When leper escapes
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Did you mean what excuse did he give the other boys?
I think this comes in chapter 10 when Gene is imagining what "escape" meant in Leeper's telegram,
"Leper had “escaped.” You didn’t “escape” from the army, so he must have escaped from something else. The most logical thing a soldier escapes from is danger, death, the enemy. Since Leper hadn’t been overseas the enemy must have been in this country. And the only enemies in this country would be spies. Leper had escaped from spies."