One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Chapter 24
Once again McMurphy is back to his old tricks, as if nothing had changed. The Big Nurse holds off on trying to stop him until she can come up with something new. McMurphy gets together enough of the guys to start a basketball team, and talks Doctor Spivey into letting them bring a ball back to the ward. When Nurse Ratched objects, the doctor holds his ground. McMurphy and the Big Nurse are extremely polite to each other now. He signs up on the bulletin board for an Accompanied Guest Pass. Nurse Ratched refuses to allow it, on the grounds that the person he put as his chaperon, a "twitch" he knew, didn't sound like a responsible woman.
McMurphy agrees, then goes over and puts his hand right through the newly replaced window in the nurse's station.
The Acutes play a basketball game against the aides. They lose by twenty points, but over the course of the game, McMurphy manages to provoke one of the black aides into trying to attack him, which it makes it feel like a victory. A new window gets up put up, this time with a large X painted across it so that McMurphy can't miss it. A basketball gets thrown through the window during a practice session, destroying the ball, and ending the season.
At a group meeting, McMurphy proposes a pass to go fishing with some of the men, accompanied by his two elderly aunts. The pass is granted for next weekend, and Nurse Ratched takes out a newsclipping about how rough and dangerous the sea is this year. She puts it up on the bulletin board right next to the sign up sheet for the trip. As the week goes by, the Nurse brings in more and more articles about wrecks, and McMurphy has a tough time getting men who are willing to go.
Bromden wants to go, but he doesn't have the money; besides, signing his name would be as good as admitting he could hear. He wonders if after the years of pretending he was deaf and dumb, if he could own up to it. But then he remembers it was other people who started treating him like he couldn't speak or understand what was going on around him. He just started playing along. He remembers one time when he was a child that some white folks came to visit his house, discussing how they were going to reach a settlement with the Indians. Bromden speaks to them, and they treat him as if he weren't even there. While he listens, the woman of the group decides that it would be best for them to send the details of their arrangement to Bromden's white wife; it would make their jobs easier.
Back in the present, Bromden sees that an orderly has found his secret stash of chewing gum, and is taking it away. McMurphy accosts him, and the aide tells McMurphy that for years he's been wondering where the Chief gets his gum. He leaves, and McMurphy gives Bromden a stick of gum. Before he can think to stop, Bromden says "Thank you."
McMurphy wonders why the Chief hasn't talked in so long. Has he been saving up for something? Bromden says no he hasn't, he's too small. McMurphy laughs at this, telling him he (Bromden) is the biggest man on the ward, but Bromden disagrees. He talks about how his father was big when he was young, but how his mother grew to be twice his size. He tells how the Combine overworked his father, till he wound up drinking himself to death.
McMurphy asks him why he didn't sign up to go on the fishing trip tomorrow, and Bromden tells him he's broke. McMurphy makes a deal with him: if Bromden will let McMurphy bring him back up to size, so that he can lift the control panel in the day room, he'll pay Bromden's way. Bromden agrees.