Just watched Hair for the second time and I'm so in love with ... everything. The story. The people. The age. Seriously, I wish I'd lived back then.
Anyway, this is a one-shot. It takes place in the film-universe, not the musical-universe. If you haven't seen the movie, you need to know that in the movie, it's Berger who eventually goes to Vietnam (unintentionally) and dies.
Don't own this wonderful, wonderful film, or its characters...
It hadn't gone the way he'd always imagined it would.
He hadn't been in Vietnam. He hadn't even been abroad.
Berger had gone for him. He'd gone, and he'd died.
It was one of those cruel twists of fate which he'd read about, in Shakespeare, in Miller, but he'd never imagined that someday it would apply to him.
Berger the anti-war protester, the pacifist, the man who sang about hair and drugs and the man who'd violently protested the war. The man who had switched places with him, Claude, and who'd paid for it with his life.
He'd been twenty-two. It was a number he could not get out of his head. He'd been twenty-two, and he'd sacrificed himself.
People at home called hippies lazy, useless, stupid. They were unpatriotic, reds, too soft, idiotic men and women who knew nothing of life.
Nobody from home had visited him in Nevada. Nobody had offered to trade places with him so he could see his friends –those hippies– one more time, so he could maybe finally kiss the woman he had fallen for. The lazy, useless, stupid hippies had done that.
He'd gone home after that, back to Oklahoma. After everything, he needed peace, and he found it in rural Oklahoma, where the war, the hippies and the protests were far removed from daily life.
His parents had been full of questions, worried about everything, and he'd told them there'd been a administrative mix-up: he was never supposed to fight. They had seemingly accepted it.
But his parents seemed so close-minded now. His neighbors were fake, pretending to be people they weren't. They were blind to the truth, content to live their sheltered lives without knowing the world. And everybody was so old. Had they forgotten how to live?
He'd gone back to New York to join the others. He felt, eventually like he owed it to Berger, somehow. Taking care of the others while he was gone, and when his year was up. Then they'd gotten the news, and he'd just… stayed.
And now, he couldn't even remember how he'd ever thought the war was a good thing. He couldn't imagine how he'd believed all that crap about being a good American, killing commies, fighting for his country. He couldn't believe he'd been so blind.
He'd been here once before. Nothing had changed. Still row after row of white stone, countless names, and one he knew well.
"I'm so sorry, man," he whispered. The headstones looked at him silently, mocking him. Too late for that.
Don't be shy, tell me what you think! (And whil you're at it, tell me how I can stop the apostrophe-key on my keyboard from typing two apostrophes whenever I press that key only once. It's very annoying!)
Oh, and lastly, I know I didn't explain why I chose 1974 in the story itself: I chose 1974, because that year was right when the US troops were mostly pulled out of Vietnam The Paris peace treaty had been signed, and it became clear that the war was lost. Now I'm not American so I don't know exactly how people reacted to that, but I doubt they were happy about it, hippie or not. I mean, so many people died, civilians and soldiers alike. It seems to be that the USA losing the war would make Claude think about the uselessness of it, and the painful fact that a pacifist, protesting the war, had in Claude's place gone to that war and died, when in the end even his death was useless because the USA lost the war. Hope that makes sense. It's how I feel, anyway.