No Place Like Home
By Maciek R, Coláiste Cholm, Cork, Written in Autumn 2020
GEORGE HENDERSON is a 27-year- old soldier who has only recently come back from his third tour of Vietnam. He is 6’ 3”, dark-skinned and well built. He believes in justice in all forms and is not afraid to use force in order to enforce justice.
BRUCE WILLOW is GEORGE’s best friend and is almost like a brother to him. The pair have known each other since their childhoods as they grew up on the same street. Just like GEORGE, he is dark skinned, well built but a little shorter than him. Unlike GEORGE, BRUCE is more timid and tends to overthink his actions.
UNCLE SAMMY MCDOUGH is GEORGE’s father figure. His real father abandoned him when GEORGE was young and UNCLE SAMMY stepped in to take care of him. UNCLE SAMMY had pulled GEORGE out of a life of crime. He owns a local bar which is a safe and peaceful part of a tough part of Brooklyn. It also functions as a shelter for the homeless.
- JOHNSON is a local soup kitchen owner who cooperates with UNCLE SAMMY to aid the homeless. He is really opinionated about the ongoing war in Vietnam.
FATHER WILDRED is a local priest always offering help to people in need. He is like a therapist for soldiers returning from deployment. He offers God as medicine for PTSD.
Mexican gangsters have taken control of the Brooklyn neighbourhood while most of the soldiers were deployed. They now control the drug flow in the area and resort to violence if someone crosses their way.
A nice sunny day with a moderate amount of commotion on the roads GEORGE HENDERSON is walking down the street, on his way to McDough’s Bar.
Bystander 1: Baby Killer! You scum!
Bystander 2: You shouldn’t have bothered coming back here. You’re not welcome no more!
GEORGE picks up the pace and jolts to McDoughs Bar.
GEORGE: (to himself) It’s been too damn long… never thought I’d make it back from that hellhole GEORGE enters the bar and attracts everyone’s attention
UNCLE SAMMY: GEORGE! My boy – – it’s great to see you. You showed them what you had to and I know it!
BRUCE: (jokingly) Now, now. Don’t give him all the credit. We fought side by side after all.
UNCLE SAMMY: You’re right, It’s time to celebrate! Call FATHER WILDRED. Drinks are on the house today!
The crowd cheers as they hold up their empty glasses signalling a refill. The day goes on as usual for about three quarters of an hour. MR. JOHNSON busts through the bar door with blood gushing down the side of his face. His ear is missing.
Everyone is silent.
Mr Johnson: It’s those god damn Mexicans! They busted open my soup kitchen and cut me up. They told me that this will be a daily occurrence for folks in this neighbourhood from now on.
UNCLE SAMMY: Johnson, my boy! Why would they do this to you, of all people?
Mr. Johnson: It’s cuz of those god damn GIs coming back. They’ve been disrupting their drug flow. They should have never bothered coming back to my soup kitchen.
UNCLE SAMMY: Watch your mouth! They’re heroes. Thank them for their service at least. Mr. Johnson: I ain’t doing nothin’ like that.
GEORGE looks at BRUCE.
GEORGE: Come on man, we ain’t doin’ no good ‘round here.
BRUCE: Right on!
The two men storm out of the bar and walk down the street. They encounter a group of Mexican gangsters.
GANGSTER 1: Oi, GIs! Come here for a second. I wanna get a good ol’ look at our next targets. The gangsters chuckle and pull out a switchblade as well as show their pistols
GEORGE: Wouldn’t do that if I were you, if you value your pitiful lives you’ll back away.
BRUCE: Better crawl away to where y’all belong while you’re at it.
GANGSTER 2 & 3: (in unison) You fools don’t seem to understand what went on ‘round here while y’all were gone fighting a war that wasn’t yours. It’s our terrain now.
GANGSTER 4: We’re the predators in ‘ere and you seem to be our defenceless prey.
GEORGE and BRUCE look at each other and telepathically understand each other’s thoughts. The two soldiers grab their pistols, which they kept from their deployment. The gangsters lunge at them and a fight breaks out. The GIs emerge on top but are badly hurt in the process. There are lots of witnesses.
GEORGE: Quick, to the church! Father Wilfred will provide us some shelter!
BRUCE freezes and looks down at his hands, he looks troubled.
BRUCE: What did we just do!? I- I- I thought we left that life behind us. What about our plans, man? What about what you promised me?
GEORGE: It was a kill or be killed situation. That stuff doesn’t matter. If it wasn’t them it would’ve been us. We did what we had to do – now let’s get outta here before the boys in blue get here.
Sirens can be heard roughly three blocks away from their current location BRUCE: You’re right.
GEORGE: Amen, brother.
While running towards the church
GEORGE: I’m hit bad, do you still remember how to patch me up like you used to?
BRUCE: Is that really a question? of course I do. I just need some basic supplies.
GEORGE: Father Wilfred should have some. It’s as if God is constantly supplying him with everything.
The two soldiers arrive at the church and see Father Wilfred praying, kneeling down.
Father Wilfred: (lively) If it’s not my favou – – (concerned) What’s going on? (glancing between GEORGE, BRUCE and their wounds) Ehat happened to y’all?
BRUCE: A clash with the Mexicans, Father.
GEORGE: Today marks the day from which our brothers and sisters will no longer be oppressed. (with anger in his voice) These goddamn gangsters are gonna pay.
Father Wilfred notices GEORGE’s stomach stab wounds and instinctively reaches for a first aid kit
Father Wilfred: (clear anger and frustration in his voice) Is this what it’s all ‘bout? You left that life behind didn’t you? You’re a better man than this, GEORGE.
BRUCE: Father, you need to understand. We’ve been oppressed all for being in this neighbourhood, for the colour of our skin but we won’t let us be oppressed for fighting for others freedom! Not out in ‘Nam or here.
Father Wilfred: Boys, I don’t think y’all realise what you did.
GEORGE: We know what we did. We know we killed them. We know we did it in cold blood. We’ve done it before and we’d do it again!
Father Wilfred: God will forgive but he won’t forget. It’s not what I want to get at right now though. I sense it … A- A war is coming…