Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

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There was dead silence in his office, the kind of silence that should never be disturbed. The look of determination on his face was uncanny. Every single move he made was precise and delicate. Colonel Cathcart slowly rolled a few inches away from his desk in his chair, just enough so he could stand up. At a snail's pace, he stood up never taking his eyes off his masterpiece. Cathcart's hand was shaking immensely as he lifted the playing card up to complete his beloved tower. ‘KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK' Cathcart's body jumped in surprise, causing his hand to jolt at the sound of the noise. The tower collapsed in seconds. All Cathcart had now was 51 cards scattered all over his desk, still gripping the final card in his hand.
"God damnit! Who the hell is it?!?" Cathcart roared while slamming his hands down on his desk.
"Oh don't get your panties in a bunch" Lieutenant Colonel Korn said as he opened the door and invited himself in. "Look, I got this letter, and it's bad news" Lieutenant Colonel Korn stated looking at Cathcart blankly.
"Bad news? Bad news! I'll tell you what bad news is you ungrateful son of a bitch, bad news is when you spend all day, all day! In your office trying to make a precious tower out of cards! And then when you finally accomplish it, it gets torn down all because you decided to bitch and moan about a little piece of paper that says we got problems?!" Cathcart takes a moment to catch his breath as Colonel Korn looks at him with a dumbfounded look on his face. Cathcart snatched the letter out of Korn's hand waving it back and forth.
"Say, how do you know its bad news anyway if you haven't opened it huh?"
Korn shook out of his trance "Well it does say urgent in big red letters on the front, and we only get those letters when there's trouble" .
Cathcart looked at the envelope and paused for a brief moment, and then flung it onto his desk without a care in the world. He then focused his attention back to the mess of cards on his desk, gathering the playing cards quickly so he can try again.
"Aren't you going to read the damn letter?" Korn said in impatience. Cathcart looked up at Colonel Korn with disgust on his face and replied "Aren't you going to help me with my damn cards?

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Catch 22 by Joseph Heller Essay

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"Forget about your stupid cards! Read the letter! Whoever sent it, put urgent on it for a reason!" Korn as getting so worked up and vein popped out in the middle of his forehead. Cathcart was startled at his anger and decided to open the letter. Cathcart unfolded the piece of paper "It's from Bush" Cathcart bobbed his head side to side pretending to glimpse over it.
"Well?!" Korn said anxiously.
Colonel Cathcart slammed the paper back down on his desk in irritation.
"I can't concentrate on the friggen letter, I'm too ticked off about my damn cards!" Colonel Korn seized for the paper also in irritation.
"Bush says that there may be more terrorist attacks in the U.S….and to be on full alert for anything suspicious." Korn then folded the letter and placed it underneath his arm. Cathcart looked up from his cards and said "Let the squadrons know a meeting will be held in the mess hall tonight to talk about the letter." Colonel Korn nodded back and headed for the door.
Yossarian was coming out of the mess hall. On his way back to his tent , he ran into Colonel Korn. Yossarian acknowledged his presence but just kept walking.
"You there, what's your name?" Colonel Korn asked loud enough so Yossarian knew he was talking to him.
"Yossarian" he replied while taking a bite out of his apple that he had saved from his lunch.
"well, Yossarian, let your squadron know there is a meeting tonight in the mess hall"
"about what?" Yossarian asked back so quickly, almost cutting off Korn.
"Bush sent us a letter about more terrorist attacks in the U.S, Cathcart will discuss what he said in it and what we will do tonight, is that clear?"
"Has an attack happened yet?" Yossarian asked.
"No, I don't think so"
"Was it another suicide attack?"
"Once again, I don't know" Korn said with an irritated tone.
"well when will you know?"
"Tonight damnit! Now get out of my sight!" Colonel Korn stomped his foot and pointed to the direction of Yossarian's tent.
"Ok sir, see ya tonight" Yossarian said calmly and walked off. Yossarian walked into his tent and was met by Orr, Dunbar, and Mudd. Orr was off in his corner tinkering with his little stove that he took apart, pieces were spread everywhere in neat organized piles. Dunbar was sitting down on a chair by Mudd's bed with his legs comfortably stretched out so his feet could rest on Mudd's bed. Yossarian walked up to Dunbar first and pushed his legs off of Mudd's bed.
"what do you think you're doing? I don't think Mudd appreciates that very much"
Dunbar put the magazine down and stood up and turned to Mudd and said "Sorry buddy I didn't know you didn't like that." Yossarian walked over to Orr and kicked his precise piles of parts from the stove.
"What the hell is this crap Orr?"
"it's my collectables, not crap"
"Well whatever it is clean it up we got to go meet at the mess hall in fifteen minutes."
"About what?" Orr looked up at him with a puzzled look on his face. "Bush sent a letter sayin something about terrorist attacks." Yossarian put on his jacket quickly and hurried Orr and Dunbar out of the tent. When they got to the mess hall everyone was already there, Colonel Cathcart was pacing back and forth impatiently on a makeshift stage made out of a few of the tables put together. The rustling of everyone getting settled in their seats and having little side conversations filled the room.
"Everyone sit down and shut up!" Cathcart blurted out. The room became quiet, everyone anxious to hear about the "urgent" letter. Cathcart cleared his voice to get everyone's attention. When all eyes were on him he began to fidget with his coat. "As most of you know by now, President Bush sent us a letter. The president warned, once again that terrorists and their supporters who hope to attack the United States would become a target of American justice. He also promised that outlaw regimes that seek weapons of mass destruction would be confronted."
A voice from the crowd blurted out. "Isn't that why we're here in the first place?" Cathcart quickly looked up from the paper and his eyes fell upon Yossarian.
"Excuse me? What did you just say?" Cathcart's voice had a astonished tone in it. "I said, isn't that why we're here in the first place? Because of the weapons of mass destruction and the terrorists." The room became dead quiet, the only sound in the room was Cathcart's heavy breathing.
"Of course that's why we're here damnit!"
"So what is the letter about, we already know--"
"Why don't you let me finish then! Stop being a smart ass and listen up!" Cathcart turned his attention to the letter again, his eyebrows scrunched up as he tried to remember where he left off. "Oh yes, here we are; now, President Bush also said that ‘anyone in the world, including the Arab world, who works and sacrifices for their Country has a loyal friend with the United States.'" Interrupted by a voice, once again, but this time a different voice echoed in the mess hall. "That makes no sense, these people we're fighting against are fighting for what they believe in, how are we supposed to be loyal friends?" Cathcart's eyes darted in the room the voice came from Dunbar this time, who happened to be sitting right next to Yossarian, who had his arms folded across his chest with a little smile on his face trying to hold back his chuckle. Colonel Cathcart took a moment to come up with something clever to say back, but when he realized he had nothing he came up with the first thing that he could think of. "Are you calling our president stupid?"
"No sir, it just doesn't make sense to me." Dunbar said in a shaky voice surprised with the question. Cathcart replied back in a witty tone "Well just because it doesn't make sense to you doesn't mean it doesn't make sense to everyone, Bush is a man of few words, and when he has something to say, we take it for granite! Does anyone else think it doesn't make sense?!" Every single man in the mess hall quickly looked down at the feet and started to fidget. "That's what I thought!" Colonel Cathcart seemed pleased with himself that no one dared to challenge him. Colonel Cathcart went on saying that the U.S troops will help Iraq form into a new world. He rambled on about the U.S troops difficult work remains to be done to ensure freedom to the people of Iraq. President Bush wanted to bring order to still dangerous areas; locate members of Saddam's regime and bring them to justice; help the Iraqi people rebuild their country and find weapons of mass destruction.
As Cathcart continued to ramble on with the letter the men started to get agitated and the rustling of feet and repositioning themselves in their chairs soon filled the air once again. Cathcart then pointed with his finger on the paper and said "Oh, and he also wanted me to assure you that no terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime because the regime is no more."
"Yeah, because we haven't found any yet!" Yossarian blurted out and the crowd of men started mumbling with one another agreeing with Yossarian's comment. Cathcart interrupted the chatting quickly. "Listen smart ass! Just because we haven't found them yet, doesn't mean we won't you got that?!" the crowd once again became quiet eager to see what Yossarian's response would be. "Well we haven't found them yet, and wouldn't they have used them already? Why would they just sit around letting their country get flattened out? Yossarian was ticked off that Cathcart was ignoring the truth. The men once again started talking amongst themselves, some yelling out ‘Yeah! Why!'. Colonel Cathcart stomped his foot and raised his voice loud enough so everyone could hear. "Save all questions till the end of the letter! Now where was I, oh yes, With best wishes, sincerely, President Bush." The room was still quiet, waiting to see what Cathcart would come up with next. Cathcart took a deep breath and dared to ask "Now, are there any questions?" Almost a third of the room's hands started going up in the air. But before the men's arms were fully extended, Colonel Cathcart quickly glanced out and said " no, questions? Well that will be all, you all are excused." Cathcart hopped off the makeshift stage and walked quickly out the door.
Yossarian and the men knew they were pissing off Colonel Cathcart on purpose, but the fact that he didn't know what half the letter was about made him the target of American justice.
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