Chapters 35-36 Summary
Paul Berlin goes to find Cacciato fishing in the Lake Country. Cacciato had tied a paperclip to a piece of string and baited it with bits of ham, casting it into a flooded crater. Paul tries to tell him there are no fish in there, but Cacciato keeps fishing, insisting he has had some nibbles on the line. Paul tells him that the others want him to touch the grenade as a sign of camaraderie in a plan to stand up to Lieutenant Sidney Martin’s insistence that all the tunnels be searched. Cacciato tells Paul that Martin is not all that bad and resists, so Paul grabs his hand and places it against the grenade. He returns and tells the others that Cacciato is in.
From their prison cells in Tehran, the men are taken at gunpoint, their necks having been shaved once again. They are locked in a large common cell. Paul falls asleep, dreaming of miracles. When he awakens, he sees Cacciato’s face appear at the window and thinks he is still asleep, dreaming, but Cacciato hands him an M16 rifle and whispers to him to go. There is an explosion, and the iron door is shattered.
The men grab their clothes and boots and take off running, followed by gunfire. They escape jail and go running through the streets and alleys of Tehran. Cacciato leads them to a getaway car. Oscar drives and races through the streets. Suddenly, the sky ignites with flairs and Paul Berlin realizes they have run into an ambush. The car is hit with a shot from a tank. Stink falls out of the car, barely hanging onto the door. The tanks keep firing, hitting the car. Stink is pulled into the car and they take off into open country.
All through the night, the escaped soldiers of Third Squad travel through the flat country of Iran. Paul Berlin thinks of how out of control his life has become. He thinks that what happened to Lieutenant Sidney Martin was a “very sad thing.” This is exactly what Cacciato had said the day after “it” happened. Martin was replaced by Lieutenant Corson. An hour before dawn, the soldiers drove into Ankara, Turkey. By late morning, they have reached the sea. Paul, who is now at the wheel, drives straight to the harbor. He points west across the sea, saying that it can be done.