[piano music] [explosion sound] [singing] Hi Sonia, Things just blow up here. The windows rattle… if it’s close the ground shakes. But it hardly wakes me up anymore. Last night I dreamt of lightning and earthquakes I walked down the same streets I knocked on every door… but no one answered. I woke up to the sunrise No point to try to sleep again I ran a mile before it got too hot Wish I could just keep going… Just keep going… I’d run and I’d run until I get out of this desert I’d walk right to your door Oh I’d run and I’d run until I get out of this desert I’d walk right to your door Dear Eric, Magaly told me Bobo says you’re hurt, he said they blew up your truck. I wish you would answer. [spoken] No. [singing] I hope you’re doing better. I’m so sorry… I heard the news about your father. [spoken] No. [singing] I’m gonna meet you when you come home I’ll be there when you get off the plane. I’m gonna meet you when you come home I’ll be there when you get off the plane I’m thinking about you a lot… I’m thinking about you… I’m thinking about you a lot. [music stops] We’re back from Iraq. Are you OK? I don’t think he’s OK. I have a new companion now. Danger! Is there danger? I have a big check from my father’s life insurance. I want you to go to art school. If we were married, it would be your money too. You want to get… married? What a stupid idiot! Yes! Yes, I’ll marry you! You’re the one that I want beside me in the zombie apocalypse. But you’re going to have to do some courting. Courting who? You? No, my family. Two big brothers, one big sister, my brother’s wife, my sister’s husband– the nieces and nephews don’t count. Mama will be easy, but Papi isn’t going to give his baby away to just anyone. Don’t worry. I’ll coach you. You’ll be fine. Danger. Danger’s coming. Where’s your rifle? Goddamn loser. Fire there! Fire there! I love this game. Yeah. You’re a way better shot than you were in Basic, too. Yeah, well, this has an OFF button. I was such an idiot. You were a king-sized idiot. What? You thought you’d get sent straight to Special Forces. No I did not. But, uh, you got one thing right though. It wasn’t exactly how I thought it would be. It was so… stinky… and boring… If only they had smells in war movies. Are you kidding? No one would want to watch a movie that smelled like dead bodies and garbage. Yeah, but, uh, what if you had to be in a war but, like, you get to choose which war you’re gonna be in. but like, Iraq, or the Civil War, or the Romans or something. At least the Civil War they fought for a good reason. Yeah, but I’d rather be in a war with swords than a war with explosions. I was a king, and a soldier and a leader of soldiers. We fought in Troy for ten long years. I lost so many, to the sword to the plague… and so many after the war. I lost so many, yet I was rescued. I took my ease among the Phaeacians Those fat, indolent people knew nothing. Nothing of battle, Nothing of life and death. Nothing of true brotherhood. At dinner, the bard sang songs of Troy so vivid it was as if he had been there among my troops. And I wept. And I could not stop weeping. What are the unwritten rules of combat? You must be strong. Cunning. Control your fear. There is no room for compassion. Disgust. Grief. Be ready for danger at any moment, any time, day or night. Be prepared to respond with lethal force. Take what you need wherever you find it. Take care of your comrades, and the men and women under your command. Depend on your fellow soldiers and your commanding officers to look out for you. When you come home, what can you do with those skills? The habit of flexibility with the rules. The understanding that if you take care of your buddies, the chain of command will take care of you. The knowledge that in that moment, lives are in your hands. What do you do with your addiction to adrenaline? Nothing compares to that rush. That clarity. Some ex-military join law enforcement. Another thing that feels right is the criminal world. Ha! I stole cars! I robbed banks! I was private security. Prison is also a lot like being in combat. Shell shock, battle fatigue, whatever you want to call it… it’s a malady that strikes the weak, those with weak stomachs and of weak character. We’ve improved our screening so we don’t have boys coming back from the Pacific and from France all torn up in their minds like we saw after the trenches. [sounds of fighter planes and an air raid siren] We did the best we could, sir but it seems it was a lot harder to see who was more susceptible to battle fatigue and screen them out. A good number of our men have been complaining about nervousness and nightmares. I have good news, though. We have found a treatment that has shown to take care of the symptoms. Well, what is it? It’s called a lobotomy, sir. [sound of a punch, a shout] What the hell is going on? Are you crazy? I screwed it up. You just punched a guy! Right in the face! He was just talking on the phone! I don’t know what happened. Look at my art school application. There’s no way we’ll make it to my nephew’s christening. You still haven’t met anyone after all this time and now… Is this really what you want? I don’t know. Danger. Loser. Better off alone. You’d be better off without me. Don’t call me. Don’t come around. Goddamnit, why’d you have to like me anyway. [piano music] [singing] It’s all too much here. It’s just like sleeping. The pain can stop now. There’s just too much here. It’s just like sleeping. The pain can stop now. It’s just too much here. It’s just like sleeping. No one will miss you. [phone ring tone] [gun goes off] [phone keeps ringing] What? Hey Lopez, it’s me, I’m downstairs. Buzz me in. I finally go it! Got what? Combat Ace Two, dude! Come on, I’ve been waiting all night. Like, come on, open up! OK. Let’s start ‘er up. You know, I heard that with this new version, there’s gonna be, like, multi-player missions. You got internet, right? I dunno. I think it got turned off. Well then turn that shit back on–Lopez, this game is gonna be, like, the shit! It’s gonna be like, the super shit! [game theme plays] Hey you know what else, Lopez? My nightmares stopped. You had nightmares too? I used to, but I don’t anymore. What, what happened, you got that lobotomy? No, stupid, that doesn’t cure nightmares. What is it, anyway? Never mind. Uh, no, it was this crazy therapy thing. Uh, they made me move my eyes back and forth. Or sometimes I’d have to put headphones in, and then they put a sound on, and move that back and forth. It was like a miracle, seriously man. I’m sleeping better, and– I used to be tense all the time, you know, because of all the crap over there but everyone was tense over there. But, over here, I was the only one. It was freaky. I would get pissed off about anything and… I would stay in my room as much as possible… and Magaly was getting so annoyed so I went and did it just to shut her up but, Jesus, man everybody talks about how the VA was so screwed up but I’m OK now. You have nightmares? Yeah. And you been kinda staying in your room a lot, too, huh? Yeah. Have you been annoying your girlfriend too? You could say that. Look, look, I’m fine. I don’t need any help from the VA. I’ve just been stressed out lately. I gotta figure out, a few things out. You’re smarter than me, you’ll figure it out. You know me, I need all the help I can get. But you, you could, like, Google it or something, and you’ll figure it out. That’s good, that you feel better. And if the Google doesn’t work, or whatever, then you could just try the VA. Make sure that you do the thing with the sound, though. The thing with the eyes just makes them all tired and shit. Uh, you know, like, if I would’ve found this six months ago I’d probably have a job by now. And I could really use one quick. ‘Cause Magaly’s pregnant! What? That’s great! Yeah, you’re gonna be an uncle! You have three brothers and I ain’t one of ’em. Yeah, but they didn’t fight in the war. You and me, we’re brothers in arms. We’re blood brothers. You comin’ to the dinner tomorrow, right? Yeah. I’ll see you tomorrow.