Chapters 21-22 Summary

On a December morning, Paul Berlin awakens on a train. The view is the same rice fields he has seen the last two hundred miles. Paul checks on the lieutenant, who is asleep. Paul covers him with a poncho liner, accidentally awakening him. Paul tells him they are almost to Chittagong, which strikes the lieutenant as odd.

He tells Paul about the first time he was busted in the army, for being in a fight in which he never participated. A Seebee named Jack Daniels took him to a bar; the lieutenant passed out drunk. Jack Daniels started a brawl, and both were arrested. The lieutenant vows to get back at him should he see him again. He tells Paul they have been kidnapped, that Cacciato is small potatoes. Paul does not argue, and the lieutenant goes to sleep.

Paul thinks kidnapping might be a good term for it; he was on this trip to get Sarkin Aung Wan to Paris. He thinks the lieutenant might be right about Cacciato. On the train, the soldiers are doing things to keep busy. Oscar suggests they search the second-class car for Cacciato. Reluctantly, Paul goes along and frisks the passengers. The trainmaster stops them, telling them they are shameful. He and some men advance toward the Americans. Doc shoots out the windows as a warning, but they still advance. The soldiers escape to the first-class car and lock the door. Oscar and Eddie come back and report they have found nothing except Cacciato’s empty AWOL bag.

Eddie Lazzutti is a singer but does not like music created for a cause. Oscar Johnson insists he was born and raised in urban Detroit, where he first learned the principles of diplomacy.  Jim Pederson approaches any native wearing a cross or rosary and greets them. He says he wants to support Christianity in all forms. He even wrote to Billy Boy’s parents when he died of fright. Stink Harris cares for his weapon with precision. He introduced his sister to Bernie Lynn through letters, and the two began to correspond. Stink becomes irate when he finds a lewd picture of his sister in Bernie Lynn’s wallet. Lieutenant Corson believes in Mission, but not in any professional way, which is why the men love him. Doc Peret believes deeply in science. Most of the men are known by the name they choose to be called. Few know everyone’s real names.