to believe the Doctor or not.
Ma: Giuseppe.
Son: His name is Yossarian, Ma. She doesn't remember things so well. How are they treating you here, kid? Are they treating you pretty good?
Y: Pretty good.
Son: That's good. Just don't let anyone push you around. You've got rights even if you're an Italian.

Yossarian winces.

Pa; See how terrible he looks?
Son: He's very sick, Pa.
Ma: Giuseppe.
Son: His name is Yossaria. Ma.
Y: That's alright. She can call me Giuseppe if she wants to.
Ma: Giuseppe.
Son: Don't worry, Yossarian. Everything's going to be alright.
Y: Don't worry, Ma. Everything's going to be alright.
Son: Did you have a priest?
Y: (Winces) Yes.
Son: That's good. Just as long as you get everything you've got coming to you. We have come all the way from New York just to see...
Y: See what? The Priest.
Son: No, to see you dying...properly.
Y: What difference would it make?
Son: We didn't want you to die by yourself.
Y: What difference would it make?
Son: He must be getting delirious.


Ma: That is funny. That is really funny. All the time I thought his name was Giuseppe and now I find out it is Yossarian.

Yossarian winces and moans.

Son: Ma, say something to make him happy, make him feel good.
Ma: Giuseppe.
Son: Ma, his name is Yossarian.
Ma: What difference does it make? He is dying.

Yossarian winces and moans louder. They draw themselves up to leave.

Pa: Giuseppe.
Son: Yossarian.
Pa: Yossarian.
Y: Giuseppe.
Pa: Soon you're going to die. 

Yossarian winces and moans again.

Pa: When you talk to the man upstairs, tell him all this has got to stop, all this dying's been going on for a long time, you know.
Son: And don't let anyone push around up there. You're as good as anybody up there even though you're an Italian.
Ma: Dress warm.

Fade lights.

Scene II
Aarfy: Why should I risk getting into trouble just to help her out?

Y: Alright, tell her to say "Uncle".

All: Say Uncle.

Nately's whore: Uncle.

All: No, say Uncle.

Nately's whore: Uncle.

All: No, no, say Uncle.

Nately's whore: Uncle.

Y: She still does not understand.

Aarfy: You still don't understand, do you? We can't really make you say Uncle unless you really don't want to say Uncle. Don't you see? Don't say Uncle when I tell you to say Uncle, Okay? Say Uncle

Nately's whore: Uncle.

Aarfy: No, don't say Uncle. Say Uncle.


Y: That's good.

Aarfy: That's very good.

All: It's a start. Now say Uncle.

Nately's whore: Uncle.

Aarfy: No, it's no good that way either. She just isn't impressed with us. There's just no fun making her say Uncle. There's just no fun making her say Uncle when she doesn't care whether we make her say Uncle or not.

Y: No, she doesn't really care, does she? Say 'foot'.

Nately's whore: Foot.

Aarfy: You see? She doesn't care about us. We don't mean anything to you, do you?

Nately's whore: Uncle.

Scene III

 Coming soon...

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