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"No it isn't. That's his heart. I'll bet you a nickel this is his liver. I'm going to operate and find out. Should I wash my hands first?"
"No operations," Yossarian said, opening his eyes and trying to sit up.
"Another county heard from," scoffed one of the doctors indignantly. "Can't we make him shut up?"
"We could give him a total. The ether's right here."
"No totals," said Yossarian.
"Another county heard from," said a doctor.
"Let's give him a total and knock him out. Then we can do what we want with him."
They gave Yossarian total anesthesia and knocked him out. He woke up thirsty in a private room, drowning in ether fumes. Colonel Koran was there at his bedside, waiting calmly in a chair in his baggy, wool, olive-drab shirt and trousers. A bland, phlegmatic smile hung on his brown face with its heavy-bearded cheeks, and he was buffing the facets of his bald head gently with the palms of both hands. He bent forward chuckling when Yossarian awoke, and assured him in the friendliest tones that the deal they had made was still on if Yossarian didn't die. Yossarian vomited, and Colonel Kory shot to his feet at the first cough and fled in disgust, so it seemed indeed that there was a silver lining to every cloud, Yossarian reflected, as he drifted back into a suffocating daze. A band with sharp fingers shook him awake roughly. He turned and opened his eyes and saw a strange man with a mean face1 who curled his lip at him in a spiteful scowl and bragged, "We've got your pal, buddy. We've got your pal."
Yossarian turned cold and faint and broke into a sweat.
"Who's my pal?" he asked when he saw the chaplain sitting where Colonel Kory had been sitting.
"Maybe I'm your pal," the chaplain answered.
But Yossarian couldn't hear him and closed his eyes. Someone gave him water to sip and tiptoed away. He slept and woke up feeling great until he turned his head to smile at the chaplain and saw Aarfy there instead. Yossarian moaned instinctively and screwed his face up with excruciating irritability when Aarfy chortled and asked how he was feeling. Aarfy looked puzzled when Yossarian inquired why he was not in jail. Yossarian shut his eyes to make him go away. When he opened them, Aarfy was gone and the chaplain was there. Yossarian broke into laughter when he spied the chaplain's cheerful grin and asked him what in the hell he was so happy about.
"I'm happy about you," the chaplain replied with excited candor and joy. "I heard at Group that you were very seriously injured and that you would have to be sent home if you lived. Colonel Korn said your condition was critical. But I've just learned from one of the doctors that your wound is really a very slight one and that you'll probably be able to leave in a day or two. You're in no danger. It isn't bad at all."
Yossarian listened to the chaplain's news with enormous relief. "That's good."
"Yes," said the chaplain, a pink flush of impish pleasure creeping into his cheeks. "Yes, that is good."
Yossarian laughed, recalling his first conversation with the chaplain. "You know, the first time I met you was in the hospital. And now I'm in the hospital again. Just about the only time I see you lately is in the hospital. Where've you been keeping yourself?"
The chaplain shrugged. "I've been praying a lot," he confessed. "I try to stay in my tent as much as I can, and I pray every time Sergeant Whitcomb leaves the area, so that he won't catch me."
"Does it do any good?"
"It takes my mind off my troubles," the chaplain answered with another shrug. "And it gives me something to do."
"Well, that's good, then, isn't it?"
"Yes," agreed the chaplain enthusiastically, as though the idea had not occurred to him before. "Yes, I guess that is good." He bent forward impulsively with awkward solicitude. "Yossarian, is there anything I can do for you while you're here, anything I can get you?"
Yossarian teased him jovially. "Like toys, or candy, or chewing gum?"
The chaplain blushed again, grinning self-consciously, and then turned very respectful. "Like books, perhaps, or anything at all. I wish there was something I could do to make you happy. You know, Yossarian, we're all very proud of you."
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