When Tony comes marching
The last segment of the show begins back in Mr. DeMartino's room at the "OKAY to Cry Corral". Daria and Jane have found chairs and are sitting at the foot of the bed. Daria speaks.
Daria: Are we coming to the part where Marlin Brando shows up?
Jane: Shhh! Don't spoil it for me. I haven't seen the movie.
Mr. DeMartino: I know you girls are having a problem believing me. I happen to know that my story contains eerie similarities with a certain movie. I actually once paid a lawyer to see if he could get Francis Ford Coppola to cough up some royalties, but that's another story!
Mr. DeMartino: Now, to finish, after peeling my crew off the pavement and restocking our boat, we were once again on our way to Cambodia...
The scene opens with the boat moving slowly upriver. Captain Macintyre stands in the wheelhouse; the "Veg" slouches off next to a turret-mounted machine gun. Lieutenant DeMartino squats on the bow. The "three C's" slack off behind him.
A small craft, a sampan, made of reeds, is poled toward the P.B.R. by three young women in conical hats. Two women look up, and expose their faces. They look like Daria and Jane. Their faces are altered slightly to make them look Asian. Another woman poles the raft. She looks up, and is revealed to be a Vietnamese version of Andrea.
The Jane clone speaks in Vietnamese to the Daria look-alike. Subtitles in English provide the audience with a translation.
Jane look-a-like:(subtitle) We got a crummy territory.
Daria look-a-like: (subtitle) There's a war on. There are no good territories.
The Jane look-a-like sees the Navy vessel.
Jane look-a-like: (subtitle) There's a potential customer now.
Daria look-a-like:(subtitle) Customers with automatic weapons are very hard sells.
Jane look-a-like:(subtitle) Nonsense! Watch my pitch.
Jane hollers over to the P.B.R. in Vietnamese.
Jane look-a-like: (cups hands over mouth and shouts) (subtitle) Hello, American imperialists running dog lackeys! We're having a fundraiser for Ho Chi Min High!
The Americans look at the women in the sampan.
Daria look-a-like: (subtitle) You might wish to restate that...
Jane look-a-like: (cups hands over mouth and shouts) (subtitle) All funds will go to providing our championship death squad with cool new black uniforms!
Daria look-a-like:(subtitle) Huh…too much information...
The Jane look-a-like has the American's attention now. Lieutenant DeMartino cocks his firearm. The rest of the crew regards them with suspicion.
Jane look-a-like: (subtitle) Wait until I show them the merchandise!
Daria look-a-like:(subtitle) Let's not...
Too late. The sampan has drifted close to the American vessel. The Jane look-a-like holds up a round gray object…
Jane look-alike: (shouts) (subtitle) We're selling turnips! At popular prices!
A jumpy Curly looks at her hand.
Curly: GET DOWN! SHE'S GOT A GRENADE!
The "three C's" scurry for cover. Captain Macintyre drops down inside the wheelhouse. Lieutenant DeMartino rolls behind a coil of rope.
Only the "Veg" remains standing. He jumps to the machine gun turret.
Veg: I got 'em!
He begins firing! Bullets plunk in the river! The occupants of the sampan dive for cover. Veg swings the machine gun around wildly! Branches and leaves on the trees lining the shore are chopped up and fall. Bullets strike the deck of the P.B.R.
The machine gun is empty. Veg stops. The crew stands to survey the damage.
The three women in the sampan stand up, uninjured. Their boat is intact.
The same cannot be said about the American vessel. The wheelhouse looks like Swiss cheese! With a crack, the roof falls in on an angry Captain Macintyre. He stands up, covered with debris.
The sampan is abreast with the American ship. The Daria look-a-like speaks.
Daria look-a-like:(subtitle) I knew it. Turnip haters!
Captain Macintyre has out a Vietnamese to English dictionary. He proclaims…
Captain Macintyre: They're just trying to sell us some turnips!
Cookie: Maybe we should buy some! I could boil them and...
A red-faced Lieutenant DeMartino marches up behind Cookie. He has a heavy box of propaganda in his hands.
Lieutenant DeMartino: This is all they're getting! (he shouts over the side of the boat) THIS IS FOR YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS!
He throws the box intact into the sampan. It falls through the bottom of the smaller vessel. The sampan sinks. The Andrea look-a-like speaks in Vietnamese before her head disappears into the river. A subtitle captures the sentiment.
Andrea look-a-like: (subtitle) Shit!
The three women come to the surface. They begin swimming for the shore.
We now see Captain Macintyre and Lieutenant DeMartino arguing with each other. Mr. DeMartino provides a voice over.
Mr. DeMartino: (voice over) The captain and I fought after that over who had final authority on that vessel. Captain Macintyre declared that I would be dropped off at the border of Cambodia, and could make my own way in country. God, here we where, in hostile territory and these guys are acting like they're in the produce section of a supermarket. I told him "We were at war! There is going to be no aisle clean up if we drop our turnips here!"
The scene changes to a dark view of the river. The jungle on both sides of the river is silhouetted in black across a dark blue sky. Crossing the river is a string of lights. A crude bridge, badly damaged, is seen in the dim light.
The boat docks at an abandoned slip. Lieutenant DeMartino steps off the boat. There is a persistent popping of guns, rockets and flares being fired over the river, the sceams of people, and loudspeakers speaking English with Vietnamese accents.
Loudspeakers: WE KILL YOU ALL! YANKEE YOU GO HOME!
Shots in the distance temporaraly silence the loudspeakers. These resume again in the background.
Mr. DeMartino: (voice over) We reached the last American base before the Cambodian border. We were supposed to refuel, but the docks were abandoned. I went ashore to find fuel and supplies.
Mr. DeMartino: (voice over) What I found was chaos. This base had little more than a toehold on the frontier. It probably looked good on some general's map, but what I found was an unsupported enclave deep inside enemy territory.
Lieutenant DeMartino walks inside a trench. There, in a makeshift tin shack, is a man who looks remarkably like Jake. He acts like him too. The Jake look-a-like pleads into a walkie-talkie.
Jake look-a-like: WHAT DO YOU MEAN, THE VC BLEW UP THE BRIDGE! DAMMIT! THEY'VE BEEN BLOWING IT UP EVERY NIGHT SINCE WE GOT HERE! GET A CREW TOGETHER AND PUT IT BACK UP!
There is gunfire in the distance. Jake screams into the walkie-talkie.
Jake look-a-like: HELLO? HELLO?
He throws the walkie-talkie into the mud! Lieutenant DeMartino looks on with increasing frustration. Jake seems oblivious to his presence.
Jake look-a-like: OH GREAT! JUST GREAT! DAMMIT! WHY DID I LISTEN TO THE GENERAL!
Jake begins to mock the general.
Jake look-a-like: (in his childish, mocking voice) Well, Colonel DorganMorffer! We have a GREAT assignment for you! You get be CO of our outermost POST! You get to be the BIG hero! This will look good come promotion time!
Jake continues his rave.
Jake look-a-like: SO HERE I AM, WITH NO SUPPORT WHATSOEVER! I GET TO HOLD THE BRIDGE! I GET TO REBUILD IT EVERYDAY! THE VC GET TO BLOW IT UP EVERY NIGHT!
He kicks a still body next to him, which slowly rises to reveal a sleepy version of Trent, in a muddy uniform. Colonel DorganMorffer yells at him.
Jake look-a-like: Corporal Bane! HAVE YOU CONTACTED HQ WITH OUR CURRENT STATUS!
The Trent clone looks at him sleepily.
Trent clone: The head nurse is using the field phone to order more of those sleeping pills. We seem to keep running out.
The Trent clone doen't seem to need them. He resumes his nap. An irate Jake look-a-like walks over to a tent marked with a Red Cross. Lieutenant DeMartino follows, unnoticed, just behind him. Jake opens the flap. A Helen clone walks back and forth with a field phone under her ear. She holds the phone box by the handle in one hand. The Helen clone is talking to somebody far away.
Helen clone: Ohhhh yes, Dr. Schrecter! Oh, OK, Aaron. Why of course I remember you! You were at the Saigon conference. You gave a speech. (pause) Why no, you weren't boring at all! I have always been fascinated with army medical procurement procedures! Why, yes! (she blushes) Oh, Aaron!
In the background, a knife starts to slit through the back of the tent. Silhouetted on the back of the tent is a sinister shadow. The figure catches this Helen's attention.
Helen clone: Oh, Aaron. Just a moment.
Helen clamps the phone between her head and shoulder, pulls out a service revolver, and fires three shots into the back of the tent. A VC regular falls through the slit he was cutting.
Helen holsters the gun, takes the phone in her hand, and is about to resume her conversation when she sees Jake.
Helen clone: What the hell do you want?
The Jake look-a-like gulps.
Jake clone: Oh, nothing. NOTHING!
Helen resumes her conversation. Jake closes the tent flap, turns and runs right into Lieutenant DeMartino. The Lieutenant speaks.
Lieutenant DeMartino: Who is in charge here?
Jake looks at the Lieutenant DeMartino. He is near tears.
Jake clone: I was hoping you'd say you where!
The scene returns to the boat tied at the dock. Lieutenant DeMartino arrives, with two large cans of diesel fuel in his hands. He climbs on board, and speaks to the captain.
Lieutenant DeMartino: Let's go. There's nothing more for us here.
The boat begins to chug upstream. A figure jumps in the water with a suitcase. He attempts to swim over and take hold of the boat. It's the Jake look-a-like.
Jake clone: Guys! TAKE ME WITH YOU!!! PLEASE!!! I'LL GIVE YOU ANYTHING!! PLEASE! PLEASE!
The current is sweeping Jake behind the vessel. His voice recedes.
Jake clone: STOP! OH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE STOP!
Both the captain and lieutenant look off the stern of the boat. The scene closes with distant explosions, gunfire and Jake's fading voice. Mr. DeMartino once again narrates...
Mr. DeMartino: (voice over) Unfortunately, my mission would not be accomplished without casualties, without sacrifice...
The scene dissolves to a shot of the P.B.R. on the river once again. Its bow has been pulled onto shore. Captain Macintyre stands in the tattered remains of the wheelhouse. Lieutenant DeMartino stands guard with his M15 rifle, cigarette hanging from his lips. He looks with disgust at "Veg" dancing around the deck with his radio clamped to his ear, the Rolling Stones "Midnight Rambler" barely audible over the jungle sounds.
Cutting through the jungle are Curly, Chucky and Cookie. Each holds a pail. Cookie pushes branches out of his way, and leads the pack.
Curly: What are we looking for?
Cookie: Mangos. Captain wants mangos. He tired of SPAM.
Chucky: You know what a mango looks like?
Cookie: Sure. I'm a chief, back in the states. Come from a long like of chiefs.
Chucky: I don't like this jungle.
Cookie: It's OK. Just as long as there're no tigers. Hate tigers. Scared all my life of them. We all got a fear like that. Right? What's yours?
There is silence. The camera is on Cookie. He asks again.
Cookie: Chucky? Curly? Hey guys...
He turns around, and looks in horrified silence, eyes wide.
The scene returns to the boat. There are gunshots in the jungle. Lieutenant DeMartino stands, firearm at the ready. Captain Mac pulls out a rifle. Veg remains oblivious.
Cookie runs from the jungle, firing with a pistol behind him. He jumps on the boat.
Cookie: GO! GO! GO!
Captain Macintyre: Where's Chucky and Curly? Why are they late?
Cookie: They're not late.
Captain Macintyre: IF THEY ARE NOT LATE, WHAT ARE THEY?
A huge tiger emerges from the jungle. It licks its chops.
Captain Macintyre runs to the wheelhouse, and pulls back on the engine throttles. The boat pulls into the river. He idles the motors, and steps out on the deck. Cookie is muttering to himself...
Cookie: Mangoes? There as a frigging tiger in the woods -- I could've been eaten alive. I'm never going into that jungle again. I gotta remember never get out of the boat; never get outta the boat.
Captain Macintyre: JESUS! THIS MISSION IS A DISASTER! HOW COULD THINGS GET ANY WORST?
Thousands of spears begin to be hurled from the jungle from both sides of the boat. These chris-cross the vessel. Everybody hits the deck, except Veg, who still dances around, oblivious to everything. Spears whistle by him. Mac lunges for the engine controls, and speeds the vessel out of harms way. He idles the boat, and steps out of the wheelhouse. Everyone stands.
Captain Macintyre has a spear in his chest. A red stain expands across his shirt. He looks at Lieutenant DeMartino, grabs him by the throat, and begins to strangle him.
Captain Macintyre: YOU! YOUR DAMN MISSION! YOU!
His grip weakens. Captain Macintyre releases his grip, and falls to the deck, dead. Lieutenant DeMartino holds his throat and gasps. The "Veg" comes out of his coma, and looks at his fallen captain.
Veg: Hey, funny. He said, how could things get worst...
Lieutenant DeMartino grabs the Kevin clone by the throat...
Lieutenant DeMartino: YOU! DAMN IDIOT!
The scene closes with the Veg being strangled, while Cookie curls up on the deck and chants his new mantra of "Don't get off the boat. Don't get off the boat".
It is now dark. A silhouette of the boat is seen chugging up the river. Mr. D's narration continues...
Mr. DeMartino: (voice over) I was now in undisputed command of the vessel. Within a day, we had passed into Cambodia.
Lieutenant DeMartino stands in the remains of the wheelhouse
with his Colonel Hertz folder. He removes an envelope.
I now read my sealed orders. When I had confirmed the location of Hertz's compound, I was to radio the coordinates to a team who would bring down an air strike, destroying Hertz and all who followed him. I burned my orders, and the dossier on Hertz...
Flames come out of a drum on the rear of the boat. Lieutenant D. scans the river ahead with binoculars.
Mr. DeMartino: (voice over) Hertz broadcast each night. Each night, the signal on the radio got stronger. We were close. Then, I saw it. His compound. Hertz's compound...
Through the lens of the binoculars we see a bonfire. People stripped to the waist dance around it. Colored lights are strung throughout the compound. Lieutenant DeMartino turns to his two remaining crew.
Lieutenant DeMartino: You guys bring the boat in slowly, quietly. Watch for obstacles in the water. I see the encampment! If I see an ambush, I'll lay down suppressing fire...
Lieutenant DeMartino takes his gun, and moves to the bow of the boat. "Veg" and cookie stand at the helm.
Cookie: You heard him. Veg, watch the river for rocks and stuff.
Veg: He wanted me to drive. You go look.
Cookie: No way. I'm running this boat...
They struggle for the controls. In the fight they manage to push the throttles full forward. The engines roar! The boat charges at high speed into a rock. The boat impacts the rock. The bottom of the boat tears off, and it sinks.
Lieutenant D. is thrown into the water. His head bobs up.
Lieutenant DeMartino: IDIOTS! WE HIT SOMETHING!
He goes under, being pulled downstream by the current. His head emerges again.
Lieutenant DeMartino: MY GOD! WE'VE FAILED!
He goes under again. He comes up, further downstream. The Hertz compound is receding into the distance.
Lieutenant DeMartino: GOD! I'VE FAILED!
He goes under. The river is calm. No boat. No crew. Only the bonfire, flickering in the distance...
The screen blurs, and we are returned to the here and now of Mr. DeMartino's room at the "OKAY to Cry Corral" summer camp. Mr. D. looks at Daria and Jane.
Mr. DeMartino: Cookie and Veg where never found again. My legs were broken. I drifted downriver, holding on to debris. I was pulled out, leech covered and infected from the filthy water just at the Cambodian border, and sent to a Saigon hospital.
Mr. DeMartino: I was delirious with fever for months. By the time I recovered, I was already stateside. Already home. And in my delirium, I relived those last moments. Those moments of my greatest failure!
Daria: But, it wasn't your fault.
Mr. DeMartino: I know. But I feel the guilt for the people who died. It's a soldiers guilt. I still feel the pain, the shame and anguish of a job left undone, a mission not completed, an order not carried out.
Mr. DeMartino pulls off his covers. He is dressed in black pajamas.
Mr. DeMartino: Thank you girls for listening. I feel better now. Please go. I'll be OK. Really.
Daria and Jane look at each other, and quietly file out of the room. Mr. D. stands.
Daria and Jane exit the cabin. Outside, the sky is dark. A light drizzle is falling, enough to dampen tee shirts, but not the spirits or the fire of the mob outside. All the children are wet, and dark with mud.
In a clearing, three kids are gathered. One of them is Link. He has a soccer ball. He is drawing on it with a felt tip pen.
Kid 1: Hey, who's your cabin councilor?
Kid 2: (imitating Jamie) I'MMM not Jeffie! I'MMMM JAMIE!
Link: (imitating Jeffie) I'm Jeffie!
He holds up the ball. On it is a perfect caricature of Jeffie's face. The other kids laugh.
Kid 1: That's great! Send "Jeffie" over here!
Link kicks the soccer ball to him. Laughing, they kick the ball between themselves.
Mr. D. exits his cabin, and walks to the side of it. He sits on a log, and looking around him to make sure no one sees him, and then takes out a cigarette. He lights it, puffs, and tilts his head back into the lightly falling rain.
Link kicks his "Jeffie" ball. It bounces in the mud, hits a tree, and flies to the side of Mr. D's cabin. The muddy ball lands in his lap.
Mr. DeMartino looks down. The "Jeffie" face looks up, like a decapitated head. There is a close-up of Mr. D's face. He is screaming loudly.
Mr. O'Neill stands by a window next to the public address system. He looks with concern at the rain, and at the clock that reads 11. He turns on the microphone. The speakers in the compound ring out with his voice.
Mr. O'Neill: Oh, campers. It's time for bed. I know you are all excited, but it is getting wet, and we don't want to get sick, do we. While you return to your cabin, I will read tonight's "Affirmation". Tonight's is entitled "Living in the Moment"!
Mr. O'Neill: (distorted, over camp loudspeakers) Living only for this moment, with the intention of making it the fullest moment possible, will help you to achieve a better quality of life...
Mr. O's voice echoes through the camp. The campers, who continue to feed the fire and cavort wildly around it, ignore him. Kevin and the "three J's" are seen, shirtless, faces painted and covered in mud, weaving to a primitive beat heard only by them.
Mr. O'Neill: (distorted, over loudspeakers) There are many things that we think about in a minute of time. We see our new experiences through glasses that have been molded by our old experiences.
In a cabin, Jane is seen assembling a piece of Neo Industrial Post Mortem Modern Auto Part Found Art. She puts down a screwdriver, and reaches for a CD player and speakers she has set up on her workbench.
Guitar music from the group "The Doors" is heard. It becomes the soundtrack. It begins to drown out Mr. O'Neill's monologue...
Down at the shoreline, the drizzle is causing a layer of fog to form over the lake. The camera zooms in on the ranger boat. A head pops up from over the side of the boat. It's Mr. DeMartino. His face is covered by black grease. As he slides over the side of the boat into the lake, we see he has stripped to the waist, and the rest of his body is also covered with grease. He holds an object in one of his hands.
Mr. O'Neill: (distorted, over loudspeakers) We look to the future with uncertainty, hopes, fears, and excitement, and we tend to take things for granted if we are not fully focused on experiencing life in the current moment.
Near the shoreline, Mr. D's head pops out of the water. He is nearly invisible in the reeds in the lake. The guitar music grows louder.
Mr. O'Neill: (distorted, through loudspeakers) We need to learn to savor every moment as it happens, keeping our minds completely in the present, as much as possible.
"The Doors" background music becomes louder. Mr. D. now slinking through the bushes towards a cabin. In his hand, he holds a machete!
Mr. O'Neill: (distorted, through loudspeakers) This is not easy, but the payoffs are tremendous.
Mr. O. is barely audible over the background music. Mr. DeMartino enters a side door. His shadow appears on the wall. In a corner of the room stands Mr. O'Neill. He continues to speak...
Mr. O'Neill: Life is made up of successive current moments, and a great thing you can do for yourself and people you love, is to slow down and pay attention to what is happening for you, right now.
Mr. DeMartino rears up behind Mr. O'Neill. He raises his machete, and strikes!
On the wall, the shadow of Mr. DeMartino and his weapon slash down on a shadow of Mr. O'Neill. Mr. O'Neill falls. Mr. DeMartino continues to slash. The guitar music reaches a crescendo!
Outside, the slashing and chopping sounds ring out of the loudspeakers throughout the camp. The campers all fall silent.
Inside, a final blow on the podium slashes the microphone wire. There is a hum through the camp for an instant, then silence.
Ms. Barch enters the cabin. She looks, horrified at Mr. DeMartino, on the floor at Mr. O'Neill, and at what has been done. She falls to her knees in shock.
Mr. DeMartino walks out the front door. He stares at the now silent and still campers. Only the crackle of the flames and the sound of insects can be heard.
Ms. Barch slowly crawls over to Mr. O'Neill. He is alive, and uninjured. He is terrified, lying on the floor in a fetal position. His eyes are wide with terror. Cut up in pieces all around him is his book of "Affirmations". Pieces continue to fall from the hacked podium.
Ms. Barch shakes the frightened Mr. O.
Ms. Barch: (in a whisper) Skinny! Are you all right?
Timmy looks out into space with a hollow stare.
Mr. O'Neill: (in a raspy voice) ...the horror...the horror.
Mr. DeMartino stares at the assembled campers outside the door of the cabin. They stare back in silence. He discards his machete. He walks into the crowd. The campers part as he approaches.
In the middle of the crowd, he sees Kevin, painted and muddy and spaced out. He takes him by the hand. Mr. DeMartino leads Kevin like a child, to the docks.
Kevin and Mr. DeMartino step into the ranger boat. Mr. D. fires up the motor. The boat backs away into the mist, into the middle of the lake.
The boat moves away from the camp in a slow idle, engine barely audible. The radio on board crackles to life.
Radio: (distorted) Ranger 72 Bravo this is Tower 12. Ranger 72 Bravo Respond. Repeat, Ranger 72 Bravo. Respond.
Mr. DeMartino snaps off the radio.
Kevin: Mr. D. why did you turn off...
Mr. DeMartino: Quiet Kevin. I'm living the moment...
Mr. DeMartino's face looks serene. The boat slowly motors away from camp, losing itself in the fog. The campfire continues to flicker in the distance.