‘Nam – Episode 104
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 104 – My Father’s Guitar
(Private Peterson fires his rifle and Zig Riley falls backward and over the cliff. Pete cranes his neck over the edge in horror, but can see nothing through the darkness..)
Hormel: (tears in his eyes, screaming at Capt. Levy) You’re a murderer!
Levy: An eye for an eye, Hormel. Shoot the girl next.
Hormel: (glaring, struggling against the bound wrists) You sonuvabitch!
Dung: No more tall boy?
Bisch: (shakes her head, sobbing)
Dung: He still have my wife picture. You son of the bitch!
Levy: (chuckling) On three, men. One. Two…
Mr. Riley: A one, two, three. ♪ Hey there momma, where ya been?/Why don’tcha come on home again./Momma, why don’tcha come home… ♪
(Ziggy wipes his bleary eyes, stares down at his now-small hands and up at his now-live father strumming an old acoustic Gibson in their old rural Virginia home..)
Mr. Riley: Dang it, son. You keep interrupting Daddy while he’s workin’ and I ain’t ever gonna get this album out.
Riley: Holy shit, Dad. Is that you?
Mr. Riley: Of course it is, son. Who the hell else would it be? And watch that damn language!
Riley: But you’ve been dead for twelve years.
Mr. Riley: Now that ain’t no way to talk about your Poppa!
Riley: Pop, you don’t understand. I was in Vietnam. We killed a buncha soldiers and I got shot in the heart and fell off a cliff.
Mr. Riley: Vietnam? Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, boy? What were you doin’ in Africa?
Riley: This must be Heaven.
Mr. Riley: Virginia’s a lot of things; but it sure as hell ain’t Heaven.
Riley: Look at my little hands. I’m like a kid again… (gasps) Time travel!
Mr. Riley: Whut?
Riley: I time traveled! I’m a time traveler! That bullet must’ve shot me into some sort of vortex. What year is it?
Mr. Riley: 1956. You’re startin’ to freak me out, boy.
Riley: 1956! You’re gonna die next year, Pop!
Mr. Riley: (stands up, guitar in hand) I ain’t gonna say this again, Zigfield Petrovich Riley. That ain’t no way for a nine-year-old to talk about his Daddy!
Riley: No, check this out. This is December. A month from now you’ll be playin’ cards with your cousins and old Freddie Gibson is just gonna come in and unload on all you guys.
Mr. Riley: Freddie Gibson? That old coot? You’re rilin’ my patience, son.
Riley: You know what? I remember this afternoon. You were playin’ that guitar and was makin’ wisecracks and you just up and–
(Mr. Riley swings his guitar back and smacks his nine-year-old son across the face, knocking him out cold..)
Levy: I said three, dammit! Shoot her!
Sailor #1: Aw, boss. I can’t shoot a girl. Besides, I was serenading her with my beautiful harmonica melodies not an hour ago. I think she likes me.
Bisch: Actually, I was just being nice.
Sailor #1: (lifts his rifle up) Alright, she’s dead.
(Pete steps in front of Annabeth..)
Hormel: Captain, this is crazy. Let’s make a deal. I turn myself in and confess to all the deaths. Think about it, you’ll be a hero. You could be captaining an actual ship. In an ocean.
Levy: (stroking his chin) Hmm, that would be pretty sweet.
Peterson: But Captain, what about that Maxizillion guy? How are we gonna explain that?
(Capt. Levy puts a hand on Peterson’s shoulder..)
Levy: Private, I seem to recall a Vietnamese soldier taking him out during transit.
Hormel: Do you think we could at least go down there and give my friend a proper burial?
Levy: Yeah, I s’pose. Let’s head down the hill and collect Private Riley’s body, gentlemen.
(Annabeth grabs Pete’s arm as they turn to leave..)
Bisch: Pete, thanks. You saved my life.
Hormel: I just wish I coulda done the same for Ziggy. He was the only friend I had over here.
Bisch: I’m your friend, Pete.
Hormel: Thanks, Annabeth. That means a lot.
Dung: Alright. If you two done having tender moment, we gotta figure out how to get away from these psychos.
Hormel: I’m thinkin’, Haht.
Dung: If you think as good as you cook, we all in trouble.
(Lt. Toole and PFC Talcum are tied to chairs in Thing Thong’s cottage. Thong re-enters after that morning’s rice-raking..)
Thong: Now why don’t y’all enlighten me as to what you were doin’ on my property late last night.
Toole: We’re looking for a pair of men — possibly accompanied by hostages — who are guilty of war crimes against their country.
Talcum: They’re white, if that helps.
Thong: Yeah, I remember them. There was a large one, a medium one and a pretty little thing.
Toole: (turning to Talcum) That must be the nurse, Ms. Bisch.
Thong: Yup, they were taken prisoner by this little VC guy. Real mouth on him.
Toole: My God, they were captured? Did you catch the name of the Vietnamese gentleman?
Thong: Nope. But I lent him my canoe. Sent ’em down the Thiem. He was takin’ ’em to Saigon.
Toole: No, you didn’t. Saigon, you say? Why would a VC soldier be taking American prisoners to Saigon? What would you say was the state of the prisoners? Were they beaten?
Thong: Nope. They actually seemed pretty comfortable with the situation.
Toole: Hmm. Hate to say it, Mr. Thong; but I think you were duped. I think the VC might have been working with the Americans; not holding them prisoner.
Thong: A Viet Cong workin’ with the Americans. What’s this dang world coming to?
Toole: Now if you’re not going to shoot us, could you kindly let us go? We must apprehend those soldiers before it’s too late.
Thong: (untying the Americans) Daw, I wasn’t gonna shoot ya. I just don’t like trespassers is all. You’re free to go.
Toole: (shaking Thong’s hand) You’ve been a great help, sir. Thank you.
Thong: My pleasure.
Talcum: Can we have some rice for the road?
Thong: NO RICE!
(Zig Riley awakens to nothing but leaves. Feeling around underneath him he only finds air. He glances down to see he is about fifteen feet off the ground, resting on the branches of a tree at the foot of the cliff. He feels around on his chest; but finds no blood. He nearly lets out an exultant whoop when he hears voices from far away, getting closer..)
Peterson: I don’t see nothin’, boss.
Levy: Well look harder, Private.
Dung: How you knuckleheads lose tall boy? He so tall!
Levy: Quiet, you.
(Ziggy waits until Peterson and the two sailors are directly under his branch and then drops. The massive soldier comes crashing down on the three river sailors and Capt. Levy is thrown back into Pete, who tackles him to the ground; while Annabeth kicks his gun away..)
Hormel: Ziggy! You’re alive!
Riley: (standing triumphantly over the unconscious sailor) Yeah! I saw my Dad!
Bisch: But Ziggy, we saw you get shot.
(Zig reaches into his breast pocket and pulls out a handful of what seems to be broken glass..)
Riley: I still had a bunch of that crappy Vietnamese hard candy that kid sold us when we first got off the boat a few months ago.
Dung: Lucky lucky tall boy. (grabs a candy, pops it in his mouth) Mmm, shrimp flavor!
(Pete frowns at Dung as Ziggy unties the three of them..)
Hormel: We’ll leave these three here. We better take Capt. Levy with us back to the boat. He knows this river better than we do.
Bisch: (hugs Ziggy) I’m glad you’re alright, Zig.
Riley: My Dad hit me with his guitar!
(Pete, Ziggy and Annabeth walk the still-groggy Capt. Levy back down to the PBR Abraham III and are heading back out into open water when two identical Vietnamese men pop up from the rear of the ship, guns drawn..)
Lonh: Not so fast, stupid!
Bonh: Yeah! Not so fast, stupid!
Lonh: That was my line, you dunderhead!
Bonh: Shut up, you buttface!
Lonh: No! You the buttface!
Hormel: The hell?
Riley: (grinning) These guys are great.
Dung: Oh no, the Tihts!
Riley: (grins wider) Wait, what did you call them?
Dung: The Tihts.
Riley: (stifles a guffaw)
Dung: What? What so funny about Tihts?
Riley: (collapses, rolling on the floor, guffawing heartily)
Hormel: (sighs, turning to Annabeth) Here. You tie my wrists together, I’ll tie yours.