After breaking the glass at the Nurses’ Station, McMurphy is back to his old troublemaking ways. Even Doctor Spivey begins to assert himself with the nurse. The aides put a piece of cardboard where McMurphy broke the glass, and Ratched continues to sit behind it as if it were transparent—she looks like “a picture turned to the wall.” Ratched rejects McMurphy’s petition for an Accompanied Pass, which is a permission to spend time outside the ward while attended by another person. McMurphy wants to leave the ward with a prostitute he knows from Portland, Candy Starr. As a result of Ratched’s denial, McMurphy shatters the replacement glass pane, claiming he did not know it had been replaced. Bromden notes that the nurse shows signs that her patience is starting to wear down. When the glass is replaced again, Scanlon accidentally smashes it with a basketball, which she then throws away.
Doctor Spivey grants McMurphy’s request for a pass to take a fishing trip with nine other patients, accompanied by two of his aunts. Men begin to sign up for the trip, each paying McMurphy ten dollars for the boat rental. Meanwhile, Ratched pins newspaper clippings about rough weather and wrecked boats on the bulletin board. Bromden wants to sign the list, but he is afraid to blow his deaf-and-dumb cover, realizing that he has to “keep acting deaf if [he] wanted to hear at all.” He remembers that when he was ten, three people came to his home to talk to his father about buying the tribe’s land. When Bromden spoke to them, they acted like he had not said a word. This memory represents the first time in a long time that he has remembered something about his childhood.
Geever, an aide, wakes Bromden and McMurphy in the middle of the night when he scrapes off the wads of gum under Bromden’s bed. He tells McMurphy that he has tried for a long time to find out where Bromden, as an indigent patient, could obtain gum. After he leaves the dorm, McMurphy gives Bromden some Juicy Fruit, and Bromden, before he can think of what he is doing, thanks him. McMurphy tells him that when he was a boy, he took a job picking beans. The adults ignored him, so McMurphy silently listened to their malicious gossip all summer. At the end of the season, he told everyone what the others said in their absence, creating havoc. Bromden replies that he is too little to do something bold like that.
McMurphy offers to make Bromden big again with his special body-building course. He offers to pay Bromden’s share of the fishing trip fee if he promises to get strong enough to lift the control panel in the tub room. He tells Bromden that the aunts who will accompany them are in reality two prostitutes. When McMurphy notices Bromden’s erection, he states that Bromden is getting bigger already. Right then, McMurphy adds Bromden’s name to the list. The next day he persuades George Sorenson, a former fisherman, to take the last slot.
When Candy arrives at the hospital—without Sandy—the men are transfixed by her beauty and femininity. Ratched threatens to cancel the trip because all the patients cannot fit into Candy’s car, and they do not have a second driver. In doing so, she discovers that McMurphy lied about the cost of the rental to make a profit off the other patients. She tries to use this information as part of her typical divide-and-conquer strategy, but the other patients do not seem to mind. McMurphy then persuades Doctor Spivey to come with them and drive the second car. When they stop for gas, the attendant tries to take advantage of them. McMurphy gets out of the car and warns him that they are a bunch of crazy, psychopathic murderers. The other patients, seeing that their illness could actually be a source of power for them, lose their nervousness and follow his lead in using their insanity to intimidate the attendant.
Bromden marvels at the changes the Combine has wrought on the Outside—the thousands of mechanized commuters and houses and children. When they get to the docks, the captain of the boat does not allow them to take the trip, because he does not have a signed waiver exonerating him should any accidents occur. Meanwhile, the men on the dock harass Candy, and the patients are ashamed that they are too afraid to stand up for her. To distract the captain of the boat, McMurphy gives him a phone number to call. When the captain goes to call, McMurphy herds the patients onto the boat. They are already out to sea by the time the captain realizes the number belongs to a brothel.