"I don't understand why you buy eggs at seven cents a piece in Malta and sell them for five cents."
"I do it to make a profit."
"But how can you make a profit? You lose two cents an egg."
"But I make a profit of three and a quarter cents an egg by selling them at four and a quarter cents an egg to the people in Malta I buy them from for seven cents an egg. Of course, I don't make the profit. The syndicate makes the profit. And everybody has a share."
Yossarian felt he was beginning to understand. "And the people you sell the eggs to at four and a quarter cents a piece make a profit of two and three quarter cents a piece when they sell them back to you at seven cents a piece. Is that right? Why don't you sell the eggs directly to you and eliminate the people you buy them from?"
"Because I am the people I buy them from," Milo explained. "I make a profit of three and a quarter cents a piece when I sell them to me and a profit of two and three quarter cents apiece when I buy them back from me. That's a total profit of six cents an egg. I lose only two cents an egg when I sell them to the mess halls at five cents apiece, and that's how I can make a profit buying eggs for seven cents apiece and selling them for five cents apiece. I pay only one cent a piece at the hen when I buy them in Sicily."
"In Malta," Yossarian corrected. "You buy your eggs in Malta, not Sicily."
Milo chortled proudly. "I don't buy eggs from Malta," he confessed... "I buy them in Sicily at one cent apiece and transfer them to Malta secretly at four and a half cents apiece in order to get the price of eggs up to seven cents when people come to Malta looking for them."