This Play is the copyright of the Author and may not be performed, copied or sold without the Author’s prior consent
ACT II, SCENE I
LIGHTS COME UP ON The Wall at 2:00 AM where THE SQUAD is assembled
NOBEL , WASHINGTON and SANCHEZ look about as good as
they can under the circumstances. Their fatigues are burnt, ragged and
stained with blood as before; their boots are caked with mud, and
every accessory is slightly askew. They form a line not quite
perpendicular to The Wall. Mac paces in front of them. He is all spit
and polish. The squad is standing at Parade Rest.
(They snap to attention.)
(They go back to Parade Rest.)
Snap it up, now. Snap it up. Ten—hut!
(They snap to in unison.)
(The men present their weapons for inspection.)
MAC: That’s more like it.
WASHINGTON: How we look, Mac?
MAC: You look like hell!
SANCHEZ: There’s a reason for that.
WASHINGTON: Been there.
NOBEL: And back.
SANCHEZ: But not all the way back.
MAC: Knock off the grab assin’! (A beat.) Order—harms! At ease.
MAC (like John Wayne) : You men—are probably wondering—why I
called you here.
WASHINGTON: Not me, Bro.
SANCHEZ: Not after twenty years, we ain’t.
MAC: Button that lip, soldier. (A beat.) Tonight is different.
NOBEL: What’s going on, Mac?
MAC: Tonight I won’t be conducting the inspection.
SANCHEZ: Oh, no . . . who is it this time?
MAC: Got the brass comin’ in tonight. Big brass.
MAC: Bigger than that. Civilian brass.
WASHINGTON: Don’t tell me Henry Kissinger is dragging his white ass
down here to inspect us!
MAC: Nope. It’s the Old Man himself.
WASHINGTON: My man, Tricky Dick!
MAC: Nope—not that tricky, but a big dick all right. You got one
MAC: The one, and thank God, the only. Our Commander-in-Chief.
SANCHEZ: LB—friggin’—J. I can’t believe it.
MAC: So I want you to look sharp.
SANCHEZ: Feel sharp!
WASHINGTON: Be sharp!
MAC: Knock it off.
(A few beats while Mac listens. We HEAR a FEW BARS OF “Hail to the
Chief” and “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”)
MAC: He’s coming now.
SANCHEZ: Don’t worry ‘bout nothin’, Mac . We’ll give him all the
respect he deserves. He is the President.
NOBEL: You bet! If it weren’t for him, we might not even be here.
WASHINGTON: Maybe I’ll offer up a little toast to the Gulf of Tonkin
(LBJ emerges from the center of The Wall. He’s wearing chinos, a
white shirt open at the collar, a tie pulled own, a leather flight
jacket and baseball cap.)
MAC: Ten—hut! Mr. President, 2nd Platoon, 1st Squad, Bravo
Company, 14th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Division reporting for
LBJ: Very well, Sergeant. With your permission, I’d like to make a
few comments before we begin the inspection—just a few personal
MAC: As you wish, Sir. You are the Commander-in-Chief.
LBJ: That’s the point, Sergeant. I don’t want to talk at you as
Commander-in-Chief, but . . . with you—man to man.
MAC: As you wish, Sir! Man to man. However, I should point out, Sir,
that most of these men are little more than boys, Sir!
LBJ: Fair enough, Sergeant. (A beat.) Feel free to express yourself,
men, all of you.
NOBEL: I have no expression, Sir, and nothing to express.
LBJ: What’s that, Son?
NOBEL: Robert Frost, Sir. Desert Places. I’m paraphrasing.
LBJ: Good for you, Son. Nothing wrong with a little culture to keep
the mind alive. Keep it up.
NOBEL: I will, Sir.
SANCHEZ: If the truth be known, Sir, the kid never had a chance to
git it up, Sir!
LBJ: That’s some sorry shit, son. You missed out on a damn good
thing. (A beat.) All you boys—did everything I asked of you. And I
do appreciate it.
SANCHEZ: All the way with LBJ, Sir! Our squadron motto.
WASHINGTON: And look where it got us.
NOBEL: We got this nice view of the reflecting pool—year ‘round.
WASHINGTON: Yes Sir, and those cherry blossoms are quite a sight in
SANCHEZ: Right, Bro. Every April we’re reminded of the fall—of
Saigon, by these Cherry trees that were a gift of the Japanese whose
asses we ran outta Saigon fifty years earlier.
WASHINGTON: What’s the sense in that, Mr. President?
LBJ: You boys have every right to feel . . . disenfranchised.
SANCHEZ: I don’t feel—disenfranchised, Sir! I feel pissed off.
WASHINGTON: And I feel pissed on! Sir!
LBJ: I don’t know what to tell you boys.
MAC: Nobody else does either, Sir!
LBJ: You have to understand that it was all so very
complicated—geo-political stability, national security, global
economics, and our prestige as a world leader. And I was trying like
hell to get that Great Society thing off the ground. Shit—what a
MAC: An apology wouldn’t hurt anything, Sir.
LBJ: I inherited the entire mess from that fornicator Kennedy, and
he got it from that nitwit Eisenhower. They’re both still thought of
as heroes! And me—hell I couldn’t even run for a second term, things
were so screwed up. And my Great Society did more for this country
MAC: A simple apology will go a long way, Sir!
LBJ(breaking): God knows if I could give just one of you boys back
what I took, I swear I’d give up everything I ever accomplished in
politics or my personal life. I swear I would.
MAC: We’ll take that, Sir. (A beat.) Now these troops are ready for
LBJ: Very well, Sergeant. Carry on.
(The Squad snaps to attention. LBJ and MAC: start down the line.
First they stop in front of Washington. LBJ looks him over.)
LBJ: You look like hell, Son.
WASHNGTON: Been dead ‘bout 20 years, Sir!
LBJ: Hell, I’ve been dead for 19, and I had a lot more miles than
WASHINGTON: Don’t remind me.
(They move on to Sanchez. LBJ examines the hole in Sanchez ‘s temple
and gets some blood on his hands.)
LBJ: That’s a nasty wound, Son—and still bleeding after all these
SANCHEZ: This blood’s for you, Sir.
LBJ(reads nametag): Where you from—Sanchez?
SANCHEZ: El Paso, Sir.
LBJ: I thought you might be a Texan.
SANCHEZ: Texan first. American second. Child of God third, Sir.
LBJ: That’s as it should be. (A beat.) You know—I have a special
affinity for citizens of Spanish descent.
SANCHEZ: Is that a fact, Sir?
LBJ: Would I lie to you?
SANCHEZ: How many people for who you have this “special”
affinity did you have in your Cabinet, Sir?
LBJ: Son I said, “special” affinity not “actual” affinity. I
didn’t have any of your people in my Cabinet, however, I did have a
first class cook of Spanish descent in the White House.
SANCHEZ: I respect you for that, Sir. Cooking for the President of
the United States of America is no small matter, and if Cook was so
fortunate as to be able to take home a few leftovers, I’m sure he
dined like a king Sir!
LBJ: Hell, he didn’t cook just for me. There was Lady Bird and the
girls—that goddamn pretty boy Linda married, diplomats, statesmen,
ambassadors. Hell, you think I would have trusted that job to a
SANCHEZ: Not on your life, Sir!
LBJ: Damn straight I wouldn’t have! (A beat.) Hell, everybody would
of been hungry 30 minutes later!
(He moves on to Nobel.)
LBJ: How ‘bout you, Son?
NOBEL: How ‘bout me, Sir.
LBJ: Where you from?
NOBEL: Salt Lake City, Sir!
LBJ(examining the wound): What’s this hole in your chest here?
NOBEL: Caught a piece of shrapnel, Sir. Severed my aorta and
penetrated my lungs; lungs filled up and I drowned in my own blood.
LBJ: That’s some sorry shit!
MAC: He’s jist a kid, Sir. We try—not be a bad influence.
LBJ: Hell he’s dead ain’t he?
MAC: Nevertheless . . .
LBJ: Sorry, Son. (A beat.) How old were you when—you got it?
NOBEL: Seventeen, Sir.
LBJ: That’s a pity.
(LBJ stares at his blood stained hands.)
NOBEL: Tell me about it! (A beat.) How old were you, Sir—when—it
NOBEL: That’s a pity.
LBJ(looking at his bloody hands): You ought to do somethin’ about
NOBEL(hands LBJ his canteen): Just won’t seem to heal, Sir. Here you
are. Rinse with this.
(NOBEL takes the canteen, twists off the top and tips it over LBJ ‘s
outstretched hands. Blood instead of water pours out, covering LBJ’s
hands completely. LBJ jerks his hands away, grabs a handkerchief from
his rear pocket and tries to wipe his hands clean.)
NOBEL: Sorry, Sir. Must have picked up a piece of shrapnel in my
MAC: Shall I have the men pass in review now, Mr. President?
LBJ(frantically wiping his hands): Yes. Yes!
MAC: Squadron, shoulder—harms!
(They snap their M-16s to their shoulders. Faint at first and then
BUILDING, we HEAR THE STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER as the squad begin to
march in place and execute all Mac’s commands. Mac “marches”
along-side his men.)
WASHINGTON(calling cadence): Your left. Your left. Your left. Right.
Right. Right. Your left.
MAC: To the left flank—harch! (A few beats.) To the right
flank—harch! To the rear—harch! To the rear—harch!
WASHINGTON: I gotta gal in Salt Lake City!
SQUAD: I gotta gal in Salt Lake City!
NOBEL: She got a mole on her left titty!
SQUAD: She got a mole on her left titty!
WASHINGTON(calling cadence): Your left. Your left. Your left. Right.
Right. Right. Your left.
NOBEL: Met this woman in Chapel Hill!
SQUAD: Met this woman in Chapel Hill!
WASHINGTON: She won’t do it but her sister will.
SQUAD: She won’t do it but her sister will.
MAC: Sound Off!
SQUAD: One. Two.
MAC: Sound off!
SQUAD: Three. Four.
MAC: Sound off. One. Two. Three. Four.
SQUAD: Sound off!
(LBJ is staring at his hands and backing towards The Wall, trembling.
He throws the bloody handkerchief aside and looks at the squad. Mac
maneuvers the squad to a position directly in front of LBJ and has
them “march” by.)
MAC(saluting as they pass): Eyes—right!
(LBJ manages to right himself long enough to return their salute,
then he falls apart and disappears into The Wall.)
MAC: Squadron, ready—halt!
(They stop marching. THE MUSIC CONTINES TO BLAST AWAY, growing
MAC: Squadron, dis—missed!
(BLACK OUT with the MUSIC CONTINUING TO BLAST AWAY AS IT IS NOW MIXED
WITH THE SOUNDS OF COMBAT—HELOS, GUNFIRE, ROCKETS, BOMBS, SCREAMING,
[end of extract]