|In the Tree
Author: Valar Morghulis PM
The fickleness of fate; the interpretation of imagination; the seduction of sorrow. All fancy words to describe a story about a naked man in a tree. Featuring Yossarian, Doc Daneeka and the dazzlingly brilliant Catch 22.Rated: Fiction K - English - Tragedy/Humor - Words: 1,149 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 4 - Published: 07-13-09 - id: 5213927
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Right then ... I can't write Heller style, but I can try (at least) to write Heller content. Setting the scene with a quote from his book, which I, regrettably, do not own.
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's 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 didn'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.
"That's some catch, that Catch-22," Yossarian observed.
"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.
They sat in silence for a minute absorbing the Catch's tranquil beauty, the surrounding quiet disturbed only by a soft rustling from the trees above. Then a thought struck Yossarian, feeling surprisingly physical. An acorn bounced onto the ground next to him.
Doc Daneeka had been staring intently into the sky. At Yossarian's words he started and growled a curse. "Almost had him there. Almost had the rascal." Turning to Yossarian: "Do you see what you've made me not do? Don't you? I've been noticing him for days – a flicker in the corner of my eye, that's the only way to see him. Again and again, he's escaped me. But I know what he's doing. He's following me! He's stalking me!" Doc Daneeka lowered his voice. "He's trying to give me pneumonia."
Yossarian rubbed his head, which still hurt from the thought's impact. "Chief White Halfoat?"
"No, no, you fool, not him. Compared to this guy, he's nothing. Nothing!" Doc Daneeka surveyed the surrounding vegetation, eyes filled with fear. "He climbs through the trees, you understand. He rustles through the bushes. He swings through the vines. Do you hear? The earth itself is turned against me!"
Yossarian refrained from pointing out that vines had been outlawed a few days ago and tried to get back to the task at hand. "Doc, there's something I need to know. Why –"
He cut off as his field of vision was filled by a face transfigured with fear. "But you know the worst part?" Doc Daneeka hissed. "The very worst part? The man..." (a pause, to let the fear sink in) "...in the trees..." (another pause, to convey deep meaning and subtle emotional reverberations) "...is completely. Stark. Naked."
Yossarian nodded seriously. "I believe you, Doc."
Doc Daneeka leaned back with a deep sigh. He wasn't crazy any more. Not now that Yossarian agreed. No-one could be insane when Yossarian was on their side, because Yossarian was too crazy for insanity. He was the limit, the maximum; he filled the entire insanity quota all by himself. After all, (and this was a well-known fact) no argument could be stupid enough, crazy enough, absolutely illogicalenough to have both Yossarian and another nutter believing it. It just defied comprehension.
In fact, it was when you disagreed with Yossarian that you were in trouble. People would start looking at you weird, muttering behind your back; the next thing you knew, the military would be after you, General Peckham wanting to know exactly why you had decided to defy that quota...
They sat in silence, heads poised, eyes wide, ready to catch the slightest flicker of movement which might happen to cross the side of their vision. Minutes passed – nothing happened. More minutes, slipping away like acorns off a tree. But, speaking of acorns...
"I see him! I see him!" hissed Yossarian. Then: "Ouch! Bloody acorns."
"No, no, forget the acorns," muttered Doc Daneeka excitedly. "Did you actually see him?"
"Clear as day," Yossarian replied. "A brown flash, passing just...there, right there." He gestured directly upwards. "It must have been him. But why would he have no clothes on?"
"I have it all figured out," said Doc Daneeka. "It's a cunning plan, make no mistake – but I'm on to him. He's trying to catch pneumonia! Then, when he's got it, he'll swoop down from the trees like...like..."
"Like a swarm of bats," offered Yossarian.
"That's it exactly! A colony of swarming bats! And then that rabid monster will infect me. Me. Me! The camp doctor! The nerve, the nerve..."
"But why?" Yossarian asked. "Why would he do that?"
"Use your head, my boy. Use your head. Who –" Doc Daneeka broke off and glanced around conspiratorially. "Who would gain if our camp had no trained medical professional? Huh?"
Yossarian's head hurt from repeated impacts and too much thinking, yet he struggled along gamely. "It'd be the Germans, I guess."
"That's right: the Germans! It all fits. Why, the first time I saw him – I know it might touch a nerve, but I've got to say it – the first time I saw him was at Snowden's funeral!" Doc Daneeka finished triumphantly.
"Ah," said Yossarian.
"Yes," said Doc Daneeka.
They shared a moment of uncomfortable silence before Doc Daneeka began to speak again, at a lesser volume. "He was celebrating. I'm sorry, Yossarian. That bastard was celebrating Snowden's death."
"Ah," said Yossarian. To do anything else would take brain activity, and he didn't want to activate his brain quite yet.
"But listen, Yossarian; don't worry. I'll take care of it," the Doc said. "Look, why don't you come into my tent and sit down. Have a drink." They stood, and slowly made their way to Doc Daneeka's tent.
Outside, stillness reigned. No birds sang. No crickets chirped. The only sound the trees' faint rustling, triggered by the small movements of small animals: insects and beetles, birds and mammals.
And the faint impact of tiny feet as a light brown squirrel hurried along the branches, gathering acorns; knowing little and caring less for the intricacies and the implications, the complexities and the complications, the inventions and the imaginations of the worlds being lived out below.
Any and all reviews are welcome – just a few seconds for a few words are much appreciated. If any punctuation errors have slipped past me (probably quite a few), please let me know And a sequel will be coming, if this gets any favourable feedback; after all, Yossarian still hasn't voiced his question.