Lee A. Jacobus
                                 Copyright 2010

                          (GINNY walks sharply from the
                           Womans Room to the Mens room)

            Raymond?  You ready?
                          (SHE waits a moment, knocks on
                           the door)
            Raymond?  People are getting anxious.  Raymond.  I'm coming

            Christ sake, Lady, this is the men's room.

                          (SHE runs back in front of the
            Raymond, where are you?

            I'm here.
                          (He emerges from the coat room. 
                           He is wearing his coat)
            I'm leaving.

            Leaving?  You can't leave.  I have 40 women out there.

            Well, tell them the bisque gave me the runs.

            Runs?  You've got the runs?  You mean you're running out on

            I'm not running out.  I had the lunch.  I talked with that
            Cilla woman next to me.  And that other woman who wouldn't
            stop talking. I don't know what the hell they expect of me. 
            They look at me like I'm . . . .  I don't know what, but like
            someone I'm not.  What the hell is it that they think I am? 
            They made me feel like I was some kind of specimen.

            They don't think you're a specimen.

            I'm out of place.  Listening to all those women.  They're
            like nothing's ever gonna bother them.  You can see it, they
            are  . . . I don't know, what?  Like happy.  They don't need
            me.  They're happy people.  I don't fit in with happy people. 
            Don't you see what I mean?  What the hell did you ask me here

            Raymond, you're a hero.  They are thrilled that you're here. 
            You know I've told them all about your awards.  How they gave
            you a medal for getting rid of some bombers.  They came
            especially to hear you.  You're the speaker.  They expect a

            Then you can speak.  Say anything.  

            But I'm not the hero.  They don't want to hear from me.  

            Maybe I'm not a hero either.  In fact, right now I'm
            absolutely sure I'm not a hero.

            I photocopied the articles in the Times.  And in the
            Register.  You saw them.  I gave them to all the women. All
            that stuff you did in Tell Afar.  

            Tal Afar.  (BEAT) I don't ever want to talk about that.
                          (HE begins to belt his coat. 
                           SHE comes up to him and pulls
                           the belt loose)

            Raymond.  We went over this.  Remember?  You took our check. 
            Not that that's the thing.  I mean, it wasn't that much, but
            that's like a contract.

            A contract?

            Well, like a contract.  I'm not sure it's a real contract,
            but it, you know, resembles a contract.

            Resembles.  (BEAT)  That's a good word.  For this.  Like that
            painting.  What's that resemble?

            I don't know a lot about paintings.

            Yeah, well, me neither.  But I'll tell you something that you
            can take to the bank.  I'd really much rather have stayed
            here and made that painting than ever go to Tal Afar.  Who's
            the dude who had the time to make that painting?  Why didn't
            he go to Iraq with me?  

            I think it may have been a woman painter.

            Who cares?  We got women with M16s over there.  No, really
            think about it for a minute.  You got people just like me
            here in some fancy school who get trained to do shit like
            this and I get trained to kill people.  I grew up not far
            from here and I can paint things, too.  I was good, they
            said, and when I was little they had one of my drawings up in
            the goddam Arts Council offices for a while.  Yeah.  Said I
            could draw.  

            You could have been a painter.

            That's what I'm saying.  I wouldn't paint nothing like this
            dude,though.  Like I'm saying, what's this resemble and what
            do I resemble now?  You telling me it's all a matter of
            resemblance.  I resemble a hero is what you're saying?  Or
            maybe that's what I'm saying.

                          (SHE turns toward the
            Oh God, that's Ruthie-Jean.  She's supposed to introduce you. 
            Was that her hitting the wine glass?

            Yeah, I like the word "resembles."  That's why I'm getting
            out of here.

            No, no. You can't leave yet.

            Actually, I can.  In fact, I have to leave.

            What?  What?  Is this some kind of moral superiority thing?

            Where the hell did that come from?

            I know, I know.  You're the hero of Tal Afar and you're
            probably bored with having to talk to a group of ladies, but
            you know -- I told you when we first talked  -- these are
            smart women.  Good women.  They all teach in the local
            schools and in the high school  Some of them could have been
            your teachers.

            Shit no.  I was in juvie in high school.  They shipped me out
            so I wouldn't be a local problem.  I showed up in Pendleton
            when I turned eighteen and my first tour was four months
            later.  None of these women would have talked to me if they
            had me in school.

            Raymond, that's not true.  They would have loved you.  I've
            only known you for a few hours, I mean except for our phone
            conversations and all, and I think you're wonderful.  I can't
            believe you had troubles when you were young. Was it serious?

                          (HE snickers.  HE touches her
                           arm and looks around.)
            No, it was bullshit, but it was a real education.  

            You went right into the army?

            Marines, lady.  Company K, Third Battalion, First Marine
            Regiment. Captain Lucas M. McConnell.

            Yes, of course.  Then you were in Iraq right away?  

            You better believe it.  

            See, that's it.  We don't know anything about Iraq.  We just
            see what's on the news, 6 minutes or so every night.  How can
            we tell what's really going on there?  We need you.  Don't
            you see?  A real voice from someone who's been there.  An
            authentic voice.

            Authentic voice, eh?  That goes along with "Resembles." So I
            resemble an authentic voice. (BEAT)  Yeah, I been there and
            died there.

            I don't mean it that way.  (BEAT)  Died?  Why do you say

            Did I say Died?  

            Yes, you said died there.  Who died?

            Jesus.  The question is who didn't die there?  
                          (HE seems confused for a

            You didn't die.  You're here.  You were one of the lucky

                          (HE gives her a look)
            Fuck me. You think I was lucky?  Just because I got back?
            Jesus, what do you know about it?

            Right.  That's exactly right.  I don't know about it.  All I
            know is that you went over there and they don't tell me much
            about it except that our boys get killed and a lot of the
            Shiites or Sunnis or somebody gets killed and all that blood
            gets spilled for some reason that I just don't understand at
            all.  Don't you see what I'm saying to you.  For God's sake,
            I want to understand it and none of the sons of bitches
            higher up can make sense out of it for me and yet they want
            me to stand proud for America and salute a flag and be a
            patriot and thank them, whoever the fuck they are, for
            sending thousands of guys with guns to kill people in my
            name.  In my name.  And they don't even let the newspapers
            cover it because it's sensitive or secret or some kind of
            shit and I'm supposed to be pleased to stay home and wave the
            stars and stripes on July 4th, and now I'll tell you I'm sick
            of it.  That's why I wanted you here.  I need to know what's
            going on.  Is that asking too much? And now you're just like
            those bastards I'm talking about who won't tell me what's
            happening.  Now you just want to put on your coat and run out
            on me.  You don't want to tell me how it was in Tal Afar and
            what I should know that I don't know and  . . . .

            Hold it.  Jesus.  Hold it.  You want to know.  You really
            want me to tell you what a shithole I was in, what I had to
            do to get out of there?  Yes, I died there.  I didn't know it
            right away, but yes, I died there and I don't have to die
            again, at least not that way. 
            It's a small town way out, up north.  Jesus.  Bombs.  They
            drove a truck into the town and staged a traffic accident, so
            the kids all ran down to see what it was and the fuckers
            pulled the switch and all the kids were vaporized, shot all
            the crap all over the market and I was knocked down, but I
            caught a glimpse of a guy in a window.  Just on the second
            floor, not high, but across the market, almost out of my line
            of sight.  He showed up at the window to see how much damage
            he did and he had something in his hand.  I could see it.  A
            detonator.  Sophisticated.  And this guy must have lived
            here, I thought. He must have known all those little kids and
            the women at the market.  You gotta realize this wasn't the
            first time I saw car bombs and blood.  Not at all, but I was
            pissed now and when I saw that guy I got up and ran for the
            building and when I got there he wasn't alone.  There were
            three of them and they had no idea I was there until I killed
            the one nearest to me.  I heard him scream and I was glad. 
            You have no idea how glad I was, how good I felt.  I nailed
            the second guy as ran for his AK, but the third one.  The guy
            with the detonator was just standing there still holding the
            thing in his hand as if he was going to blow me up too.  So I
            didn't shoot.  I went up to him with my hand out and he
            didn't know what to make of it and I took out my neck knife
            and stuck it in his stomach and tore it up as far as I could
            until the blood made it hard for me to hold on.  Then I took
            it out and shoved it in his open mouth and silenced him.  I
            waited there for him to die.  I wanted to watch him die.  By
            that time I realized I had a real taste for killing.  I liked
            killing.  That was what they trained me to like and I liked
            it.  I probably would have killed anyone else in that house
            no matter who they were.  When I turned around with the knife
            in my hand, I . . . .

                          (SHE takes HIS hand and moves
                           HIM back toward the room)
            Wait.  Wait.  Hold that.  That's what you've got to tell
            them.  They've got to hear you the way I just heard you. 
            You've got to tell them what happened.  You have to make them
            understand what happened to you.  What it means to be a hero.