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All of a sudden I quit lighting matches, and sort of leaned nearer to her over the table. I had quite a few topics on my mind. "Hey Sally." I said.
"What?" she said. She was looking at some girl on the other side of the room.
"Did you ever get fed up," I said. I mean did you ever get scared that everything was going to go lousy unless you did something? I mean do you like school and all that stuff?"
"It's a terrific bore."
"I mean do you hate it? I know it's a terrific bore, but do you hate it is what I mean?"
"Well, I don't exactly hate it. You always have to -"
"Well, I hate it. Boy, do I hate it." I said. But it isn't just that. It's everything. I hate living in New York and all. Taxi-cabs, and Madison Avenue buses, with the drivers and all always yelling at you to get out the rear door, and being introduced to phoney guys that call the Lunts angels, and going up and down in elevators when you just want to go outside, and guys fitting your pants all the time at Brooks', and people always -"
"Don't shout, please," old Sally said. Which was very funny, because I wasn't even shouting.
"Take cars," I said. I said it in this very quiet voice. "Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I"d rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God"s sake. A horse you can at least -"
"I don't know what you're even talking about," old Sally cried. "You jump from one -"
""You know something?" I said. "You're probably the only reason I"m in New York right now, or anywhere. If you weren't around I'd probably be some place the hell off. In the woods or some goddam place. You're the only reason I'm around practically."
"You're sweet," she said. But you could see she wanted me to change the damn subject.
"You ought to go to a boys' school sometime. Try it sometime." I said. "It's full of phonies, and all you do is study, so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddam Cadillac some day, and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses, and all you do is talk about liquor and girls and sex all the time, and everybody sticks together in these goddam little clicks. The guys that are on the basketball team stick together, the Catholics stick together, the goddam intellectuals stick together the guys that play bridge stick together, even the guys that belong to the goddam Book of the Month club stick together. If you try to have a little intelligent -"
"Now listen," old Sally said. "Lots of guys get more out of school than that."
"I agree! I agree they do, some of them! But that's all I get out of it. See? That's my point."



Sally said "We'll have oodles of time to do those things - all those things. I mean after you go to college and all, and if we should get married and all. There'll be oodles of marvellous places to go to ...
"I said no, there wouldn't be marvellous places to go to after I went to college and all. Open your ears. It'd be entirely different. We'd have to go downstairs in elevators with suitcases and stuff. We'd have to phone up everybody and tell them goodbye and send them postcards from hotels and all. And I'd be working in some office, making a lot of dough, and riding to work in cabs and Madison Avenue buses, and reading newspapers, and playing bridge all the time, and going to movies and seeing a load of stupid shorts and coming attractions and newsreels. Newsreels. Christ almighty. There's always a dumb horse race, and some dame breaking a bottle over a ship, and some chimpanzee riding a goddam bicycle with pants on. It wouldn't be the same at all. You don't see what I mean at all."



"I couldn't be a scientist. I'm no good at science."
"Well, a lawyer, like Daddy and all."
"Lawyers are all right, I guess - but it doesn't appeal to me," I said. "I mean they're alright if they go around saving innocent guys' lives all the time, and like that, but you don't do that kind of stuff if you're a lawyer. All you do is make a lot of dough and play golf and play bridge and buy cars and drink martinis and look like a hotshot. And besides. Even if you did go around saving guys' lives and all, how would you know if you did it because you really wanted to save guys' lives, or if you did it because what you really wanted to do was to be a terrific lawyer, with everybody slapping you on the back and congratulating you in court when the goddam trial was over, the reporters and everybody, the way it is in the daily movies? How would you know you weren't being a phoney? The trouble is, you wouldn't."
I'm not too sure old Phoebe knew what the hell I was talking about. I mean she's only a little child and all. But she was listening, at least. If somebody listens, it's not too bad.
"Daddy's going to kill you. He's going to kill you," she said.
"I wasn't listening, though, I was thinking about soemthing else - something crazy.
"You know what I'd like to be?" I said. "You know what I'd like to be? I mean if I had my goddam choice?"
"What? Stop swearing."
"You know that song. 'If a body catch a body coming through the rye'? I'd like -"
"It's 'If a body meet a body coming through the rye.'" old Phoebe said. "It's a poem. By Robert Burns."
"I know it's a poem by Robert Burns."
She was right though. It is 'if a body meet a body coming through the rye'. I didn't know it then though.
"I thought it was "If a body catch a body," I said. "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."



There were four of them, and they were having a whale of a time as they helped each other set up their cots. They were horsing around. The moment he saw them, Yossarian knew they were impossible. They were frisky, eager, and exuberant, and they had all been friends in the States. They were plainly unthinkable. They were noisy overconfident, emptyheaded kids of twenty-one. They had gone to college and were engaged to pretty, clean girls whose pictures were already standing on the rough cement mantlepiece of Orrs fireplace. They had ridden in speedboats and played tennis. They had been horseback riding. One had been to bed with an older woman. They knew the same people in different parts of the country and they had gone to school with each others cousins. They had listened to the World Series and really cared who won the football games. They were obtuse, their morale was good. They were glad that the war had lasted long enough for them to find out what combat was really like. They were halfway through unpacking when Yossarian threw them out.


There was only one catch and that was Catch 22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and din't have to; but if he didn't want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch 22 and let out a respectful whistle.


weekly Guardian piece by JACK TREVOR STOREY

The last nerve-twanging days of August are upon us (to get back to normal) and on the 31st, Lee's and William Saroyans birthday, Maggie's work permit in Brussels will be withdrawn. Since everything's gone sadly quiet lately I have a feeling she won't know what to do or where to go. I'd like to quote part of a short story which I was quite shocked to find at the bottom of one of her dressing-table drawers which I just got the courage to open. This is my saddest piece of reading this week. It's dated 27th May, 1970, and I had no idea she'd written it. It's headed with the song title "Leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again ...". It starts:
"After our final row I decided to go to Paris - wasn't that where I always intended going if and when our relationship ended..." There's a thousand-word first-person account of adventures and an affair in Paris which ends when she falls sick and her lover is impatient to get off back to the coast. The ending is as follows:
"That little room was so small and lonely as I lay there all day, lethargic, wanting nothing except to go home. This present affair could only last as long as we were here in Paris and, now that he had left, the affair was over. The following day I was better, but detached in some strange way from the present, and from the past. I forced myself to see once more the now familiar sights of Paris, and said a silent goodbye to each one. If I ever come back I thought all this will be different.
"I cried in my room as I packed and so put off phoning until I reached Orly. When his phone stopped ringing I said brightly, would you mind picking me up at the airport - I'll be on the 5 pm flight which arrives at ..."
But that was Maggie's fiction whereas August this year of 1972 has been filled with her inescapable realities.


For some time - for longer, in fact, than he cared to remember - Pasmore had been troubled by his dreams; and of all his dreams, by one in particular.He was running in a race, not unlike those races he had run, stoically though with no great enterprise, at school, when he had begun to be overtaken not merely by the runners but by all those idlers and dullards who jogged, or even walked along at the rear. Quite soon, despite all his efforts, he'd been left behind; each time he woke up with a sense of terror.
Kay herself could see nothing frightening in the dream at all. "But it's not just the feeling" he told her, "of being passed that I find so awful, so much as the feeling that, despite being last, I don't want the race itself to finish. I know it sounds ridiculous. And I suppose in a sense it can even be explained. But what I can't understand, despite the triviality of the dream, is its undiminished sense of terror.


"To paint anything, I suppose, you need a sense of space that, at one level, you can presume is secure. And yet these days, what is there can promise that? All I've got is a single blob of paint: I'm beginning to feel that beyond that it's become more or less impossible to go. Anyone who does, you know, I can only see as the most arrogant sort of ass."


It was a mistake in the system, perhaps it lay in the precept which until now he had held to be incontestable, in whose name he had sacrificed others and was himself being sacrificed, in the precept, that the end justifies the means. It was this sentence which had killed the great fraternity of the Revolution and made them all run amok. What had he once written in his diary? 'We have thrown overboard all conventions, our sole guiding principle is that of consequent logica; we are sailing without ethical ballast.
Perhaps the heart of the evil lay there. Perhaps it did not suit mankind to sail without ballast. And perhaps reason alone was a defective compass, which led one on such a winding twisted course that the goal finally disappeared in the mist. Perhaps now would come the time of great darkness. Perhaps the members of the new party will wear monks cowls and preach that only purity of means can justify the ends.


A hundred and fifty years ago, the day of the storming of the Bastille, the European swing, after long inaction, again started to move. It had pushed off from tyranny with gusto, with an apparently uncheckable impetus, it had swung up towards the blue sky of freedom. For a hundred years it had risen higher and higher into the spheres of liberalism and democracy. But, see, gradually the pace slowed down, the swing neared the summit and turning point of its...

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Mixed with the horror, with the kindness of the station-master, with the smell of the cinders and the riot of sound, was the raw bitterness of a hope that she might never again in life have to give up so much at such short notice.