David W. Christner
Copyright 1996

 SCENE:  The same an hour later. ANGEL is on the bed; she
  has on a slip.  Her wig and Oriental make-up are gone;
  she is an American again.  TOM is sitting on the edge of 
  the bed, dressing. He is quiet, distant.  As they begin
  talking, SAM gets up from behind the bar downstairs,
  shakes his head, then stumbles off into the head.)

 ANGEL  Tom . . . I feel so close to you.  (No response.)  It was
        good, Tom, so good--really.
   TOM  But not--enough.
 ANGEL  More than enough.  (A beat.)  You made me feel--whole,
        instead of like a hole.  I feel good now, about you,
        about myself.  And I haven't felt good in years.  If we
        were together we could work something out.
   TOM  Work something out?  For you, you mean, other men?  Whole
 ANGEL  Don't spoil this moment; don't be bitter.
   TOM  "Don't be bitter!"  Goddammit, Angel, you don't now what
        I feel . . . or what I don't.
 ANGEL  Tom, if I love you, and I think I still do, it's because
        of what you are, not because of--of what you can do to or
        for me physically.  I love another human being.  Not an
   TOM  But not a man.
 ANGEL  You are a man, a man full of love and compassion.
   TOM  And bitterness and hate and envy, especially envy.  I
        envy every man I pass on the street--rich or poor, black
        or white, dead or alive.  I'm not even a person anymore,
        and certainly not the person you fell in love with.
 ANGEL  Neither am I.
   TOM  In a week you'd despise me, and I you for trying to make
        me into something that I can't possibly be.  I'm a
        different person, Angel, and not necessarily a better
        person.  What I lost in that war goes far beyond what I
        lost with my wound.
 ANGEL  We all lost something.
   TOM  Everybody but Sam.  And I lost more than anyone.
 ANGEL  It could have been worse.
   TOM  How?  Goddammit, you tell me how!
 ANGEL  You could have lost your self-respect.  Sam did.
   TOM  I don't have an ounce of self-respect left.
 ANGEL  I don't believe that.
   TOM  Believe it.  It's true.  I often find myself detesting

 ANGEL  Then tell me this.  Why do you go on at all?  Why don't
        you just quit, drop out, kill yourself?  Why don't you
        just let the world rush by and collect your disability
        check every month?  (No response.)  Tom?
   TOM  Screw them!  Blood money!  They can't buy me off.  I know
        what I saw, what we did.  I've never touched a cent of
 ANGEL  Sam has.  He gets a tax-free check every month for some
        movement he lost in his left leg, but you'd never know it
        if you saw him scurrying after the twenty year olds at
        the country club.
   TOM  Sam's a shit . . . but he's still a man.
 ANGEL  Only in one sense.
   TOM  The most important one.  Angel.  There's no way I can
        explain to you what I feel.  I would gladly trade a foot,
        an arm, a leg, an eye--both eyes, anything to be whole
 ANGEL  I don't believe it; it's not that important, not to you,
        not even to me.  What we had before wasn't based on sex.
        You've just forgotten how to love because you think you
        can't love anymore, but you can.  You can love with
        something that comes from inside you, something that has
        nothing to do with your body.  You just showed that to me.
   TOM  It was awful for me in a way.  I was frightened.
 ANGEL  Tom, just let me love you again.  That's all I want, that
   TOM  Why?
 ANGEL  Because if there's any love left in me I want to share it
        with you.  I can't exist any longer without loving someone.
   TOM  Dammit, why does it have to be me?
 ANGEL  Because it's always been you; because I'm enough of a
        romantic, even now, to believe you're the only one I can
        love.  Maybe because I'm nuts or a blind idealist.  I
        don't know!  Why does anybody love anybody?
   TOM  Because their love is returned.
 ANGEL  You're just afraid.  You're afraid to feel anything good
        again because you don't think that you should ever feel
        good because of what you did in the war and what it did
        to you.
   TOM  I don't deny that.
 ANGEL  And I don't believe that you're that frightened.
   TOM  I am!  Take my word for it.  I don't want to feel again.
        I don't want to love.  It hurts too much when you lose it.
 ANGEL  You never stopped loving, and you know it.  You just
        managed to suppress it with hate and envy, but it kept
        breaking through because your capacity to love is so much
        greater than your capacity for anything evil.
   TOM  My capacity for love is gone; it no longer exists.
 ANGEL  Love comes from the human heart, not the groin.  It can
        exist without sex.
   TOM  Can it?  What of passion, desire?  You're a young woman,
 ANGEL  You just satisfied my desires, my passion.
   TOM  For how long?  And was it enough?  (No response.)  Angel?
 ANGEL  I don't know.
   TOM  Goddammit, Angel, you're making me feel things that I
        don't have any way of deal with.
 ANGEL  You came here tonight because you felt something.
   TOM  I don't know why I came.
 ANGEL  It wasn't to see Sam; we both know that.  He was never
        your friend, not before the war, certainly not now.  So,
        if you didn't come for Sam, you must have come for me.
        It's that simple.
   TOM  It's not that simple.  I might very well have come for
        Sam, but you're right, not because he was my friend.
 ANGEL (curiously)
        Why then?  (A beat.)  Is he your enemy, your nemesis?
   TOM  (evasively) Get dressed.  I--I don't want to talk about it.
 ANGEL  About what?
   TOM  Anything.

  (They finish dressing in silence.  ANGEL slips on a
  short silk kimono.  TOM finishes first and waits for
  her in the hall across from the nursery.  After a moment
  he starts to go in.)


 ANGEL Don't go in there!

  TOM  (entering the nursery) Is the baby, sleeping?

  (He goes to the crib and looks in.  He looks back at ANGEL
  and is clearly confused.)
   TOM  I--don't understand.
 ANGEL  Neither do I.

  (She takes his hand, and they descend the stairs without
  speaking.  At the bottom she turns, kisses him, and they
  both try to smile.)

 ANGEL  Fix me a drink, would you, Tom?
   TOM  (cheerfully) Saigon tea?
 ANGEL  Rum-coco.  (A beat.)  You spoiled his game, you know.
        Really treated him like a shit.  He's not used to that,
        thinks he deserves much better.
   TOM  I know what he deserves.
 ANGEL  And what he doesn't?
   TOM  Yeah, I know that too.  (A beat.)  What do you want,
 ANGEL  Gin.
   TOM  Not to drink.
 ANGEL  Oh . . . I want someone to touch me, somebody to touch me
        like you used to.  Not my body, but something else deep
        down inside the very quick of my being.  I want to be
        needed, for my existence to be something of value, to get
        back what I've lost.
   TOM  To get back what you've lost?  I don't think you're any
        more capable of doing that than I am.
 ANGEL  Then I want to start over again.  (A beat.)  You, Tom?
        What do you want?
   TOM  Answers.  Reasons.  But not the ones that I've already
        heard.  I want someone to justify what happed to me, to
        my friends, to you and me.
 ANGEL  To all of us.
   TOM  Yeah.
 ANGEL  We're not innocent anymore, or young, or naive.  Or even
        stupid.  You can't even blame it on stupidity.  It was
        something else--fear, greed, someone's dream of what the
        world should be like, the inability to swallow what we
        mistake as pride.
   TOM  God, I hate it.  I just hate it.
 ANGEL  It's time you stopped hating, time for you to start
        living . . . with me.  (A beat.)  Please don't shut me
        out, Tom.
   TOM  You can make me a drink now, okay?  Rum-coco.

  (ANGEL shakes off a sudden chill.)

 ANGEL  Is it cold in here, or is it just me?
   TOM  I'm afraid it's me.

  (She touches his face gently.)

 ANGEL  No it's not.

  (SAM enters and clears his throat.  He is still pretty

 SAM  Well, where have you two been?  (No response.)  Upstairs?
        You took this boy upstairs?  For what?
 ANGEL  Stop it!
   SAM  I'm sorry.  I got the wrong idea.  You couldn't have
        taken him up there for that.  You took him up to show him
        the baby, of course.  Did you show Tom your baby, Angel?
   TOM  Leave her alone, Sam.
   SAM  You go to hell, buddy; she's my wife, not yours.  (To
        ANGEL.)  Did you?  Did you show Tom the baby, your
        precious baby?
 ANGEL  There's not a baby!
   SAM  No, no, I didn't think there was a baby; but there was a
        baby at one time.  Did you tell Tom about the baby that
        isn't anymore but was once upon a time?  Did you tell him
        about what pretty babies you make?
   TOM  I don't want to hear about the baby.
   SAM  But you must hear about the baby; it's imperative that
        you hear about the baby.  Angel?
   TOM  What are you drinking, Sam?
    SAM (checks) What am I drinking?  Yes, now that's a good question.
        What am I drinking?  Why, I'm not drinking anything at
        the moment.  What a pity.  I was drinking scotch, but it
        all came out of me and went into the potty.  Chivas too;
        I should get a gold potty.  Tell me Tom, how do you--
   TOM (handing him a drink) Here!
   SAM  Why, thank you, Tom.  How very good of you.  And here I
        thought we were on bad terms when you smashed my nose.
        Well, you never know; you think you know, but you never
        do. (Drinks.)  Ah, now that is what I call smooth, so very,
        very smooth.  Thank you, Tom, Tommy, best friend of mine.
   TOM  How is the nose?
   SAM  Well, broken I think.  But I've decided not to file suit,
        since you gave me a scotch.  Even though it is my scotch.
        Chivas too.  And it was my game.  I just never realized
        that it was going to get so rough, but--when the going
        gets rough-
 ANGEL  Somebody gets a broken nose.
   SAM  Exactly.  (A beat.) By the way, Tom, how is your wound?

  (TOM stares at him hard.)

   TOM  I've learned to live with--out it.
   SAM  Now that is clever.  Did you hear what Tom said, Angel?
        "I've learned to live with--out it."  That's what I call
        clever.  You alway did have a way with words.  Keep it
        up. Oh, sorry, I was referring to your writing, of
   TOM  You're pushing awfully hard, Sam.  I didn't come here to
        destroy you, but you'd better stop pushing.
   SAM  Destroy me!  You certainly didn't do my nose any good.
        And I'm a crippled war veteran too, card carrying member
        of the V.F.W. in good standing.
   TOM  How is your wound, Sam?
   SAM  Just a few scars remain.  Old Ernest would love it, not
        as much as he would love yours, of course.
 ANGEL  Sam wasn't hurt seriously.
   TOM  I know.
   SAM  Now that's a matter of perspective.  It could have been
        much more serious.  Right, Tom?
   TOM  She knows, Sam.  She knows!  Okay?
   SAM  Then you two were playing bedroom games.  I should have
        known, but then the husband is always the last to know.
        I may just have to file suit after all.  (A beat.)  But
        then I don't suppose anything happened, under the
        circumstances. And I didn't hear the vibrator.
 ANGEL  See why I'm so fond of him, Tom?
   SAM  Tom ain't seen nothing yet.  No, that's not right, on the
        contrary, you see nothing all the time, don't you, Tom?

  (Tom turns away, angry.)

   SAM  Oh, darling, I'm afraid I've offended our oldest and
        dearest friend.  What could I possibly do to make amends?
 ANGEL  Why don't you hang yourself?
   SAM  Because I'm already hung.  Oh, God, there I go again;
        what an insensitive lout I am.  I can't seem to open my
        mouth without steeping on my . .   . without putting my
        foot in it. And I realize how sensitive Tom must be about--
        these things.

  (TOM turns on him abruptly.)

   TOM  All right, Sam.  Time for one of my games now: The
        wounded soldier game.  I want to play this one because--
        because I want to see if it's possible for you to feel
   SAM  Why, I feel just fine, but it sounds like fun. How do you
   TOM  Oh, you know how to play, Sam.  You were there, but . . .
        I want you to have my wound, instead of yours.  But you
        don't know what it is that you've lost, no, not in the
        beginning. That's what I'll be there for--Chaplain
        Goodman-to tell you, to break it to you gently.  But
        you'll sense that you've suffered--a loss, that you've
        lost . . . something, but you don't know what it is
        because it's no longer there. You see, you can't feel
        what's not there, so you don't know if it's there until
        you feel there and find that it's not. (A beat.)  Lie
        down on the couch there. Angel, we'll need a sheet, a
        clean white sheet to put over the remains of the wounded


  (ANGEL gets a white table cloth from a cabinet in the
  dining room.)
 ANGEL  This work?
   TOM  Fine.  Perfect.  (Covers SAM on the couch.)  Now, Sam,
        remember, you must keep your hands outside the sheet
        until- until . . . you'll know when.  Okay? Everybody ready?
   SAM  Ready, Doc.
   TOM  No, that's wrong.  I'm the chaplain, not the doctor.
        The doctors have already done as much as they can do;
        it's out of their hands now.
   SAM  Out of yours too.
   TOM  Don't be nasty, Sam.
   SAM  Right, sorry.  It's only a game.
   TOM  To you maybe!  (A beat.)  Angel, you sit over there and
        observe--observe the story of the wounded soldier.
 ANGEL  Are you sure you want to do this, Tom?
   TOM  I'm not sure of anything right now, least of all of what
        I want to do, but maybe--I need to do this.  In any
        case, it will help pass the time until the roast is
 ANGEL  I don't think I can stand it.
   SAM  What, the roast?
 ANGEL  The game!
   SAM  If he wants to play, Angel, let him play.  It might help
 ANGEL  Help him what?
   SAM  Face--the situation.
   TOM  It might at that.  Who knows?  But we're not really
        playing for me, Sam.  We're playing for you.  Ready:
        Lights. Camera.  Action.  The scene:  The recovery area
        of a field hospital in IV Corps.  The time:  post op--
        after surgery. The weather:  Hot and humid.  The
        situation:  The blues. You wake up, Sam.  You have some
        vague memory of being hit, sort of, but not when--or
   SAM (sings) I can't remember where or when.
   TOM  Shut up and listen.  As your eyes come slowly into focus
        the first thing you see is the smiling face of the
        Charlie Company chaplain--the reverend Armstrong T.
        Goodman.  Now go ahead, just ad-lib, you know what
        happened.  I'll fill in the gaps.
   SAM  Ah, ahhh--who's that.  Who's there.
   TOM  Why it's the most reverend Armstrong T. Goodman, the
        Charlie Company chaplain, my son.  (To ANGEL.)  He
        always referred to you as "my son" when you were dying
        or when you suffered a "terrible" wound.
 ANGEL (woodenly) I see.
   SAM  Was I hit?  I remember getting hit.  Where?  Where was I
   TOM  A rice paddy north of Vung Tau.  (To ANGEL.)  The
        chaplain always got right to the point.
   SAM  No, no.  Where was I hit?  Am I all here?
   TOM  My son, you're going to be fine.
   SAM  What's wrong?  What happened?  My legs!  My God, my
        legs! I can't feel my legs.
   TOM (tapping SAM'S foot) Feel that?  It's just the anesthetic; 
        it takes time to wear off.  Your legs are fine.
   SAM  Thank God.
   TOM  Yes, thank God.  You are alive.
   SAM  What is wrong?  (No response from TOM.)  What is it?
   TOM  My son, you have suffered . . . a terrible wound.
   SAM  What?!  Terrible wound?  What--my God, no, no!  (Feels
        beneath the sheet.) Oh, my God.  No, no, no!  (Begins yelling 
        then stops abruptly.)  How's that, Tom?  About right?  More?
        Louder? A little more anguish?  (TOM doesn't respond, so
        SAM begins yelling again.)  Ahhh . . .
   TOM  You have suffered a terrible wound, but you have your life.
   SAM  My life?
   TOM  Don't say anything else, Sam.  Just listen, and think,
        feel, if you can.  (Pause.)  You have your life, son,
        and your sight, the full use of your arms and legs.
        You're really very fortunate.  And your government won't
        forget what you sacrificed for it; you'll receive full
        compensation.  But more importantly, you can hold your
        head up high because you served your country in a time
        of great need.  Whatever any of us gives is really too
        little when you consider what we get in return.
   SAM  What did you give, Reverend?
   TOM  I give the VC hell everyday, and twice on Sunday.  In
        the spiritual sense, of course.
   SAM  Of course.
   ANGEL  Please stop.  No more.

  (TOM glances at her and nods.)

   TOM  Okay.  Game's over.
   SAM  How'd I do, Tom?  How about that scream?  I just tried
        to imagine what--it would be like to--
   TOM  You did a fine job, Sam.  Absolutely first rate, a very
        sensitive performance.
   SAM  And you know I felt something too, Tom.  When I put my
        hands under the sheet, I really did feel something.  (A
        beat.) Any more games?
   TOM (lashing out) How about Sam in the bunker?  That's a good 
       one.  Want to play that?
   SAM  I guess I've had enough fun for one night.  Let's eat.
        Check the roast, Angel.
   TOM  Come on, Sam.  One more game.
   SAM  You go to hell!  I don't want to play one more game.
   TOM  Then get off my case and stay off of it!
   SAM  You're absolutely right; that's no way for me to treat a
        friend, an old war dog like yourself.  Let's just settle
        down now.  Let's get nice and mellow--laid back. I'll
        even fix some soft drinks to show they're no hard
        feeling, or should it be hard drinks to show that they
        are no soft feelings?  Angel, the roast.
   ANGEL  Come with me, Tom.

  (ANGEL takes his hand and they exit to the kitchen.
  SAM hurries over to the gun cabinet, loads a revolver,
  and puts it in a drawer of the cabinet.  Then he goes
  to the bar and gulps down a scotch and pours another.
  TOM and ANGEL return.)


   SAM  Ready or not?

  (ANGEL stays very close to TOM now.)

 ANGEL  A few more minutes.
   SAM  Don't overcook it now.  I like it rare, Tom too.
 ANGEL  I know how you like it.
   SAM  Prime rib, Tom.  Good American beef, corn fed, best beef
        in the world.  None of that gook shit here, and--and
        fine crystal, sterling silver--
 ANGEL  He's seen it, Sam.
   TOM  And I can't tell you how impressed I am.  And to think
        that I was right there in the trenches with you.
   SAM  The best money can buy.  No wooden bowls, no chopsticks,
        no rice, no fish, no gooks.
   TOM  Don't call them that!
   SAM  Tom . . . buddy, let's call a gook a gook, huh?  At
        least in my house.
   TOM  Don't you call them anything.
   SAM  That's right, I forgot. You liked the little yellow

  (TOM shakes his head almost in pity.)

   TOM  They're people, Sam.  Just like you and me and Angel.
        They live and die, same as we do.
   SAM  Animals!  Live like them, smell like them.
   TOM  You never should have been given the opportunity to find
        out, none of us should have.
   SAM  Oh, here it comes again, still alive after all these
        years the holier-than-thou trip.  If you detested the war
        so much you could have split.  We could have--fought it
        without you.
   TOM  You almost said won, didn't you?  You didn't win, Sam.
        You lost.  For the first time in history we were the
   SAM  And you were right there with us ole buddy, ole pal of
   TOM  I know.  I already told you why:  Swallowed too much pie.
        It was 1967, and I was a red-blooded American boy
        following his heart instead of his head.  I didn't think
        this country was capable of making such a mistake, of
        being so wrong. But I learned, and I detest myself for
        having to learn the way I learned.
   SAM  Well, let me tell you something.  I'm not ashamed that we
        fought there, not at all.  We didn't do anything that our
        fathers and our grandfathers didn't do.  My only shame
        comes from the fact that we didn't do it as well.
   TOM  Oh, we killed as well, Sam; we invented new ways of
        killing. We just didn't kill as much.
   SAM  And that's a shame.
 ANGEL  I think I'm going to be sick.
   SAM  Morning sickness?  Or mourn-ing sickness.
 ANGEL  I pity you, Sam.  I pity you because you can't feel
        anything for anybody but yourself.
   SAM  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Why I feel
        absolutely awful for all those good Americans who had
        their hard-earned money invested in the arms industry and
        suddenly had the war shut off right in their faces.  Now
        I'm faced with the task of turning a profit for them
        during peacetime, and that is a difficult proposition.
        Why in Vietnam I never heard a round go off or saw napalm
        illuminate the distant horizon that I didn't thank my
        lucky stars and stripes forever.
 ANGEL  Excuse me.

  (She rushes out.)

   SAM  Just you and me, Tom, Tommy.  Just like in Nam.  Jesus,
        we had some times, didn't we?  The bars.  The girls.
        Kicking those street kids' asses.
   TOM  You must be thinking of somebody else.
   SAM  No, you were there.  Always there, never with us, but
        always there.  I never turned around that I didn't see
        you looking down on me.  (A beat.)  Can't look down now
   TOM  Is that why you married Angel, Sam?  To somehow defeat
        me, to somehow beat me down because what I did for you
        was something you couldn't do for yourself?
   SAM  Tom, it was love.  I married Angel for love.
   TOM  You didn't get it.
   SAM  That's where you're wrong.  I get it all the time.
   TOM  Shut up!
   SAM  And it's such a pleasure, because I know when I'm
        fucking Angel, I'm giving you a real good fucking too.
   TOM  I hate your guts.
   SAM  Tom!  Is that anyway to talk to an old war buddy, a
        chum, a comrade in arms?  I should say not.
   TOM  She's leaving you.  Do you know that?
   SAM  For you?  What for?  (A beat.)  You have to understand
        Angel, Tom.  Now I know her, know what she likes, and,
        Tom, I'm sorry, but you just can't give it to her.  I
        mean, under the circumstances.
   TOM (reflects, then:) Sam, I can destroy you.  I know exactly 
        how too destroy you, you and your Purple Heart and your 
        Cross of Gallantry, your business and your life, everything
        you stand for.  Don't make me do that.  Don't make me play
        anymore war games.
   SAM  Don't even try, Tom.  I'll kill you if you even try.
   TOM  Are you afraid, afraid of what the truth would do to you?
   SAM  I'm not afraid of you.
   TOM  The truth, Sam.  I'm talking about the truth.  I'm
        talking about looking into the mirror and seeing who we
        really are.
   SAM  Just don't talk at all.
   TOM  Then you are afraid?  (No response.)  I don't blame you.
        Fear does funny things to a man.  It makes you do things
        that you didn't know you were capable of doing, and it
        keeps you from doing the things that you were sure you
        could do. Funny thing--fear.  (A beat.)  Now what about
   SAM  Angel?  She's not afraid of anything.
   TOM  Sammy?
   SAM  So, you think you'd like to have Angel.  (TOM nods.)
        Jesus, Tom, I'd like to help, I really would, but the
        fact is: I've grown accustomed to her face.  Is that the
        way it goes? Her breathing out and breathing in?  Her
        smile, her frown, her ups and downs?
   TOM  Why?
   SAM  Tom, Tommy, I'm thinking of you.  Believe me.  It just
        wouldn't, couldn't work.  A passionate young woman like
        Angel.  You must realize that she'd need to see other
        men. I mean, she has other men now, and I'm banging her
        three, fours time a week minimum.
   TOM  She wouldn't have to love them; she doesn't love you.
   SAM  Still, be a realist.  Think of what it would be like--
        the waiting, the wondering.  Who is it this time--the
        butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker?  Did the
        baker maker? Or did the candlestick maker?  (A beat.)
        Who is it that said that both heaven and hell dwell
        between a woman's legs?
   TOM  Shakespeare.
   SAM  Was . . . no, why Tom, such Tomfoolery, trying to trick
        your uncle Sam.  I think it was more likely Henry
        Miller. Anyway, it doesn't matter.  What matters is that
        it would be pure hell for you, Tom, pure unadulterated
   TOM  I've been through worse things.
   SAM  Have you now?  (Calls.)  Angel.  Angel, come back in
        here. We need you.

  (After a moment ANGEL enters. SAM goes to her,
  hugs her from behind, cupping her breasts.)
 ANGEL (pulling away) Get away from me!
   SAM  No, no, you don't understand.  We're going upstairs.
        Not for me.  For you and Tom.  It's a test.

  (She looks at TOM, confused.)

  SAM (grabs her) Come on.

  (TOM pulls ANGEL away from him.)

   TOM  No!
   SAM  Now what did I just explain to you, Tom.  It just
        wouldn't work.  I want to protect you from what would
        most certainly be a tragic mistake.  You and Angel . . .
 ANGEL  What's going on?  Tom?

  (He turns away..)

   TOM  I'm leaving.
 ANGEL  No!  Not without me.

  (She catches him and takes his arm.)

   TOM  Angel, I . . .
 ANGEL  What did he say to you?  What happened?
   SAM  I just gave Tom a lesson in--in how to deal with the
 ANGEL  A lot you know about that!  Tom?
   TOM  I shouldn't have come here; I don't even know why I did.
 ANGEL  You came for me.
   TOM  I don't know.  It could have been for Sam; I could have
        come for Sam.  I don't know anymore.  I'm . . . sorry.
 ANGEL  You came to find out why we hurt you, why Sam hurt you,
        and why I did.  That's why you came.
   TOM  For whatever reason it was, it was a mistake.  I
        shouldn't have come.

  (He starts to leave.)

   SAM  Don't go away mad, Tom.  Or hungry.  Roast will be ready
        in time now.
 ANGEL (to SAM) What did you say to him?
   SAM  Like I said.  Just showed him the truth, baby.  A simple
        fact of life about the facts of life.
 ANGEL  About me?
   SAM  And himself.  Huh, Tom?
 ANGEL  What truth?
   SAM  That no man can sit idly by while another man is banging
        his woman.
   TOM  Shut up!

  (SAM shrugs and goes to bar.)

   SAM  Have it your way.
 ANGEL  Tom, somehow we could make it.
   SAM  A little play on words there, Tom.  Purely unintentional
        on Angel's part, I'm sure.

  (They ignore him.)

 ANGEL  Give it a chance, Tom.
   TOM  Shit, Angel.  What chance has it got?
 ANGEL  I don't know--one in ten?  A hundred, a thousand?  I
        don't know, but anything is better than this.

  (Silence.  Then:)

   TOM  Your baby?  What about your baby?
 ANGEL  (woodenly) There isn't a baby.
   SAM  Her name is Betsy.
 ANGEL  She's dead.
   SAM  She's three now, nearly four.
 ANGEL  She would have been.
   SAM  Angel gives her dolls and clothes, pretty dresses.
 ANGEL  I don't even cry anymore.
   SAM  But the baby does.  Listen!  I think I hear her crying
 ANGEL  (frightened) No!
   SAM  Yes, she's crying.  I'm sure.  Don't you hear her?
 ANGEL  No, no.  I don't.  She not crying!
   SAM  Yes.  Yes, she is.  Listen.  It's getting louder; she's
 ANGEL  No!  No!  She's dead.  Betsy is dead!

  (ANGEL suddenly lunges at SAM and begins hitting him.
  TOM pulls her away.  SAM stumbles to the bar, hurt,
  rests for a moment then pours himself a shot of
  scotch.  TOM shakes ANGEL hard then pulls her against
  him where she nearly collapses.)
   TOM  (To SAM) You lousy bastard!  I should have let her kill you.
        (Now to ANGEL.)  It's okay.  It's okay, all over.  Go
        on and cry, cry all you want.  Don't talk.
 ANGEL  I have to tell you now.  I want to finish.
   TOM  Not now.
 ANGEL  Yes, I want to tell you.
   TOM  Later.  Just let me hold you.
 ANGEL  No, now.  I have to tell you now.  (She takes a moment
        to regain her composure.)  I--I did have a baby, a
        beautiful baby.
   SAM  It was retarded.
 ANGEL  That's not true; she was a lovely baby a beautiful baby
        with pretty eyes and skin and hair.  And she was a good
        baby, such a good baby.
   SAM  It cried; it screamed all the time.
 ANGEL  No, no.  She never cried with me, only him because-
        because she knew.
   SAM  Knew what?
 ANGEL  Knew that you represented all the evil and base and vile
        things in the world.  She never cried with me; she was a
        good baby, a beautiful, innocent baby, my only child.
        She . . .

  (She begins to break.)

   TOM  That's enough, Angel.
 ANGEL  No, let me finish.  You have to know what happened to my
   SAM  Our baby.
 ANGEL  My baby.  You hated her.
   SAM  It always cried; it never stopped screaming.
   TOM  What happened?
 ANGEL  She died.  My baby died.
   TOM  Good God.

  (He pulls ANGEL close to him.)

 ANGEL  (woodenly) There was nothing wrong with her; she just died,
        and then she was dead.
   SAM  Tell him when it died.  What day.  He'll love that.
 ANGEL  My baby died on the day that Saigon fell.  Do you
   SAM  Crib death.
 ANGEL  No, she just died.  There was no logical reason for her
        death, no disease, nobody benefited from it.  It didn't
        mean anything; it didn't do any good.  She just died,
        that's all.
   TOM  I'm sorry.
 ANGEL  It wasn't your fault; it wasn't anybody's fault.  She .
        . . just . . . died.  For no reason.
   TOM  I'm sorry, baby; I'm so sorry.
   SAM  It's gone, Tom, but it's still alive in her head.  She
        says it's dead, but she knows it's not, not for her.  It
        never will be.  She sings to it, talks to it, buys
        things for it. It's one of those little things you have
        to learn to live with.
   TOM  Angel, I could learn.  I could try.  (No response.)  Do
        you hear what I'm saying, Angel?  I'll try, give it a
        chance, like you said.  I'm willing to do that, willing
        to go with you, take you with me.
   SAM  Isn't this touching: I'm all choked up.  A tender moment
        in the annals of humankind.  I've got it!  Maybe you two
        could have another baby, one of your own.  Oh, sorry,
        you couldn't, I forgot.  I could recommend a good stud
        service then, and you could be part of the postwar baby
        boom after all.  I know a good diaper service too.
   TOM  You're all heart, Sam.  (To ANGEL.)  You all right?
 ANGEL  I think so.  You?
   TOM  Frightened.  Frightened half to death.
 ANGEL  How did things get so screwed up?
   TOM  How?  It started a long time ago, and we didn't even
        have that much to do with it.  It was that goddamn
        "manifest destiny" thing again.  Save the world for
        American democracy-and sources of revenue.
 ANGEL  And then it happened all at once.  Suddenly I was
        married to the wrong man for the wrong reason.  There
        was a war. My baby died.  You were mutilated for no
        reason at all, and Sam came home a hero.  Oh, goddammit,
        I hate it.  I just hate it.  Such idiocy.  Such waste.
   TOM  You should have seen it.
 ANGEL  I did.  And I see it now, in all of us, even him.

  (SAM lifts his drink and smiles.)

   SAM  To the happy couple.  Your future.  May your sons never
        have to defend the motherland.
   TOM  You're sick.  If my body was a casualty of the war then
        so was your mind.  And mutilated or not I can live with
        my body; I couldn't live with your mind.
   SAM  Not a bad mind, Tom.  Knows how to make a buck.
 ANGEL  Don't pay any attention to him.
   SAM (toasting them)  Your future.

  (TOM pulls away from ANGEL.)

 ANGEL  Tom?
   TOM  Angel, maybe we don't have any more of a future than we
        do a past.  The memories are all dead, relics of some
        unobtainable dream.
 ANGEL  Tom, don't.  What we have is right now, an entire
        lifetime of present moments.  Don't turn them into
        regrets too, not before we've even had a chance to live
        some of them.
   TOM  I couldn't stand losing you again; I don't think I want
        to take the chance.  Why don't you just leave me alone?
 ANGEL  You've been alone too long.
   TOM  And I've been . . .
 ANGEL  What?  Happy?
   TOM  As happy as you.
 ANGEL  Then you've been in hell.
   TOM  I know that!  But I existed; I functioned.  There was
        no pain.
 ANGEL  Simply existing isn't living.  You need human contact.
        I know that because I need it too.
   TOM  I didn't need it before.
 ANGEL  Then you weren't living.
   TOM  I don't want all this pain!
 ANGEL  What do you want?
   TOM  To be whole!  I want to be a man again.
 ANGEL  Oh, dammit, dammit, Tom.  What can I do?
   SAM (drunkenly) Maybe you could get him one of those dildos.
   TOM  Don't make me live again, Angel.  Leave me alone.
 ANGEL  It's too late for that.  You see, I need you as much as
        you need me.
   SAM  She has needs all right, Tom.
 ANGEL  Take me with you.
   TOM  I can't.
 ANGEL  Can't accept my love?
   TOM  Can't return it.
 ANGEL  If that's true, I'll leave you.  (A beat.)  I know you
        love me, and that you love me as a human being, not an
        object. Not like he does.  If we're to start over,
        that's where we have to start--with fundamental human
   TOM  I can't not love you, Angel.  I tried to stop loving
        you, but I couldn't do it.
 ANGEL  I'll pack a few things then.  We'll go . . . all right?
   TOM (nods) All right . . . Jesus!

  (ANGEL goes upstairs and begins packing a small
  suitcase. After a moment SAM starts up after her.)
   TOM  Leave her alone, Sam.
   SAM  (viciously) Get out!  Get out of my house!
   TOM  Not without her.
   SAM  I'll file suit, Tom.  I'll sue your ass good--alienation
        of affection.  There's a precedent.  I'll take
        everything you've got.
   TOM  Then you'd better stock up on cat food, ole buddy
        because one cat is all I've got, and it's a Siamese.
   SAM  Shit!
   TOM  Right, kitty litter too.  You'll be needing some of
        that. And face it, Sam:  There hasn't been any affection
        between you and Angel for years.
   SAM  I still won't let her go; it's a matter of principle.
   TOM  What are you going to do?  Ground her!  She can do as
        she pleases.  You can't stop her.
   SAM  By god we'll see about that!

  (SAM lunges at TOM who dodges him and easily throws
  him to the floor.  SAM stays there for a moment hurt,
  breathless, then he looks up.  He seems close to weeping.)
   SAM  Goddamn you!  Let me go, Tom.  I'm drunk, and she is my
        wife.  Let me talk to her; that's all I want, just a few
        minutes alone with her to talk this thing out.  Don't I
        have that right as her husband?
   TOM  It's too late for talk.
   SAM (pleading) Tom, please!  Just give me a chance.  I'll admit 
        that things haven't gone well for a long time, but--but we
        had some good years.  There was some love--and the baby.
        She wouldn't have made it through that on her own.
   TOM  You expect me to believe that?
   SAM  Tom, for chrissake, give me a chance.  I love her in my
        own way.  I do!
   TOM  She hates you, Sam.
   SAM  Almost nine years.  You can't just wipe that out without
        a word whether there's any love left or not.  Good or
        bad, we've been a part of each other's lives for a long
        time. I've got to see her, to talk to her.  Please!
   TOM  Shit! (A beat.)  Go on.

  (SAM hurries upstairs.  Tom goes to the bar, sits, then
  wearily rests his head on his arms, exhausted.  Upstairs,
  SAM enters the bedroom where ANGEL is packing.)

   SAM  Put that away!
 ANGEL  Get out, Sam.  Get out of my room and get out of my life.
   SAM  You're not leaving, not with him.  He's not even a man.
 ANGEL  He's a human being, Sam, a decent human being.  That's
        more than you are, more than you've ever been.
   SAM  He's a loser, a born loser.  He lost everything.
 ANGEL  Not me.  He didn't lose me.
   SAM  No?
 ANGEL  Not for good.  It just took us a while to get back
   SAM  He never had you.  Never!
 ANGEL  He always had me, and he's going to have me now--for good.
   SAM  Over my dead body!
 ANGEL  Don't get dramatic, Sam.
   SAM (more calmly now) So, Tom is going to take you away.  Sweep 
        you away on a white stallion.
 ANGEL  I think I'm actually taking him away.
   SAM  Doesn't matter.  (A beat.)  And where is Tom going to
        keep you?
 ANGEL  He won't have to keep me; I can take care of myself.
   SAM  And poor Tom?
 ANGEL  If I have to.
   SAM  You're not going.
 ANGEL  Why?  Why not?  You don't love me.
   SAM  But I want you.
 ANGEL  "I want you."  You sound like a recruiting poster.
   SAM  You mean so much to me.
 ANGEL  You're such a liar.  The only thing that will suffer if
        I leave is your vanity.  You don't have any other real

  (SAM goes to the bed and starts throwing her things
  out of the bag.)
 ANGEL  Stop it!
   SAM  I said you're not going.
 ANGEL  The hell I'm not!  I'll walk out of this house naked if
        I have to.  There's nothing in this house, in this life,
        that I want.
   SAM  Yes there is, and you know right where it is.
 ANGEL  Bastard!
   SAM  What's he got?  (No response.)  Huh?  Nothing.  Nothing!
        That's what.  And you're going to miss it baby.  You're
        going to miss it because you can't live without it.  We
        didn't have much, but we did have sex, sheer animal
        desire, lust.  And you're not going to be able to live
        without it. I know you, and you know yourself.  And it
        will be different than with me; I didn't care how many
        men you had, but every time you screw somebody else when
        you're with Tom, you'll be kicking him in his empty crotch.
 ANGEL  (a little frightened) I pity you, Sam.  I pity you 
        because you're so pitiless.
   SAM  Wrong, baby.  Because I pity Tom if he takes you with
 ANGEL  He doesn't want your pity, doesn't need it.
   SAM  Or yours!  And that's why you're going.
 ANGEL  (uncertain) No, I'm--I'm going because I love him.
   SAM  Love!  Shit!  You don't know the difference between love
        and a hard cock.
 ANGEL  (charges him) That's not true.

  (SAM grabs her.)

   SAM  No?
 ANGEL  I know.  I know what love is.
   SAM  Do you now?
 ANGEL  Yes.  Yes!

  (SAM forces her hand to his crotch.)

   SAM  Then feel this, feel this love.
 ANGEL  Stop it!
   SAM  (viciously) What's that?  Is that love?  You feel that love?
 ANGEL  (struggling) Stop it!  You son of a bitch.  Let me go.
   SAM  You shut up!

  (He slaps her and tears open her robe.  She falls on the
  bed with him standing over her.)
   SAM  Now I'm going to show you the only kind of love you know
        anything about.  And if you make a sound I'll kill you
        and him too.
 ANGEL  No.  No.

  (SAM drops down on top of her, forcing her into
  submission. The lights begin to fade slowly.)

   SAM  Feel that.  Feel that love inside you.  You can't get
        that from him.  You love it now baby,  Admit it.  You
        love it. Love it!  Love it!
 ANGEL  (weakly) No, no, I don't.  No . . .

  (The SCENE fades into darkness momentarily as the
  lights come all the way down. There is a moment of silence
  and blackness before the lights begin to come back
  up.  MUSIC can be used here to cover a short time lapse.
  When the lights come up ANGEL is crumpled up on the
  bedroom floor, crying.  SAM is stretched out on the bed,
  smoking, quietly, confidently. Downstairs, TOM enters from 
  the kitchen and goes to the stairs.)

   TOM  Angel.  Angel!  I took the roast out; it's burned . . .
        Angel?  You all right?
   SAM  That's your man calling.
   TOM  Angel!
   SAM  She's all right, Tom.  Angel is just fine.
   TOM  Angel!
 ANGEL  I'm . . . coming, Tom.

  (She rises, closes her robe the best she can and moves
  to the stairs painfully. After a moment she goes
  down, crying and trying not to cry.)
   TOM  What. . . ?
 ANGEL  I--I'm sorry, Tom.  But I--I can't go with you.
   TOM  What?  Why?  What did he do to you?

  (He tries to touch her.)

 ANGEL  Don't.
   TOM  He raped you!
 ANGEL  You'd better go.
   TOM  What?!  No!
 ANGEL  Please, leave!  Leave me alone.  Go on.
   TOM  Not without you.
 ANGEL  I'm not going now.  I can't.
   TOM  I won't leave you here, not after this.
 ANGEL  God, this is absurd.  A moment ago you wouldn't have me.
   TOM  And you wouldn't leave without me.
 ANGEL  Sweet irony.
   TOM  Irony, bullshit.  Get your things.
 ANGEL  Tom, you don't understand.  I can't go with you now. Sam
        was right; he made me see myself for what I really am.
   TOM  I don't care what you are.  You'll be something
        different with me than you are with him anyway.  Now get
        your bag, Angel.
 ANGEL  Tom, I 'm not the sweet angel you fell in love with
        anymore. I might destroy you; you said so yourself.  I
        don't know that there isn't some kind of an unmitigated
        lust for . . . something that I can't quite identify deep
        within my being.  I don't know if it's for sex or power
        or control, but beneath this veneer of "respectability"
        some deep craving is aching to be satisfied.
   TOM  I want you out of here anyway.  You don't even have to
        stay with me, but I want you out.  I won't leave you
        here for him to destroy like--
 ANGEL  (probing) Like he destroyed you?
   TOM (reflects, then:) I know why I came here now.  (A beat.)
        It was for you, but not because I wanted you anymore; at 
        least I didn't know that when I came.  I came to take you 
        from him.  He took you from me when I was helpless.  I 
        wanted to take you back. And I am, but it's still a poor 
        trade because my loss was so much greater than his.  I 
        loved you.  He doesn't, probably never has.  He just 
        wanted to get at me anyway he could.
 ANGEL  Get back at you for what?
   TOM  Come with me, Angel.  Not because I give a damn about
        Sam now; I don't.  But because I want and need you to.
        Stay, he'll destroy you.
 ANGEL  What about you?  Aren't you capable of being destroyed?
   TOM  I've already been destroyed.  I need you to help me pick
        up the pieces.
 ANGEL  I'll come then, because you need me.  But I'll leave you
        before I'll hurt you.
   TOM  That would hurt most of all.
 ANGEL  Then I'll stay, for as long as you need me.

  (They embrace.  Then she pushes away.)

 ANGEL  God, I feel so--dirty.

  (TOM leads her to the table. There he wets a napkin in a
  water glass and wipes her face and upper torso.)
   TOM  Better?

  (She nods and attempts a smile.)

 ANGEL  Better.

  (SAM enters from the stairs now.  He is pulling up his
  pants and buckling his belt.)
   TOM  You filthy bastard!
   SAM  Just showed her how much she needs a man, Tom.  You
        just won't be able to--fill the gap.
   TOM  You raped her!
   SAM  She's my wife, Tom.  Man can't rape his wife.  The law.
   TOM  She leaving anyway.  Now.  With me.
   SAM  Try to take her and I'll kill you both.
   TOM  (explodes) What with, Sam?  A weapon?  (He rushes to the gun
        cabinet.) One of these?  But you're afraid of guns, Sam!
        Remember? They make you shake, make you cry!
   SAM  (viciously, frightened) Shut up!  You shut up!
   TOM  What is it, Sam?  You hear those rounds going off?
        Bang! Bang!  Bang!  Bang!  Hear that?  All around you--
        VC firing out of the jungle.  You can't see them.  Bang!
        Bang! Hear it!?  Remember?  See the rockets red glare?
        The bombs bursting in air?  See them!  Remember?
   SAM  (shaken) All right.  All right!  Take her.  I don't give a
        goddamn about the slut.  Just take her and shut up.
 ANGEL  What is it, Tom?  What are you talking about?
   SAM  (desperately) Nothing!  Lies!  Nothing but lies!
 ANGEL  Tom, what happened?  What happened over there?
   SAM  Nothing!  Nothing happened!  Now get the hell out.  Go
 ANGEL  No!  I want to know!

  (TOM and SAM stare at one another; SAM is incredibly
  anxious.  Suddenly he breaks for the gun cabinet and
  grabs the revolver he had hidden earlier.  He comes at
  TOM. ANGEL jumps between them.)
 ANGEL  Sam, no!
   SAM  Get away from him Angel!

  (TOM pushes her away and SAM grabs her with is free arm.)
   SAM  You keep your mouth shut.  Don't you say another word
        you prickless bastard.  Just get out before I kill you.
   TOM  Angel too?
   SAM  No!  Angel stays.  You get out.

  (TOM starts for the door cautiously.)

   SAM  I'm doing you a favor, Tom, a big favor for an old war
        buddy.  You're just not equipped to keep this little
        woman satisfied.  If you--

  (ANGEL elbows him hard in the abdomen, doubling him
  over. TOM jumps him and they struggle until the gun goes
  off harmlessly into the ceiling. Upon hearing the
  shot SAM crumples onto the floor, frightened.  TOM
  grabs the revolver.)
   TOM  Now, one more game, Sam.  I'm going to direct this time.
        Sam.  Sam?
   SAM  What.  What!?
   TOM  Another game!  You asked for it, you bastard.  Time for,
        Sam in the bunker.  You'll know how to play this one;
        the script is already written; you know all the lines,
        don't you? Don't you?
   SAM  Yeah, yeah, I know.  But don't--don't make me play.
        Please don't make me play, Tom.  Take Angel and go; I
        won't bother you.  Go on.  Please.
   TOM  No, by god, we're going to play this time.  Angel's
        going to find out just what kind of a hero you really
   SAM  Tom, I was afraid.  Jesus!  Pity me.  Please!
   TOM  I don't have any pity left, not for you.  That's what
        your kind does to people--turns them into pitiless
        creatures that claw and scratch and bite and hate until
        they destroy anything and everything.  You killed what
        pity I had for you when you raped Angel.  You made me
        hate again, hate you and hate myself for hating.  So
        we're going to finish this game now.  You started it;
        it's got to end. (Point to plants.) Get in that bunker--
        over there in the jungle.
   SAM  Tom.  Please!
   TOM  Move it!  Bang!  Bang!  Goddammit, move!  Incoming!  Hit
        the deck!  Hit it!

  (They both dive to the floor, SAM near the plants,
  TOM closer to the couch. ANGEL stands back and
  watches, frightened and fascinated.)
   TOM  More incoming!  Dig it, Sam!  Dig it!

  (SAM is confused, truly frightened and angry.)
   TOM  Get down, Sam.  Get down in the bunker.  I'm here in the
        ditch, remember?  Angel, here's the situation, and a
        sorry one it is too.  We're taking mortar and automatic
        weapons fire from a treeline south of us.  Sam is pinned
        down in a bunker, me, here in a ditch.  Between us the
        VC have planted some booby traps--mines, staked pits,
        snares all kinds of bad shit that I don't even want to
        remember.  We get orders to pull back, and start,
        everybody but Sam in his hole. Okay, Sam, you take it
        from here.


   TOM  Bang!  Bang!  Bang!  Dig it, grunt!  Dig it!
   SAM  Please stop, Tom.  Please!  I can't stand it.
   TOM  Bang!  Bang!  You start talking and I'll stop.  Now go!
   SAM  Tom.  Tom!  Goddammit, I'm hit!
   TOM  How bad?
   SAM  Bad!  Real bad!  I can't move my legs; my legs won't
        move. Help me!
   TOM  Shit, hang on . . . Corpsman!  Corpsman!

  (SAM is trembling now, reliving it.)

   SAM  Tom!  Don't leave me.  Don't leave me here!
   TOM  Hang on dammit!  (A beat.)  Christ!  All right, I'm
        coming over; put some heat in that treeline.

  (TOM waits, fires himself, then runs to a position
  closer to SAM and hits the deck.)
   TOM  Goddamn!  I said to fire into that treeline.  I nearly
        got my ass shot off!
   SAM  (hunkering down) I can't.  My weapon's jammed; it won't fire.
   TOM  Christ Almighty!

  (Again TOM fires into the imaginary treeline.  Then he
  darts around the room dodging furniture and finally
  dives into SAM'S bunker.)
   TOM  Son of a bitch.  They're trying to kill me, and I don't
        even believe in this fucking war.  Damn you!  (Turns to
        SAM.) Where did you get--what the fuck?  You're not hit!
        You lousy bastard!
   SAM  Tom!  Jesus, I'm scared; my legs won't work.  I thought
        I was hit; I swear.  I thought I was hit.  Help me!
        Goddammit, help me!
   TOM  You think I'm not scared?  You think I want to die in
        this fucking hole.  Get up!
   SAM  I can't.
   TOM  Can't my ass.  Now move!  Or you can stay here and take
        this opportunity to give your life for your country.
   SAM  This isn't my country!
   TOM  It's not mine either, and while I don't have anything
        against it personally, I sure as hell don't plan on
        dying for it.  Let's go!
   SAM  I'm telling you, I can't.
   TOM  Give me that!  (Tom grabs SAM'S weapon.)  I'll pin them
        down while you make a run for it; otherwise you're gonna
        die in this hole.  (Fires.)  Bastard!  It's not jammed!.
   SAM  (begging) Tom, I can't move.  I'm afraid.
   TOM  You dirty yellow bastard!
   SAM  That--that field you crossed.  It's booby trapped;
        Franklin got blown away.
   TOM  You know that and you called me over here?
   SAM  I'm hit!  I need help.
   TOM  Liar!  You're yellow.  Now move!
   SAM  I can't!  Franklin--he was there--and then he wasn't.  I-
        I can't do it.  Help me!
   TOM  Fuck it.  I'm leaving.  You can stay if you want.
   SAM  No, Tom, don't leave me.  Please!  I beg of you.
   TOM  (thinks, then:) Shit! . . . If I get you out I may kill 
        you myself.
   SAM  Just get me out.

  (TOM fires into the treeline.)

   TOM  Get on.

  (SAM struggles to his feet and climbs on TOM'S back
  piggyback style.  TOM fires again then starts across the
  booby trapped area.  Halfway across the room, he drops
  the revolver, freezes, and yells.)
   TOM  Mine!

  (He makes the noise of an explosion, yells, and falls,
  clutching his crotch.  SAM falls too, but he is not
  seriously wounded.  TOM'S body sheltered him from the

   SAM  I'm hit!  I'm hit!

  (TOM gets up slowly.)

   TOM  You just took some shrapnel in the ass; you weren't
        hurt. You left me!
   SAM  No, no.  I went for the Corpsman, Tom.  I--I didn't
        leave you; I swear it.   And--and I fought off the VC.
        They withdrew, fell back, ran away.
   TOM  They disappeared into the jungle because of an air
        strike. And the Corpsman that found me was from Bravo
        Company. You ran and left me to die.
   SAM  No, no!  I--I sent for them, called in the air strike,
        fought off the VC.  I have medals; I'm a hero.  My
        country gave me medals.
   TOM  Crawl.  Crawl you worm, crawl back into your hole.

  (SAM starts crawling; then he collapses in a heap,
  whimpering and shaking.)
 ANGEL  That's enough, Tom.
   TOM  He left me to die after . . .
 ANGEL  I know.  I know . . . I thought he was a hero; I almost
        even respected him for that.
   TOM  None of us were heroes, just soldiers of misfortune,
        fighting the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong
 ANGEL  He thought he was a hero; he told the story so often
        that he began to believe it himself.
   TOM  He thought he was right; they all thought they were
        right. (A beat.)  Get your things.  We're going.

  (ANGEL starts for the stairs. As she does SAM
  picks up the revolver, jumps up and rushes TOM.  ANGEL
  then moves behind SAM to the gun cabinet.)
   SAM  You son of a bitch.  I'm going to kill you for that!
   TOM  Bang!  Bang!  Bang!
   SAM  Stop it!  Goddammit it, stop!
   TOM  Bang!  Bang!  Incoming!  Incoming!

  (SAM manages to squeeze off a round that catches TOM in
  the shoulder.  TOM falls then struggles to his knees.
  SAM is terribly frightened of TOM, of the gun, but he
  still has it pointing at TOM'S head. ANGEL removes a
  rifle from the cabinet.)
   SAM  You shouldn't have done that.
   TOM  Go on Sam, shoot me!  But you won't kill it!  You can't.
        You can't kill it because it's not in me Sam, it's in
        you! The poison is in you and your kind.
   SAM  I don't give a goddamn!

  (SAM is trembling, trying to fire when ANGEL fires a shot
  into the ceiling.  SAM cringes then crumples to the
  floor, moaning like some wounded animal, destroyed.
  TOM looks over to ANGEL.)
 ANGEL  I had to destroy it: I had to destroy it before it
        destroyed what little good is left in us.
   TOM  I know.  I know.
 ANGEL  Now we can be whatever it was they we started out to be
        so many years ago.  (A beat.)  We can be that, Tom,
        can't we?
   TOM  (nods) If we can remember what that was.
 ANGEL  (hopefully) I can . . . I remember now.

  (ANGEL goes to TOM.  Still on his knees he holds her
  and she him as the lights begin to come down slowly.
  The MUSIC begins again, low in the background. END ACT
                      FINAL CURTAIN


You can email the author, David W. Christner, at:
You can visit his home page at: