David W. Christner
Copyright 1996

 SCENE: The interior of a lovely American home in a fashionable section
  of Cambridge, MA is visible on a dimly illuminated stage.  Four rooms 
  are at least partially visible--a master bedroom and nursery upstairs;
  downstairs there is a dining room and an adjacent den/family room. 
  In the dining room the table is set elegantly for three with fine
  crystal and china, and in the den a gun case is visible along with a
  bar and an abundance of green plants. The flavor of the furnishings
  in the house is distinguished by an air of patriotism.  In the dim
  light, VOICES can be heard coming from the bedroom.
   SAM  (impatiently) What's wrong?
 ANGEL  (irritated) Nothing!  Nothing's wrong!
 (Bed sounds, silence, then:)
   SAM  You're not concentrating.
 ANGEL  I shouldn't have to concentrate; it's supposed to be
   SAM  Then be natural.
 ANGEL  I can't.
   SAM  Why not?
 ANGEL  I'm concentrating.
   SAM  Jesus!
 (SAM switches on a bedside lamp, and the lights come up.
 He is in bed with ANGEL, his wife.  Both are about thirty. He
 is plump; she, thin, a very attractive blue eyed blond, cut
 from the Miss America mold.)
   SAM  What the hell?
 ANGEL  I'm sorry, Sam, but I just can't do it like this.  I have to
        feel something.
   SAM  (grabbing her hand) Feel this.
 ANGEL  (jerking away) Stop it!
 (She gets up, slips on a robe, and goes to her dressing table.)
   SAM  Come here, baby.  Come to uncle Sam.
 ANGEL  No!  This is insane; there isn't time; I'm nervous.  And I
        don't understand why you came home demanding sex.
   SAM  There's plenty of time.
 ANGEL  (checks time) No, there isn't.  He'll be early. I remember
        that; he always came early.
   SAM  That's too bad.
 ANGEL  He always arrived early.
   SAM  Oh, well, he won't be early tonight.  (A beat.)  Nine years
        is a long time.  You don't even know what he's like now.  He
        could have changed.  Come here.
   SAM  Angel.  Baby.
 ANGEL  Why?  Why?
   SAM  I want you.
 ANGEL  Why now?  (Silence.)  I know why . . . you want him to catch
        us, don't you? That's it, isn't it, Sam?
   SAM  What are you talking about?
 ANGEL  Oh, I see it clearly now.  You want to answer the door while
        you're pulling up your pants so he'll know.  You want to rub
        it in.
   SAM  He does know.  We're married.
 ANGEL  But you have to rub it in.  Don't you?
   SAM  You're crazy!
 ANGEL  Why do you hate him so much?
   SAM  Hate him?
 (SAM rises and puts on a robe.)
   SAM  Hate him!  We grew up together, went through hell together.
        See these?  (Displays scars on back of legs and buttocks.) I
        owe him my life!
 ANGEL  (snaps) So do I.
   SAM  What is that supposed to mean?
 ANGEL  Just that if it weren't for Tom Charles, I wouldn't be where
        I am today.
   SAM  And just where is that?
 ANGEL  Under the limitless blue skies of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
   SAM  You go to hell!
 ANGEL  I already have!
   SAM  God, I see you're going to be your own sweet self tonight.
 ANGEL  I'll try.
   SAM  I don't give a damn how you treat me, but the least you can
        do is to treat Tom like a guest.
 ANGEL  Because he's such a dear friend?
   SAM  Yes!  Because he's a friend, an old and dear friend.
 ANGEL  Then why didn't you see him before now?  Why did you wait
        all these year to get together with your old and dear 
        friend Tom?
   SAM  You know why.  Because--because I didn't know how he'd react
        to my--
 ANGEL  Marrying me?  Marrying his girl, his lover?
   SAM  You weren't his girl when I married you, Angel.  You weren't
        anybody's girl, or is that what you were-anybody's girl?
 ANGEL  (hurt, reflectively) No, I guess I wasn't Tom's girl.  If he 
        had wanted me, he would have come home.
   SAM  You just keep that in mind tonight.  Okay?
 (ANGEL just stares at him.)
   SAM  Anyway, I lost contact with him when I got back.  I didn't
        even know where to begin looking for him.
 ANGEL  Or you didn't want to find him.
   SAM  Because of you?
 ANGEL  No, because of you.  Or him.
   SAM  Don't be ridiculous.  TOM was my best friend, the best
        friend I ever had.
 ANGEL  Was?  Had?
   SAM  Is!  Okay?  Have.
 ANGEL  Okay.  (A beat.)  He certainly has you upset; I'll say that
        for him.
   SAM  Me?  What about you?  When you can't even screw there's
        definitely something wrong.  And I'm not upset--just anxious.
 ANGEL  To see your dear friend, Tom?
   SAM  Yeah, yeah!  To see my friend, Tom.  Okay?  (ANGEL just
        smiles.)  Angel, you don't know what war does to men-being
        that close to dying, to have your friends dying all around
        you.  It--it means something; it . . . I can't explain it.
        It's something you have to experience, something you have to
        live through.
 ANGEL  Sam, please, spare me the macho Hemingway bullshit. Before-
        before Tom stopped writing he told me what the war was like
        for both of you.  Until the TET offensive you'd had a pretty
        easy time of it.
   SAM  That's a lie!  We were into all kinds of bad shit from day
        one.  He--he just didn't want you to worry.
 ANGEL  (bitterly) Ha!  Didn't want me to worry.  He didn't give a 
        damn whether I worried or not.
   SAM  What else did he tell you . . . before he stopped writing?
 ANGEL  (hard, then nearly breaking) Oh, he wrote often of his love 
        and adoration for me.  Of plans for our future, of how we would
        love each other, grow old and finally die together because
        neither of us would want to go on living without the other.
        (A beat.) He had a way with words.
   SAM  Things changed.
 ANGEL  Dammit, I know that!  And I want to know what changed them.
        I want to know what happened over there!
   SAM  A war happened, a great big beautiful war.  The men that
        left here weren't the same ones that came back.  Some men it
        made better, some--
 ANGEL  It made you better?
   SAM  It made a man out of me, made me grow up.
 ANGEL  And what did it do to Tom Charles?  He was already a man.
        What did that "great big beautiful war" of yours do to the
        men that didn't need to grow up?
   SAM  I don't know.  Ask Tom.
 ANGEL  I intend to.
   SAM  Well, let me tell you something first, for your own good.
 ANGEL  Something about Tom?
   SAM  And you.  (A beat.)  If he loved you, he sure as hell didn't
        show it, not over there anyway?
 ANGEL  Liar!
   SAM  TOM had more whores than supply chits.
 ANGEL  I don't believe that . . . besides, why should I care?  We
        weren't married.  I didn't expect him to abstain from sex
        for a year.  (A beat.)  I didn't.  Did I?
   SAM  (smiling) You sure didn't.
 ANGEL  Oh no, while your best friend, no--no, your--your war buddy
        was still in Nha Trang, you were shacked up with his best
        girl in Boston.
   SAM  It was just one of those things.
 ANGEL  Just one of those wonderful things--you got me pregnant!
   SAM  And an abortion.  Don't forget the good part.
 ANGEL  After we were married!
   SAM  I didn't want you to be stuck with a kid and a husband you
        didn't want.
 ANGEL  But you didn't mind getting stuck with a woman you didn't
        love, but also one that you still refuse to give up.  (A beat.)
        Why did you marry me, Sam?  (Silence.)  To hurt Tom? Why?
   SAM  Darling, I married you for love.
 ANGEL  You don't know what love is.  You didn't then; you don't
   SAM  What about you, Angel?  You didn't have to marry me.
 ANGEL  But I did have to.  I was pregnant.  That was almost nine
        years ago; things were different then, and I was a
        respectable, if slightly tarnished, young woman from a good
        family.  I had to that's all.  (A beat.)  You don't think I
        married you for love?
   SAM  Why did you then?  Or do you even know?
 ANGEL  I know.  I know all right.
   SAM  My charm, huh?  Or was it my body? Just couldn't get
        enough of it, could you?  (A beat.)  At least there's
        the money now-this house, the club, that BMW you drive,
        nice clothes. You could have done a lot worse.
 ANGEL  You could have too.
   SAM  Jesus!  Why don't we quit this?  Nothing changes.
 ANGEL  Only because you won't let it.
   SAM  And because you don't want things to get better.
 ANGEL  Better!  Better than what?  Sam, I can't love a man
        that doesn't love me and never has.
   SAM  Does the tennis pro at the club love you?  I know all
        about that, you know.  Been working overtime on your
        backhand, Angel darling?
 ANGEL  And I know all about your . . . lady friends.
   SAM  You don't know jack shit!
 ANGEL  I know what I am to you--a receptacle, nothing more.
   SAM  And you love it.
 ANGEL  Like hell I do.  I want . . . to be needed, cared for.
        There's nothing here but sex.  No need, no commitment--
   SAM  No, "love, sweet love."
 ANGEL  Bastard!  (A beat.)  I have a surprise for you, Sam.
   SAM  Great!  I love surprises.
 ANGEL  You won't love this one.
   SAM  No?
 ANGEL  (sweetly) No. I'm pregnant, again.  Surprise.
   SAM  What?
 ANGEL  I'm pregnant, knocked up, heavy with child.  I'm going
        to have a little baby, a child.
   SAM  How the hell could--
 ANGEL  It's not yours.
   SAM  Bitch!  Slut!  You'd better be lying.  (SAM slaps her.)
        If you're not--
 ANGEL  Not what?  Pregnant?  Or lying?
   SAM  Whose is it?
 ANGEL  I don't know.  Could be almost anyone's.
 (He slaps her again.)
   SAM  Liar!  Whose?
 ANGEL  Tom's.
   SAM  Liar!  Bitch!  Slut!  Tell me the truth.
 ANGEL  Yours.
 (SAM slaps her again and again. ANGEL is laughing and crying
 almost hysterically.)
   SAM  Damn you!  Bitch!  Whore!
 ANGEL  You talk so nice.
   SAM  Shut up!  (He thinks while her laughter/crying dies
        away.) Angel--Angel!  Are you pregnant?  Dammit, don't
        you lie to me; I'm warning you.  Don't you lie to me.
 ANGEL  (smiles) No.
 (Silence.  Then:)
   SAM  Fucking liar!  By god, I'm telling you.  This kid had
        better have blue eyes and my blood type.
 ANGEL  What about skin?  Almond?  Chocolate brown?  Yellow?
   SAM  You're such a sweet bitch.  No wonder I love you so.
 ANGEL  Don't flatter me so, Sam.  It just makes me all weak and
        wet inside.
   SAM  I love you so.
 ANGEL  You're so good to me, always hitting me with your open
        hand. In all these years of marriage you've never left a
        mark.  I really appreciate that.
   SAM  I do what I can.  We're such a great team.  (Checks
        time.) Almost seven.  Shall we get ready to greet our guest?
 ANGEL  Your guest, darling.  He's your friend.
   SAM  But he's an old friend of yours too, a close friend.
 ANGEL  But not a war buddy; that makes a difference.
   SAM  You bet it does.  It's like--
 ANGEL  Don't try to explain.  I wouldn't understand.  You have
        to live through that sort of thing. (A beat.)  What are
        you going to wear, Sam?  (Pause.)  I know.
        Your uniform!  Why don't you wear your uniform just for
        old times sake?
   SAM  I don't think that's necessary.
 ANGEL  Yes, yes of course.  Your uniform!  Full dress with
        medals, Purple Heart, Cross of Gallantry, everything.  That
        would be splendid.
   SAM  No, Angel.
 ANGEL  Are you ashamed, Sam?  Sorry you defended American democracy
        from the yellow peril?
   SAM  No!  I'm not ashamed.
 ANGEL  Wear it then.  You look so--heroic; and I just melt when
        I see a man in uniform.  You want to wear it; I know you do.
        You had the coat on just yesterday, studying yourself in front 
        of the mirror.  I saw you.  Chest out, head up, chin down--is 
        that the way it goes?  I'll put on some marching tunes, and 
        you and Tom can march around, call cadence, just have a grand 
        ole time.  And I'll even act like the whore that I am for you 
        two soldier boys.
   SAM  That's enough!  I'll wear the uniform if it will make
        you shut up, but nothing else.  No music, no marching.
        And you just be yourself--that's whore enough for both
        of us.
 ANGEL  I'll be with the two men who would know best.
 (Silently they begin dressing. He drags a Marine dress uniform
 from the closet; ANGEL removes an ao-dai from her dresser. She
 places it on the bed as SAM almost unconsciously begins humming
 the Marine Corps Hymn. After a moment he turns and sees the ao-dai.)
   SAM  What the hell is that?
 ANGEL  An ao-dai; it's what the women in Vietnam wear.
   SAM  I know that!
 ANGEL  Then why did you ask me what it was?
   SAM  Where did it come from?
 ANGEL  (checking label) Saigon. A shop called--
   SAM  Shit!  Where did you get it?
 ANGEL  From Tom.  He sent it to me years ago.  (She holds it up
        to her body.)  You like soldier?
   SAM  You're not wearing it!  I won't have you looking like
        some gook whore.  Not in my house.
 ANGEL  Don't tell me what clothes to wear.  If you can play
        soldier then I can play my game too.
   SAM  Jesus!  Why tonight?  Why did you have to drag it out
 ANGEL  For Tom.  I want to wear it for Tom, if he was so fond
        of Vietnamese women.  And I want to wear it because--
        because tonight is going to be a very special night.  I
        can feel it.
   SAM  Special?  How?
 ANGEL  Tonight is going to be special because I'm going to find
        out what happened over there.  I'm going to find out why
        TOM didn't come home, and why I married you instead of him.
   SAM  TOM didn't come back because he didn't want to, because
        he didn't want you.
 ANGEL  I don't believe that.
   SAM  He's not here is he?  Hasn't been here for nine years,
        has he?  (Silence.)  Angel?
 ANGEL  No.  No!  He's not!.  (A beat.)  And I want to know why.
   SAM  You just keep your mouth shut.  What happened over there
        happened to us; it happened to the guys who fought the war.
 ANGEL  No.  It happened to me too; it happened to all of us.
        How can you say it didn't happen to us?  We . . . what
        is it, Sam?  Does this talk of the war frighten you?
   SAM  No, it doesn't frighten me.  It's just that--that some
        things are best not remembered.  If Tom wants to talk,
        I'll let him, but don't push him.  It would be hard on
        him because--because he was--different from the rest of
        us. He didn't like--to talk about it.
 ANGEL  Oh, I've never pushed Tom.  If I had maybe he'd married
        me before he left, and--
   SAM  Well, aren't you the lucky one?
 ANGEL  Oh, I get down on my knees and thank God every night.
   SAM  Is that what you're doing down there?
 ANGEL  You go to hell!
   SAM  Show me the way, Angel.  You seem to think you know it.
 ANGEL  You know why I detest you so much?
   SAM  Can't be my charm.
 ANGEL  Because you make me hate myself.  You've made me such a bitch.
   SAM  I have a knack for bringing out the best in people.
 ANGEL  How about, Tom?  Did you bring out the best in Tom?
   SAM  (reflects, then) Oh, yes.  I brought out the best in Tom, 
        the very best. I made us both heroes--Tom terrific and Sam--
 ANGEL  The sham!
   SAM  Very funny, Angel.
 ANGEL  So, Tom's a hero too?  You never told me that.
   SAM  I don't like to talk about it.
 ANGEL  What?  The war!
   SAM  Yeah!  The war!  I don't like to talk about it.
 ANGEL  But that's practically all you ever talk about.  Your
        glory days as a Cong killer.  You've never mentioned Tom
        though, except in a derogatory sense.
   SAM  That's a lie!  TOM . . .
 ANGEL  TOM . . . what?
   SAM  TOM was a good soldier; he just didn't--fit all the
        time. I already told you he was different.
 ANGEL  I know he was different.  But you fit just fine, an
        exemplary grunt.
   SAM  I did my job.
 ANGEL  Which was what?
   SAM  To do what I was told, to keep my mouth shut.  To serve
        my country.  I'm not ashamed; I can hold my head up.
 ANGEL  To whom?
   SAM  God, you are a bitch.  You can't see the good side of
 ANGEL  Good side!  My God, Sam, you know how many kids on both
        sides died in that war?  And for what?
 (The bell rings below.)
   SAM  There he is.
 ANGEL  You get it.  I'll be down in a while.
   SAM  Don't be long.  I know he'll be anxious to see you.
 ANGEL  Oh, yes, I know he's very anxious to see me--after all
        these years.
   SAM  You just keep that in mind,  okay?  Nine years.  Nine
 ANGEL  I can count, Sam.  Just get the door.
   SAM  Don't be long.
 ANGEL  I'll just give you boys a chance to reminisce about all
        those things a wife and former lover wouldn't want to
        hear about.  You know--man talk.  I mean, Jesus, how
        many super bowls did you boys miss seeing together?
 (Bell rings again, longer.)
   SAM  I'll get the door now.
 ANGEL  Do that, Sam.  I'll be down indirectly.
 (SAM goes below while ANGEL continues dressing.  She
 sits down at a dressing table with her back to the
 audience and begins applying her make-up. Downstairs, SAM
 goes to the bar, pours some scotch, gulps it down, and
 starts for the door.  The bell rings again. SAM
 hesitates at then door, then finally opens it.)
   SAM  Tom!  TOM Charles!  Goddammit man!  Come in; come in
 (TOM CHARLES, a thin sullen but attractive man of about
 30 enters.  Somehow he looks used, almost broken.)
   SAM  Son of a bitch, it's good to see you!  Come on in.  Get
        in here.  Let me look at you for chrissake!
   TOM  (woodenly) Hello, Sam.
   SAM  Goddamn.  Gooooodamn!  You look. . . great, a little on
        the thin side maybe, but great.  Let me get you a drink.
        Son of a bitch!  Nine years.  Nine fucking years!
        Haven't changed a bit.
   TOM  I've changed.
   SAM  So, how has life been treating you?
   TOM  Indifferently.
   SAM  (at stairs) Honey.  Honey!  Come on down.  He's here. Tom's
        here! (SAM goes to bar.)  Scotch, Tom?  Still drinking scotch?
   TOM  Never did.  Rum.  You drink scotch.  You and Hal, at
        least Hal used too.
   SAM  Right, rum.  You used to say, "Right as rum, right?"
        How could I forget?
   TOM  Just slipped your mind, I guess.
   SAM  Yeah, well . . . one rum-coco coming up.  (A beat.)  Hal
        drank scotch, yeah.  How the hell is ole Hal?
   TOM  Dead.
   SAM  What?
   TOM  He's dead; ole Hal is dead as a boot.
   SAM  No shit?
   TOM  No.  Dead!
   SAM  How?
   TOM  Mortar frag took his face off a month after you got out.
   SAM  Goddammit, that's rough.  Lousy fucking war.
   TOM  I thought you liked it, Sam?
   SAM  No, no, I didn't like it.  I mean it was a war, the only
        one we had.  You--you had to make the best of it.  But shit
        . . . mortar frag, that's rough.
   TOM  He may be better off than a lot of us.
   SAM  His family all right?  Didn't he have a wife, a couple
        of kids? 
   TOM  They got their check. . . and a flag.  The government
        game them the flag that the box was wrapped in--no charge.
   SAM  Well, that's something.  Ten grand, nothing to bitch
   TOM  And they can use that flag for a bedspread, a beach
        towel, all kinds of things.
   SAM  Look, Tom, I'm serious.
   TOM  So am I.
   SAM  The gooks didn't give their people anything.
   TOM  Gave'em hell.  The same thing that we gave'em.
   SAM  Still bitter, aren't you?
   TOM  Me?  Bitter?
   SAM  Shit, Tom, let's not get off on that track.  There's
        been too much of that already.  Let's remember the good
 (SAM hands TOM a drink then pours himself another tumbler of scotch.)
   SAM  To the good times.
   TOM  Jesus!  There were so many of them I hardly know which
        one to toast.  To--all of them, all the good times.
   SAM  (uncomfortably) Yeah . . . cheers.
 (Silence.  Then:)
   TOM  You look . . . fit enough, Sam.
   SAM  Yeah, I'm fine, great.
   TOM  Uniform's a little tight though.
   SAM  (pats his stomach) A hazard of the good life, I guess, 
        but I can still squeeze into it.  Once a Marine--
   TOM  Always a Marine.
   SAM  Took the words right out of my mouth.
   TOM  Sorry.
   SAM  Damn!  Nine years.  Seems like a hundred.
   TOM  Two.
   SAM  Two?
   TOM  Two hundred.
   SAM  Yeah, yeah, two hundred.  Time flies--
   TOM  Like a speeding bullet.
   SAM  (nervously) Yeah, shit . . . too bad about Hal.
   TOM  Especially for him.
   SAM  Yeah . . . shit I can't believe you're really here, Tom.
   TOM  I can't either.
   SAM  In the flesh.  (A beat.) Jesus, Nam!  We had some times,
        didn't we?
   TOM  Did we?
 (SAM gulps his drink and pours another.)
   SAM  Goddammit, Tom, I'm trying to be civil.  You called,
        told me you were in town.  I--I invited you into my
        house, as an old friend, a war buddy.  I wanted you to
        see Angel. Now what the hell?
   TOM  You're right.  I'm sorry, Sam; I'm being a shit--nerves,
        I guess. Things have been a little rough.  You
   SAM  Yeah, yeah, it's all right.  Sorry I flared up; I'm a
        little on edge myself.  (Goes to stairs.) Angel.  Angel!
        Hurry up. (To TOM.)  Women.
   TOM  Yeah . . . women.
   SAM  So, how are things?
   TOM  Which things?
   SAM  You know, just--things, things in general.
   TOM  We lost the war.
   SAM  (confused) What?
   TOM  The war.  The one we fought in . . . we lost.
   SAM  Yeah, yeah . . . I know.  Jesus!
 (TOM surveys the surroundings.)
   TOM  Nice place, Sam.
   SAM  (shrugs) Thanks.  It works for us.  And at two hundred grand,
        believe me, it was a steal.
   TOM  I bet.  (A beat.)  You're doing all right then?
   SAM  Hey, I'm doing a whole lot better than all right.  I
        make a killing in the market every day--buy and sell,
        buy and sell, I get paid a commission for both
        regardless of what a stock does.  (A beat.)  It's
        amazing what you can do with a few brains in this
   TOM  And amazing what a few brains in this country can do.
   SAM  Isn't that what I just said?
   TOM  Was it?
   SAM  (lost) I thought so.  Jesus . . .
   TOM  You're a broker, huh?
   SAM  Yeah, right, a broker.  Just started my own firm--
        business thriving, bull market, money pouring in from
        all over. Let me tell you something.
   TOM  A hot tip?  Inside info?
   SAM  No.  Just a fundamental principle of our economic system.
   TOM  Shoot.
   SAM  If you've got it, it ain't hard to make it.  Cheers!
   TOM  That's what they say, all right.
   SAM  It's true.  Absolutely.
   TOM  Happy huh?
   SAM  Happy?  That's not the word for it.
   TOM  I didn't think so.
   SAM  I've got it all:  beautiful wife--
   TOM  I know.
   SAM  Lovely home, position, respect--
   TOM  All the ingredients of an American pie.
   SAM  Yeah, right--what?!
   TOM  An American pie.
   SAM  I don't get it.
 (TOM stares at him for a moment.)
   TOM  Of course you don't.  It's got you--and me and damn near
        everybody else.  That's the thing about an American pie.
   SAM  Jesus, Tom!  What the shit?  What the hell's an
        American pie?
   TOM  Don't you know, Sam?  Some honor, or what we mistake
        as honor; some noble intentions, a sprinkling of twisted
        logic, a dash of fear, two cups of greed, power--lots
        of power, and a plausible excuse.  Put it all together.
        Cover it with some palatable lies, simmer for two hundred 
        years, and you come up with a Vietnam, or a Korea, or a
        Wounded Knee, or some other goddamn thing.
 (SAM just stares at him; he still doesn't get it.)
   TOM  Dig it, Sam!  That's what got me:  swallowed too
        much pie, and I just got a small piece.  But you.  You're
        still trying to swallow the whole damn thing, but you
        can't. When you do that you become part of the whole.
   SAM  Tom!  What the hell are you talking about?  American Pie?
   TOM  You.  Me.  Angel.  This country.  Can't you see that?
   SAM  I can see that your mind is still somewhere out there in
        left field.  What have you been reading anyway?
   TOM  (sighs heavily) The Betty Crocker Cookbook.
   SAM  I thought so.  That American pie business sure sounds
        like a crock to me.  (A beat.)  Another drink?
   TOM  I'm fine.  You go ahead though.  (He does.)  How's Angel?
   SAM  Angel?  Good.  Fine.  You know Angel.
   TOM  Yeah, I know her.
   SAM  I didn't mean that.
   TOM  Didn't mean what?
   SAM  That--that you knew her.  I mean, I know that you knew
        her before . . . shit, forget it.
   TOM  It's a hard thing to forget, Sam.
   SAM  I didn't mean that!
   TOM  I didn't either.
   SAM  No, I . . . anyway, Angel is fine, just fine.  She's not
        hard to please.
   TOM  I know that too.  (A beat.)  You married well, Sam.
   SAM  My charm, I guess.
   TOM  Undoubtedly.
   SAM  Shit it's good to see you, Tom.  I really mean that.
   TOM  I've been looking forward to it for a long time.  Seeing
        both you and Angel, re-establishing ties, making contact.
        (A beat.)  I guess I owe her some kind of an explanation.
        Did you ever . . .
   SAM  No, no!  I never said anything--about that.  I--I--
        didn't think it was my place to tell her.  Of course she
        wondered what happened; she would naturally be curious,
        but . . . I just never said.
   TOM  I appreciate that, Sam; I really do.  It's the least you
        couldn't have done.
   SAM  Goddammit, Tom!  You keep playing these word games.  I
        never know when you're serious.  "The least I couldn't
        have done." What the fuck does that mean?
   TOM  It simply means that you couldn't have done more--and
        you didn't.
   SAM  Shit!
   TOM  It's the scotch, Sam.  You do drink scotch.  It has your
        mind all muddled.  It's perfectly clear to me.
   SAM  Don't try to explain.
   TOM  I couldn't if I wanted to, which I don't.  (Silence.)
        Did you hear about Captain Able?
   SAM  No, no I didn't.  What about him?
   TOM  He made Major.
   SAM  Oh.  (A beat.)  That's it?  That's all?
   TOM  No, that's not all.  It was a field promotion.  He attacked
        an NVA tank with a handful of grenades and his .45.
   SAM  Jesus!  And he made Major posthumously.  That's not
        funny, Tom.
   TOM  Not funny?  It's hilarious--he took the tank, dropped a
        grenade down the hatch, just like John Wayne.  Finished
        off the crew with his .45.
   SAM  No shit?
   TOM  True story.  Got a Silver Star for his trouble.  Would
        have won a Medal of Honor if he'd had taken even the
        slightest wound.
   SAM  Some fucking guy--took a tank with a .45!  No shit!  You
        seen him?
   TOM  Why, I wouldn't go near him.  But I understand he's an
        instructor at the Academy--undoubtedly teaching Middies
        how to take tanks with .45s.
   SAM  Even you've got to admit that took some guts.  Jesus!
   TOM  Sure as hell wasn't brains.
 (SAM goes to stairs.)
   SAM  Angel.  Angel!  Goddammit, get down here!
 ANGEL  Coming dear.  Is Tom here?
   SAM  Hell yes!  I told you he was.
 ANGEL  Was?
   SAM  Is!  TOM is here, right here, right now, in the flesh.
        Now hurry up.
 ANGEL  Don't you mean down?
   SAM  Okay, down.  (To TOM.)  Great sense of humor, that girl.
   TOM  Terrific.
 (As a final touch ANGEL takes out a black wig and
 places it carefully on her head.  Then she turns away
 from the mirror. She has made herself up to look like
 an Oriental, and in the wig and ao-dai she bears a
 striking resemblance to a Vietnamese beauty.)
   SAM  Wait 'til you see her, Tom; she's as beautiful as ever.
        Hasn't changed a bit.  (Looks up the stairs and sees
        her.) Jesus Christ!  (Bolts up a few steps and grabs
        her.)  What the hell are you doing?
 ANGEL  Let me go!
   SAM  Not like that.
 ANGEL  Don't cause a scene, Sam.  You know how you hate scenes.
        And you don't want to make our friend Tom uncomfortable.
 (She continues on down.)
   SAM  Angel!
 ANGEL  (ignoring SAM) Hello, Tom.
 (He turns see her and just stares.)
   SAM  I--I guess she has--changed a little.
   TOM  Angel.
 ANGEL  Long time.
   TOM  Yeah, long time.  I . . . (He shrugs and looks away.)
 ANGEL  You're what?  Sorry?
   TOM  Yes, I'm sorry.  At the very least, I'm very sorry.  I
        should have called--
 ANGEL  Or written, or wired, or sent a runner, or a message by
        drums.  You could have done something!
   TOM  Angel, you don't . . . understand.
 ANGEL  I--"don't understand."  Of course you're right; I don't.
        I don't even fully comprehend what it is that I don't
        understand.  How absolutely silly of me.  Must be my sex;
        you know how daffy and gullible women are.
   SAM  Angel! You're not being very nice to Tom.
 (She composes herself for a moment.)
 ANGEL  I'm sorry, Tom.  I'm just--nervous.  (Silence.)  You
        look . . . reasonably well.
   TOM  I am, I suppose--reasonably.  (A beat.)  The ao-dai
        looks lovely.
 ANGEL  A gift from an old friend.
   TOM  I know.  The wig doesn't do much for you though.
 ANGEL  Really?
   SAM  Angel!  Easy now.
 ANGEL  This is the first time I've worn the ao-dai.
   TOM  It's very attractive.  Really.
   SAM  Angel can wear anything with her figure.
 ANGEL  What Sam means is that he likes to put me on his leash
        and take me out in public.  Would you take me out like
        this, Sam?
   SAM  Sure, on Halloween.
 ANGEL  How about you, Tom?
   SAM  He's trying to be civil.  Give him a chance.
 ANGEL  (snaps) He had his chance!  (Silence.)  Well, isn't
        this a delightful little reunion?  A trio; I mean that in
        the carnal sense.  A carnal trio.  Sounds like a porno
        novel. You could write it, Tom.  You do still write?
   TOM  I still write.
 ANGEL  Oh, no, you don't.  I forgot.  You quit writing, at
        least to me.  Where I was concerned, you never wrote
        another word.
   TOM  Angel . . .
 ANGEL  (hard) What?  Angel what?
   TOM  Let's--keep it friendly.  All right?
 ANGEL  Friendly.  Of course, we are old friends after all. 
        I nearly forgot.  You'll have to forgive me.  I'm sorry
        for the lapse of memory, but it's just been so long.
   TOM  You don't have to be sorry.
 ANGEL  But I do.  I do have to be sorry.  That's what I do
        best is apologize.  I'm sorry for this, sorry for that. 
        I have so much to be sorry for.  Mostly I'm sorry for
        myself, but that's another story completely, one you
        probably wouldn't want to hear.
   TOM  Another time maybe.
 ANGEL  Maybe.  Say in another nine years.  Or are you planning
        on dropping in on my life again before then?
   TOM  I couldn't say.
 ANGEL  You, "couldn't say."
   TOM  (snaps) That's what I said!
   SAM  Why don't you two knock it off?
 ANGEL  (ignores SAM) I know what you said.  You said you, "couldn't 
        say," but what I want to know is what it is that you can't say.
   TOM  There are a number of things I can't say.
 ANGEL  Anymore?
   TOM  Anymore.
   SAM  Well, shit, I think I'll mosey over here to the bar and
        fix myself another drink.  You folks interested?  (A beat.)
        In drinks?
 ANGEL  How about this one, Tom?  "I can't," no, no, "I don't
        want to live without you."  Can you say that anymore?
   TOM  (looks away) I don't have anyone to say it to.
 ANGEL  Or, "I'll never let you go."  Remember that?
   TOM  That was a long time ago.
 ANGEL  (pressing) Do you remember?
   TOM  Yes, I remember.
 ANGEL  Do you say that anymore?
   TOM  Angel, there's something that you don't know.
 ANGEL  (bitterly) Oh, there's plenty that I don't know!  (A beat.)
        Dammit! There I go again being a bitch.  Forgive me, Tom.
        You're our guest, having come all the way from . . . from
        where to see us.
   TOM  Manhattan.
   SAM  Shit, Tom!  I didn't know you were a New Yorker.
   TOM  I'm not.
   SAM  Oh. . .
 ANGEL  So, how are things in, or is it, on, Manhattan?
   TOM  I wouldn't know.
 ANGEL  Know what?  Whether it's on or in?  Or know how things
        are in, or, on Manhattan?
   TOM  Neither.  Or both.
 ANGEL  You clever boy.  Isn't Tom clever, Sam?
   SAM  He always did have a way with words.
 ANGEL  I was just saying that very thing earlier--that Tom
        always did have a way with words.
   SAM  Right, Tom.  She said it all right.  I was right there
        in the room with her, upstairs, our bedroom.
   TOM  What do you want, Angel?
 ANGEL  Me?  Why, I want . . . only to be the perfect hostess,
        of course.  To please the man in my life, and the man
        not in it.
   SAM  Shit!
 ANGEL  (to TOM) What do you want?
   TOM  I want somehow for you . . . to understand.
 ANGEL  Dammit!  For nine years I've been trying to understand.
        But how could I understand without hearing anything from
   TOM  I should have come sooner; I thought that maybe Sam had
        said something.
 ANGEL  Sam did!  Sam said plenty.
   SAM  Wait a minute, Angel.
 ANGEL  But Sam has a way of dealing with the truth.
   SAM  (covering) I--I told her the truth--that--that you 
        went a little crazy towards the end.  All that talk about 
        us being the enemy, the gooks the good guys.  You were all 
        screwed up; that talk about getting out, joining up with
        the hippies when you got home.  Then you wouldn't even
        associate with your own Company, starting hanging out
        with the gooks all the time. You went Oriental, Tom.  It
        happens, Angel.  A guy gets mixed up with some chick,
        thinks he's in love, marries her. She either won't leave
        or can't so he stays on--buys a bar, puts on a pair of
        thongs, eats nothing but rice and fish, maybe a little
        tofu and never comes back. Happens all the time--Hong Kong,
        Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines.
   TOM  But that's not what happened to me, Sam.  You know that.
        Maybe I did go Oriental to some degree, but that's not
        what happened.  Don't you remember?
   SAM  No, no.  I thought that was it.  No shit.
 ANGEL  Did you have a girl, Tom?  A little Oriental flower?
   TOM  I had a friend.
 ANGEL  A friend?  Sounds cozy.
   TOM  It wasn't like that.
 ANGEL  No?  What was it like?  Tell me about her.  Was she
        young? Or an older, but not necessarily wiser, woman?
        Long black hair like this?  Small?  Dark eyes I bet.
        Slight smile. Delicate features.  Did you buy her
        drinks?  Saigon tea?
   TOM  She wasn't a whore.
 ANGEL  None of them are.  Hey, soldier boy, buy me drink?
        Saigon tea?
   TOM  (digs it) You go upstairs?  You give number one blow job?
 ANGEL  (rushes at him) Bastard!
 (SAM grabs her and tries to laugh the whole thing off.)
   SAM  Hey, hold on there tiger.  Told you about her sense of
        humor, Tom.  And--and he took right to you, Honey.  But
        let's stop the game now or play something else.  Freshen
        our drinks, Angel.  (He practically drags her to the
        bar.) I'm drinking scotch, Tom, rum-coco.
 (ANGEL is all torn up inside now, breaking and trying to
 keep from breaking.  She starts working on the drinks,
 and pours one for herself, a healthy shot of gin.)
 ANGEL  I'm sorry, Tom.
   TOM  So am I.
 ANGEL  For what?
   TOM  Everything.  Nothing.  (Gestures to room.) This.
 ANGEL  No you're not.
 (ANGEL gives TOM his drink then goes back to the bar where
 she climbs on a bar stool and crosses her legs provocatively.)
 ANGEL  Is this the way they do it?
 (TOM refuses to answer.)
   SAM  Well, this is a little more like it.  Old friends getting
        together for a civil drink.  Talking about old times.
 ANGEL  (woodenly) Cheers.
   SAM  Right.  Right!  Cheers!  To Tom--and--and Angel.  All
        of us.
 ANGEL  All the happy people.
 (They drink.)
 ANGEL  So, how have things been, Tom?
   SAM  You have to specify which things you want to know about,
        Angel.  I've already been down this road with Tom.
 ANGEL  So, how's your love life, Tom?
   SAM  (under his breath) Jesus Christ!
 ANGEL  Married?
   TOM  No.
 ANGEL  Divorced?
   TOM  Never married.
 ANGEL  Living with someone?  Cohabitating?
   TOM  A cat; I have a cat.
 ANGEL  You have a little pussy around then?
   SAM  Goddammit, Angel!
 ANGEL  You stay out of this!
   SAM  He's our guest.
   TOM  It's all right, Sam.  I don't blame her.
 ANGEL  (suddenly moved) Tom, you look terrible.  What's wrong?
   TOM  What's right?
 ANGEL  "What's right?"  (Reflects, then:)  Right is what you do
        with God's blessing, or your government's.
   TOM  No, that's wrong.
 ANGEL  Is than an opinion or a definition?
   TOM  Both.
 ANGEL  I see.
   SAM  I don't!  (A beat.)  Jesus!  Hey, look, Tom, what have
        you been doing since the war?  Where the hell you been?
   TOM  (dramatically) What-- have I been doing since the war?
   SAM  Yeah, that's what I asked.
   TOM  Since the war, I have been--drifting--writing--and,
        somewhere along the line that I drifted along, I
        acquired a cat.
   SAM  Writing, huh?
 ANGEL  And drifting and acquiring cats.
   TOM  One cat, a Siamese.
 ANGEL  Pardon me.  One cat.
   SAM  What are you writing about, Tom?
   TOM  People, places and things.
   SAM  Good subject matter.
 ANGEL  Jesus!
   SAM  What--kinds of people?
   TOM  Good ones, some that aren't so good.  Heroes--cowards.
 ANGEL  A book, Tom?  Articles?  Stories?  A novel, what?
   TOM  The great American novel, of course.
 ANGEL  Has it got a title?
   TOM  I call it War Games.
   SAM  Never heard of it.
   TOM  It hasn't been published.
   SAM  Oh, well--I'll be looking for it.
   TOM  I bet you will.
   SAM  Did you put that chaplain in it?  That crazy bastard--
        what was his name?  You remember, Tom.
   TOM  Goodman.
   SAM  Yeah, yeah, Goodman, crazy bastard!  Did you put him in
   TOM  No, I put a chaplain in it, of course, but not Goodman.
        None of my characters, you see, are based on real
        people, either living or dead.
 ANGEL  Of course not.
   SAM  Should have seen this guy, Angel.  A chaplain, a man of
        God, you know, the clergy?
 ANGEL  A preacher in uniform.  I think I have it figured out.
   SAM  Always packed a sidearm, and knew what to do with it.
        Said he'd blow Charlie to hell if he couldn't get there
        on his own.  Used to say the damndest things.  (A beat.)
        Hey, and you could do him, Tom!
   TOM  Hal did him.  I couldn't do him.
 (SAM shows some disappointment.)
   SAM  No, it was you.  I remember.  Hal did Westmoreland; you
        did Goodman.  Do him now; do Chaplain Goodman for Angel.
        She'd get a kick out of that.
   TOM  I don't do Marines anymore.
   SAM  He was Navy.  Come on, Tom.  Do him for Angel.
 ANGEL  You could always act, Tom.  Give me another free show.
   SAM  Yeah, do the funny stuff.  God he was funny.  Said he
        had a laugh for every bullet in Nam.  Come on, Tom.
   TOM  All right, all right.  I'll do one thing, but for you,
        Sam, not Angel.  Just for you; Angel wouldn't understand.
   SAM  Okay, fine, but Angel can watch.
   TOM  Sure.  Angel can watch.
 (Tom goes to the dinner table, takes a white napkin
 and stuffs it around his collar. Then he takes up a
 position somewhere behind the bar, using it as a podium.)
   TOM  You have to remember that my podium is constructed from
        empty ammo crates, my candle holders from expended
        recoiless rifle shells, and that my government issue
        religious icon is dual purpose, reversible--having the
        Protestant cross on one side, a crucifix on the other.
   SAM  And that--that he's packing a .45 on his hip.
   TOM  That too.  (Brief pause for TOM to get into character.)
        Now, if we might close this service with a prayer, but
        let me ask you not to bow your heads, but to hold them
        up high like the proud soldiers that you are--
   SAM  That's it.  Yeah--yeah, he used to say that.
   TOM  (clears his throat) -- like the proud soldiers that you are
        for you have no reason whatsoever to hang your heads.  Hold 
        them up high so that you might see God, and so that God might 
        see the shining faces of his young servants.  Let us pray:  
        Our most gracious and loving Heavenly Father, today we come
        to thee humbly, asking only that we might serve Thee
        while in the service of our Christian brothers in this
        pitiless and war torn land.  We pray that Thou wouldst--
   SAM  "Wouldst."  He was always saying shit like that. "Wouldst,
        Thou, Thine, Jesus!  Go on, Tom, I mean, Reverend.
   TOM  We pray that Thou wouldst give us the strength and
        courage so that we might dispatch--
   SAM  "Dispatch!"  We didn't even know what he was talking
        about - whether the VC were in dispatch or datpatch;
        remember that guy, Tom?  From Mobile?  Black dude!  (TOM
        just stares at him.)  Oh, sorry--Reverend.  Go on.
   TOM  --give us the strength and courage so that we might
        dispatch Thine enemies.  We pray most humbly that we
        might make widows of Thine enemy's women, orphans of his
        children.  We pray that they might feel the sting of
        death and--
   SAM  (disturbed) Wait, Tom.
   TOM  --the sharp edge of Thy sword.  May the beast of fear
        enter their cold hearts, the pain of hunger touch their empty
        bellies.  We pray that they may be left homeless and
        destitute, that they will be no stranger to suffering,
        not unacquainted with death.  And may the souls of Thine
        enemies burn in everlasting hell, and may Thine Almighty
        hand crush his will to resist the love we offer.  We beg
        also Dear Lord that Thine blanket of everlasting love and
        mercy cover Thine servants as they go forth to do Thine
        will.  Protect them from the spears of the heathen, from
        the barbs of unChristian souls.  And finally Dear Lord,
        in the loving name of our savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord,
        we beseech Thee that Thy will be done.  Amen.
   SAM  (confused) No, no.  He--he never said that shit.  
        That--that was all wrong.  Goodman was funny!  What he told us 
        was funny. He made us all laugh, made a joke out of everything.
   TOM  (removing "collar") Don't you see, Sam?  That was just the
        flip side of what he said, the unspecified, the consequences
        of having his prayers answered.
   SAM  No, that's not right; he was funny.  He didn't mean 
        any harm.  I mean--they were gooks he was talking about.
        They--they weren't like us.  Remember a--a "gook a day to
        pave the Lord's way?"
   TOM  That's right!  They were fond of dying, didn't care about
        life.  And they were yellow and had those funny looking
   SAM  Yeah, yeah.  And they ate such shit.  And the whole
        country smelled.  Dammit, Tom!  You turn everything
   TOM  I don't turn things around, Sam.  You do--you and Goodman
        and all the rest.
   SAM  No, that's not true.  I . . .
 ANGEL  Tom . . . Tom?  What happened over there?
   SAM  (anxiously) What about dinner?  About ready, Honey?
 ANGEL  Tom?
 (He doesn't answer. Irritated with him, ANGEL starts to leave.)
 ANGEL I'll check on dinner.
 (She exits to kitchen off dining room.)
   SAM  I'm sorry about her, Tom.  I don't know what she's trying
        to do--that getup.  I didn't even know she had it.
   TOM  I sent her the ao-dai from Saigon.
   SAM  Yeah, that's what she said.
   TOM  I sent it before you married her.
   SAM  Oh, yeah, yeah, I understand that.  I didn't mean
        anything. It's . . . okay.  Another drink?
   TOM  I'm fine.
   SAM  Don't mind if I have another?  For the nerves.  (A beat.)
        And I'm just so damn glad to see you.
   TOM  I know what you mean.
   SAM  Dammit!  I mean . . . that I am glad to see you.
   TOM  That's exactly what I thought you meant.  (TOM wanders
        over to the gun cabinet.)  Yours, Sam?
   SAM  Yeah, mine.  Some--memorabilia from Nam.
   TOM  I can see that.  (A beat.)  Funny, but--a lot of guys I
        know are trying to forget the war.  I guess you never
        know what people are going to be interested in.
   SAM  No, you never know.
 (ANGEL enters.)
   SAM  All ready?
 ANGEL  Two hours.
   SAM  What?!
 ANGEL  I forgot to turn on the oven; it will be two hours.
   SAM  How could you?
 ANGEL  Simple.  There's a little switch on the range; you
        distracted me when you got home, and I forgot to flip it.
        Sorry.  So, you can have it raw, which you boys might
        like, or we can wait.  Or, I could whip up a little fish
        and rice for you boys, just for old times sake.
   SAM  No, none of that shit.  I want the roast; we'll wait.
        There's plenty of booze, and it will give us more time to
        talk with Tom.  Right, Tom?
   TOM  Right on, ole buddy.  It will give us more time to talk,
        time to re-acquaint ourselves with ourselves and each
 ANGEL  Well . . . what shall we talk about?  (Silence.)  Did you
        notice the heat today, Tom.
   TOM  I can stand the heat.
   SAM  And the humidity.
   TOM  Doesn't bother me either.
   SAM  Jesus!  Hot and humid, just like--
   TOM  Nam?  Is that what you were going to say?
   SAM  Yeah, like Nam.
   TOM  Don't be afraid to say it, Sam.  I understand.  It was
        hot over there, hot and humid.  That's the truth.
   SAM  Damn, I'll say.  And mosquitoes as big as your fist.
   TOM  Rats and skunks, all manner of vermin.
   SAM  Skunks?
   TOM  Oh, yeah, they were all over the place.
   SAM  Dammit, Angel!  How could you forget the roast?
 ANGEL  Oh, I just got all excited when you got home and
        completely forgot about it.  I told you.  (A beat.)  More
   SAM  She never was worth a damn at doing the little domestic
        chores around the house, but she's--
   TOM  Great in the ole sack!  I know.
 (SAM chokes on his drink; ANGEL glares at TOM.)
   SAM  (forcing it) Jesus!  What a sense of humor.  You haven't
        changed one bit.
   TOM  Naw, not a bit.  The same ole happy-go-lucky guy I always
        was.  Maybe even more so.
   SAM  Hey, I know all about that, about you two, remember? And
        what the hell!  You can't wear one of those things out .
        . . least of all her's.  Believe me, I've tried.
 ANGEL  And you've had plenty of help too, Sam.
   SAM  Hey, both of you--such characters.  What a gang, our own
        little gang of stand up comics.  Such humor I've hardly
        seen before.
 ANGEL  Did Sam tell you that I'm pregnant, Tom?
   SAM  Angel!
   TOM  No, he didn't mention it.
 ANGEL  It's true.  There's a beautiful little brown baby or
        yellow baby or red baby or white baby growing inside me
        at this very moment.
   TOM  (uncomfortably) Congratulations.  (A beat.)  Your first?
   SAM  Yes.
 ANGEL  (simultaneously with SAM) No.
   TOM  (confused) I'm sorry, I don't understand.
 ANGEL  It's not my first, but it is his first, if it is his at
   SAM  That's a lie!  You had a baby before.  Why don't you tell
        Tom about your baby?  Tell our friend Tom.  Show him the
 ANGEL  You go to hell!
   SAM  You shut up then.  And quit acting like a slut; Tom's
        liable to get the right idea about you.
 (They glare at each other through a long silence. 
 Then ANGEL goes on.)
 ANGEL  Well, Tom, you should feel honored that Sam and I can
        relax and just be ourselves even with you here; you
        haven't upset the domestic tranquility that characterizes
        our lives together a bit.  Most of the time Sam gets all
        uptight when his friends come over.
   SAM  Tom isn't just my friend, Angel.
 ANGEL  Of course.  You're right.  How could I forget?  And I
        haven't even given him a proper greeting.
 (She goes to TOM and kisses him hard on the mouth.
 Afterward he just stares at her.)
 ANGEL  Did you feel the French influence?
   TOM  (hard) Parlez-vous francais?
 ANGEL  No, you see I'm not really Vietnamese, but I can do it
        the French way, if you're interested.
   TOM  What's happened to you, Angel?
 ANGEL  Me?  (A beat.)  A war.  Sam.  You.  They all took their toll.
   TOM  I'm sorry, I--
 ANGEL  Oh, I can see how sorry you are!
   SAM  Goddammit, will you two just stop it?  Let's just . . .
        be mellow.  Okay?
 ANGEL  Laid back, Sam.  Mellow was last year.  (To TOM.)  Sam
        just can't keep up with the vernacular; he's such a
        devoted husband he hardly has time for
        anything else, catering to my every whim.  Now, I'll just
        sit here by Tom, and we'll get nice and laid back, but
        not too far back, of course, not in my delicate
        condition. Because that would complicate an already
        highly complicated situation, wouldn't it?  Oh, Tom, I
        didn't even ask:  You don't have anything against
        Orientals do you?
   TOM  Nothing at all.
 ANGEL  I didn't think so.  And I know I'm safe with you.
        Because you would never do anything to degrade them,
        particularly their women, would you?
   TOM  Angel, you don't know what you're talking about.
   TOM  Hell no!
 ANGEL  Then why don't you tell me all about what I'm talking
        about? (TOM doesn't respond.)  Sam told me all about your
        affinity for the Vietnamese ladies.  I thought I would
        please you.
   SAM  I--I just told her how you treated them; told her that
        you were nice to them.  I never said how nice.  And you
        did like their women; you said so, said you thought they
        were a beautiful people.
   TOM  (To ANGEL) Yeah, I found Vietnamese women to be very 
        attractive--when they weren't made up like whores.
 ANGEL  Well, pardon me, but when a woman gets treated like a
        whore, she eventually begins to feel like one.
   TOM  I never treated you like a whore.
 ANGEL  You left and didn't come back; the only thing you didn't
        do was to toss a few bills on my bureau.
   TOM  I was going to come back.
 ANGEL  But you didn't.  Why?
   TOM  I couldn't.
 ANGEL  (screams) Dammit, why?  I want to know why!
 (Silence.  She looks at both of them.)
 ANGEL  Damn you!  Damn both of you.
   SAM  Seen anymore of the guys, Tom.  Evans?  Thompson?  I
        haven't seen anybody for years.  (No response from TOM.)
   TOM  (woodenly) Thompson shipped over.  He's D.I. in San Diego.
   SAM  Shipped over?  Thompson?
   TOM  That's what I said--shipped over.
   SAM  He's the guy that couldn't wait to get out; and he's a
        D.I., giving those boots hell I bet.
   TOM  That's his job, to make men out of boys.  (A beat.)
        Making boys out of men comes later.
   SAM  What about Evans?  I heard he took a hit after I got out,
        but I never did confirm it or hear how he made out.
   TOM  Evans is in a V.A. hospital in Philly; they haven't
        gotten him put back together yet.
   SAM  That sucks.
   TOM  Sorry you asked?
   SAM  Yeah--no, I'm not sorry.  Dammit, Tom, gimme a break.
   TOM  What about me, Sam?  You going to ask about me?
   SAM  I already asked about you.  And I can see--that you're
        doing all right, getting along; you might be a little
        thin is all.
   TOM  Right.  I'm fine, a little thin maybe, but otherwise just
 ANGEL  (from bar) Considering what?
   TOM  Considering . . . an unfortunate sequence of events.
   SAM  (anxiously) What about--Mehan?  Where's Mehan?
   TOM  Mehan is a short-order cook at a greasy spoon outside
        Dallas.  About six months ago he made me a sandwich and
        gave my cat a warm bowl of milk.
   SAM  Damn!  Still cooking.  (To ANGEL.)  This guy--Mehan--was
        Charlie Company cook; we called him, "Cookie."
 ANGEL  Was that your idea, Sam?
   SAM  Yeah, he hated it though, but that's what we called 
        him. God, he used to put together some rank shit.  Remember
        those rabbit burgers, Tom?  Nobody knew what was in them,
        but he told us that it was rabbit and mule in equal
        proportions-one rabbit to one mule.  He was a funny son
        of a bitch too.
   TOM  Couple a guys nearly died laughing.
   SAM  I don't remember that.  Anyway, not only could he not
        cook, but he never made enough of anything.  And his girl
        -what was her name, Tom?
   TOM  Cynthia.  She's his wife now, and she's actually the one
        that made me the sandwich in Dallas.
 ANGEL  You mean their romance wasn't a casualty of the war?
   SAM  His wife?  No, shit.  Anyway, she used to write him the
        wildest letters, and he'd read them to the whole company
        every intimate detail.  Mehan, what a fucking guy.
 ANGEL  Tom used to get lots of letters too.  Didn't you, Tom?
   TOM  I got my share.
 ANGEL  But you didn't read them to the boys?
   TOM  No.
 ANGEL  I'm surprised.
   TOM  I didn't have to read them to the anybody.  Everybody
        knew I-
 ANGEL  Had a girl?
   TOM  Yes, everybody knew that.
 ANGEL  But they didn't know that you were in love with this girl
        . . . because you weren't.  Never mind what you told that
        girl; that was just soldier talk.
   TOM  I didn't tell her anything that wasn't true at the time.
   SAM  Jesus!  I gotta go to the head.
 (He exits.)
 ANGEL  You did love this girl then?  This anonymous author of
        these letters that you didn't share with the boys.
   TOM  Stop it Angel.
 ANGEL  You didn't love her?
   TOM  Angel, please.
 ANGEL  You did?  Yes?  No?  Maybe?  You just loved her in bed?
   TOM  Yes, dammit, I loved her!
 ANGEL  (bitterly) At the time?
   TOM  At the time.
 ANGEL  But something changed?
   TOM  You know it did.
 ANGEL  But I don't know what.  I want to know what!  What changed?
 (TOM turns away refusing to answer.)
 ANGEL  Tom . . . please.  Tell me.
   TOM  I did.  I changed; the war changed me.
 ANGEL  (acidly) Oh, my poor wounded soldier, living through 
        all that Hemingway slop.  Poor Jake, poor Bret, poor Papa.  
        (A beat.) Can't you be honest with me?
   TOM  No, I can't.
 ANGEL  I know what's wrong with you.  You're just like he is,
        like Sam.  You loved it; you adored it.  You were so sure
        you'd hate it--gentle, sensitive Tom.  You were sure
        you'd hate the filth and misery and the killing and the
        degeneracy, but, no, no, you loved it instead, loved
        every minute of it. For you it held all the romance of
        all the war movies and novels that you'd ever seen and
        read.  I'm sure the war still holds your fondest memories-
        -the girls, the bars, the escapades, the camaraderie.
        What a bunch of crap!
   TOM  You don't know, Angel.  You just don't know.
 ANGEL  Of course, I know.  You loved it, loved everything about
        it; you just can't admit that to yourself.
   TOM  I detested it, hated it!
 ANGEL  You loved it!
   TOM  Dammit, Angel, I hated it!
 ANGEL  You loved it!  Admit it!  Be honest with yourself:  Men
        love war.
   TOM  Stop it!
 ANGEL  No, I won't stop!  Face it.  You loved it; you love war.
        You'd like to go back.
   TOM  (grabs her) Goddammit, I hated it!  Hated what we did, 
        hated being part of it.  (Suddenly he pulls her against him 
        savagely; they cling to one another for a long moment.)
        Angel . . . didn't you read my letters?  Couldn't you feel 
        my pain?
 ANGEL  (confused) Yes, I felt it.
   TOM  Then you must have known how I felt, what I felt.
 ANGEL  I thought I did, but then--then you didn't come back.
        You never came back; the letters stopped and you disappeared.
        Then I didn't know what to believe--about the war, about
        you, us.
   TOM  I loved you, Angel.  Christ I loved you.
 (They kiss hard, passionately; TOM finally breaks away and walks off.)
 ANGEL  What is it?
   TOM  Sam.  He'll be back.
 ANGEL  I hate him.
   TOM  You married him.
 ANGEL  I still hate him.
   TOM  Why?
 ANGEL  Because he corrupts everything he touches.
   TOM  Why did you marry him?
 ANGEL  Don't you know?  (He has a hard time looking at her now.)
        Because you didn't come back.
   TOM  God, Angel . . . this is all crazy.  What am I doing here?
 ANGEL  Hold me, Tom.  Just hold me for a moment--please.  (He
        goes to her and wraps her in his arms.)  I don't think I
        ever stopped loving you, not really.  There were times,
        plenty of times, when I hated you for leaving me, but
        what I felt for you wouldn't die.  Not even Sam could
        kill that.  Tom, there still time--
   TOM  Oh, Jesus, Angel, don't.  Please.
 ANGEL  Why?  (A beat.)  I don't understand.
 (SAM wanders back into the room from the head; he is pretty
 drunk by now.)
    SAM  Well, isn't this sweet.  I'm glad to see that you two are
        getting on a little better now.
 ANGEL  I love him, Sam.
   SAM  (not threatened at all) Goddamn, Tom!  You must have really 
        turned on the old charm. I walk out of the room to take a leak, 
        and my wife falls for you.  I guess this means that you were 
        getting it on, instead of just getting on just now.  You 
        work fast.
 ANGEL  I never stopped loving him.  And I never started loving you.
   SAM  Well, now, I find that somewhat surprising . . . considering.
 ANGEL  That I married you?
   SAM  That's a good point.
 ANGEL  I married you for the same reason that you married me:
        To hurt Tom.  He left me; the only way I had to get back
        at him was to marry you.  I've never loved you.
   SAM  Now I find that interesting, considering how you love to
        get down on your knees and--
 ANGEL  You shut up!
   SAM  Or is it just my body that you can't do without?  (A
        beat.) You've got to watch her, Tom.  She'll treat a man
        like a sex object.
 ANGEL  Take me away from this, Tom.  Please take me away.
   SAM  Go ahead, Tom.  Take her, but keep this in mind:  she's a
        hard woman to keep satisfied.  She just can't seem to get
        enough of it.
   TOM  You go to hell, Sam!  You go goddamn straight to hell!
   SAM  What'd I do, Tom, touch a soft spot?
   TOM  Screw you, Sam!
   SAM  I'm ready.  What are friends for?
   TOM  I didn't come here for this.  I swear I didn't, but don't
        push me, Sam, or we'll play war games.  I don't want . .. to
        hurt you.  That's not what I'm here for.  I came here to--
   SAM  I'm not afraid of your games.
   TOM  Let's play then.  Let's play, "Sam in the bunker."  Want
        to play that one, Sam?
   SAM  Hey, can't you take a little ribbing, a joke, just for
        old times' sake.  (Crosses to ANGEL.)  Why, I adore this
        little angel; I wouldn't let her go for anything, not
        even for an old friend.  Not with her about to give me
        another beautiful baby.
   TOM  I thought there wasn't a baby.
   SAM  Of course, there's a baby.  Isn't there, Angel?
 ANGEL  No, we've never had a baby.
   SAM  What?  Why, what's that we keep up there in the nursery then?
 ANGEL  Hopes.  Dreams.  Memories.  Nothing that you know anything 
   SAM  Because you won't share them.
 ANGEL  You're damn right I won't, not with you.  Because all
        you'd do is corrupt them!
   SAM  There will be plenty of room for a new baby then.  A
        sweet innocent child.  My own flesh and blood.
 ANGEL  She's not yours.  I already told you.
   SAM  Angel!  Tom's going to get the impression that your moral
        fiber is--somewhat frayed, talking like that.  Why you're
        as faithful as a--as a bitch in heat.  And dressed like
        that too.  He's going to take you for some gook whore.
        (A beat.)  But you wouldn't mind that, would you Tom?
 ANGEL  You're such a shit.
   SAM  I try to be sociable.  I cooperate.
 ANGEL  Then why don't you play war games with Tom?  I think I'd
        like to see that.  Tom?
   TOM  No, no, I don't want to play.  I shouldn't have brought
        it up.
 ANGEL  Come on, Tom, play.
   SAM  I know what we can play!  (Pushes ANGEL to the bar.)
        Let's play the bar girl game; it's a variation on a
        theme, and Tom already knows how to play.  You sit here,
        Angel; you're the bar girl, obviously, and you be the
        handsome soldier, Tom. I'll direct.
 ANGEL  I don't want to play.
   SAM  Yes, yes, come on. I insist.  And you might learn
        something. First, we need music--some period piece.  (SAM
        goes to boom box and inserts a tape of Black is Black I
        Want My Baby Back.)  Oh, that's just right--perfect.  But
        there's too much light.  (Dims lights.)  Better.  Much
        better.  Okay-Angel, you're the whore, pardon me, the bar
        girl.  And, Tom, is, of course, the handsome soldier like
        I said before, number one virgin from midland U.S.A.
        (Thinks, then:) Imagine there's this big overhead fan-
        whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, a few mosquitoes, and the faint
        smell of something . . . burning.  Ready?  Let's begin.
        Tom you enter from over there, and just say what I say,
        you too, Angel.  You just came out of the bright sun, and
        you have to let your eyes adjust to the darkness.  You
        spot him right off Angel--the handsome soldier, with
        money-and you give him a faint, somewhat provocative
        smile. Not too much because you don't want him to think
        you're a whore--yet.  Come and sit down at the bar now
        Tom, away from her.  You don't want her to think you're
        just interested in her body--yet.  I'll be the barkeep.
        (SAM takes station behind the bar.)  Tom, you say:
        Sumbitch, some kinda hot out there.  (Pause.)  Say it.
   TOM  Sumbitch, some kinda hot out there.
   SAM  Saigon always hot afternoon.  Even war stop because heat.
        Very bad.  Drink handsome soldier?  Just say beer, Tom.
   TOM  Rum-coco.
   SAM  Goddammit Tom!  I said to say beer.
   TOM  I don't want a beer.  I want a rum-coco.
   SAM  Well, say, "beer," and I'll give you a goddamn rum-coco!
        (A beat.)  Say it.
   TOM  Gimme a beer.
   SAM  Okay, Tiger beer for number one handsome soldier.
 (SAM mixes a rum-coco and serves it to TOM.  TOM takes
 a sip and looks at SAM.)
   TOM  This is a rum-coco.
   SAM  Goddammit, Tom, you're really beginning to piss me off!
        Now quit fucking around with me.  I'm warning you.
 (SAM moves down to ANGEL.)
   SAM  Angel, you say:  Tell handsome soldier buy Saigon tea.
 ANGEL  (tight-lipped) Tell handsome soldier buy Saigon tea.
 (SAM goes back to TOM.)
   SAM  (nods to ANGEL) Lady like you buy Saigon tea.
   TOM  Tell her I'll buy her a rum-coco.
   SAM  Dammit, Tom!  Nobody but you drank rum-cocos in Nam.  Now
        play it right.  Shit!
 ANGEL  Easy Sam, it's only a game.
   SAM  But I want it to be played right.  (A beat.)  Okay,
        that's better.  We'll go on.  Now, again, Tom:  Lady like
        you buy Saigon tea.
   TOM  All right--gimme a Saigon tea.
   SAM  Not you.  Her!
   TOM  You didn't say that.
   SAM  You know what I meant . . . fuck it!  I don't want to
        play if you're not going to play right.
 ANGEL  This is fun now.  Let's go on; we'll play right.
   SAM  (pouting) Tom won't.
   TOM  Give me one more chance, Sam.  I'll play right.
   SAM  No you won't.
   TOM  I will--for you.  I promise.
   SAM  Okay.  One more chance, and no bullshit.  Make a proper
        response this time.  (Pause.)  Okay:  Lady like you buy
        Saigon tea.
   TOM  Okay, give the lady a Saigon tea.
   SAM  That's better.
 (SAM serves a drink to ANGEL.)
   SAM  Angel, now you move on down here next to the handsome
        soldier.  (She does.)  Good.  Good.  Nice movement; you
        really know your stuff.
 ANGEL  I've had lots of practice.
   SAM  I can see that you have.  Sit down next to him now and
        thank him.
 ANGEL  Thank you Saigon tea.
   TOM  I'm a soldier, not a drink.  You mean, thank you soldier
        for the Saigon tea.
   SAM  Don't get grammatical, Tom.  Just play along.  (A beat.)
        Ask him where he's from, Angel.
 ANGEL  Where from handsome soldier?
   TOM  America.  North.  The United States.
   SAM  Shit!
 (SAM is clearly angry now.)
   TOM  Kansas!  I'm from Independence, Kansas ma'am.  How 'bout
 ANGEL  Vietnam.
   TOM  No shit?
   SAM  Wait a minute!  He knows you're from Vietnam, Angel.
        Christ!  Where in Vietnam?
 ANGEL  How the hell do I know?  You didn't tell me.
   SAM  Hanoi!  Just say Hanoi.
 ANGEL  (yells) Hanoi!
   TOM  (reflects, then:) Oh . . . that near here?
 ANGEL  Closer than Kansas.
   SAM  Knock it off.  No bullshit.  Ask him how he likes
        Vietnamese women.
 ANGEL  Hey, number one handsome soldier from Independence,
        Kansas, how you like Vietnamese womens?
   SAM  Tell her you like'em with big tits like hers.
 ANGEL  I don't like this game now.
   SAM  Tell her!
   TOM  (wavering) I--I like'em with . . . big tits like yours.
   SAM  Rub against him now, Angel.  Ask him if he'd like to see
        them, feel them skin to skin.
 (SAM leans over the bar and grabs her hand.)
   SAM  Ask him if he wants to fucky--fuck.  Tell him you want to
see what he's got right there!
 (He forces her hand into TOM'S crotch.)
   TOM  Goddamn you!
 (TOM jumps up and smashes SAM in the face.  SAM goes down
 behind the bar, unconscious. TOM starts to go after him,
 but is restrained by ANGEL.)
 ANGEL  Leave him alone, Tom; he's out.  He's drunk and sick.
   TOM  (To SAM) By god you keep it up and we'll play my game before this
        night is over!  You hear me.  Get up you lousy bastard!
 (TOM pulls away from ANGEL and comes downstage.  In a
 moment she follows him, taking his arm.)
 ANGEL  I'll go away with you, Tom.  I'll pack a bag and leave
right now.  (He laughs bitterly.)  TOM . . . I mean it.
I'll leave him.
   TOM  Angel, I don't even have a place to take you.  You know
where I live?  Nowhere.  What I do?  Whatever it takes to
keep me alive for another week.  I drift, I exist . . .
why? I don't even know why I go to the trouble.
 (ANGEL touches his shoulder.)
 ANGEL  I won't be a burden; I can carry my share of the load,
live anywhere, do whatever I have to do.
 (TOM goes to the dinner table.)
   TOM  Waterford crystal, sterling, fine china, real roses.  It
        all has a way of getting under your skin.  After a while
        you tend to think that you deserve it.  You couldn't give
        it up so easily.
 ANGEL  They're all for show, for Sam and his friends; it's like
        they're having some huge contest.  They mean nothing to
        me; symbols of something I don't even care about.  I
        could give them up.
   TOM  (bitterly, starting to break) If you gave them up for 
        me you'd be giving them up for nothing.  Because that's what 
        I am--nothing.  Not even a man.
 ANGEL  I . . . don't understand.
   TOM  Angel, I want to love you; I do love you, but I can't
        love you.
 ANGEL  Why not?  What's wrong with me?
   TOM  It's not you, Angel.  It's me.
 ANGEL  Then what's wrong with you?  (No response.)  Can a war so
        change someone?
   TOM  It did me.
 ANGEL  Tom, the war was horrible for all of us; you changed, 
        I changed, the entire country changed, except maybe for
        Sam. But in spite of those changes you have to go on
        living. You can't lock yourself away in a cloak of
        unresolved guilt; you can't live with the memories that
        you had nothing to do with making.  Get out of this
        sullen hole.  Live again! Love someone!  Love me!
   TOM  I can't, Angel.
 ANGEL  Then I pity you.  Because if you can't love, you don't
        have anything to live for.
   TOM  I'm very well aware of that.  (A beat.)  Who do you love,
        Angel?  What do you live for?
 ANGEL  For almost nine years I didn't think I loved anybody,
        least of all myself.  And malice is what I've lived for
        during that time.  I married Sam and stayed with him all
        this time waiting for this moment, the moment you came
        through that door.  I wanted to hurt you because you
        deserted me, but I only hurt myself.  I should hate you;
        I have every reason to hate you.  Look what you've done
        to me, you and Sam.  I'm a bitch.  Cheerful, optimistic,
        Angel, the girl that used to love just getting up to see
        what every new day would bring, the girl with unlimited
        potential for doing something good, something useful.
        Even when you left for Vietnam I felt good because I knew
        that you were really still with me in an important way.
        Then that feeling went away; it went away when you did,
        and everything came crashing down around me. Dreams die
        hard, Tom, and when you find you don't have any anymore,
        you have to replace them with something else.  With
        malice or anger or hate or a self destructive kind of
        cynicism. I went so long without feeling anything good that I
        didn't know if I had that capacity in me any longer.  But
        you've shown me that I do.  It isn't all lost yet.
 (She touches his face.)
   TOM  God, Angel, don't.  Please.
 ANGEL  Why?  Why are you rejecting me?  (He turns away from
        her.) Tom, I'm reaching out for you, trying to make some
        kind of human contact.  Why can't you hold out your hand?
   TOM  Don't you know?  Don't you know what happened to me over
        there.  (A beat.)  When Sam pushed you hand into my crotch 
        what did you feel?
 ANGEL  Nothing.  I didn't . . . feel anything.  (A beat.)  Oh,
        my baby.  My poor, poor baby.  How could they do that to
        you? How could they do it to anyone?
   TOM  (woodenly) With no trouble at all.
 ANGEL  Oh, god . . . dammit!
   TOM  That's why I didn't, couldn't, come back; why you didn't
        hear from me.  I wanted you to think that I was dead,
        because I was--am.  Only they wouldn't let me die like I
        wanted to.  Chaplain Goodman was very kind, very
        understanding.  He explained to me how I should feel
        honored to make such a sacrifice for my country--as if
        democracy in Asia depended on my balls.  Goddamn him!
        Goddamn them every one!
 (TOM breaks, cries.  She cradles him then takes his hand.)
 ANGEL  Come with me.
   TOM  I can't.
 ANGEL  Yes.
   TOM  Where?
 ANGEL  To my room.
   TOM  I can't.  No.  I--don't want you to see me.
 ANGEL  Tom, just touch me, hold me.  I have to have you hold me.
   TOM  Angel, I . . .
 ANGEL  Please.  Come with me.
 (She starts up the stairs, still holding his hand.  He
 finally follows her reluctantly.  As they climb
 the stairs the lights slowly fade to darkness.

Act II ...