‘Nam – Episode 102
PFC’s Pete Hormel and Ziggy Riley have been wrongly accused of being war criminals and are on the run through the jungles of Vietnam, accompanied by RN Annabeth Bisch and ex-Viet Cong Haht Dung..
Episode 102 – The Love War
Dung: You head that way, I head this way.
Hormel: I really think it’s better if we stick together, Haht.
Riley: (grinning stupidly) Dung. Everybody call him Dung. It’ll be fun!
Dung: You crazy? You all war criminals! I no go anywhere with you.
Bisch: (puts a hand on Dung’s shoulder) Haht, we explained all that. It was a horribly tragic accident; but it was still an accident.
Dung: I have to go catch up with Gen. Nguyen.
Hormel: Gen. Nguyen put you in that bamboo cage with us. He’s not gonna take you back. Your best bet at this point is to stick with us.
Dung: (shoulders slump) That a pretty lousy bet.
Riley: Well, you’re a pretty lousy soldier.
Dung: (getting up in Ziggy’s face) You wanna go, tall boy?
Riley: (glaring down at Dung) Do I ever!
Hormel: (gets in between) That’s enough, you guys. We’ve got every American and Vietnamese soldier in the country hot on our tails. So if it’s alright with you two, I’d like to get going.
Bisch: Where can we go? We’ve got both armies after us.
Hormel: I’m sure there’s somebody on our side that can listen. We’ve just gotta find him.
Riley: So, you have no clue.
Hormel: No, not particularly.
(Haht and Pete are walking up ahead of Zig and Annabeth through thick underbrush into northern South Vietnam..)
Hormel: So tell me about yourself, Haht. You married?
Dung: (pulls a photograph out of his front pocket) Yes. Dung have beautiful wife. Here Mrs. Dung.
Hormel: (taking the photograph) Wow.
Riley: (snatches the photo) Holy moly, Dung’s wife’s a babe.
Dung: Damn right.
Bisch: Lemme see. (takes the photo) Oh Haht, she’s gorgeous.
Hormel: Well done, Haht.
Dung: Yes, Mrs. Dung very pretty. She daughter of rich man in Saigon. Very powerful.
Hormel: You wanna go see your wife, Haht?
Dung: (eyes widen) Dung would like that very much.
Bisch: Do you think that’s wise, Pete? That city’s gotta be crawling with enemies. And since pretty much everyone is our enemy at this point..
Hormel: We could get lost in a city that big. And possibly find someone who can help us. Maybe a journalist or somebody.
Riley: I’m in. I’m not gonna be able to survive on fruit and monkey meat for much longer.
Dung: You been eating monkey meat, stupid?
Hormel: Where’d you get monkey meat?
Bisch: You shouldn’t eat monkey meat, Zig.
Riley: (holds out handful of monkey meat, fresh from his pocket) So you guys don’t want any?
(The foursome begin making their way south back towards Saigon. Ziggy is still staring at the photograph of Mrs. Dung..)
Dung: Gimme my wife back, tall boy.
Riley: In a minute. Chill out, Dung. Wanna see mine?
Dung: Why I wanna see photo of pig?
Riley: Easy, Dung.
Dung: Alright alright, lemme see picture of girl foolish enough to marry you.
(Ziggy pulls a picture out of his back pocket and hands it to Dung..)
Dung: Say, she alright. You knock her up? Shotgun wedding?
Riley: Nope, no kids.
Dung: You mean she marry you by choice?
Hormel: It’s not really his wife. It’s from Home & Garden Magazine.
Dung: (chortling) Oh no! Tall boy have pretend wife! Ahaha, this very funny to me.
Riley: (snatches back the picture) Shut up! It is so my wife.
Dung: Your wife have five knuckles. Her name “Righty”.
(A shot hits the tree above Dung’s head and the four dive behind a fallen log..)
Hormel: Oh crap, they found us!
Riley: Should we surrender? Should we surrender?
Dung: (eyes lower, cocks rifle) Not on Dung’s watch. Wait here.
(Dung hustles off into some nearby shrubbery and Ziggy turns to Pete..)
Riley: Did that dwarf just ditch us?
Shooter: Alright alright, don’t shoot!
(The three peek over the log to find Dung marching an older man in overalls into the clearing..)
Bisch: Doesn’t look like Viet Cong to me.
Farmer: I’m a farmer. And y’all are trespassing!
Hormel: We’re just passing through, mister. We’ll be on our way shortly.
Farmer: (to Dung) What are you doin’ with these Americans? You some sorta Western sympathizer?
Dung: No. They my captives. I work for Gen. Nguyen. They war criminal. Kill two-hundred American soldier.
Riley: It was one-hundred-and-ninety-eight, asshole.
Hormel: Not helping, Zig.
Bisch: You don’t look Vietnamese.
Farmer: That’s because I’m not. I’m Chinese.
Riley: A Chinaman!
Hormel: Still not helping, Zig.
Dung: What a Chinese doing in Vietnam jungle? You lost?
Farmer: I told you, I’m a farmer. My rice paddy’s just over yonder if y’all wanna follow me.
Riley: (whispering to Pete) Doesn’t sound very Chinese.
Farmer: That’s because I’m from South China. Y’all ever been to Disneyland?
Hormel: Yeah. My dad took us every summer since I was eight.
Riley: (muttering) Rich boy.
Farmer: Golly. I always wanted to go to Disneyland. That Donald Duck fella seems alright.
Dung: What your name, farmer?
Farmer: Thing Thong.
Bisch: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Thong.
(The five come over a rise and a field of bright green sprawls out before them..)
Thong: Here she is. Thong’s Rice Paddy. Ain’t she a beaut?
Dung: Wow! Look at all that rice!
(Several clicks east of Thong’s Rice Paddy, Gen. Ryan Kennedy is surveying the damage to Camp Cleveland as soldiers finish the mass grave that Pete and Zig had begun a day earlier. Lt. John Toole, the highest-ranking African-American soldier in the 32nd Battalion, joins Gen. Kennedy over the grave..)
Toole: Hundred-and-ninety-eight bodies, sir. Just like the initial reports suggested.
Kennedy: Hmm. Better double that. Give our men some added incentive to find those monsters. Let’s call it four-hundred-and-twelve casualties.
Toole: Is that legal, sir?
Kennedy: This is war, son. Ain’t about legality. Now I want you to run point on this mission. You set out and find those two, Hormel and the Jewish fella. You’re gonna be my bloodhound on this one, Toole.
Toole: Yes, sir.
Kennedy: And I want you to take Private Talcum with you. Can’t have you heading out into that jungle all on your lonesome.
Toole: Aw, Talcum? Come on, sir. He sucks.
Kennedy: Come now, Lieutenant. That’s no way to talk about a fellow soldier.
Toole: Yeah but, Talcum? Jeez.
(PFC Talcum comes out of the jungle, wiping his hands on his pants..)
Talcum: Hey guys, whatcha talkin’ about?
Kennedy: Private Talcum, what were you doing in the woods all by yourself?
Talcum: (shrugs, wipes his nose) Poopin’.
Kennedy: Son, there coulda been landmines out there. You could’ve given away our position.
Talcum: Sorry, boss.
Kennedy: Now I’m sending you on a very important mission with Lt. Toole here. You two are gonna hunt down and capture the war criminals who killed 412 good American men.
Talcum: I thought it was 198.
Kennedy: Do you think you can handle that mission, son?
Talcum: Sure. Gotta be better than diggin’ holes.
Kennedy: Excellent. You’re to leave at once. Good luck, men. And godspeed.
(The General turns and heads back to his Jeep. Talcum leans over toward Toole..)
Talcum: Who’s that again?
(Thing Thong gives tea to Dung and his “captives” as they sit in Thong’s tiny cottage to the west of the rice paddy..)
Dung: Mr. Thong, do you know best way to get to Saigon? I need to get my prisoners there alive, so we need to stay off the main roads.
Thong: Welp, I reckon y’all could take the Thiem River south. That should take you right to the outskirts of the city. Won’t find a lot of boat traffic on that route; the Thiem’s chock full of gators.
Dung: (whines) Aw man, I don’t have boat!
Thong: That’s alright. I got a canoe y’all can borrow. It ain’t much; but it’ll get you where you need to go.
Dung: You would do that for me? A simple Viet Cong soldier and my evil American war prisoners?
Riley: (frowns) Hey!
Hormel: (elbows Zig in the side)
Thong: Of course. Us Commies gotta stick together. Now y’all better get to steppin’ quick. This place has been crawlin’ with Americans lately. They don’t bother an old Chinese rice farmer; but they wouldn’t take too kindly to you and your friends here. The canoe’s at the end of the dock. Y’all want some rice for the trip?
Dung: No, we good. Thank you, Mr. Thong.
Riley: I wouldn’t mind some rice.
(Thong thrusts an angry finger in Ziggy’s face..)
Thong: You shut your mouth, you dirty American pig!
Talcum: Wanna play “I Spy”?
Toole: There’s just trees, Talcum.
Talcum: Yeah, but what kind of trees?
(Lt. Toole and PFC Talcum are trudging through the dense jungle, in the direction of the abandoned VC camp as Toole tries to keep an eye on the footprints in the mud..)
Toole: Looks like there were at least three pairs of footprints, maybe four. The General might have been right about them taking that young nurse hostage.
Talcum: They’re saying this Hormel kid and his father were in on it together. Nixon wants to shut down the Hormel Foods Corporation; label Hormel Sr. a co-conspirator.
Toole: Let’s just find these guys and let the higher-ups worry about all that other stuff.
Talcum: Too bad if they do shut it down. I love Spam.
(The four are riding down the Thiem River, Pete steering up front and Ziggy in the back with Dung and Annabeth in the middle..)
Dung: Too bad there only two pair of oar. I really wanna help!
Riley: (glaring at Dung, sweating profusely) Yeah, too bad.
Dung: Hey when you gonna give me back photo of my wife, tall boy?
Riley: When I’m good and ready, Dung. When I’m good and ready.
Dung: You just jealous you can’t get babe like Dung.
Riley: Oh, I got babes! I got loads of babes!
Bisch: (smiling) I thought you were married, Ziggy.
Hormel: Shush. I hear something.
Bisch: (hugs her knees, peering over the edge) Gators?
(The canoe turns a tight bend and the foursome are face-to-face with a US Army boat. The captain leans over the bow, cigar in hand..)
Captain: Well, howdy there.
Hormel: Ah, crap.