"I'm cold," Snowden whimpered. "I'm cold."
"There, there," Yossarian mumbled mechanically in a voice too low to be heard. "There, there."
Yossarian was cold, too, and shivering uncontrollably. He felt goose pimples clacking all over him as he gazed down despondently at the grim secret Snowden had spilled all over the messy floor. It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden's secret. Drop him out a window and he'll fall. Set fire to him and he'll burn. Bury him and he'll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden's secret. Ripeness was all.
I'm cold," Snowden said. "I'm cold."
"There, there, said Yossarian. "There, there." He pulled the rip cord of Snowden's parachute and covered his body with the white nylon sheets.
"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. I don't see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and every human tragedy."
"This is not World War One. You must never forget that we're at war with aggressors who would not let either one of us live if they won."
"I know that," Yossarian replied tersely with a sudden surge of scowling annoyance. "Christ, Daby. I earned that medal I got, no matter what their reasons were for giving it to me. I've flown seventy goddam missions. 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 give up my life now, it wouldn't be for my country. It would be for Cathcart and Korn. So I'm turning my bombsight in for the duration. From now on I'm thinking only of me."
"But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way."
"Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn't I?"
"You must make decisions," Major Danby disagreed. "A person can't live like a vegetable."
"It must be nice to live like a vegetable," he conceded wistfully.
"No, it must be very pleasant to be free from all this doubt and pressure," insisted Major Danby. "I think I'd like to 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 up 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."
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."
"I'm not running away from my responsibilities. I'm running to them. There's nothing negative about running away to save my life."
"Goodbye, Yossarian," the chaplain called, "And good luck. I'll stay here and persevere, and we'll meet again when 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 minutes of every day. They'll bend heaven and earth to catch you."
"I'll keep on my toes every minute."
"You'll have to jump."
"Jump!" Major Danby cried.
Yossarian jumped. Nately's whore was hiding just outside the door. The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off.