"This Lieutenant Reagan complained that you kept trying to tell him a story about a lizard," the major says.

"Sir! Yes, sir! A giant lizard, sir! An interesting story, sir!" Shaftoe says.

"I don't care," the major says. "The question is, was it an appropriate story to tell in that circumstance?"

"Sir! We were making our way around the coast of the island, trying to get between these Nips and a Tokyo Express landing site, sir!..." Shaftoe begins.

"Shut up!"

"Sir! Yes sir!"

There is a sweaty silence that is finally broken by the colonel. "We had the shrinks go over your statement, Sergeant Shaftoe."

"Sir! Yes sir!"

"They are of the opinion that the whole giant lizard thing is a classic case of projection."

"Sir! Could you please tell me what the hell that is, sir!"

That was from quite a few pages back... but it gave me a good laugh. Then a while later:

"Battles have hinged on lesser strokes of luck than this one, Sergeant!"

"You're telling me!?" Shaftoe says. "When I was on the Guadalcanal, sir, we got trapped in this little cove and pinned down --"

"I don't want to hear the lizard story, Sergeant!"

"Sir! Yes, sir!"

I love that character... sometimes I skim through the other stuff just to get back to his bits. I mean, the book's like 900 pages long, skimming is practically required if I'm going to finish it before I'm 50.


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