84C MoPic (1989)

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LIEUTENANT DREWRY -- EL TEE

Bright green, brand new issue tropical fatigues, boots, M-
16, and .45 pistol. Just out of Officer Candidate School. 
Crewcut, clean face, ambitious and full of the wrong ideas. 
24 years old.

SERGEANT O'DONIGAN -- OD

Well-faded tiger fatigues, scuffed boots, a lot of trail 
behind him. A black man from a large family, takes care of 
his team. Carries a CAR-15, carbine model of the M-16, and a 
Model 70 Winchester bolt action sniper rifle with scope, 
both with long black muzzle flash suppressors. A natural 
leader. An intensely serious man on the job, his rare smile 
dazzles. OD is 21.

SPEC/5 -- CRACKER

Spotted camouflage fatigues, worn and faded. He never tans, 
just gets red. Trace of a Southern accent and an old man's 
eyes. Defers to OD. Carries a 12-gauge riot shotgun with 
bandolier, and an M-14 sniper rifle with scope and flash 
suppressor. Dry wit, likes to watch the interplay between 
the others and wait for his opening. He is 24, but looks 
older.

SPEC/4 BALDWIN -- PRETTY BOY

Handsome, all-American, clean cut, easy going, he keeps the 
peace between Easy and Hammer. His tiger fatigues look 
tailored. Carries an M-79 grenade launcher with two bandoliers 
of grenades. Quick to smile, Easy's best friend and audience. 
Pretty Boy is 20.

SPEC/4 THORPE -- HAMMER

Short, stocky, Fu Manchu mustache, too-small tiger fatigues 
accented with black t-shirt and black leather gloves with 
the fingers cut off. Swaggering macho style, carries his M-
60 machine gun like he's seen too many John Wayne movies. 
Half immature teenager, half warrior, he is jealous of the 
affection shown toward Easy. He is 19.

PRIVATE EASELY -- EASY

Skinny, homely, his tiger fatigues look baggy. He carries 
the PRC-25 radio and M-1 carbine. Walks with a bounce, even 
in the jungle, and talks like an urban, rock and roll speed 
freak. Takes nothing seriously, least of all himself. Loves 
Pretty Boy, admires OD, teases Hammer because he's an easy 
target. He's been in the war too long and he is now getting 
scared. Easy is 21.



VIETNAM - The Central Highlands - 1968

The CAMERA STARTS and focuses on the ground where the words --

-- have been scratched.

An M-16 bayonet is jabbed into the ground next to the letters. 
The lettering goes fuzzy then sharp, fuzzy then sharp, as 
the Cameraman focuses.

A hand reaches in and pulls the bayonet out of the ground.

The Camera pulls back and focuses on LIEUTENANT DREWRY. He 
sheaths the bayonet and turns on the tape recorder that is 
next to his rucksack. He fiddles with the dials and looks at 
the Camera.

Sound on.

   DREWRY
 ...turns this thing on? How do you 
 tell if it's working? Outstanding.

They stand outside a large tent with a sign in front of it -- 
"S-2/S-3". A soldier whitewashes a line of rocks that form a 
square in front of the tent. Further away a soldier casually 
guards four Vietnamese who are filling sandbags. Music plays 
in one of the tents.

The Camera catches everything, including the rise of ground 
in front of the tent, the helicopter pad.

Drewry finishes a cigarette as he tries to tighten the straps 
on his pack. The Camera dwells on Drewry as he puts out the 
cigarette on the heel of one shiny new boot, field strips 
the butt and scatters the tobacco, balls up the paper and 
pockets it and the filter. He is nervous.

He stands and faces the Camera, adjusts his gig line and 
tries to look serious.

   DREWRY
 Ah... Drewry, Richard B., First 
 Lieutenant... Headquarters and 
 Headquarters Company, 173rd Airborne 
 Brigade... Vietnam.
  (beat)
 Lessons Learned Project, DASPO.

He pauses a moment and thinks.

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 Mission.

   DREWRY
 Reconnaissance mission, Central 
 Highlands. Our goal is to record 
 procedures peculiar to this combat 
 situation. Uh...

The fluttering of a distant helicopter is heard. It gets 
louder. Drewry looks into the sky and finds the helicopter.

   DREWRY
 That must be ours.

The Camera finds the helicopter, a Huey. It descends toward 
the pad where a soldier helps it land, using hand signals.

The blades kick up a huge cloud of dust.

Through the dust walks the team with OD in the lead. Packs 
on their backs, weapons in hand.

The Huey engine idles, the whoop-whoosh of the blades a slow, 
steady beat.

OD halts the team and Easy gooses HAMMER with his thumb. 
Hammer just grins.

   HAMMER
 Damn, Easy, you got a cold nose.

Drewry walks over to the team.

   DREWRY
 Which one of you is Sergeant 
 O'Donigan?

   OD
 Yo, sir.

The men play for the Camera. Easy cranks up a middle finger. 
Pretty Boy waves, "Hi, Mom". Hammer pretends to jack off. 
Cracker gurns. OD tries to ignore the Camera, but he is wary.

   DREWRY
 Glad to be working with you, Sergeant. 
 I'm your new Officer in Charge. Major 
 Nolin has briefed me on the mission. 
 We're prepared to move out.

OD looks at Drewry in surprise. He looks at the Cameraman, 
then back to Drewry. The team is stunned.

   OD
 We'll see about that.

Angrily he drops his pack and weapons and strides into the S-
2 tent. Nonplussed, Drewry hesitates, then follows.

The rest of the team look at the Cameraman.

   EASY
 TV news?

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 Army. How about a roll call?

   EASY
 Easely, Private E-2! Soon to be 
 promoted to PFC... Private Fucking 
 Civilian! 27 days and a wake up! I'm 
 short, sir!

   HAMMER/PRETTY BOY/CRACKER
 How short are you?

   EASY
 I'm so short I can parachute off a 
 dime, sir!

Easy gives a half-assed salute.

The Camera focuses on Pretty Boy.

   PRETTY BOY
 Spec 4 Baldwin, San Bernardino, 
 California.

He straightens his hair and just stands there.

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 Don't look at me, look at the camera.
  (beat)
 Say something.

   PRETTY BOY
 Something.

Easy grabs the microphone from the Cameraman.

   EASY
 Testes, testes, one, two.

   HAMMER
 "Jingle bells, mortar shells...

   HAMMER/EASY
 ...VC in the grass...

   TEAM
 ...You can take your Merry Christmas 
 and stick it up your...

They all laugh.

The Camera moves in on Hammer. He steps forward, at stiff 
attention.

   HAMMER
 Thorpe, William. Specialist 4th Class. 
 US 16-848-107. Machine gunner.

   EASY
 What a lifer.

   HAMMER
 Put a liplock on my love muscle, 
 Easy.

   EASY
 Let me fuck you in the ear so you 
 can hear me coming.

   CRACKER
 I think they're in love.

   EASY
 We are, we're engaged.

Easy leaps on Hammer and sticks his tongue in his ear.

   HAMMER
 That's disgusting, man.

Easy tries to kiss Hammer. Pretty Boy, and Cracker join the 
pile up on Hammer. They roll in the dirt.

The Cameraman singles out Cracker, who is a little worried.

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 You want to sound off?

   CRACKER
 Uh, right. Spec 5 Frye, weapons 
 specialist. I'm hare-lipped, hump-
 backed and half crazy. Not responsible 
 for my own actions.

Hammer stands behind Cracker and gives him horns. Easy puts 
a wet finger in his ear, and Pretty Boy raises a clenched 
fist between Cracker's legs.

Cracker ignores them.

OD and Drewry walk out of the tent accompanied by Major Nolin.

OD is looking grim. Drewry salutes Nolin.

   OD
  (to team)
 Let's get our shit together. We got 
 a mission.

The team grab their gear and walk toward the helicopter. 
Easy takes off his soft cap and puts on his steel helmet.

The Cameraman moves in on OD.

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 How about your name and rank? Don't 
 look at me, look at the camera.

   OD
 I'm not talking to the camera, I'm 
 telling you. Get that thing out of 
 my face.

OD shoulders his gear. Cracker hands him his weapons and 
looks at OD with a question in his eyes. OD shakes his head.

The team boards the Huey easily, they've done it a thousand 
times, a casual ride in the country. Drewry and the Cameraman 
wait to board last.

Drewry looks at OD. OD glares at him.

The Cameraman is helped in and he catches a shot of the S-2 
tent. Major Nolin watches the chopper.

The engine revs and the Huey lifts.

BLACK. Sound off.

STOCK FOOTAGE -- Vietnam countryside from the helicopter 
P.O.V., passing over a fire base.

CAMERA ON.

Hammer tries to talk with the door gunner. Easy blows into 
his thumb, inflating his middle finger. Pretty Boy sleeps. 
The Camera focuses on Easy, who looks nervous, but tries to 
cover it.

The Camera turns and catches a view of the jungle below. 
Rice paddies, peasants working, water buffalo.

STOCK FOOTAGE -- The Central Highlands, mountains, triple 
canopy jungle.

BLACK.

The CAMERA STARTS as the helicopter hits the ground. Sound 
on.

Cracker and Hammer drop first and wait for the rest of the 
men to clear the helicopter. The wind from the helicopter 
blades beats the brush with hard rhythm.

The men run through the brush, OD in the lead, followed by 
Pretty Boy, Easy, Drewry and the Cameraman. The sounds of 
the helicopter fade as it flies away off screen.

Drewry's rucksack and harness rattle and clatter, flopping 
loosely on his back, straps flying.

The Cameraman turns and kneels to capture Cracker and Hammer 
pulling up the rear. They run past him. The Cameraman gets 
to his feet and follows. Cracker stops for a second and grabs 
the Cameraman by the shoulder and shoves him ahead.

   CRACKER
 Move your ass, troop.

The Cameraman runs on. Branches whip at the lens as it breaks 
through the dense brush. Sometimes the branches obliterate 
the picture completely for a second.

The Cameraman loses sight of Hammer and he tries to catch 
up. The Cameraman suddenly reaches Hammer and the others 
stopped behind some brush at the edge of a clearing ten to 
fifteen meters across.

OD crosses the clearing, running in a low crouch. Easy is on 
the alert, watching intently as OD disappears into the brush 
on the other side of the clearing. Cracker and Hammer watch 
the flanks, Pretty Boy the rear.

Drewry sits on the ground huffing and puffing. He's not used 
to this.

   DREWRY
 How long... we gotta... run?

   PRETTY BOY
 This is Indian country, sir. Dime to 
 a dollar, Chuck saw or heard that 
 chopper. He don't figure the pilot 
 stopped to take a piss. Best to put 
 some klicks between the LZ and us. 
 Can you dig it?

Pretty Boy doesn't look at Drewry, he watches the jungle 
behind them.

OD comes into sight on the other side of the clearing, his 
fist pumping in the air.

   EASY
 Clear.

Easy runs across the clearing. He makes it safely. Hammer 
goes next.

Pretty Boy hits the top of Drewry's helmet.

   PRETTY BOY
 Quick, like a bunny fucks.

Drewry takes a deep breath and runs across the clearing. 
Pretty Boy follows.

Cracker covers the rear.

   CRACKER
  (to Cameraman)
 Your turn in the barrel. Go.

The Cameraman runs across the clearing.

The team is clustered together, each man facing a different 
direction, alert. Drewry adjusts his pack straps. The 
Cameraman turns and catches Cracker crossing the clearing, 
then he tries to focus on the entire team.

They are gone. All the Cameraman catches is Pretty Boy's 
back disappearing into the jungle.

The Cameraman runs after them. He trips and almost falls, 
but runs on. Branches blind his lens.

More busting brush, just keeping Pretty Boy's back in sight.

The Camera explodes into a small circular clearing, an open 
pocket in the jungle growth.

Drewry has fallen into a sweaty heap.

Hammer and Pretty Boy stand on alert.

Easy and OD crouch together. Easy is on the radio.

   EASY
 Stone Hombre, this is Outrider. Down 
 and happy. Say again, down and happy. 
 Sit Rep Alpha Oscar Kilo. Over.

   RADIOMAN
  (filtered)
 Outrider, Stone Hombre. We read you 
 Lima Charlie. Down and happy. Sierra 
 Romeo checks Alpha Oscar Kilo. Over.

   EASY
 Outrider, out.

The Cameraman sits.

OD looks at the Cameraman and Drewry in disgust.

   OD
 You ever heard of noise discipline? 
 Easy, get these FNG's shit together.

OD opens his map. Cracker joins him.

   EASY
 Pretty Boy, duct tape.

Easy walks over to the Cameraman. Pretty Boy tosses him a 
roll of olive green duct tape and walks over to Drewry.

   EASY
 OD says your shit's flaky, your shit's 
 flaky.
  (laughing quietly)
 You two are noisier than two skeletons 
 fucking on a tin roof...

   PRETTY BOY
 ...using a soup can for a rubber.

   CRACKER
 Make more noise than a Chinese gang 
 bang.

   HAMMER
 Noisier than a baby in a blender.

   EASY
 No sweat, GI, we'll just square away 
 this load-bearing equipment.

Pretty Boy gets another roll of olive drab duct tape from 
his pack and begins to tape down and tighten the loose straps 
on Drewry's pack. Drewry helps where he can.

In the background, OD and Cracker consult the map and their 
compass.

   DREWRY
 I didn't have time to do this myself. 
 I just reported in and they said I 
 was going out into the field. Barely 
 had time to go to Quartermaster and 
 get my issue and weapon.

   CRACKER
 You never been on line, sir?

   DREWRY
 No.

   EASY
 I can't believe they gave us an El 
 Tee, but, shit, a cherry El Tee.

   HAMMER
 Just what we need, an FNG. No offense, 
 sir.

   DREWRY
 FNG?

   CRACKER
 Fucking New Guy, sir.

Drewry has two grenades hooked to his harness suspenders. 
Pretty Boy unhooks them and puts them into a pouch.

   PRETTY BOY
 A vine or branch could pull the pin. 
 Never "John Wayne" your grenades, 
 sir.

   EASY
 Yeah, the last thing you want to do 
 is blow yourself away, El Tee. A 
 chest wound is nature's way of saying 
 you fucked up.

   DREWRY
 What I heard, they had a man assigned 
 to you from one of the line units, 
 but his chopper crashed. So they 
 grabbed me.

OD looks at Drewry and shakes his head. Pretty Boy unclips 
one of Drewry's dog tags and hooks it behind his boot laces.

   PRETTY BOY
 Just in case you get separated.

   EASY
 How long you been in-country, fresh 
 meat?

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 48 days down, 308 to go.

   DREWRY
 26 days. You?

   EASY
 Oh, El Tee, you're so new you ain't 
 been born yet. Me, I am short.

   PRETTY BOY
  (to Easy)
 How short are you?

   EASY
 I'm so short you have to dig a hole 
 to kick my ass.
  (to Cameraman)
 What's your MOS?

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 84 Charlie MoPic.

   EASY
 No shit? 84 Charlie. Gotta be better'n 
 11 Bravo. MoPic? What's that stand 
 for? Like Motown?

   PRETTY BOY
 Maybe MoPower.

   HAMMER
 Or MoFucker.

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 Motion picture.

Easy tapes the Cameraman's film cans together so they won't 
rattle.

   EASY
 Damn, Breeze. Must be a nice getting 
 over job.

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 I used to handle "grip and grins", 
 award ceremonies, change of command, 
 stuff like that...

Hammer starts to smile at the Cameraman, but he suddenly 
hears something and freezes. Everyone but Drewry and the 
Cameraman also freeze. Hammer is at the center, tense, braced 
to fire, machine gun at the ready.

Easy slowly, noiselessly picks up his M-1 carbine and eases 
the safety off. Pretty Boy looks around the brush. OD creeps 
over to Hammer. Cracker is scanning the jungle on the other 
flank.

   DREWRY
 What...?

OD's CAR is instantly at Drewry's forehead. Their eyes meet. 
OD is hard, warning him to be quiet. Drewry looks at the 
Camera, then away, embarrassed.

OD watches Hammer. Easy watches OD. Cracker and Pretty Boy 
scan the jungle.

Hammer relaxes and grins foolishly.

   HAMMER
 Fuck-you-lizard.

Everyone relaxes.

   OD
 Let's saddle up.

Everyone gets ready to move out. Drewry glares at OD, anger 
taking the place of his initial fear.

Cracker walks over to the Cameraman.

   CRACKER
 Don't ever get behind me. I pull the 
 rear.
  (beat)
 You don't want to be left alone out 
 here.

   HAMMER
 Roger that shit.

The Cameraman lowers the Camera to pick up his pack.

BLACK. Sound off.

Sound on.

   DREWRY (O.S.)
 I want this on the record.

CAMERA ON.

The team is stopped, guns outboard. OD is getting a compass 
reading. Drewry walks over to OD followed by the Cameraman.

   DREWRY
 I won't let anything like that happen 
 again. You point a gun at me again 
 and I'll have you up in front of a 
 court martial.

   OD
 Dig this, Lieutenant, we ain't in 
 the rear no more. In order to have a 
 court martial you need more than one 
 officer. I don't see anyone with 
 brass, but you. Out here the bush is 
 the boss.

The team remains on guard, but takes in every word of the 
confrontation.

   DREWRY
 I'm not walking in here off the 
 street. I've had infantry training.

   OD
 That stateside Mickey Mouse shit 
 don't cut it here, sir. This is 
 Charlie's game, his rules. We learned 
 how to play it, that's why we're out 
 here.

   DREWRY
 And that's why I'm here.
  (indicating Camera)
 And why he's here. To take back some 
 of that training.
  (beat)
 I'm ready to learn, but not at 
 gunpoint.

OD pauses. Drewry has made a peace offering.

   OD
 All right. Pay attention, El Tee, 
 we'll teach you. But we don't grade 
 on a curve, it's pass or fail. I 
 have to point my gun at you again 
 I'll pull the fucking trigger.

OD starts off into the jungle.

Drewry hits the Nagra switch viciously.

Sound off.

Drewry follows the team.

BLACK.

Sound on.

   EASY (O.S.)
 You don't want to hump all these 
 C's, MoPic. We'll lighten you up.

CAMERA ON.

Easy is rummaging through the Cameraman's pack.

Pretty Boy is preparing food.

Hammer is leaning against a tree, wary and on guard. OD and 
Cracker aren't to be seen, just their rifles against a tree.

The team is stopped on a slope halfway up a hillside.

   DREWRY
  (to Camera)
 Catch the food preparation.
  (to the team)
 Show the camera everything you do, 
 how you do it. DASPO wants all the 
 film it can get.

Easy holds up a can from the Cameraman's pack.

   EASY
 Lookit this, ham and limas. Number 
 ten, GI. MoPic, why you humping ham 
 and motherfuckers? You don't like 
 'em, do you? Even God don't like ham 
 and motherfuckers.

Drewry digs through his pack and takes out some rations.

   PRETTY BOY
 Lessons Learned, sheeit.

   DREWRY
 What do you men know about your 
 mission?

   HAMMER
  (shrugging)
 Same old shit. Find Charlie, get S-2 
 their intell, shoot some gooks, put 
 the rest in a world of hurt.

   EASY
 Ham and motherfuckers. Looks like 
 cows ate it and tossed their cookies.

Easy starts fixing his own meal by opening a small can of 
white bread and another of jam.

   DREWRY
 Same old shit? You people don't have 
 much respect for rank or your mission.

   HAMMER
 Don't get froggy, El Tee.
  (beat)
 You still pissed at OD?

Pretty Boy giggles.

Easy slices the bread lengthwise, puts jam on both halves, 
water on the top and heats it over a fire he's made from a 
white, clay-like substance.

   EASY
  (to Cameraman)
 C-4, plastic explosive.

   DREWRY
 He put a gun to my head and threatened 
 to kill me. I don't forget that kind 
 of shit.

Easy makes himself a cup of hot chocolate using two packs. 
Pretty Boy fixes pre-sweetened Kool-Aid. They both heat canned 
rations over their own fires.

   PRETTY BOY
 You don't fuck with OD, he's a walking 
 razor blade. You only take a run at 
 him if you're thinking about suicide. 
 One tough dude.

Drewry eats his food cold. Pretty Boy feeds his fire with 
more pieces of C-4.

   EASY
 He thinks you'll get in our way.

Easy eats his food and prepares more.

   HAMMER
 OD's so tough he eats the boogers 
 out of a dead man's nose.

   PRETTY BOY
 You're a gross fucker.

   EASY
 OD's a righteous dude. He was just 
 telling you to be quiet. Like "sshh".

   HAMMER
 Gross? You hear me rapping about 
 canned cow vomit? OD pulls a lot of 
 slack for us. We're all brothers.

Pretty Boy finishes eating and takes Hammer's place on guard. 
Hammer crouches over the fire and fixes food for two.

   EASY
 Fucking "A".

   PRETTY BOY
 Family.

   HAMMER
 There it is.

They slap palms. Drewry looks around and shakes his head.

   DREWRY
 Hell, you guys act like this is a 
 picnic in the park.

   PRETTY BOY
 Man's got to eat, sir. You catch 
 your pecks when you can. Never know 
 when you can't.

   EASY
 Ain't no big thing, sir.

Easy repacks the Cameraman's pack.

   HAMMER
 There it is.

Easy holds up a ziploc bag of grass toward the Camera.

   EASY
  (to Cameraman)
 I better hold this for you. OD's 
 death on the dew.

   HAMMER
 "Hold this for you"? Don't try to 
 shit me, Easy.

   EASY
 I wouldn't shit you, Hammer, you're 
 my favorite turd.

There is some real antagonism between Hammer and Easy that 
underlies the joking. Drewry is uncomfortable.

   DREWRY
  (to Easy)
 If you're RTO, why do you have that 
 carbine? I thought SOP for a radioman 
 was only a .45.

   EASY
 Shit, El Tee, everybody needs a gook 
 shooter.

   CRACKER (O.S.)
 Only trouble is, Easy can't shoot as 
 straight as I can piss.

Easy looks up. Cracker and OD have reappeared as if from 
nowhere.

   EASY
 Hey, OD, chow's still hot.

Easy goes back over to his fire.

   HAMMER
 Cracker.

Cracker walks over to Hammer and takes some of the food. OD 
spots the plastic bag of grass sticking out of Easy's pocket 
and he pulls it out.

   OD
 We don't do dew when we do business, 
 right, Easy? You trying to get me 
 killed?

   EASY
 Aw, Breeze...
  (quickly)
 Been waiting on you. Food's on the 
 table and getting cold, Ward.

   OD
 So sorry, June. Has the Beaver been 
 acting up again?

They laugh. OD empties the bag of grass on the ground.

   EASY
 Aww, fuck. I'm coming back here in 
 six months to harvest.

Drewry pulls a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. Before he 
can get one out of the pack Cracker grabs them out of his 
hand, digs a hole in the ground with his heel and buries 
them.

   CRACKER
 Sorry, sir, smoking light's out for 
 this operation.

   DREWRY
  (pissed)
 Don't ever do that again, soldier.

   OD
 Don't get all bent out of shape, 
 sir. It's a habit. You'd forget and 
 one match at night could waste all 
 of us. On a good day you can smell 
 cigarette smoke a quarter mile away. 
 Especially menthols.
  (beat)
 Pretty Boy, salt tablets for the El 
 Tee, he's sweating like a fat whore. 
 No offense, sir. Lessons Learned.

   CRACKER
 MoPic, too.

Easy pushes some food toward the Cameraman, then gets a 
container of salt tablets from his pack.

   EASY
  (to Cameraman)
 Take two salt tablets and drive on. 
 Best chow down.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team humps the brush. Drewry has a lot of trouble. He is 
sweating, tired, and looking haggard. The others still look 
fresh.

They go up a steep incline. The team works as one, helping 
each other automatically.

Their rhythm is interrupted to help Drewry and the Cameraman.

   HAMMER
  (to Camera)
 Hey, man, why don't you DX that 
 motherfucker?

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team moves through heavy brush. The team moves easily, 
each man threading his way through the jungle. Drewry is 
stumbling along, each vine and branch grabbing him by the 
shoulder or catching his foot.

Pretty Boy pauses long enough to show Drewry how to walk, 
using his gun to probe ahead and make a path to move with 
the terrain.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team rests. Everyone is hot and sweaty. Drewry shows it 
most. Pretty Boy hands out salt tablets.

   DREWRY
 I can't even taste the salt.

   PRETTY BOY
 That means you need it.

   EASY
 27 days. I'm a double digit midget.

   HAMMER
 Pretty Boy, how about me and you 
 hitting Sin City when we get back?

   PRETTY BOY
 You know my motto. Never fuck a duck 
 or duck a fuck.

Easy makes a quieting motion. He listens to the handset.

   EASY
 Devil Dog Six is getting their shit 
 blown away.

   HAMMER
  (to Drewry)
 6-1-6 Battallion, South Vietnamese, 
 our dinks. American advisors.

   EASY
 They're giving coordinates for Med 
 Evac.

OD pulls out a map and Easy checks his code book.

   EASY
 All their green monkeys skyed up.

   DREWRY
 How far away are they? Can we help 
 them?

   OD
 We don't have enough fire power to 
 do any good.

   CRACKER
 If we could get there in time.

   DREWRY
 But...

   OD
 Our primary mission is recon, sir. 
 Let's move out.

The team moves out.

BLACK. Sound off.

Sound on.

   PRETTY BOY (V.O.)
 I love the sunset in Nam.

   DREWRY (V.O.)
 It's gorgeous.

CAMERA ON.

Sunset.

Drewry and the Cameraman watch Pretty Boy string trip wires 
around their camp. He uses the ration cans he stuffed in his 
socks earlier. He drops a couple pebbles in each can and 
hooks them to the wire and tests the rattle, then camouflages 
everything.

   PRETTY BOY
 Fuck "gorgeous", it means the day's 
 almost over and I'm one day shorter. 
 I hate this fucking place. They ought 
 to DX the whole fucking country, 
 north and south. Turn it in to the 
 big quartermaster in the sky. Say, 
 "Hey, motherfucker, this place is 
 beyond repair."

   DREWRY
 It looks pretty some times.

   PRETTY BOY
 You should have seen it when I first 
 came over. You could still see tigers 
 and elephants on the Ho Chi Minh 
 Trail. Fucking elephants.

Pretty Boy shakes his head in disbelief.

They walk back to the main camp area on a steep slope. Drewry 
stumbles.

   PRETTY BOY
 We night camp on a slope, away from 
 the trail. Even Chuck sticks to the 
 trails at night, so he ain't likely 
 to trip over us.

Hammer is boiling water in his canteen cup. Easy is monitoring 
the radio. Cracker is on guard. OD is opening a pack of Lurp 
rations.

   PRETTY BOY
 Line's strung.

   HAMMER
 Water's boiling.

OD tosses two Lurps to Drewry.

   OD
 Spaghetti and chili.

Everyone gathers around Hammer with their Lurps. He pours 
water into the plastic bags.

OD has him fill two and he gives one to Cracker.

   EASY
 Number one chop chop.

Hammer boils more water for coffee and cocoa.

   OD
 First guard, Cracker, Hammer, me, 
 then Pretty Boy and Easy.

   DREWRY
 I can pull a shift.

   OD
 I don't know you.

Drewry and OD stare at each other for a moment. Drewry wants 
to make something of the rejection.

   OD
 You're not used to humping, you're 
 beat. You'll need the sack time.

Drewry accepts the conciliatory gesture.

   EASY
 MoPic's got a can of fruit cocktail 
 and one of peaches that I saved.

   PRETTY BOY
 You sorry-assed motherfucker, you 
 let the poor dude hump those cans, 
 you're lower'n whale shit.

   EASY
 Bite my ass, Pretty Boy. It's good 
 training for him. Hey, MoPic, souvenir 
 me your pack.

   OD
 Peaches and fruit cocktail all around.

The Cameraman tosses Easy his pack, but before Easy can look 
for the canned fruit, something calls him back to his radio. 
He hears something through the static.

Easy holds the handset to his ear and listens intently. Pretty 
Boy gets the cans of fruit from the Cameraman's pack.

   EASY
 Echo Company. Getting mortared, 
 calling in arty.
  (beat)
 Still haven't gotten their Med Evac, 
 weather's real bad inland. Choppers 
 can't get off the ground.

   HAMMER
 Monsoon season. A rat fuck.

Pretty Boy opens the canned fruit. He takes a spoonful of 
fruit cocktail and passes the can to Hammer.

   PRETTY BOY
 Save a cherry for Easy.

Pretty Boy slurps up a peach slice and hands that can to OD. 
Each man takes his share and passes it along.

   CRACKER
 Number one.

   HAMMER
 Not too shabby.

OD starts eating his Lurp ration, a sign for the others to 
start. Easy and the Cameraman are the only ones not eating.

   EASY
 HQ's saying they might get choppered 
 out tomorrow, late. A definite maybe 
 so.

   CRACKER
 Better scarf up your pecks, MoPic.

The Camera starts to lower, but catches Easy taking two pills 
from a ziploc bag and swallowing them. No one but the Camera 
sees it. Easy sees the Camera on him.

   EASY
 Tetracycline. Got the clap last time 
 in Sin City.

   HAMMER
 There it is, the Nam. Where else in 
 the world can you get a contagious 
 disease for only five bucks a pop.

   PRETTY BOY
 Clap's no sweat, better'n crotch 
 crickets.

   CRACKER
 Crabs are no big deal. You get 
 yourself a bayonet and a can of 
 lighter fluid. Set fire to your pubic 
 hair and when the little fuckers run 
 to the high ground, like your dick, 
 you stab 'em to death.

The Camera starts to lower again, but...

   HAMMER
 Better'n the black syph.

The Camera reacts.

Hammer knows a sucker when he sees one.

   HAMMER
  (too seriously)
 The black syph. You only get it in 
 Nam. It rots your dick off, like 
 leprosy. Just drops off. One day 
 you're walking along and you feel 
 something like a turd drop down your 
 pant leg. Next thing you know, you're 
 squatting to piss like a girl.

   EASY
 Yeah, and if you get it you can't go 
 home. They keep you here so you don't 
 infect the rest of the world. You 
 spend the whole rest of your life in 
 the Nam. No shit, the whole rest of 
 your life in the Nam.

Pretty Boy can't take it anymore, he bursts out laughing.

   OD
 Better chow down, MoPic.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Drewry snaps his fingers in front of the Camera.

   DREWRY
 Sound.

It is dark and the men are gathered around inside their night 
perimeter. Easy fiddles with the radio. The others prepare 
their sleeping areas.

Drewry approaches OD.

   DREWRY
 We need to do some background 
 interviews on each man. I thought 
 we'd start with you.

   OD
 What kind of interviews?

   DREWRY
 Where you're from? What you did before 
 the Army? Background stuff.

OD glares at the Cameraman.

   OD
 I ain't telling you none of that 
 stuff, that's my private life. The 
 Army's got no business in my private 
 life.

The Camera holds a tenuous moment and then focuses on Drewry, 
who wonders whether to push it.

Drewry decides to drop it and he shifts his attention to 
Cracker.

   DREWRY
 We'll do Sergeant Frye then.

   CRACKER
 Spec 5.

He looks at OD, then at Drewry.

   CRACKER
 Maybe later if it's all right with 
 you, sir.

   DREWRY
 Sure, soldier.

Drewry looks at the other members of the team and fixes on 
Easy. Easy is smiling at him. Drewry walks over to Easy with 
the Cameraman.

   DREWRY
 All right, Private. Let's talk.

   EASY
 Let me tell a joke first. C'mon, 
 just one. It's good training.

Easy grins into the Camera.

   EASY
 I could be the next Shelley Berman. 
 Is this on now? Sound.

He raps a magazine against his helmet.

   EASY
 How do you eat a frog?

There is laughter off screen.

   EASY
 C'mon, how do you eat a frog?

   DREWRY (O.S.)
 I don't know.

   EASY
 You put one leg over one shoulder, 
 then you put the other leg over the 
 other shoulder...

Easy laughs. He might be high. He is changing the battery in 
his radio and cleaning it.

   DREWRY (O.S.)
 How long have you been in-country?

   EASY
 One year minus 28, 27 days. I worked 
 RTO for a line company first, then 
 with Forward Observers. I love my 
 Prick 25.

   PRETTY BOY (O.S.)
 Tell him how many FO's you went 
 through, Easy.

   EASY
 FO's don't have much of a life 
 expectancy here. Don't even come 
 with warranties. I lost eight in six 
 months. Three dead, two went home 
 all messed up, lost track of the 
 rest. That's the real bummer over 
 here. When your buddies get hit, not 
 zapped, but wounded bad, Medevaced 
 and gone, you don't know if they 
 die, or what... People you were real 
 close to, sort of gone into the 
 Twilight Zone...

Easy pauses a moment, his usual nervous energy subdued, but 
he brightens.

   EASY
 You know why shit's tapered at the 
 ends?

   DREWRY
 No.

   EASY
 So your asshole don't slam shut.

Pretty Boy laughs off screen.

   EASY
 Did I tell you I was a drummer back 
 in the Real World? Lead vocals, too. 
 Boy, did we ever do some dope when 
 we were on the road. Stayed all fucked 
 up. But nothing like the Nam.

   DREWRY
 How long were you on line?

   EASY
 Forever. Got 4 Purple Hearts, two 
 Bronze Stars with "V". I got enough 
 Green Weenies to open a hot dog stand. 
 This radio antenna is like wearing a 
 target on your back.
  (beat)
 You know why pubic hair is curly? So 
 it don't poke you in the eye.

   DREWRY
 So, what will you do when you get 
 home?

   EASY
 I don't know. Hang out. Get high. 
 Check out my wife.
  (beat)
 She's probably fucking every Jody 
 that passes the house. That's okay, 
 though. She was 17 when we got 
 hitched, dead meat in the sack. Maybe 
 Jody can teach her how to fuck.

   DREWRY
 Why'd you join up?

   EASY
 The judge volunteered me. Either 
 that or he'd lock me up. Do you know 
 how you can tell the Nam sucks? It 
 leaves hickeys on the bottom of your 
 feet.

Pretty Boy laughs again.

   DREWRY
 The judge blackmailed you.

   EASY
 He did me a favor. Army saved me 
 from jail, unless I wind up in the 
 stockade. So far, they've just Article 
 15'd me to death, took my rank ad 
 pay. I can handle that.
  (beat)
 The bush saved me from the stockade 
 and OD's saved me from the bush. 
 Only thing I hate is the night. It's 
 starting to spook me. I'm too short 
 for this shit. You get short, you 
 get paranoid beaucoup.
  (laughing)
 Is it paranoid to think people are 
 trying to kill you when people are 
 trying to kill you?

   DREWRY
 Then why do you do it?

   EASY
 Why does a dog lick his penis?
  (beat)
 'Cause he can!
  (beat)
 And to be with my buddies out here. 
 They'd be shit out of luck without 
 me on the horn. My buddies.

Easy starts, he hears something on the radio.

   EASY
 Hey, hey. Dig this.

He cranks up the volume and faint music can be heard, Clarence 
Carter's "Steal Away".

Static flickers through the music.

   DREWRY
 Is that the States?

   EASY
 Armed Forces Radio. VietNam, probably 
 Saigon.

   PRETTY BOY
 Nah, we're too far away. An Khe.

   HAMMER
 Nope. Sappers wasted An Khe radio 
 last Tet.

   EASY
 Now that pisses me off.

   CRACKER
 Shhh!

The men listen and lean unconsciously toward the radio. The 
Cameraman focuses on each face in turn, half-shadowed in the 
faint light. The song fades away before it is done.

The men settle into disappointed silence. Drewry turns off 
the tape recorder.

Sound off.

BLACK.

Sound on.

   DREWRY (O.S.)
 Wake up and catch this. C'mon, c'mon.

The Camera comes on, jerking and swaying. It is night. Drewry 
crouches near OD and Easy at the radio. The others are asleep.

   EASY
  (to Drewry)
 Devil Dog's been getting NVA probes 
 all night. Sounds like sappers have 
 infiltrated their lines.

Easy turns up the volume.

   RADIO
  (ADVISOR)
 ...one giant cluster fuck. My green 
 monkeys are shooting the hell out of 
 each other trying to waste the 
 sappers.

There is the sound of gunfire and artillery explosions over 
the radio. Men scream.

   RADIO
  (ADVISOR)
 Werewolf One, tell the cannon cockers 
 to pop another illumination round. 
 Over.

   RADIO
  (HQ)
 Devil Dog Six, this is Werewolf. One 
 illumination round on the way. How 
 many caps you got left? Status please. 
 Illumination round shot. Over.

   RADIO
  (ADVISOR)
 I don't know, I don't even know how 
 many men are left. Right now I'm 
 doing...

The gunfire increases.

   RADIO
  (ADVISOR)
 Oh, shit! Fuck! We're getting overrun!

Nothing but static.

   RADIO
  (VOICE #2)
 Werewolf, this is Devil Dog Three. 
 We're in deep shit here. Help us! 
 Please!
  (VOICE #3)
 The Lieutenant's hit! Oh, God! Medic! 
 Medic!
  (VOICE #2)
 Oh, no! Colonel, Colonel! Six is 
 down! Again I say, our Six is down. 
 We got gooks inside our perimeter! 
 We need help!
  (beat)
 What, sir?
  (beat)
 Yes, sir. Werewolf One, request big 
 guns drop one hundred. Say again, 
 drop one hundred. Over.

   EASY
 They're calling artillery in on their 
 own position.

The other members of the team are awake now and looking at 
the radio. Drewry reaches for his cigarettes.

   RADIO
  (VOICE #2)
 Where's the fucking medic?! Somebody 
 give me a compress! Oh, Jesus, Jesus, 
 Jesus...

BOOM! An explosion, then static.

Everyone is silent for a moment.

   EASY
 Poor fuckers.

   RADIO
  (HQ)
 Devil Dog Three, this is Werewolf. 
 Status report, over.

Silence.

   DREWRY
 We should have done something.

   RADIO
  (HQ)
 Devil Dog Three, this is Werewolf. 
 Report status. Over.

OD just looks at Drewry.

   DREWRY
 We could have been there.

   RADIO
  (HQ)
 Devil Dog, Werewolf. Please report 
 status.

   OD
 And gotten wasted with them.

   RADIO
  (HQ)
 Devil Dog Three? Jimmy?
  (beat)
 For God's sake, Jimmy, report your 
 fucking status!

OD ignores Drewry. He reaches over and turns off the radio 
and walks over to a tree. He leans against the trunk and 
closes his eyes.

   DREWRY
 Go ahead, sleep. A hundred and twenty 
 men just died.

   OD
 I have a lot of dead men in here. 
 Plenty of room for more. Maybe even 
 room for one smartass lieutenant.

Drewry looks at Easy. Easy turns the radio back on and cruises 
the frequencies. He pops a couple more pills.

   EASY
 Ladybird's getting scattered mortar. 
 Sixty mike-mike. Ruff Puff Advisor. 
 Texas Hat is cool, though. Ice cubes 
 in his armpits.
  (to OD)
 Everybody's catching some kind of 
 flack. Probes all over. Shit, sounds 
 like Tet again.

   OD
 Major offensive?

   EASY
 Little shit, ti ti action. Beaucoup 
 noise. Chuck's feeling everybody 
 out.

   OD
 Lot of over-reaction at night.

   EASY
 Night's the worst. I hate the night 
 like a motherfucker. Trees walk at 
 night if you stare at them long 
 enough. The Nam's a motherfucker if 
 you got any imagination.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON.

Morning. The Cameraman follows OD across the camp. OD and 
the Camera stop next to Drewry, who is heating water in two 
canteen cups. Drewry slips on his boots and turns on the 
recorder.

Sound on.

   OD
 Oughta shake those boots out before 
 you put 'em on. All sorts of nasty 
 critters love to crawl in your boots 
 at night.

Drewry looks at his feet, stands up and stamps them.

   DREWRY
 I've heated water for coffee or cocoa 
 for everyone.

   OD
 You're our Mess Sergeant now, El 
 Tee.

   DREWRY
 Figured it's better than riding free.

OD nods, smiles, and leads Drewry and the Cameraman over to 
Cracker.

Cracker is still asleep. Pretty Boy is awake, but still laying 
down. He rolls over to watch.

Hammer is brushing his teeth. Easy is on watch, his rifle in 
his lap, radio at his side.

OD stops next to Cracker and strikes a lecturer's pose.

   OD
 Lessons Learned. The first thing a 
 grunt learns is to be ready at all 
 times, night or day, asleep or awake, 
 to encounter the enemy.

OD brandishes a long stick. Cracker sleeps soundly, his mouth 
open.

   PRETTY BOY
 Watch this.

   OD
 It's night. Bangedy, bangedy, rattle, 
 rattle, the enemy trips your early 
 detection devices. You don't have 
 time to wake up, stand and wander 
 around with your dick in your hands 
 looking for your weapon. The enemy 
 is ten yards away ready to waste 
 your ass.

   HAMMER
 OD oughta be a Drill Instructor.

   EASY
 Fucking Cracker sleeps like the dead.

   OD
 So you train yourself to wake with a 
 rolling motion, providing the enemy 
 with a low silhouette and, thusly, a 
 minimal target. You sleep with your 
 weapon in the same position every 
 night, to the right or left of you 
 depending on your preference, so 
 when the shit hits...

WHAP! OD whacks Cracker with the stick.

   OD
 BOOM!

Cracker rolls to his right, picks up his shotgun in mid-roll 
and lands on hs stomach, sighting down the barrel and clicking 
off the safety.

   OD
 ...you land in a prone firing 
 position, ready to engage the enemy.

Everyone claps and laughs. Cracker looks pissed as he wakes 
more and gets up slowly.

   CRACKER
 OD, the payback on this is gonna be 
 a motherfucker. I'm gonna shove that 
 stick up your ass and roast you over 
 a fucking fire. You wait.

OD laughs.

   EASY
 Oooooh, wolf talk.

Cracker glares at the Camera.

   CRACKER
 Turn that fucking thing off.

BLACK.

   EASY (O.S.)
 Hey, Cracker, 26 and a wakeup. I'm 
 so short I could tickle a pissant 
 under the chin.

   CRACKER (O.S.)
 If you live, you dinky dau 
 motherfucker.

Everyone laughs. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Pretty Boy brushes his teeth with salt from a packet sprinkled 
on his brush. The rest of the team are preparing to move 
out. Drewry interviews Pretty Boy.

   PRETTY BOY
 Hygiene. Clean mind, clean body, 
 take your choice. Let's see, I was 
 hanging out. Went to college for a 
 year, real drag. All those classes 
 got in the way of partying and pussy.

Pretty Boy grins and changes his socks.

   PRETTY BOY
 Work was worse, no fun there. Me and 
 a couple buddies joined together. 
 Army said they'd keep us together. 
 That lasted through Basic. One's in 
 Germany now, freezing his balls off. 
 Glenn's somewhere with the First 
 Cav, Engineers. lucky fucker.

Pretty Boy ties the dirty socks to the back of his pack.

   PRETTY BOY
  (to Camera)
 Dry 'em out during the day.

   EASY (O.S.)
 Gas warfare, kills all the mosquitoes 
 for miles around.

   PRETTY BOY
 Some dudes get away without socks, 
 not me. During monsoon, dry socks 
 are better than sex.

   DREWRY
 You spent a lot of time in the field?

   PRETTY BOY
 Three months of hell. Every kind of 
 shit you can imagine, and a lot you 
 can't. I was Medevaced three times 
 when they thought I was dead. Once 
 they even zipped me into a body bag. 
 We'd get hit, you know, and I'd be 
 in a hole with three other guys. A 
 mortar round would come right in the 
 hole, blow everyone else to mincemeat. 
 Concussion would knock me out, I'd 
 have blood coming out of my ears and 
 nose, blood all over me, not all 
 mine... The medics would figure I 
 was dead and throw me on the chopper 
 with the bodies. No fun waking up 
 there.
  (beat)
 My luck is unfucking believable. 
 We're running across a paddy, fifty 
 caliber opens up and catches the 
 dudes on my left and right, wasted 
 them. Me, I was skipped.
  (beat)
 I got a hundred stories... scary. 
 Took a round in my helmet once, cut 
 a groove in my hair. Weird shit.

   DREWRY
 Luck.

   PRETTY BOY
 Luck... God... Karma. My karma ran 
 over my dogma.

There is laughter off screen.

   PRETTY BOY
 Got to be a pain in the ass. Dudes 
 hanging close like it would rub off. 
 Boonie voodoo. People get strange in 
 the bush, believe all sorts of things. 
 Lucky scarves, bibles over their 
 hearts, some ain't ever been to 
 church. Baldwin's luck. The Company, 
 the whole Brigade talked about it. 
 We get mortared, dudes stick around 
 me like a steel umbrella.

I even started believing it. I do. Makes you think God's got 
something special planned for you.

   DREWRY
 Something special good, or special 
 bad?

Pretty Boy shrugs.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON.

The team has stopped. OD is talking to Hammer. A message is 
passed from one man to the other. Drewry is last. He turns 
to the Cameraman and switches on the Nagra.

Sound on.

   DREWRY
 Something he wants us to look at. 
 Sound.

Drewry snaps his fingers at the Camera and walks to the front 
with the Cameraman. OD is kneeling on the trail. Drewry and 
the Cameraman bend down to get a better look.

   OD
 Trip wire. See the old, dead 
 camouflage.

OD indicates a dead branch, then a wire. He follows the wire 
with his fingers into the brush. There is a Chinese Communist 
grenade tied to a stick with the wire in the pull string.

   OD
 Booby trap.

He gingerly releases the brush back into position. He stands 
and walks back to Cracker. Drewry and the Camera follow.

   OD
 Point man trips the wire, the grenade 
 goes off, takes out him and maybe 
 his slack. The rest of the patrol 
 dives into the brush.

OD stops at the side of the trail and pulls the brush aside. 
There are pointed bamboo stakes with barbs planted in the 
earth.

   OD
 And they get perforated. Chuck's got 
 his shit together.

OD leads the team off the trail at a right angle.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team is stopped by a stream. Everyone is on guard while 
Pretty Boy fills their canteens.

   PRETTY BOY
 Always try for running water. Still 
 water's full of all sorts of ugly 
 stuff. Drop in your halizon tablets 
 and drive on.

   HAMMER
 Once we filled our canteens, then 
 found five dink bodies further 
 upstream, rotted all to hell, pieces 
 floating around. By then we'd drunk 
 half the water.

   DREWRY
 What'd you do?

   HAMMER
 Said, "fuck it", and drove on. No 
 big thing.

   EASY
 Called it soup.

   DREWRY
 That's a war story, isn't it?

   PRETTY BOY
 El Tee, you're all right.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team is moving through the jungle at a good pace, but as 
quietly as possible. There is heavy breathing, branches 
slapping at the men, a muted rattle of equipment. The brush 
is dense, visibility no more than five meters.

The team halts.

OD raises his hand and dives to the ground. The others hit 
the ground after him. The Cameraman crouches.

Drewry raises up to look around. Hammer pushes him back to 
the ground, hard. Drewry gasps, then mews with pain.

Someone pushes the Cameraman down and the lens hits the dirt.

BLACK.

Fast, heavy breathing from Drewry.

Footsteps and the swish of brush as something else moves 
through the jungle nearby.

The Camera is raised and set horizontal. Feet in Ho Chi Minh 
sandals walk by. Low Vietnamese voices. Drewry's prone body 
is in view. A bamboo stake pierces his forearm. His face is 
tense with pain.

Drewry's breathing seems to get louder.

A pair of feet stop a few feet from Drewry. Drewry holds his 
breath. Louder Vietnamese voices.

A stream of yellow water trickles to the ground as the NVA 
soldier pisses. He moves on.

Drewry's breath rushes out.

The noise fades as the soldiers move out of the area.

Soundlessly, the team rises and continued along the trail, 
faster and quieter in a low crouch.

Drewry clutches his forearm.

BLACK. Sound off.

Sound on.

   CRACKER (O.S.)
 ...get me a Ford, LTD or something.

   HAMMER (O.S.)
 I'm getting a speed monster, Dodge 
 Four-Forty.

CAMERA ON.

Rest stop. Pretty Boy is bandaging Drewry's arm. Hammer and 
Cracker are on guard. Easy moves with nervous energy.

   PRETTY BOY
 Through and through. Looks like you're 
 Purple-Hearted, El Tee.

   EASY
 Man, that was something. I mean, 
 fuck me, Alice. First the booby traps, 
 last night the ARVN's shit gets flaky. 
 Now we just about get a Ho Chi Minh 
 sandal on our backs.

   DREWRY
 What about infection?

   HAMMER
 Can't hack it, Easy?

   PRETTY BOY
 No sweat, GI, I put on some sulfa. 
 And here's some Tetracycline, take a 
 couple every four hours, or four 
 every two hours.

   EASY
 Smoke my pole, Hammer. It's just... 
 there seem to be gooks everywhere. 
 I'm too short for this shit.

Pretty Boy uses a Kotex to cover the wound. Drewry looks at 
it curiously.

   PRETTY BOY
 Kotex. My mom sends 'em. They're 
 better'n bandage packs.

   CRACKER
 I tell you, it gave me one mean pucker 
 factor.

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 Pucker factor?

   HAMMER
 Pucker factor. It's...

   EASY
 That's when...

   CRACKER
 When the shit hits, you kinda feel 
 your asshole pucker up, like it starts 
 sucking wind you're so scared.

   EASY
 Yeah, like an ambush. That's a pucker 
 factor of ten.

   HAMMER
 Hearing a mortar tube go "bloop" and 
 waiting for the shell to hit, that's 
 a six maybe.

   EASY
 Sniper is ten.

   CRACKER
 Back there on the trail, that was an 
 eight.

   HAMMER
 Seven.

   EASY
 Nine.

   PRETTY BOY
 Three.

They all look at him in disbelief.

   PRETTY BOY
 I fell asleep.

   EASY
 What a fucking John Wayne.

   CRACKER
 Hey, El Tee, you're the first man 
 ever blooded on one of our missions. 
 The first ever.

   EASY
 Bad omen.

Drewry looks down at the bandage. He pops two, then four 
Tetracycline tablets.

   PRETTY BOY
 We'll be out of the boonies before 
 it gets too infected.

   HAMMER
 The only thing that's fast in this 
 country is rot.

   EASY
 And bullets.
  (beat)
 You know, this mission... This shit 
 ain't fun no more. Nam's giving war 
 a bad name.

There is a noise so slight it's almost indistinguishable. 
The team grab their guns and face outward. Cracker calls out 
quietly.

   CRACKER
 Swamp.

   OD (O.S.)
 Fever.

OD appears quietly out of the jungle. The team relaxes.

   OD
 Cracker.
  (beat)
 El Tee.

OD and Cracker confer over a map. Drewry joins them.

   HAMMER
 Fucking Cracker wants an LTD. Car's 
 such a pig they twist the antenna 
 into a curlicue.

   OD
 Never seen so many gooks around. 
 Mostly NVA regulars, FNG's like the 
 El Tee. We can get over on them easy.

   EASY
 Getting me a Mach One. 351, four-
 barrel, Hurst four-speed, 
 positraction. Red on red. Ordered it 
 already at the PX. Be waiting for me 
 at home.

   HAMMER
 I want a Four-Forty. Big fucking 
 Chrysler engine. You see "Bullitt"?

   CRACKER
 Didn't have trouble finding them?

   OD
 Just stopped one and asked directions.

   DREWRY
 I could have done that.

   PRETTY BOY
 Fucking Chrysler's suck green donkey 
 dicks, fifteen cents a herd.

   EASY
 Trade my Boss 302 for the Mach One.

OD looks at Drewry's wound. Drewry tries to smile.

   HAMMER
 Thought you had a jacked '54 Ford 
 with a 390 hemi.

   EASY
 I do, I let my brother drive it. 
 Boss 302 he can't touch.

   HAMMER
 Yeah, I suppose you bought it when 
 you toured with the Four Seasons? 
 Man, you can always tell when Easy 
 is lying, his lips move.

   PRETTY BOY
 I want a Jag, XKE.

   EASY
 It was the McCoys, doofus. I want 
 any shit from you I'll squeeze your 
 head.

   OD
 We can camp here, or here. I figure 
 we recon and do it tomorrow, real 
 quick. Get this job done.

   CRACKER
 I don't like the high ground.

   OD
 Affirm. El Tee, where you figure we 
 can squat for the night?

   HAMMER
 You feel froggy, jump. You wanna 
 throw some hands?

   EASY
 I'll tear off your leg and beat you 
 roundly about the head and shoulders 
 with it.

   HAMMER
 I'll tear off your head and shit in 
 the hole.

The argument is starting to get serious. Hammer smacks Easy's 
helmet. OD gives them the evil eye and they calm down.

   DREWRY
 This looks like it has a good back 
 door. We can camp on the hump.

OD nods and rewards Drewry with a smile.

Pretty Boy interrupts the argument between Hammer and Easy 
and gets the conversation back to cars.

   PRETTY BOY
 El Tee, what kind of car you got?

   DREWRY
 Volkswagon Beetle. 65.

Everyone looks at Drewry like he's from Mars.

   PRETTY BOY
 Automatic?

   DREWRY
 Stick.
  (beat)
 But I'd like to get a Camaro or a 
 Firebird.

   OD
 Okay, let's get you hoodlums off the 
 streets for the night.

The team moves out.

   HAMMER
 VW Beetle. Stick. El Tee, you got 
 hair on your ass.

   PRETTY BOY
 One hard corps motherfucker.

   DREWRY
 My folks gave it to me for graduation.

There is a round of stifled laughter.

   OD
 Cool it.

Everyone shuts up.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team moves through the jungle, slower, more cautiously. 
Drewry is traveling with less effort and he is quiet.

The men are beginning to move as a unit again.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The men are extremely alert. OD and Cracker aren't with them.

   PRETTY BOY
  (softly)
 That booby trap was old. Left over 
 from the French. So were the punji 
 sticks I suppose. Any gook in the 
 last year or two would have left a 
 nice, new Chinese "Bouncing Betty".

   HAMMER
 Those Bouncing Betty's'll tear you a 
 new asshole. You trip 'em, they shoot 
 out of the ground and go off waist 
 high. Blow your balls off. That spooks 
 me the most.

   EASY
 Can't miss what you don't got.

Easy looks around the jungle nervously and pops a pill.

   DREWRY
 How long are they usually gone?

   PRETTY BOY
 Don't sweat it, El Tee. Cracker and 
 OD got beaucoup jungle smarts. Better 
 than those little rice propelled 
 bastards, right?

   HAMMER
 They can out-Chuck Chuck.

   EASY
 Dig it.

Silence. No one is convinced.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team is gathered around OD. OD inserts small sticks in 
the ground as he talks.

   OD
 First, intelligence. Regiment size 
 unit, NVA regulars. New uniforms, 
 new weapons, SKS's mostly. One AK 
 for every eight or ten SKS's. RPG's, 
 looks like one to a squad. Mortar 
 platoon. Plenty of ammo, haven't 
 cached it yet. Pretty green. NCO's, 
 officers, everything on down. Led by 
 a squad of hard corps VC.
  (to Drewry)
 Everyone's briefed in case we get 
 separated or something happens. The 
 intelligence has a better chance of 
 getting back.

   PRETTY BOY
 Army intelligence, now there's a 
 contradiction in terms.

Easy laughs.

   OD
 Here's the mission by the numbers.

   CRACKER
 OD does everything by the numbers. 
 He even fucks by the numbers. One, 
 insert member, two, thrust, three, 
 retract member, four, repeat two and 
 three rapidly.

   OD
  (smiling)
 We move out just before dawn. There's 
 a hill on the east side of their 
 camp, we'll have the morning sun 
 behind us.

   CRACKER
 They'll be just waking up, slow and 
 sluggish before they have their 
 morning tea. Security's real lax.

   OD
 We'll set up at the military crest. 
 Easy will call the FDC. Range for 
 our long rifles is about 450 meters. 
 Primary targets are as follows -- 
 CO, Radioman, First Pig, XO, Radio, 
 Mortar, then targets of opportunity.

   DREWRY
 Why shoot at all if you're going to 
 have Easy call in artillery?

   OD
 Confuse 'em, shake 'em up. If they 
 sit there and see that smoke round 
 coming they could get their shit 
 together and sky up. And...

   DREWRY
 And...

   OD
 If the Fire Direction Center fucks 
 up at least we get a few of the 
 bastards.

   CRACKER
 That's for damn sure.

   OD
 By the numbers. One, Easy calls fire 
 mission. Hold fire. Two, I commence 
 firing, CO.

OD knocks over the sticks one at a time.

   OD
 Cracker fires. Primary targets hit. 
 Targets of opportunity. Pretty Boy 
 pops a few blooper rounds for effect. 
 Easy lets go his smoke. Adjust. We 
 sky up.

   CRACKER
 Like a stripe-ed assed zebra.

   OD
 We head back to our camp here, make 
 a 90 here, about 50 meters before 
 the camp, and head for Ladybird. 
 Compass reading for Ladybird is 132 
 degrees. Got that, Hammer?

OD draws the route on the ground.

   HAMMER
 One-three-two.

   OD
 Questions?

   DREWRY
 What do I do?

   OD
 Stay out of our way.

OD picks up the sticks and throws them into the brush and 
wipes the drawings from the dirt.

   DREWRY
 How about I walk on over to Thailand 
 and get laid? I promise to be back 
 in time for the pick up.

   EASY
 Hey, El Tee, dig it. Check it out.

   HAMMER
 We gotta get you a new name.

   PRETTY BOY
 How about "Big D"?

Drewry looks down at his crotch.

   DREWRY
 Somebody looked.

The men laugh.

BLACK.

   HAMMER (O.S.)
 I'm cleaning the M-60. Cover me.

   PRETTY BOY (O.S.)
 You got it.

   DREWRY (O.S.)
 You still have film?
  (beat)
 Turn it on.

CAMERA ON.

Hammer gets out his oil and shaving brush and starts to break 
down the machine gun.

   DREWRY
 Feel like talking?

   HAMMER
 What the fuck, sure.

Hammer strips, cleans and reassembles his M-60. He even cleans 
the belt of ammunition.

   DREWRY
 You enlist?

   HAMMER
 Nah, I'm a fucking US. Worked for my 
 old man. Couldn't cut that nine to 
 five Mickey Mouse shit. Rammed around. 
 I'm from a small town, but me and my 
 buddies own it. Nobody gives a shit. 
 We get a little static from the 
 Sheriff, but just little shit.
  (beat)
 I think my old man suggested to the 
 draft board it was my turn. Make a 
 man of me, he said. Shit. Drafted.
  (beat)
 I wasn't doing anything anyway. All 
 my buddies started copping out. Larry 
 got married. Ed went to Junior 
 College. I was painting houses, laying 
 linoleum, little of everything.

   DREWRY
 You volunteered for this unit, too?

   HAMMER
 The Green Line was getting to me. 
 Too much dope. Figured I might start 
 taking the hard stuff. Trip on LSD, 
 hash. It was so fucking boring. They 
 were starting inspections, spit-shined 
 boots in the Nam! See, we got it 
 dicked in the rear, this team. Nobody 
 fucks with us, no KP, details or 
 inspections. Nobody fucks with us, 
 not even officers. They think we're 
 crazy. Dinky dau, mad killers.

   DREWRY
 Are you?

   HAMMER
 We're the only sane killers the Army's 
 got, OD says.

   DREWRY
 You're a hard corps dude.

   HAMMER
 Damn right. Mercenaries kill for 
 money. Sadists kill for fun. 
 Paratroopers kill for both.

Hammer winks at the Camera.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Night camp. Drewry signals the Cameraman to follow him over 
to where the team are talking.

   EASY
 The question is, did you get laid? 
 What I want to do, there's this 
 asshole where I live, owns all the 
 parking lots. In the morning he drives 
 to them all in his Continental, sees 
 that all his dollar-an-hour doofus 
 mother-fuckers are on the job. Then 
 he goes to the country club for the 
 rest of the day, rubs elbows with 
 all the other rich assholes. End of 
 the day, he drives by his lots again, 
 collects the money and makes his 
 deposit.
  (beat)
 What a fucking life. When I get back 
 the first thing I'm gonna do is buy 
 me a fucking parking lot. No building, 
 no maintenance, paint a few lines 
 once a year. I'm gonna get me a 
 parking lot, no shit, and lay back.

   DREWRY
 What about you, Cracker?

   HAMMER
 Cracker's a lifer. He ain't never 
 leaving the Army.

   PRETTY BOY
 He's been in since Christ was a 
 corporal.

   EASY
 Pulled KP at the Last Supper.

Cracker is cleaning and checking his M-1 sniper rifle.

   DREWRY
  (to Cracker)
 You like the Army?

   CRACKER
 Yeah, been in six years. I come from 
 South Carolina. Up north they call 
 us hillbillies, but we ain't. 
 Dictionary defines hillbilly as a 
 Michigan farmer. We're white trash, 
 dirt poor, big family. I got four 
 kids myself, two boys, two girls 
 last time I checked.
  (beat)
 The Army helps a poor man pull himself 
 up. Feeds my family, good retirement, 
 gives me an education. I got my GED. 
 Black people, Puerto Ricans who don't 
 even speak English, Army's the only 
 equal opportunity employer I ever 
 saw. I could get to be First Sergeant, 
 even a Warrant Officer. Good money.

   DREWRY
 You figure what you're doing here is 
 right?

   CRACKER
 I don't figure right or wrong about 
 it. People like me go day to day, 
 spend our time figuring how to get 
 food on the table.
  (beat)
 My daddy was the best cabinetmaker 
 you ever saw. Didn't get a lot of 
 work 'cause of his hands, arthritis 
 twisted them up, but whenever he 
 made something, a cabinet, a three-
 legged stool, it was the best goddamn 
 three-legged stool he could make. He 
 taught the same to me. You do your 
 job the best you can, no matter you 
 like it or not.
  (beat)
 Once he made a black oak china 
 cabinet, black oak, and when the 
 lady said he should paint it white 
 to match her floorboard trim, well, 
 my daddy painted it white. Beautiful 
 black oak, grain like running water. 
 He painted it the smoothest, cleanest 
 white you ever saw. Milk ain't that 
 white.
  (beat)
 You do your job, let the right or 
 wrong to others. You earn your pay. 
 OD feels the same. That's why me and 
 OD are this close.

Cracker holds up two fingers horizontally, one on top of the 
other.

   CRACKER
 That's me on top.

   DREWRY
 Being from South Carolina, how does 
 it feel, being led by a black man?

Cracker's eyes narrow.

   CRACKER
 We don't ask those questions out 
 here, that's a Real World question. 
 Ask me that in South Carolina. Right 
 now ask me if OD isn't the best 
 fucking boonie rat I ever met. Ask 
 me if OD ain't the best human being 
 I ever humped a ruck with. Ask me if 
 I love him like a brother and if I'd 
 kill for him. I do and I have. If 
 I'd lay my life on the line for him... 
 I have. And if he ain't done the 
 same for me.
  (beat)
 We're finished here.

Cracker gets up and walks away.

Drewry sees the Camera on him. He looks away, embarrassed.

   DREWRY
 Turn that fucking thing off.

BLACK. Sound off.

Sound on.

   EASY (O.S.)
 Before it gets dark you lay in your 
 position, check out your fire lanes, 
 and most of all you memorize the 
 terrain in front of you.

CAMERA ON.

Easy lies on the ground and looks into the night. He talks 
nervously.

   EASY
 Every tree, bush, and rock. Sometimes 
 you draw a picture in the dirt in 
 front of you. Then at night, those 
 shadows, you know what they are. 
 They're not the bad guys, you know?
  (laughing nervously)
 But then you think, the little dink 
 fucker replaced the bush with himself. 
 You know it moved, you know it did.
  (beat)
 I hate it just before a mission. See 
 that little berm, looks like a 
 crawling gook, don't it? Freaky shit. 
 Stare at it long enough, it'll move, 
 I wouldn't shit you.

Pretty Boy appears and lays a hand on Easy's shoulder.

   PRETTY BOY
 Hey, Breeze, what does the Jolly 
 Green Giant fear the most?

   EASY
 What?

   PRETTY BOY
 Avocado pickers.

They both laugh. The laughter fades and they stare out into 
the darkness.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Easy grins into the Camera. He motions to the Cameraman to 
follow him. Easy picks up Drewry's Nagra and walks across 
the camp.

It is dark. There is some fog. OD is cleaning his long rifle. 
Easy fiddles with the Nagra's knobs.

   EASY
 Like my TEAC fifteen hundred.

Easy and the Cameraman walk over to Drewry. Easy points the 
microphone at him. Drewry looks worried.

   EASY
 Your turn in the barrel, El Tee.

Pretty Boy and Hammer laugh off screen.

   DREWRY
 I see. I've thrown some punches at 
 you guys and now it's your turn.

   EASY
 Now, El Tee, how long you been in-
 country? Oh, never mind. How long 
 you been on line? Ooops. Wait, wait. 
 How long you been in the Army?

   DREWRY
 Active? Close to two years. I was 
 National Guard in college. Wanted 
 West Point, but I couldn't get in, 
 politics.

   EASY
 Ohhh, Regular Army. El Tee, I didn't 
 take you for a lifer.

Easy shakes his head and smiles.

   EASY
 So, El Tee, why you being such a 
 hard ass on us? We're just some 
 regular assholes trying to do a dirty 
 job.

Silence. OD gets up and walks over to Easy.

   OD
 That's enough, Easy.

   DREWRY
 No, it's a fair question. I think 
 you people treat the war like some 
 game. You dress up like GI Joe or 
 Sergeant Rock, play hard corps.

Pretty Boy and Hammer join them.

   EASY
 Bull-fucking-shit.

   PRETTY BOY
 Dig it.

   HAMMER
 Sergeant Rock, my ass.

   OD
 And how do you see the war, El Tee?

   DREWRY
 Business. Big business. The Army is 
 one big corporation, like Gulf and 
 Western.

   PRETTY BOY
 Engulf and Devour.

   OD
 And we're just cogs in the big 
 machine.

   DREWRY
 If you want. But there's opportunity, 
 like Cracker said. You can be a peon, 
 or, if you see yourself as executive 
 material, the advancement potential 
 is enormous.

Cracker, on guard, turns and looks at the other men.

   CRACKER
 You some kind of junior executive?

   DREWRY
 Exactly. In twelve months I can go 
 from Second Louie to First. And if I 
 play it right, I can leave Nam as a 
 Captain, with Major around the corner.

   OD
 If you play it right.

   DREWRY
 That's why I volunteered for this 
 unit.

   EASY
 You volunteered?

   DREWRY
 Volunteered and finagled. See, with 
 a line unit I'm just another shavetail 
 lieutenant. My only chance was if we 
 got hit bad and I pulled it through. 
 But there were too many people above 
 me making the decisions and they'd 
 take the credit.

   OD
 Of course.

   DREWRY
 With this unit I can show my stuff, 
 and spend a lot of hours in the rear 
 mingling with my superiors. Like 
 they say, it's who you know.

   EASY
 Or who you blow.

   DREWRY
 Of course, I could take you guys 
 with me. You watch, promotions, 
 medals, I'll get them for you. Slip 
 in a recommendation. Hooch maids, 
 more R&R.

   OD
 You're using the Nam to punch your 
 ticket.

   DREWRY
 It's the chance of a lifetime for a 
 career officer. Wars don't come along 
 very often. Combat duty is the 
 foundation for a successful career.

   CRACKER
 That's what's wrong with this war, 
 all that ticket punching. How can 
 you win when everybody's just passing 
 time for 12 months? Who ever heard 
 of a part-time war?

   HAMMER
 Who ever heard of a war where you 
 couldn't cross enemy borders? We 
 oughta invade. If you're gonna be a 
 bear, be a grizzly.

   PRETTY BOY
 It's like they're doing everything 
 they can to keep from winning this 
 one.

   EASY
 We're just rearranging furniture on 
 the Titanic.

There is a moment of silence.

   OD
 Better cut some "Z's", mission 
 tomorrow.
  (to Easy)
 Get your act together. Who's 
 monitoring the radio?

   EASY
 I was just having some fun.

   OD
 Is this fun?

   EASY
 Not even close.

Easy gives the Nagra to OD and walks away.

   OD
  (to Drewry)
 There it is.

OD flicks off the sound and hands the recorder to Drewry.

BLACK.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Night. The team is sleeping. Pretty Boy is on guard. OD sits 
near him.

They talk softly, unaware of the Camera.

   OD
 ...big family. Lots of brothers and 
 sisters.

   PRETTY BOY
 Why don't you set me up with one of 
 your sisters?

   OD
 And you can set me up with your mama.

   PRETTY BOY
 I want to find a girl. Quit fucking 
 around. Just... you know... forget 
 all this shit.

   OD
 I had a girl. We were even engaged. 
 But... I've been over here two tours 
 and... every time I go home... The 
 land of the big PX... Things sure 
 change quick.

   PRETTY BOY
 You ain't a lifer are you, OD?

   OD
 Say what? You know what they say NCO 
 stands for... No Chance Outside.
  (beat)
 No. No future for me in it.

   PRETTY BOY
 There it is.

Easy starts in his sleep. Pretty Boy and OD look at him in 
concern. Easy settles down.

   PRETTY BOY
 You know, OD, I can't handle much 
 more of this. My shit's getting flaky.

   OD
 Just one more time. So you just roll 
 your shit up into a tight little 
 ball and flick it in Charlie's eyes.

OD notices the Camera and looks at it with surprise, offended 
at the intrusion. He gives the Cameraman the evil eye.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Dawn at the camp. The Camera is shaky and out of focus. It 
centers on a new man, the Cameraman, leaning against a tree 
and taking a leak.

   HAMMER (O.S.)
 Okay, MoPic, don't piss on me, piss 
 on the camera.

The Cameraman turns, surprised and embarrassed. He buttons 
up. Pretty Boy and Easy laugh.

   HAMMER (O.S.)
 Wa, c'mon, MoPic, give the folks at 
 home a thrill. Haul it out. Let 'em 
 see a real soldier's weapon.

   EASY/PRETTY BOY
 This is my weapon, this is my gun. 
 With this I kill people, with this I 
 have fun.

They show the difference by brandishing their weapons and 
cupping their crotch. They laugh.

The Cameraman tries to retrieve his Camera from Hammer. Hammer 
backs away.

   HAMMER (O.S.)
 Hey, soldier, how'd you wind up in 
 this circle jerk?

   CAMERAMAN
 I was working in the lab back in the 
 rear, post-production. We used to 
 get these cans of film in, no 
 cameraman, just the reels. We'd hear 
 he got shot, or was dead. Spookiest 
 thing in the world, waiting for that 
 film to develop. Wondering what you 
 were going to see. Sometimes you saw 
 nothing. Other times... Real scary.

   EASY
 You think that's scary.

   PRETTY BOY
 Another volunteer. We're all crazy 
 on this bus.

Pretty Boy and Easy start grab-assing. Hammer follows.

BLACK.

   HAMMER (O.S.)
 What happened?

   CAMERAMAN (O.S.)
 You ran out of film.

   HAMMER (O.S.)
 Shit.

Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Hammer and Cracker drag their rucksacks across the ground, 
making obvious marks.

Easy walks over to Drewry. Pretty Boy is rebandaging his 
arm.

   EASY
 El Tee, Big D, give me all your bubble 
 gum wrappers.

Drewry is puzzled, but he complies. Easy scatters the wrappers 
around the campsite.

OD leaves a full magazine on the ground.

   OD
 First two rounds are good. Third 
 round, gunpowder's been replaced 
 with C-4. Bang, bang, boom! Scratch 
 one enemy and one enemy gun.
  (to Camera)
 We're making it look like fifteen 
 men were here. Makes the gooks chase 
 us with a larger unit. The larger 
 the unit, the slower and noisier it 
 is. We need every edge we can get.

Cracker digs a small hole. He takes a smoke grenade and a 
regular grenade from his pack and unscrews the fuses. He 
swaps fuses and screws them down.

   CRACKER
 Regular grenade's got a three-second 
 fuse, gives you time to throw it. 
 Smoke grenade's instantaneous, better 
 for booby traps.

Cracker straightens the pin on the grenade, puts it in the 
hole spoon up and hooks a wire to the pin.

   CRACKER
  (to Drewry)
 Sir, you've been wearing that steel 
 pot too long. May I borrow it?

Drewry takes off his helmet and hands it to Cracker. Cracker 
puts a couple handfuls of dirt inside the helmet to steady 
it and sets it on top of the spoon. He checks the balance of 
the helmet, the tension on the spoon, and carefully pulls 
the wire and the pin.

   DREWRY
 I signed for that thing.

   CRACKER
 If you want it, sir, you'll have to 
 get it the way Mister Charlie will. 
 And I guarantee it'll ruin your whole 
 day.

Cracker wipes away all traces of his footprints and the trail 
of wire. He stands back and admires his work.

Easy hands Drewry his own soft cap. Drewry puts it on.

   OD
 Let's do it to it.

The team slides into the jungle.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Further along the trail. Cracker strings a wire across the 
trail to a grenade that has been inserted into a C-ration 
can. He attaches the wire to the grenade and pulls the pin. 
The can restrains the spoon.

Cracker and the Cameraman walk about fifteen feet up the 
trail. Cracker takes off his bandana and ties it conspicuously 
to a branch.

   CRACKER
 You stay here long enough and you 
 can out-Chuck Chuck.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team is setting up on the side of a ridge. OD and Cracker 
set up their long rifles using their rucksacks as gun rests. 
They load their ammunition one round at a time, cleaning 
each one with a rag. Everyone else wears their packs.

Pretty Boy and Hammer set up as spotters next to OD and 
Cracker and get out their binoculars. Pretty Boy lines up 
his M-79 ammunition in a neat row of six rounds.

Easy sits behind them with the radio.

The sun is rising at their backs.

Everyone whispers.

OD and Cracker look through their scopes.

   OD
 I see One, dead center, the tent. 
 Three and Six about two o'clock.

   CRACKER
 I see Two at nine o'clock, Five at 
 eleven o'clock and moving.

   OD
 Anyone spot Four?

Drewry takes out his binoculars and looks.

   DREWRY
 Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus, there's 
 hundreds of them.

The Cameraman gets behind OD and zooms down the rifle barrel 
and focuses on the target area.

One hundred and fifty men, most sleeping in tents or bed-
rolls, a few on guard. In the center of the camp eight men 
are performing tai-chi, graceful and uncaring.

   OD
 They must have gotten reinforced 
 overnight. Pretty Boy, see that 
 antenna? Can you reach it with your 
 Thumper?

The focus comes back to the team.

Drewry looks at OD, then back through the binoculars.

   PRETTY BOY
 No sweat, but I'm not sure of the 
 mortar. Really reaching.

   DREWRY
 That must be a quarter mile.

   OD
 More like a third of a mile, El Tee. 
 Secondary targets?

   CRACKER
 That dude wandering around, the VC 
 guide. People seem to listen to him. 
 I think the dude's got his shit 
 together. Lotta men down there, OD.

OD and Cracker get into position behind their rifles, prone, 
and snuggle into the dirt.

   EASY
  (into radio)
 Thunderbird Control, this is Outrider. 
 How do you read me? Over.
  (beat)
 I read you Lima Charlie. I have a 
 fire mission. Request artillery HE. 
 Stand by for coordinates.

OD and Cracker go through a silent run, making "pow" sounds 
with their lips, jerking their rifles with each faked shot.

   EASY
  (into radio)
 Enemy in the trees, single canopy. 
 Size, regiment. In my funny book I 
 read Delta Oscar Lima Echo November 
 Golf Foxtrot India Papa Tango Tango 
 Echo. Say back.
  (beat)
 Affirm. Fire one smoke on my order.

They plug their ears with plastic earplugs, cigarette filters, 
whatever they have. Easy and Drewry use cartridges. OD 
hesitates.

   OD
 Wait one.

Everyone looks at OD.

   OD
 Most of those dudes ain't the ones I 
 saw yesterday.

Cracker takes the binoculars and looks.

   CRACKER
 Must be out humping. Keeping a low 
 profile for air recon?

   OD
 I say we don't shoot. Call in arty 
 and just didi mau.

OD looks at each man in turn. Easy and Pretty Boy nod. Hammer 
shrugs. OD looks at Drewry.

   DREWRY
 You're the boss of the bush.

OD nods to Easy.

   EASY
  (into radio)
 Fire one.

Pretty Boy launches five quick rounds while OD and Cracker 
get up and put their packs on. Hammer keeps his binoculars 
on the camp. Everyone gets ready to move out.

Muffled explosions sound.

   HAMMER
 Got 'em! Chuck's hurtin'! Smoke round. 
 Drop one hundred, left fifty.

   EASY
  (into radio)
 Drop one hundred, left fifty. Fire 
 for effect. HE and Wicked Picket.

   HAMMER
 Shake and bake.

   OD
 Move it.

The team moves out, fast.

The crest the ridge and the air above them is ripped by 
artillery shells. Hammer looks up.

   HAMMER
 Get some.

Explosions sound in the distance.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team runs down slope, OD leading. He spots Cracker's 
bandana and grabs it off the branch on the run. He makes an 
immediate left off the trail and the men pass the bandana 
back to Cracker.

   CRACKER
 I hate it when we don't shoot. Get 
 all the juices going...

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team is stopped. They look behind them. Drewry is out of 
breath. The others are all hyper.

   DREWRY
 ...tripped your wire?

   CRACKER
 Sounds like. Wait one to see if your 
 helmet bounces.

Jets roar overhead. The men look up.

   PRETTY BOY
 Get some.

   EASY
  (listening on radio)
 Fuck me, Alice. OP Ladybird's been 
 hit again. Texas Hat's on the horn 
 going apeshit.

   OD
 Then we make it the ville. Hammer?

   HAMMER
 The village. Got it, OD.

There are muffled explosions. Hammer looks back.

   HAMMER
 The jets are putting the damn damn 
 on the dinks.

   EASY
 Oh, Jesus. They're getting overrun.

   DREWRY
 I should call in my situation report.

OD looks at Drewry and nods to Easy. Easy gives Drewry the 
handset and changes the frequency.

   DREWRY
  (into radio)
 Stone Hombre, this is Outrider Six. 
 How do you hear me?
  (beat)
 Same here, Hombre. Sit Rep, mission 
 completed. Enemy sighted, now under 
 fire, arty, HE and fly boys.

   CRACKER
 I just hate it when we don't shoot.

   EASY
 Not me. Kind of like a personal risk 
 avoidance policy.

   HAMMER
 It's like a fucking dry hump. Gives 
 me the blue balls.

   CRACKER
 Not that. Just... every one of those 
 gooks we cut slack on might dust 
 some GI.

   PRETTY BOY
 I can dig that.

   OD
 Move 'em out.

The team moves out. There is another muffled boom. Cracker 
grins at Drewry and flips his hat into the air.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team waits and catches their breath. Drewry reaches into 
Pretty Boy's pack and gets salt tablets. Hammer is still 
hyper. They all whisper.

   PRETTY BOY
 You get hungry, just chew on your 
 lurp rations. Eat it dry and suck up 
 some water. Not too much, you'll 
 swell your belly.

   HAMMER
 We won't be stopping long enough to 
 chow down 'til we hit the ville.

A click in the jungle. Cracker responds with a toy cricket. 
Click, click.

OD appears.

   OD
 Gooks ahead, across our trail. Six 
 of 'em.

   DREWRY
 Ambush?

   OD
 Breakfast.

   CRACKER
 We go around 'em or through 'em?

   HAMMER
 Through 'em. Time to waste a few.

   DREWRY
 Can we go around?

   OD
 It won't be easy, and it'll be slow.

   HAMMER
 Let's hit 'em. It's our last gig, 
 let's take back some heads.

OD looks at the others.

   CRACKER
 What the fuck, can't dance.

   HAMMER
 You want to live forever?

   EASY
 You know me, Breeze, anything for a 
 joke.

Pretty Boy just smiles. OD looks at Drewry.

   DREWRY
 I can handle it.

OD sketches a diagram in the dirt.

   OD
 Okay. They're by the stream, about 
 50 meters up. We do an "L", me here, 
 Easy, Pretty Boy, and Hammer. Cracker 
 at the elbow, the El Tee.

   PRETTY BOY
 What about MoPic?

   OD
 He waits back here. I start, a 
 grenade, then we hit 'em. Hammer, 
 one carries an RPG, you waste that 
 motherfucker. Careful of the 
 crossfire.

   EASY
 Let's do it to it.

They move out.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The packs are on the ground. OD and Cracker lay their rifles 
on the packs. Easy tapes two magazines back to back. Pretty 
Boy arranges his grenades.

   OD
 We get split up, rally on the ville.

The men are stripped down and ready to move. OD looks them 
over and nods. They start to move out.

   DREWRY
  (to Cameraman)
 Stay here, just hang loose.

The men disappear into the jungle.

The Cameraman waits for a moment, then follows them into the 
brush. He catches a few glimpses of Cracker's back.

Nothing but brush. The Cameraman moves slowly.

Suddenly, he is upon OD, Easy and Hammer. OD forces him down 
fiercely. Vietnamese voices can be heard. OD, Easy and Hammer 
crawl toward the voices.

The men wait. Easy looks scared. Hammer winks at him.

OD pulls out a grenade, then pulls the pin. He waits, pops 
the spoon, silently counts to two and throws the grenade.

An explosion, a scream, and the team is up at the same 
instant, charging and firing.

They burst into the clearing.

Two VC are prone. One kneels to fire, three are running away.

The team pours a rain of gunshots into the area. Mass 
confusion. The three running VC fall. The kneeling soldier 
is blown down.

Quiet.

Easy and Pretty Boy go on guard. OD and Cracker check bodies 
and take papers. Hammer, pumped up, starts picking up the 
enemy weapons.

   OD
 Hammer, guard 12 o'clock.

   HAMMER
 War souveniers, OD. First come, 
 first... This one's alive.

Hammer aims his machine gun at the VC's head. Drewry, a little 
dazed by the shooting, wakes up and bumps Hammer aside.

   DREWRY
 Wait a second.

The Cameraman moves closer to catch the VC. The VC is coming 
to. Blood comes from his nose and ears. His left leg is 
wasted.

   HAMMER
 Let me waste him, sir. Sin Loi 
 motherfucker.

Hammer aims at the VC again, but Drewry blocks him.

   DREWRY
 He's a prisoner. We take him with 
 us.

   HAMMER
 Bullshit. No way.

   OD
 Can it, Hammer.

   DREWRY
 We don't murder.

   OD
 We kill. We just did a mess of it.

   DREWRY
 It's not the same, you know it.

OD looks at the VC, then at Drewry.

   OD
 Bring him back to the rear. We'll 
 decide there.

Drewry ties the VC's hands and he and Easy drag the prisoner 
into the jungle.

   DREWRY
 We've decided.

   OD
 Move it, move it.

The team leaves the area.

BLACK. Sound off.

Sound on.

   PRETTY BOY (O.S.)
 Bac se. Doctor, Medic. Bac se.

CAMERA ON.

The men shoulder their gear. Pretty Boy bandages the VC's 
leg. The prisoner's mouth is now taped shut.

   DREWRY
 We take him back to S-2 for 
 interrogation. Intelligence, that's 
 what we're out here for.

Pretty Boy is very gentle with the VC.

   HAMMER
 Are we bad motherfuckers, or what. 
 See that shit? We cleaned up. I ain't 
 shitting you. Zap!

   EASY
 Let's have a hymn for the Major.

   EASY/HAMMER/PRETTY BOY
 Hymmmn, hymmmn, fuck... himmmm.

OD looks at the VC.

   HAMMER
 Shit, sir, who's gonna carry the 
 fucker. It'll slow us down like... 
 He resists and it's a bitch and a 
 half. If you cold cock the sucker 
 he's dead weight. He can't walk. 
 We've done this before.

   DREWRY
 I'll carry him.

   PRETTY BOY
 I'll help.

Drewry and Pretty Boy strap two rifle slings to the VC's 
shoulders and legs.

   OD
 He goes with us.

   EASY
 El Tee... "Big D", we're gonna get 
 you a medal. First time out.

   CRACKER
 Most grunts spend a whole year getting 
 shot at and shit on and never see 
 Chuck. You got one to take home.

   OD
 Let's go.

Drewry and Pretty Boy grab the VC. The team moves out.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team is stopped. Drewry cuts a thick bamboo stalk.

   HAMMER
  (looking at VC guns)
 Bet I get me a hundred bucks apiece 
 for these from some raggedy assed 
 chairborne commando.

   EASY
 How about you souvenier me one, 
 Hammer?

   HAMMER
 How about you kiss my hairy ass?

   PRETTY BOY
 For a little shit, ol' Luke the Gook 
 is fucking heavy.

   CRACKER
 Don't let him fool you. They stand 
 small, but fight tall. He's probably 
 playing possum.

   OD
 C'mon, we're losing time. You know 
 they're looking for us.

   DREWRY
 Done.

Drewry finishes trimming the bamboo and he and Pretty Boy 
slip it through the VC's bindings.

They lift the pole onto their shoulders.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team moves quietly and quickly through the jungle. OD is 
on point, Hammer, Easy, then Drewry and Pretty Boy carrying 
the NVA between them. Drewry no longer carries the Nagra, 
the Cameraman does.

There is a small break in the trees.

Easy spins in place and falls to the ground. A shot cracks 
the air.

Pretty Boy's right leg collapses under him and he falls. 
There is another crack.

The Cameraman runs. Cracker passes the Cameraman and grabs 
Easy by the harness and drags him to cover with OD and Hammer. 
Drewry pulls the NVA behind some cover with him.

OD and Hammer are already looking down their guns, searching 
for the sniper.

Hammer fires his machine gun.

   OD
 Enough! Wait 'til you get a target!

Hammer stops.

OD looks at Easy. There is a big ragged hole in the radio.

   EASY
 I'm okay! I'm okay!

He says it to reassure himself.

   CRACKER (O.S.)
 OD! Pretty Boy!

They look down the trail.

Pretty Boy is about ten feet away, trying to get up on his 
good leg. The other one is bloody at the knee. He gets partly 
up and his other leg is shot out from under him. There is a 
brief delay and another crack.

Pretty Boy screams.

   HAMMER
 Jesus, that guy is good. Did you 
 hear that delay? Must be 500 meters.

   EASY
 OD, you gotta help Pretty Boy!

   HAMMER
 Cover me, Cracker.

Hammer tosses his machine gun to Cracker. Cracker fires into 
the jungle.

Hammer ducks down like a runner in the starting blocks and 
jumps into the clearing.

A bullet tears into Hammer's shoulder and stops him dead. OD 
and Easy grab his feet and pull him back. Crack!

Cracker stops firing.

They all look at Pretty Boy. He raises himself up by his 
elbows and tries to drag himself over to the others, inch by 
painful inch.

   EASY
 C'mon, Pretty Boy.

   OD
 You can do it, Baldwin.

Another shot tears Pretty Boy's right elbow to meat and 
slivers of bone. He screams again. Crack!

   EASY
 Leave him alone! Goddammit! Leave 
 him alone!

Easy is about to cry.

Smack! Another bullet hits Pretty Boy in the thigh. Crack! 
Hs body jerks with the impact and he screams again, a high 
piercing wail that fades into a guttural moan.

   CRACKER
 Lord have mercy.

   EASY
 I'm giving it another try.

Easy gets up, but OD grabs him by the shoulder and pulls him 
back.

   OD
 No.

   OD
 Get me FDC. Maybe we can get some 
 fire support.

   EASY
 Radio ain't working.

   DREWRY
 Look.

Pretty Boy is still alive. He reaches slowly behind him with 
his left hand and gets a grenade from his canteen cover. He 
tries to loosen the pin with one hand.

   EASY
 Pretty Boy, no! OD, do something!

   OD
 Cracker, give me your harness.

   EASY
 Pretty Boy, wait!

   OD
 Hold on, Baldwin.

Pretty Boy stops. OD links his belt with Cracker's, then 
Drewry's. He creeps toward the edge of the clearing.

OD tosses the lengths of belt toward Pretty Boy. The end 
lands about a foot from his head.

Pretty Boy reaches for the belt and a bullet tears through 
his palm, throwing his arm in an arc. Crack! Pretty Boy 
whimpers.

   EASY
  (crying)
 Oh, goddamn. Fuck. Shit. Cocksucker. 
 COCKSUCKER!

Pretty Boy's face lies in the dirt. He painfully turns his 
head so he can see the team. He wets his lips.

   PRETTY BOY
  (whispering)
 OD, please.

Smack! A bullet hits him in the hip. He screams again.

   DREWRY
  (watching OD)
 What are you doing?

   EASY
 OD, no, don't. OD.

OD takes Drewry's .45 from his holster and pulls back the 
slide and makes sure it is loaded. Easy watches through his 
tears. The slide snaps forward with an ominous click.

OD aims at Pretty Boy's head.

Pretty Boy looks at the gun and OD and smiles.

   CRACKER
  (softly)
 OD, not in the head.

BOOM!

Pretty Boy's body jerks with the impact of OD's bullet. He 
is dead.

Silence. Then the sound of Easy crying softly.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Pretty Boy's body is on a poncho. Cracker takes the dog tag 
from around his neck, untapes them and puts one in Pretty 
Boy's mouth and tapes it shut. He does it gently, as if it 
were a ceremony.

Cracker pulls the poncho over Pretty Boy's face. Easy cries 
off screen. He snaps the poncho shut, one at a time. The 
sound of the snaps is very loud.

OD bandages Hammer's shoulder while Hammer remains on guard.

Easy shivers uncontrollably a couple of times and looks at 
his dead radio.

Drewry looks at the NVA. OD finishes with Hammer and walks 
over to Drewry.

   OD
 Gut shot. Looks like your gook's 
 broke, El Tee.

   DREWRY
 Will he make it to Brigade?

   OD
 No. We ain't taking him.

   DREWRY
 What?

   OD
 We got a choice. We carry your gook 
 or Pretty Boy. We can't take both.

   DREWRY
 But... he's dead.

Silence. The team looks coldly at Drewry.

   HAMMER
 Americans never leave their dead 
 behind.

Drewry looks at the team, the NVA, Pretty Boy, the NVA again.

   DREWRY
 You're not going to kill him.

   OD
 No, you are, El Tee.

Everyone looks at OD. His face is filled with anger.

   DREWRY
 You can't make me.

   OD
 We're leaving Luke the Gook. If his 
 people get to him before he dies he 
 can tell them all about us. We're 
 almost out of ammo, one of us is 
 hurt, everything. Intelligence, El 
 Tee, intelligence.

Drewry reaches reluctantly for his gun.

   OD
 No gun, El Tee. Noise discipline. 
 Your knife makes it personal.

OD takes Drewry's bayonet and slaps it into his hand. The 
NVA stares up at Drewry, his eyes wide with fear and pain.

   OD
 It's time you were blooded, El Tee. 
 Your own private KIA.

Drewry looks down at the NVA.

   DREWRY
 He's going to die anyway.

   OD
 Maybe. C'mon, El Tee. No, wait a 
 second.

OD reaches into Drewry's shirt and pulls out the NVA's papers. 
OD's eyes burn with cold, hard fury. Cracker reaches out to 
stop him, but OD jerks away.

   OD
 You might want to know who you're 
 killing.
  (reading)
 His name's Truong, Nguyen Truong. 
 He's 19. Got a family, looks like, 
 wife, cute kid.

OD throws the papers onto the NVA's chest as he reads them. 
The last is a black and white photograph of a woman and child.

   OD
 C'mon, El Tee, what're you waiting 
 for?

OD's voice has an edge of hysteria.

   CRACKER
 OD.

   HAMMER
 Kill the fucker, El Tee.

Drewry raises the bayonet and stabs the NVA clumsily in the 
chest. He pulls it back out quickly and turns away.

   OD
 Damn, El Tee, can't you even kill a 
 man right?

The NVA's chest rises with shallow breaths and blood pumps 
from the wound.

OD bends over the NVA with his Gerber knife and shoves it up 
under his ribcage and slices the heart. The NVA dies.

OD wipes the blade on the NVA's sleeve. He cuts the ropes 
from his hands and feet and slices the tape off his mouth. 
Blood gushes out.

OD drapes the NVA flag over the dead man's face and kneels 
there for a moment, almost like he is praying.

Cracker puts a gentle hand on OD's shoulder.

   CRACKER
 OD, we better move out. I'm going to 
 destroy the long rifles, Pretty Boy's 
 gear.
  (to Hammer)
 Give me a Willy Peter.
  (beat)
 OD?

OD nods and gets up slowly.

   OD
 Better melt down the radio, too.

Easy takes off the radio and gets a white phosphorous grenade 
from his pack.

Drewry sits on the ground looking at his bayonet.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The team is stopped, all out of breath, facing outward on 
guard. Easy and Drewry have been carrying Pretty Boy's body 
between them, the pole through the poncho. OD's jaw muscles 
flex as he stares into the jungle.

   HAMMER
 How much farther to the ville?

   OD
 Three, four klicks. Seven-niner 
 degrees. Remember that, Hammer, seven-
 niner.

   HAMMER
 I got it, OD, no sweat. Anyhow, I 
 just follow you.
  (beat)
 Damn, I'd like a cold brew.

   EASY
 I could use some dew. No, no, hash. 
 Quick toke of hash, dreamland. Grass 
 makes me paranoid.

Easy laughs. It is forced. OD looks at him and almost smiles.

   OD
 You're one dinky dau ditty bopper.

   EASY
 And I'm short. 25 and a wake-up. I'm 
 so short I could parachute off a 
 dime.

   HAMMER
 I wish I had a cold brew.

   CRACKER
 Wish in one hand, shit in the other, 
 see which hand's full first.
  (beat)
 What kind of job you gonna get us in 
 the rear, OD?

OD looks at Drewry, who is self-absorbed and quiet.

   OD
 I don't know, some ghost job. One 
 thing I do know, it'll be air-
 conditioned.

Their conversation is strained.

   CRACKER
 With my own little refrigerator.

   HAMMER
 For cold brew.

   OD
 There's a slot open at the rec room. 
 We'll sent Easy to Thailand on R&R 
 so he don't get into trouble before 
 he takes that freedom bird back to 
 the Real World.

   EASY
 Can you do that for me, OD? I'd dig 
 it. Love that Thai pussy, cheap, 
 too. Me and Pretty Boy... What about 
 Hammer?

   CRACKER
 Hammer's too tough for the rear.

   HAMMER
 Got muscles in my shit.

   EASY
 Bites the heads off animal crackers.

   CRACKER
 Last time I was in the rear I called 
 home on the MARS line. Got the wife 
 on the horn, she didn't believe it 
 was me calling from the Nam. After 
 we talked about that we didn't have 
 shit to say to each other. Dead 
 silence. Not word one.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The Camera looks over OD's shoulder as he consults his 
compass.

   OD
 The tree, the big pine.

OD pockets the compass and Hammer hands him his CAR-15.

OD starts walking. The Cameraman stands to one side and lets 
OD and Hammer walk by him. Drewry and Easy follow with the 
body.

Suddenly, out of the trees, walk three NVA.

The NVA freeze, as startled as the Americans.

Drewry and Easy drop Pretty Boy. It's like a signal. The 
team fires. The NVA fire back, but it's too late.

The Cameraman hits the ground as the team charges the NVA. 
Drewry hits the ground, too, but he faces the rear, gun ready.

BLACK.

Gunfire.

The Cameraman lifts the Camera. OD and Easy come out of the 
brush. Hammer stays behind and fires a slug or two into each 
of the NVA bodies.

OD is furious. He heads over to Drewry, who is getting off 
the ground. OD is holding his stomach and blood leaks through 
his fingers.

   OD
 What the fuck are you doing?! Don't 
 they teach you shit in fucking OCS?! 
 You attack, fucker! Attack!

   DREWRY
 I was guarding our rear! That's what 
 I was taught. In an ambush... Fuck 
 it!

   OD
 That was Pretty Boy's job.

The fire in OD is suddenly gone. He looks off screen and 
runs. The Camera follows.

Cracker is laying on the ground, three bloody holes in his 
chest.

   CRACKER
 It hurts, Godalmighty, it hurts. 
 Hurts like nothing ever did, OD.

   OD
 Pretty Boy! Morphine!

Cracker grabs OD's sleeve and pulls him closer.

   CRACKER
 OD, Pretty Boy's dead.

Cracker's words are soft and gentle. OD chokes up.

   OD
 Cracker, don't you dare die on me, 
 motherfucker. I need you, you're my 
 friend. Frye?

Easy and Hammer join OD. There is blood pouring down Hammer's 
leg.

   CRACKER
 No sweat, GI. Three slugs ain't 
 nothing. Guys catch worse and live, 
 I seen it. Funny, I counted them 
 when they hit. One, two, three. I 
 just fell back real slow, thinking, 
 "Shit, I been hit three fucking 
 times". AK?

   OD
 I guess.

Cracker lifts his head and looks at the foaming blood pumping 
from his chest.

   CRACKER
 Jesus, looks like a sucking chest 
 wound, OD. Get something to plug it.

Easy rips the plastic cover from a bandage and OD places it 
over the wound.

   HAMMER
 I got a morphine vial.

Hammer hands the morphine to OD. OD prepares it.

   HAMMER
 We gotta move it, OD. The gunfire, 
 the gooks must have heard it.

   OD
 You're gonna be okay, Cracker. We 
 been through some shit together, 
 huh, Frye? We'll get through this 
 one.

   CRACKER
 Three slugs ain't nothing, I seen 
 guys a lot worse.

OD pulls up Cracker's sleeve to inject the morphine.

   CRACKER
 Save it, OD, don't hurt no more. 
 Can't feel a fucking thing.

Cracker dies.

OD bends over Cracker's body, tears dripping onto Cracker's 
face.

OD tips his head back to scream, but all that comes out is a 
tortured rasp.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

The bodies of Cracker and Pretty Boy lay next to each other 
under a tree. OD marks the spot on his map.

   OD
 We'll send a chopper back.

   DREWRY
 Americans never abandon their dead.

No one pays any attention to Drewry.

The team moves out.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Drewry is cleaning his M-16 carefully, methodically. Easy is 
bandaging OD's stomach wound, wrapping duct tape around his 
middle. He watches OD's face, trying not to hurt him.

Easy finishes and hands the tape to Hammer. Hammer tapes his 
thigh while he remains on guard.

   HAMMER
 Gonna be a beaut of a scar.
  (beat)
 I been thinking, I think I got Pretty 
 Boy's luck. You figure that happens? 
 You know, that luck just visits 
 someone and then up and jumps onto 
 someone else?

He grins and looks at everyone. There is a bloody patch near 
his ear.

The smile fades as he looks into the jungle. He thinks 
something over, chewing his cheek. He looks into the Camera.

   HAMMER
 In case... if I don't... If my luck 
 jumps, you know...
  (beat)
 I want my folks, especially my old 
 man, my dad, to know I did a damn 
 good job. Maybe I wasn't any hero, 
 but I did the best job I could.

Hammer turns away, embarrassed. He looks back into the jungle.

   HAMMER
 But I got Pretty Boy's luck, I won't 
 worry none. You know, I could almost 
 feel it come onto me when Pretty Boy 
 got...

There is silence.

OD gets up, wincing with pain. Easy watches him, feeling the 
same pain. Drewry watches them all, deep in thought.

   EASY
 Best I can do.

   OD
 It'll work.

   EASY
 OD, I'm scared. We're in deep shit.

   OD
 Stevie Wonder could see that, Easy.

Easy restlessly, unconsciously, works the bolt of his carbine, 
jacking the rounds out of the magazine.

   EASY
 No, I mean, really, my shit's gotten 
 all flaky. I'm not cut out for this 
 shit no more. You gotta cut me some 
 slack, OD, I can't hack it no more.

Easy is intently serious, but on the verge of tears, trying 
to express his sincerity through his panic.

   EASY
 I don't wanna die. I didn't give a 
 rat fuck before, but I do now. Maybe 
 I'm too short. OD, you gotta cover 
 my ass.

Tears fall from Easy's eyes. He sniffs and wipes his nose 
with the back of his hand. He looks like a little kid.

   OD
 You out of pills?

   EASY
  (smiling)
 Can't get nothing by you, OD.

Easy sees Hammer looking at him.

   EASY
 Don't look at me like that, 
 motherfucker. I'll kill you.

   HAMMER
  (softly)
 It's okay, Easy.

OD hugs Easy, but gingerly because of his wound.

   OD
 I'll take care of you, Easy, I will. 
 I ever lie to you?

   EASY
 No sweat. I'm just a little fucked 
 'cause of Pretty Boy and Cracker, 
 you know.

Easy takes a deep breath and pulls back from OD.

   EASY
 Hey, OD, what's the difference between 
 fish and meat?

   OD
 What?

   EASY
 If you beat your fish it'll die.

OD smiles and playfully slaps Easy on the cheek.

   OD
 Dinky dau motherfucker. Now pick up 
 that brass.

Easy looks down and sees the cartridges and he's surprised. 
He picks them up.

   DREWRY
 Easy, here. Maybe this'll make you 
 feel more secure.

OD and Easy look at Drewry. Drewry has taken off his flak 
vest. He offers it to Easy. Easy takes it and shrugs off his 
LBE to put it on.

Drewry and OD look at each other.

   DREWRY
 I think I should take over now, you're 
 incapacitated.

   OD
 Like shit.

   DREWRY
 I don't want to argue. You'll hardly 
 be able to walk with that wound.

OD is angry. He takes a step toward Drewry, refusing to show 
the pain. Easy tries to help, but OD pushes him away with 
Cracker's shotgun.

   DREWRY
 See. I'll take point.

   OD
 And get us all greased. No way, GI.

OD looks at Easy and Hammer for their reaction. Easy's fear 
is evident. Hammer gives him an "I don't give a shit" look.

   OD
 Hammer'll walk point. And we move 
 now and fast. We got a pickup to 
 meet.

   HAMMER
 Out-fucking-standing. You're one 
 hard corps dude, OD.

   EASY
 And you're one silly, gung-ho fucker, 
 Hammer.

   HAMMER
 Yeah, no shit. Like Cracker says... 
 said... if you're gonna be a bear, 
 be a grizzly.

Hammer moves out first. The Cameraman waits for OD, who is 
leaning on Easy. OD motions the Cameraman ahead of him.

   DREWRY
 I'll bring up the rear.

They follow Hammer.

   OD
 Watch out for booby traps, stay off 
 the trails. Stop every few meters 
 just to listen.

   HAMMER
 I can handle it, OD, cut me some 
 slack.

Hammer talks without stopping his progress through the jungle.

   HAMMER
 I ain't no cherry. I... Oh, shit.

BOOM!

Hammer is blown backward by the blast from a mine.

The Cameraman dives for the ground. BLACK.

The Cameraman starts to get up. Hammer's body is close to 
the lens, face and chest torn by shrapnel. His mouth is open 
and his wide, dead eyes stare at the Camera.

The Cameraman scuttles away from the body. Easy bends over 
Hammer.

   EASY
 Oh, Hammer, I'm sorry, man. I'm sorry.

Drewry is suddenly standing over Hammer's body. He picks up 
the M-60.

   DREWRY
 He's dead. C'mon.

Drewry leads the way. OD and Easy walk past the Cameraman, 
looking at Hammer's body. Easy drops his rifle. OD picks it 
up.

The Cameraman gets up and hurries after the others.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Drewry, OD and Easy are crouched at the base of a tree on 
the edge of a small, burned village. There is nothing moving, 
just smoke curling into the sky from the burned huts.

   OD
 Let's check it out. Choppers'll be 
 here soon.

OD gets up to lead the way, but Easy has to help him stand. 
Drewry leads the way, his M-16 slung, carrying Hammer's M-60 
at the ready.

They enter the village slowly and cautiously. Easy drags his 
carbine behind him.

There are bodies of old men and women here and there, a few 
children. There is a dead chicken, a dog. Drewry bends over 
one of the bodies. Mortar craters pock the ground.

   OD
 Careful, El Tee, booby traps.

Drewry backs away from the body.

The three men stick close together, carefully checking each 
body.

   DREWRY
 I wonder who did this, us or them.

   OD
 Does it make a difference?
  (beat)
 We wouldn't leave this much standing. 
 Must be Chuck's work.

OD tries to walk forward by himself as Drewry and Easy 
continue checking bodies.

   OD
 Keep an eye out. Chuck's crowding 
 our ass.

OD collapses. Easy and Drewry run over to him.

   DREWRY
  (to Camera)
 Put that thing down and give me a 
 hand.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

A lean-to made from a poncho has been propped over OD. Easy 
watches him. Easy's tears have dried, but he is on the edge. 
Maybe over.

   OD
 I'm not saying all gooks look the 
 same.
  (coughing laugh)
 It's just... I go to Sin City, all 
 the gook faces look like some gook I 
 shot. You know, spooky like. Ghosts.

OD is silent a long moment. Easy turns away. Drewry looks at 
Easy with concern.

   EASY
 How about that morphine, El Tee?

   DREWRY
 No, we have to keep him conscious 
 for the chopper.

   EASY
  (joking feebly)
 How about for me?

Drewry smiles.

   OD
 That ain't counting the other dead 
 men. GI's. The ones I didn't kill.

OD jerks his head up, suddenly alert, and looks at Drewry.

   OD
 I'll be okay, El Tee. Don't worry 
 about me, just keep an ear out for 
 the chopper.

   EASY
 OD? Am I gonna die?

   OD
 Who'd want to kill a doofus ditty 
 bopper like you?

Drewry looks at his watch.

   DREWRY
 Half hour to pickup. The NVA will 
 try something.

   EASY
 Chuck ain't shot his wad yet.

   OD
 We better prepare, set some fire 
 lanes. You got a red smoke, El Tee?

   DREWRY
 No.

   OD
 You pop a red smoke for a hot LZ. We 
 gotta let the choppers know Chuck's 
 waiting, too. Here.

OD hands Drewry one of his smoke grenades.

Drewry looks at the grenade.

   EASY
 Don't sweat it, El Tee. Hell, what 
 you want to do, live forever?

OD tries to get up. A spasm of pain runs through him and he 
falls back down.

The Cameraman runs over to help OD.

BLACK. Sound off.

CAMERA ON. Sound on.

Easy and the Cameraman are inside a hut. OD sits in the 
doorway with the M-60, his back to the Camera.

Across the village, Drewry is getting into position with the 
M-16 and CAR-15.

   EASY
 How you doing, OD?

   OD
 Can't feel my legs, but it don't 
 hurt much if I don't move too quick. 
 Should be hearing the choppers soon.

   EASY
 One good thing about the Nam. You 
 hear a chopper, you know it's ours.

There is a moment of silence.

   OD
 Here they come.

Drewry starts firing.

OD fires.

Bullets rip through the hut. Easy and the Cameraman hit the 
ground.

There is another sound that breaks through the gunfire.

   EASY
 Choppers! Pop smoke, El Tee! Pop 
 smoke!

Drewry readies the smoke grenade, but before he can throw it 
another one lands in the middle of the village. Green smoke.

   EASY
 Oh, shit!

Drewry looks up at the sky and runs into the clearing toward 
the green smoke grenade. OD increases his fire to cover him. 
Bullets tear up the earth around him, but Drewry manages to 
kick the green smoke grenade away.

Drewry dodges for cover and throws the red smoke grenade.

The sound of helicopters increases and the firing of mini-
guns is heard.

The helicopters fire rockets. There are sounds of battle all 
around the village. Easy crouches down, his hands over his 
head.

The ground fire ceases. There is the sound of helicopters 
and the mini-guns firing in spurts.

The sound of helicopters is very loud. Easy is crying and 
hugging the ground.

Drewry runs across the village and into the hut.

   DREWRY
 C'mon, move it! Move it! The choppers!

Drewry manhandles Easy out the door and toward a helicopter 
hovering above the ground.

The Cameraman pauses next to OD, who fires sporadically into 
the jungle. OD looks up.

   OD
 Move it, troop.

The Cameraman follows Drewry and Easy.

More gunfire sounds. The door gunner fires into the jungle. 
The door gunner is hit and he slumps in his retaining sling.

The pilot waves Drewry and the others on.

They get to the chopper and Drewry pushes Easy aboard. Drewry 
looks back and sees OD sprawled in front of the hut, trying 
to get up. OD falls.

   EASY
 OD!

Drewry runs back for OD.

The Cameraman puts down his Camera inside the chopper and 
runs after Drewry.

Easy mans the chopper machine guns and fires into the jungle.

Drewry and the Cameraman lift OD and drag him toward the 
chopper. OD screams in pain.

The Cameraman is hit and falls, but he gets up and continues 
toward the chopper.

Easy is screaming as he fires.

They reach the chopper and manhandle OD inside. The Cameraman 
is hit again and he screams. Drewry steps onto the skid.

The Cameraman is hit again and falls back, dead.

The chopper lifts as Drewry, hanging onto the skid, reaches 
hopelessly for the Cameraman. He finally climbs inside.

The helicopter lifts out of sight of earth. Only sky.

BLACK.

Sound off.

     THE END