Yossarian sidled up drunkenly to Colonel Korn at the officers' club one night to kid with him about the Lepage gun that the Germans had moved in. "What Lepage gun?" Colonel Korn inquired with curiosity. "The new three-hundred-and-forty-four-millimeter Lepage glue gun," Yossarian answered. "It glues a whole formation of planes together in mid-air." Colonel Korn jerked his elbow free from Yossarian's clutching fingers in startled affront. "Let go of me, you idiot!" he cried out furiously, glaring with vindictive approval as Nately leaped upon Yossarian's back and pulled him away. "Who is that lunatic, anyway?" Colonel Cathcart chortled merrily. "That's the man you made me give a medal to after Ferrara. You had me promote him to captain, too, remember? It serves you right." Nately was lighter than Yossarian and had great difficulty maneuvering Yossarian's lurching bulk across the room to an unoccupied table. "Are you crazy?" Nately kept hissing with trepidation. "That was Colonel Korn. Are you crazy?" Yossarian wanted another drink and promised to leave quietly if Nately brought him one. Then he made Nately bring him two more. When Nately finally coaxed him to the door, Captain Black came stomping in from outside, banging his sloshing shoes down hard on the wood floor and spilling water from his eaves like a high roof. "Boy, are you bastards in for it!" he announced exuberantly, splashing away from the puddle forming at his feet. "I just got a call from Colonel Korn. Do you know what they've got waiting for you at Bologna? Ha! Ha! They've got the new Lepage glue gun. It glues a whole formation of planes together in mid-air." "My God, it's true!" Yossarian shrieked, and collapsed against Nately in terror. "There is no God," answered Dunbar calmly, coming up with a slight stagger. "Hey, give me a hand with him, will you? I've got to get him back to his tent." "Says who?" "Says me. Gee, look at the rain." "We've got to get a car." "Steal Captain Black's car," said Yossarian. "That's what I always do." "We can't steal anybody's car. Since you began stealing the nearest car every time you wanted one, nobody leaves the ignition on." "Hop in," said Chief White Halfoat, driving up drunk in a covered jeep. He waited until they had crowded inside and then spurred ahead with a suddenness that rolled them all over backward. He roared with laughter at their curses. He drove straight ahead when he left the parking lot and rammed the car into the embankment on the other side of the road. The others piled forward in a helpless heap and began cursing him again. "I forgot to turn," he explained. "Be careful, will you?" Nately cautioned. "You'd better put your headlights on." Chief White Halfoat pulled back in reverse, made his turn and shot away up the road at top speed. The wheels were sibilant on the whizzing black-top surface. "Not so fast," urged Nately. "You'd better take me to your squadron first so I can help you put him to bed. Then you can drive me back to my squadron." "Who the hell are you?" "Dunbar." "Hey, put your headlights on," Nately shouted. "And watch the road!" "They are on. Isn't Yossarian in this car? That's the only reason I let the rest of you bastards in." Chief White Halfoat turned completely around to stare into the back seat. "Watch the road!" "Yossarian? Is Yossarian in here?" "I'm here, Chief. Let's go home. What makes you so sure? You never answered my question." "You see? I told you he was here." "What question?" "Whatever it was we were talking about." "Was it important?" "I don't remember if it was important or not. I wish to God I knew what it was." "There is no God." "That's what we were talking about," Yossarian cried. "What makes you so sure?" "Hey, are you sure your headlights are on?" Nately called out. "They're on, they're on. What does he want from me? It's all this rain on the windshield that makes it look dark from back there." "Beautiful, beautiful rain." "I hope it never stops raining. Rain, rain, go a--" "--way. Come a--" "--gain some oth--" "--er day. Little Yo-Yo wants--" "--to play. In--" "--the meadow, in--" Chief White Halfoat missed the next turn in the road and ran the jeep all the way up the crest of a steep embankment. Rolling back down, the jeep turned over on its side and settled softly in the mud. There was a frightened silence. "Is everyone alright?" Chief White Halfoat inquired in a hushed voice. No one was injured, and he heaved a long sigh of relief. "You know, that's my trouble," he groaned. "I never listen to anybody. Somebody kept telling me to put my headlights on, but I just wouldn't listen." "I kept telling you to put your headlights on." "I know, I know. And I just wouldn't listen, would I? I wish I had a drink. I do have a drink. Look. It's not broken." "It's raining in," Nately noticed. "I'm getting wet." Chief White Halfoat got the bottle of rye open, drank and handed it off. Lying tangled up on top of each other, they all drank but Nately, who kept groping ineffectually for the door handle. The bottle fell against his head with a clunk, and whiskey poured down his neck. He began writhing convulsively.
"Hey, we've got to get out of here!" he cried. "We'll all drown." "Is anybody in there?" asked Clevinger with concern, shining a flashlight down from the top. "It's Clevinger!" they shouted, and tried to pull him in through the window as he reached down to aid them. "Look at them!" Clevinger exclaimed indignantly to McWatt, who sat grinning at the wheel of the staff car. "Lying there like a bunch of drunken animals. You, too, Nately? You ought to be ashamed! Come on--help me get them out of there before they all die of pneumonia." "You know, that don't sound like such a bad idea," Chief White Halfoat reflected. "I think I will die of pneumonia." "Why?" "Why not?" answered Chief White Halfoat, and lay back in the mud contentedly with the bottle of rye cuddled in his arms. "Oh, now look what he's doing!" Clevinger exclaimed with irritation. "Will you get up and get into the car so we can all go back to the squadron?" "We can't all go back. Someone has to stay here and help the Chief with this car he signed out of the motor pool." Chief White Halfoat settled back in the staff car with ebullient, prideful chuckle. "That's Captain Black's car," he informed them jubilantly. "I stole it from him at the officers' club just now with an extra set of keys he thought he lost this morning." "Well, I'll be damned! That calls for a drink." "Haven't you had enough to drink? Clevinger began scolding as soon as McWatt started the car. "Look at you. You don't care if you drink yourselves to death or drown yourselves to death, do you?" "Just as long as we don't fly ourselves to death." "Hey, open it up, open it up," Chief White Halfoat urged McWatt. "And turn off the headlights. That's the only way to do it." "Doc Daneeka is right," Clevinger went on. "People don't know enough to take care of themselves. I really am disgusted with all of you." "Okay, fatmouth, out of the car," Chief White Halfoat ordered. "Everybody get out of the car but Yossarian. Where's Yossarian?" "Get the hell off me." Yossarian laughed, pushing him away. "You're all covered with mud." Clevinger focused on Nately. "You're the one who really surprises me. Do you know what you smell like? Instead of trying to keep him out of trouble, you get just as drunk as he is. Suppose he got in another fight with Appleby?" Clevinger's eyes opened wide with alarm when he heard Yossarian chuckle. "He didn't get in another fight with Appleby, did he?" "Not this time," said Dunbar. "No, not this time. This time I did even better." "This time he got in a fight with Colonel Korn."
"He didn't!" gasped Clevinger. "He did?" exclaimed Chief White Halfoat with delight. "That calls for a drink." "But that's terrible!" Clevinger declared with deep apprehension. "Why in the world did you have to pick on Colonel Korn? Say, what happened to the lights? Why is everything so dark?" "I turned them off," answered McWatt. "You know, Chief White Hlafoat is right. It's much better with the headlights off." "Are you crazy?" Clevinger screamed, and lunged forward to snap the headlights on. He whirled around upon Yossarian in near hysteria. "You see what you're doing? You've got them all acting like you! Suppose it stops raining and we have to fly to Bologna tomorrow. You'll be in fine physical condition." "It won't ever gonna stop raining. No, sir, a rain like this really might go on forever." "It has stopped raining!" someone said, and the whole car fell silent. "You poor bastards," Chief White Halfoat murmured compassionately after a few moments had passed. "Did it really stop raining?" Yossarian asked meekly. McWatt switched off the windshield wipers to make certain. The rain had stopped. The sky was starting to clear. The moon was sharp behind a gauzy brown mist. "Oh, well," sang McWatt. "What the hell."
"Don't worry, fellas," Chief White Halfoat said. "The landing strip is too soft to use tomorrow. Maybe it'll start raining again before the field dries out." "You goddam stinking lousy son of a bitch," Hungry Joe screamed from his tent as they sped into the squadron. "Jesus, is he back here tonight? I thought he was still in Rome with the courier ship." "Oh! Ooooh! Oooooooh!" Hungry Joe screamed. Chief White Halfoat shuddered. "That guy gives me the willies," he confessed in a grouchy whisper. "Hey, whatever happened to Captain Flume?" "There's a guy that gives me the willies. I saw him in the woods last week eating wild berries. He never sleeps in his trailer any more. He looked like hell." "Hungry Joe's afraid he'll have to replace somebody who goes on sick call, even though there is no sick call. Did you see him the other night when he tried to kill Havermeyer and fell into Yossarian's slit trench?" "Ooooh!" screamed Hungry Joe. "Oh! Ooooh! Oooooooh!" "It sure is a pleasure not having Flume around in the mess hall any more. No more of that 'Pass the salt, Walt.' " "Or 'Pass the bread, Fred.' " "Or 'Shoot me a beet, Pete.' " "Keep away, keep away," Hungry Joe screamed. "I said keep away, keep away, you goddam stinking lousy son of a bitch." "At least we found out what he dreams about," Dunbar observed wryly. "He dreams about goddam stinking lousy sons of bitches."