Episode 3: I Don’t Like Losers
by Choke and Stroke
Based on a screenplay
by Eric Roth
Based on a novel
by Winston Groom
EXT. VIETNAM/MEKONG DELTA - MORNING (1967)
The shadow of a helicopter over the rice field below. A soldier is manning a gun from inside the helicopter. The soldier looks left, BUBBLES and the CAMERAMAN ride inside the helicopter.
EXT. FIREBASE/4TH PLATOON
The helicopter circles overhead, then lands at the firebase.
SONG "Some folks are born made to wave the flag. Ooh, they're red, white and blue. And when the band plays "Hail to the Chief," ohh, they point the cannon at you all. It ain't me. It ain't me. I ain't no Senator's son, no. It ain't me. It ain't me..."
Bubbles and the Cameraman jump out of the helicopter with their gear. They walk and look around oddly.
Now, they told us in training that Vietnam was gonna be very different from the United States of America. When I watched the tapes...
The soldier places a case of beer on a large stack of cases. He takes two beers out and walks away. In the background, soldiers are barbecuing steaks and drinking beer.
...it was the same.. except for the barbecue, it was. I watched it all in my room. I would get the tapes from Cameraman in the mail. Then I would get something made up for me and I would eat my afternoon snacks as I would watch. I watched most of them. I had a second armchair for my feet. The doctor told me to keep my feet elated because of my bone spurs. I was good at following orders.
Y'know, I bet there's oil all in these waters. My mate Paul told me these Vietnams is good oil. You know, after we win this war, and we take over everything we can get, American oilers to come on here and mine these waters. We'll just dig all the time, man. So much oil, why, you wouldn't believe it. I wish Forrest were here.
Lieutenant JOHN MCCAIN steps out of a tent. Shirtless, he holds a roll of toilet paper in his hand.
You must be my F.N.G.'s.
BUBBLES AND CAMERAMAN
Ho! Get your hands down. Do not salute me. There are goddamned snipers all around this area who would love to grease an officer. I'm Lieutenant John McCain. Welcome to Fourth Platoon.
Lt. John looks at Bubbles.
What's wrong with your mouth?
I was born with pointed teeth, sir.
Yeah, well, you better tuck those in. Gonna get that caught on a trip wire. Where in the world are you from boy? And why is this man filming me?
BUBBA & CAMERAMAN
New York, sir!
Bubbles and the Cameraman look at each other oddly, before shaking their heads.
No, we are not relations, sir. I do everything Bubbles does because my boss, Mr. Forrest Trump, paid me to film everything. He filmly said everything while using The Look.
LT. JOHN (whispers)
The Cameraman throws a stack of bills at Lt. John’s feet. He films the money, the lieutenant, the reaction on the man’s face, and, eventually, Lt. John pocketing the money.
Look, it's pretty basic here.
Lt. John starts to walk. Bubbles and the Cameraman grab their gear and follow him.
You stick with me, you learn from the guys who been in country awhile, you'll be right. There is one item of G.I. gear that can be the difference between a live grunt and a dead grunt.
Lt. John stops and looks at the boys.
Socks, cushion, sole, O.D. green. Try and keep your feet dry when we're out humpin'. I want you boys to remember to change your socks wherever we stop. The Mekong will eat a grunt's feet right off his legs.
Lt. John steps over to a large black soldier named SERGEANT SIMS.
Sergeant Sims! Goddamnit, where is that sling-rope I told you to order?
I put in requisitions at Battalion.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, well you call those sonabitches again, call them again and again and again. I don't care how much it takes...
Lt. John sure knew his stuff. I felt real lucky he was with Cameraman and Bubbles. He was from a long, great military tradition. Somebody in his family had fought and died in every single American war.
EXT. VALLEY FORGE/THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR - DAY (1778)
A distant relative of Lt. John's, wearing a revolutionary war uniform, falls dying in the snow. The cannonball sized hole is in his chest and the edges are smoking. The man spends his last moments trying to see the other end of his arm as he sticks it whole, through the hole.
EXT. GETTYSBURG/THE CIVIL WAR - DAY (1863)
Another relative, wearing a civil war uniform and bearing a striking resemblance to Lt. John, falls down dead from gunshot. He has fallen into a pit on the battlefield. The hole leads to an unknown dimension, light swirling around him as the equation E=MC2 whizzes by.
EXT. NORMANDY/WORLD WAR II - DAY (1944)
Another relative, wearing a World War II uniform, falls down, slowing collecting his viscera as he collapses, dead on the beach at Normandy. A clapperboard slams together as a film crew moves forward, horrified to discover that someone has placed a live round in the prop gun.
EXT. NOTTINGHAM/ENGLAND - DAY (1444)
Another relative, wearing a green outlaw tunic, is lying dead in a stream. An arrow has pierced his neck causing the head to lie at an unnatural angle. A note has been notched to the arrow, reading “a gift for those who cross the Sheriff.”
EXT. VIETNAM/MEKONG DELTA/FIREBASE - DAY (1967)
Goddamnit, kick some ass!
I'm on it, Lieutenant.
Get on it!
Lt. John steps back up to Bubbles and Cameraman.
I guess you could say he had a lot to live up to.
Lt. John walks along the walkway and Bubbles and Cameraman follow.
So, you boys are from New York, huh? Well, I've been through there. Big Apple. Now, go shake down your gear, shake like someone should doing with your decrepit city. See the platoon sergeant, draw what you need for the field.
Lt. John steps inside the latrine, still holding the roll of toilet paper.
If you boys are hungry, we got steaks burnin' right here.
Lt. John sits down out of sight in the latrine, then stands up, looking at the boys. In the background Forrest shouts for a steak.
Two standing orders in this platoon. One, take good care of your feet. Two, try not to do anything stupid, like gettin' yourself killed.
Lt. John sits back down out of sight in the latrine. Bubbles and the Cameraman look at each other, the red light of the camera blinking often.
EXT. RICE FIELD - ANOTHER DAY
Bubbles, Cameraman, and other soldiers in the Fourth Platoon walk across a rice field. Some Vietnamese rice farmers are working as the soldiers walk past.
I got to see a lot of the countryside. Cameraman filmed these real long, boring walks they took. I could not believe there wasn’t no cars in Vietcong.
EXT. JUNGLE/DIRT ROAD - ANOTHER DAY
Lt. John's unit walks along a dirt road.
And we were always lookin' for this guy named Charlie. I can't get no relief.
Suddenly Lt. John holds up his fist, a signal for the unit to stop. He motions for them to get down.
Hold it up!
Hold up, boys!
Cameraman gets down and pans around.
It wasn't always fun, the watching. Sometimes it was boring. If the video was too boring I would fast forward it or watch something else. I watched a lot of Hogan’s Heros. Hogan was a real hero. Turns out Lt. John was a wimp. When I did watch the videos Lt. John always gettin' these funny feelings about a rock or a trail, or the road, so he'd tell you to get down, shut up!
Get down! Shut up!
So they did. They were all wimps, could you believe that?
Lt. John motions for the lead soldier to get down. Lt. John crouches down. Lt. John looks at the soldiers and points to his eyes. He lies down on the dirt road and crawls.
I think some of American's worst, scardest and laziest young men served in this war. There was Dallas, from Phoenix. Cleveland, he was from Detroit.
Hey, Tex. Hey, Tex. Man, what the hell's going on?
Tex holds up his hand, motioning that he doesn't know.
And Tex was, well, I didn't listen to where Tex come from.
Ah, nothin'. Fourth Platoon, on your feet! Still got ten clicks to go to that river.
Cameraman stands up and begins to walk with the platoon.
All right, move out! Comin' out. Look alive out there.
The good thing about Vietnam was that is was always easy to turn it off when it was boring.
LT. JOHN (V.O.)
Fire in the hole!
EXT. VIETNAM/VIET CONG FOXHOLE - ANOTHER DAY
Lt. John walks away as Cameraman rushes over, aims the camera in the hole, then climbs inside.
There was always something more fun to do.
Mount 'em up.
Spread out! Cover his back.
The platoon walks through a rice paddy, wading deep into the water. It begins to rain.
FORREST (V.O.) (laughing)
One day it started raining, and it didn't quit for four months!
The rain pours down on Bubbles and the Cameraman as they sit in a foxhole.
FORREST (V.O.) (laughing)
I saw every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin' rain...
This rain stings.
The platoon walks through the jungle as rain pours down on them.
FORREST (V.O.) (laughing)
...and big ol' fat rain. Huge.
The platoon shelters themselves as they walk through the wind and rain.
FORREST (V.O.) (laughing)
Rain that flew in sideways.
Cameraman and other soldiers walk chest-deep through a river. The rain splatters back up from the river, hitting the soldiers. Cameraman holds his hand up to protect the lens.
FORREST (V.O.) (laughing)
And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath.
EXT. ENCAMPMENT - NIGHT
The rain pours down on the men of the platoon as they sit in a camp. Bubbles sits down next to Cameraman.
FORREST (V.O.) (laughing, off-key)
Shoot, it even rained at night.
Bubbles leans his back up against a tree as Cameraman films. Bubbles is crying.
I'm gonna die here. You also, I think.
Bubbles looks at Cameraman.
Don’t look at the camera.
Who do I look at then? It’s just you and me? Ah, whatever, I’ll stare at that pile of dead Vietcong. We...we are going to die here, with our heads in the mud, aren’t we? You know, that’s why we are a good partnership, Cameraman. 'Cause we be watchin' each other die. Like brothers and stuff. Hey, Cameraman, there's somethin' I've been thinkin' about. I got a very important question to ask you. How would you like to go into the oilin' business with me?
No thank you.
Man, I tell you what, I got it all figured out. So many pounds of oil to pay off the drill, so many pounds for gold, we can just live right in the heart of Manhattan. We ain't got to pay no rent. I'll be the captain; we can just work it together. Split everything right down the middle. Man, I'm tellin' you, fifty-fifty. And, hey, Cameraman, all the oil you can get.
The Cameraman had already left. He has left the camera filming, sitting on the ground across from Bubbles.
Bubbles did have a fine idea which I stole and, in the end, I made it better. I am the best at oil too.
Some soldiers patrol the area. Cameraman lies in a pup tent, wrapping another package to send Forrest. The rain pours down. He uses his flashlight to see. He adds a few handwritten letters on top of the package. The camera is set up to one side, filming.
FORREST (V.O.) .
I even paid the Cameraman to write to Joe. He just put the name Forrest instead of his name, Cameraman. He sent them from Vietnam, to tell Joe Cob about how dangerous and tough I was. He told Joe about what I was doin' - if I could have done those things, that is - and I always asked Cameraman to ask what Joe Cob was doing, himself.
EXT. JOE'S GRANDMOTHER'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
Joe steps out of his Grandmother’s apartment building completely naked. He is only kit with a backpack and a guitar. In the background his Grandmother is heard cursing his name in a strangled death schriek. He gives ten thousand bucks to a pale man in a black turtleneck, then jumps into the back of a Volkswagen bus. The windows are painted over with many layers of paint. No natural light can enter the back of the bus when the door is closed. Brief daylight shows a large ceramic basin amidst a group men inside the van. The basin is filled with a red liquid, with large globs of phlegm floating around the surface. The bus drives away, puffing smoke out of the heart-shaped exhaust pipe. It speeds up rapidly before it teleports, only leaving a pair of burning tire marks.
And, how I was looking forward to getting a letter from him... just as soon as Joe Cob had the time. I was always better than him, better at letting him know that I was okay.
EXT. VIETNAM - NIGHT
Cameraman writes a letter in his tent.
Then Cameraman would sign each letter, "Love, Forrest Trump."
EXT. JUNGLE - DAY
The Fourth Platoon makes their way through the jungle and rain.
"There's something happenin' here. What it is ain't exactly clear. There's a man with a gun over there, telling' me I got to beware."
This one day, they were out walking, like always, boring, and then, just like that, somebody turned off the rain and the sun come out.
The sun suddenly appears. Fourth platoon is attacked. A bullet kills the soldier standing next to Cameraman. Bombs explode all around as the soldiers scramble to the ground.
Cameraman crawls over a fern as bullets fly overhead and explode all around him. Cameraman rolls over and pulls his pack off. Lt. John lies next to Cameraman.
Get that pig up here, goddammit!
Cameraman, you okay?
Two soldiers with a machine gun fire into the air. Lt. John shouts into the radio. Cameraman aims his camera into the jungle.
...Strongarm, please be advised...
Two soldiers rip a small palm out of the jungle, thinking it an injured soldier.
Medic, we got a man down! Wait no, shit I have no idea what that is?
Strongarm, this is Leg Lima 6, over!
Roger, Strongarm, be advised we have incoming from the treeline at point blue plus two. A.K's and rockets...
SOLDIER WITH BIG MACHINE GUN fires his gun and lights up the small palm. The palm is neutralised. Another soldier helps him with the ammunition. The machine gun jams.
SOLDIER WITH BIG MACHINE GUN
Goddammit, Mac! Get that pig unfucked and get it in the treeline!
A rocket explodes on the machine gunner and the other soldier, killing them. Cameraman covers his head as rockets explodes all around.
LT. JOHN (into radio)
Ah, Jesus! My unit is down hard and hurting! 6 pulling back to the blue line, Leg Lima 6 out! Pull back! Pull back!
Cameraman! Run! Run, Cameraman!
It was so thrilling. I was jumping in my chair watching all of the explosions and bullets and blood! It was when I really, truly fell in love with television. Real love, momma-pappa-type love. I said to myself I would be on the television. I really thought that I could do such a better job than those wimpy bozos. Then! When I didn’t think there could have been anymore explosions...
Cameraman! Run! Run, Cameraman! Run! Run!
Pull back! Let's go! Lt. John gets up and grabs Bubbles by the collar.
Run, goddammit, run!
The platoon gets up and runs toward the cover of the jungle. Rockets explode all around the field. Cameraman runs into the jungle. The soldiers run through the jungle as bullets explode all around. A soldier is blown up by a rocket. A soldier runs through the jungle. Cameraman runs past the soldier.
Medic! Medic! Jesus, can I get a medic?
This was my favourite episode. The Cameraman ran and ran, just like Joe told me to and I also told him to.
Rockets explode in the jungle as Cameraman runs out toward a clearing.
He ran so far and so fast that pretty soon Cameraman was all by himself, which was a bad thing. If he wasn’t filming the best bits I said I would make bad things happen for him.
CAMERAMAN (whispering on the tape)
Cameraman turns around, then runs back into the jungle.
Bubbles was my best good friend. Cameraman went to find him.
Rockets explode in the jungle. Cameraman runs back into the jungle to look for something to film.
Any friendlies out there?
Yeah, I've got three over there.
Where the hell are you?
Cameraman stops and aims his camera. The film wobbles as Cameraman’s hands shake from fear. Something moves. Cameraman turns and films, then rushes over.
And on the way back, well, there was this boy laying on the ground.
Tex lies on the ground, his face distorted with pain. Cameraman aims his camera, films, then reaches down and picks up Tex from the ground. Cameraman pulls Tex up over his shoulder, the one unoccupied by his camera, and runs.
I would have never guessed in a million years! Cameraman didn’t just let him lay there all alone, he grabbed him up and run him out of there. What an idiot! He could have died. Then he would never get a chance to spend my money!
Cameraman carries Tex out of the jungle and into the clearing. He sets Tex down on the bank of a river, and runs back into the jungle.
FORREST (V.O.) (talks in a mocking voice when he quotes)
And every time he went back somebody else was moaning, "Help me, Cameraman. Help me." It was so funny and pathetic. Why didn’t they just get up and run? That’s what I would have done.
Cameraman drops another wounded soldier down at the bank of the river next to Tex, and then runs back toward the jungle. Cameraman grabs the third wounded soldier up from the ground and turns him over. It is DALLAS.
Can't hear... Can't hear...
Dallas is dropped off at the bank next to the other wounded soldiers. Cameraman turns to go back to the jungle.
2ND WOUNDED SOLDIER
No sweat, man. Just lay back. If it gets bad I’ll kill you. I promise.
I realised Bubbles had been was missing from the video for a long time. His pale face was so easy to see in the jungle and then I couldn’t see it then. He made me laugh, I think, actually, he was the funniest character on the show. I forgot about him because there was so much great action.
STRONGARM (over radio)
You're danger close for crack air, over.
Forrest trips over something and falls to the ground. He looks up to find two bloody legs. It is Lt. John, who is wounded. He speaks into the radio.
LT. JOHN (into radio)
Roger, Strongarm, I know my position is danger close! We got Charlie all over this area! I gotta have those fast movers in here now! Over!
STRONGARM (over radio)
Six, Strongarm. Confirmation
LT. JOHN (over radio)
My whole goddamned platoon is wiped out!
STRONGARM (over radio)
Leg Lima 6, Leg Lima 6, how copy you this transmission? Over.
Cameraman tries to pick up Lt. John, who pushes the Cameraman away.
Goddammit! What are you doing? Leave me here! Get away. Just leave me here! Get out!
Cameraman forces Lt. John over his shoulder and runs through the jungle.
Leg Lima 6, Leg Lima 6. This is Strongarm, be advised, your fast movers are inbound at this time, over.
The video looked weird for a moment and the picture fell to the ground. I was leaning forward in my chair as I watched, excited, when all of sudden I felt a pain in my bad foot and I yelled out.
Ah, something bit me!
I had to pause the tape. The sharp pain in my foot turned out to be “actual bone spurs”. I was confused because the doctor said this like it was new. He was stupid. To this day I still don’t know the difference between “bone spurs” and “actual bone spurs”. Anyway, eventually, I told everyone, including the doctor, to get away from me because I needed to watch my shows. I started the video a little later from where I paused it. Around the time when Cameraman and Lt. John finally got up. Then Lt was yelling because a bullet had hit his bottom and that was how they both fell down. Crazy. In the bottom. Then I realised Lt. John was weak. If I were allowed to go to Nam I wouldn’t have gotten shot.
Lt. John fires his pistol at the unseen enemy as Cameraman runs away.
You dink son-of-a-bitch! I can't leave the platoon! I told you to leave me there, Cameraman. Forget about me. Get yourself out! Did you hear what I said! Goddammit, pull me down! Get your ass out of here!
Cameraman drops Lt. John down at the bank, next to the other wounded soldiers. Lt. John grabs Cameraman by the camera, angry. His spittle hits the lens.
I didn't ask you to pull me out of there, goddamn you! Where in the hell do you think you're going?
Don’t look at the camera directly. I have to keep filming.
The Cameraman grimaces before turning way, flexing the huge bicep muscle of his camera arm.
I got an airstrike inbound right now. They're gonna nape the whole area.
Cameraman runs as Lt. John yells after him.
Cameraman! You stay here, goddammit! That's an order!
Cameraman runs through the jungle searching for Bubbles. Cameraman slows down and looks around carefully.
The Cameraman holds the cmaera still, refocusing, finding the right angle to film Bubbles as he looks up from lying on the ground.
Bubbles holds a palm frond over his wound. Cameraman removes the frond from the shot to film the wound. Bubble's chest has been blown open. Bubbles looks at the camera.
Don’t look directly at the camera.
I'm gonna be alright.
Cameraman looks around as voices of the enemy become louder. Cameraman picks up Bubbles and carries him through the jungle. The sound of approaching planes fills the air.
I'm okay, Cameraman. I'm all right.
The roar of approaching planes is deafening. Cameraman looks up. Three planes dive down toward the jungle. They fire napalm as the jungle explodes with massive fireballs. Cameraman runs, carrying Bubbles. The fireballs explode behind. The entire jungle area is in flames as Cameraman runs. Cameraman carries Bubbles to the bank of the river. Lt. John and the other wounded soldiers wait for a rescue helicopter.
Helo's inbound. Pop smoke, get it up there!
None of the soldiers talked tough, scared all the time. If I'd a known this was gonna be the last time I could see Bubbles, I'd a thought of something better to make Cameraman say.
Cameraman looks down at Bubbles. A soldier releases a smoke canister.
Say your last words to the camera, I can send them to your loved ones. You can talk directly into the lens at this time.
Hey, Cameraman. Cameraman, why'd this happen?
I got the shot.
Then Bubbles said something I won't even forget.
I wanna go home.
Bubbles was my best good friend. And even I know that ain't something you can find just in any apartment. Bubbles was gonna be an oil tycoon captain, but instead he died right there by that river in Vietnam.
The helicopter flies overhead and the red light blinks.
EXT. MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, 5TH AVENUE/BUS BENCH - DAY (1983)
Forrest continues with his life story. A DARK MAN is sitting next to Forrest on the bus bench. He is bald and in a tan suit that is tight around the biceps but slack around the waist and crotch. He is wearing sporty sunglasses and speaks in an Russian accent.
That's all I have to say about that.
I think they were all cowards too.
The man hands Forrest a children’s picture book with various colour spreads of Russian Soldiers defending Stalingrad. He taps the open page as it sits in Forrest’s lap.
Those men there, they were true soldier. Your Vietnam was not even cold.
Oh, I hate being cold. That’s why I eat so much.
There were no beach barbecues in that great war.
The man realises that Forrest not understanding. The existence of Russia, let alone the wars it fought, was an impossible topic. He stops talking, waiting until Forrest begins again. As Forrest talks, the man takes Forrest’s left hand and begins transposing his fingerprints on a page removed from a briefcase. He also picks out to the contents hidden under Forrest’s fingernails, to collect in a small specimen jar.
I love war. I had to go to a war hospital even, after my feet really started hurting bad. Even the fanciest hospitals in New York were full up with soldiers. My momma sent me to the US Keller Army Community Hospital because it was free for me, being an injured vet, and momma and me were fighting.
Forrest has taken off his shoes by this stage and picks between the toes. He was not wearing any socks. He does not have any toenails. Bits of curved bone break out of the skin around his ankle bracelets.
The other soldiers said my bone spurs was a million dollar ticket, but the Army must keep that money, 'cause I still ain't seen a nickel of that million dollars. The only good thing about being wounded in the heels...
FLASHBACK - INT. US. KELLER ARMY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL/NEW YORK - DAY
Forrest holds four ice cream cones in his hands as he is wheeled on a rolling stretcher.
...is the ice cream. They gave me all the chocolate ice cream I could eat. And guess what? A good friend of mine was in the bed right next door.
Forrest, lying on his stomach, is wheeled to his bed. Forrest's butt sticks up but his feet are the only bandaged parts of his body. He has a huge ice packs on each. The ice packs are filled with more ice cream. Forrest looks at Lt. John lying on the bed. Forrest holds out an ice cream cone for Lt. John and as the man reaches out, Forrest jerks the icecream away from his grasp. Forrest wastes much ice-cream in this process.
Lieutenant John, I got you some ice cream… no not until you talk to me. Lieutenant John, ice cream… no! I said not yet...
Lt. John, annoyed, crosses his arms. Forrest takes one of the four ice cream cones and drops it into the bed pan. Forrest slides himself onto his bed.
So the way I see it, my Cameraman saved your life. So I want to say something, something a person very dear to me said. Welcome to the hierarchy shitbird.
A MALE NURSE arrives and reaches toward Lt. John.
It's time for your bath, Lieutenant.
The male nurse places Lt. John's hands on a pull-up bar, then picks up Lt. John, whose legs have been amputated.
Another nurse wheels the rolling bed under Lt. John. The male nurse sets Lt. John down on the rolling bed. Forrest looks up at Lt. John as he is wheeled away. A soldier reads the names from a pile of letters.
Cooper, Larson, Webster, Trump, Trump...
I'm Forrest Trump.
The soldier hands Forrest a large pile of letters. "Undeliverable as addressed. No forwarding order on file: Joe Cob, Grandma Cob’s house, near my house, Forrest Trump.” Forrest looks down at the pile of letters while he eats icecream. The letters slowly get covered in melted chocolate icecream.
INT. ARMY HOSPITAL/VIETNAM - DAY
A group of wounded soldiers hang out in the hospital, recuperating. Forrest sits and watches "Gomer Pyle" on the television.
Trump, how can you watch that stupid shit? Turn it off!
From the D.M.Z. to the Delta, you are tuned to the American Forces Vietnam Network. This is Channel 6, Saigon.
Forrest turns the TV off and he is hit on the back of the head by a ping-pong ball.
Good catch, Trump. Glad you stayed home turd. You know how to play this?
Forrest shakes his head.
Come on, let me show you. Here.
The wounded ping-pong player hands Forrest a paddle and he steps around Forrest to place his larger hands over his smaller hands. All four hands clutch the paddle. The wounded ping-pong player steps toward the ping-pong table, guiding Forrest’s leg from the inside. Satisfied, the soldier walks to the other end of the table.
Now the secret to this game is, no matter what happens, never, never take your eye off the ball.
He holds the ball up and moves it back and forth. Forrest keeps his eyes on the ball, mesmerised.
The wounded ping-pong player tosses the ball down onto the table. Forrest begins to hit the ball back to the other player.
For some reason, ping pong came very natural to me. I was good at all of it, learning, playing, watching balls, it was as if I was born to do it. It made more sense to me than anything in my life. You hit it. They hit it. You hit them harder.
See, any idiot can play.
So I started playing it all the time.
Forrest hits ping-pong balls.
I played ping-pong even when I didn't have anyone to play ping-pong with.
The balls land in a bed pan positioned on a chair. A group of wounded soldier sit and watch Forrest play with himself. Forrest hits two balls at a time against the opposite side of the table. Every once in a while he would remember his bone spurs and sit down to sulk.
...I have bone spurs, I would say while playing ping pong. The hospital's people said it made me look like a dead duck in water, whatever that means. Even Lt. John would come and watch me play.
Lt. John stares out the window, a small tick developing in his left eye. On closer inspection there is an actual tick sucking blood out of the spot where his eye ticks. Lt. John attempts to move his left arm, struggling for a moment. He attempts to pry his arm out of the restraints Forrest added to his chair.
INT. ARMY HOSPITAL/VIETNAM - DAY
Forrest lies in his bed asleep. A hand reaches and grabs him. Lt. John has freed half his body.
I played ping-pong so much, I even played it in my sleep.
Lt. John pulls Forrest to the floor, and Forrest lies on the floor next to the bed. Lt John leans over the edge of the bed and sees Forrest still asleep. He does everything to wake Forrest, shouting, cursing. He finally spits on him and Forrest awakens.
Now, you listen to me. We all have a destiny. Nothing just happens, it's all part of a plan. I should have died out there with my men! But now, I'm nothing but a goddamned cripple! A legless freak. Look! Look! Look at me! Do you see that? Do you know what it's like not to be able to use your legs?
Well... Yes, sir, I do.
If you say the word spur I will kill you. I will straight up murder your ass. It will be my new life mission. Did you hear what I said? Cameraman cheated me. The man you hired ruined my destiny. I was supposed to die in the field! With honor! That was my destiny! And you cheated me out of it! You understand what I'm saying, Forrest? This wasn't supposed to happen. Not to me. I had a destiny. I was Lieutenant John McCain.
You're still Lieutenant John McCain. I’m your new best good friend, Forrest Trump.
Lt. John looks at Forrest, lets go of Forrest and rolls to lie back on his bed. He puts the fist he was holding Forrest with in his mouth to muffle a scream. Forrest stands up to look at him.
Stop looking at me. What am I gonna do now? What am I gonna do now? Let me go, please.
Good. Well, right now me and you, we are going to make a deal.
INT. REC ROOM/VIETNAM HOSPITAL - ANOTHER DAY
Forrest plays ping-pong by himself. An OFFICER walks up to him.
Forrest immediately grabs the ball and places it down on the table under his paddle. He stands at attention.
As you were.
The officer holds up an envelope to him.
Son, you've been awarded the Medal of Honor for your war journalism, your camerawork contribution.
INT. VIETNAM HOSPITAL WARD
Forrest steps up to Lt. John's bed.
Guess what, Lieutenant John, they want to give me a me...
Forrest stops in mid-sentence as he looks down at the bed. The frame is hideously bent out of shape. Much of the metal in the middle of the bed is twisted or snapped. A heavily bandaged soldier with bloodstains lies uncomfortably in the spot Lt. John used to occupy. Forrest turns and look at the NURSE.
Ma'am, what'd they do with Lieutenant John?
It is a bit of a mystery. He disappeared sometime last night. The pharmacy was cleared out. All that was left was this destroyed bed with a note on it reading “For the future!”
Two months later, I left the vet hospital. The doctor’s told me I broke the army hospital record, longest recovery stay for bone spurs.
INT. THE DOUBLE DOWN SALOON/MANHATTAN, NEW YORK - NIGHT
ANCHORMAN (on T.V.)
The ceremony was kicked off with a candid speech by the President regarding the need for further escalation of the war in Vietnam. President Johnson awarded four Medals of Honor to men from each of the Armed Services. The television reveals Forrest as he is awarded the Medal of Honor by President Johnson.
America owes you a debt of gratitude, son.
Color footage revealing President Johnson as he places the award around Forrest's neck and shakes hands.
I understand you were wounded. Where were you hit?
In my legs, sir.
Oh, that must be a sight.
President Johnson leans and whispers into Forrest's ear. He looks at Forrest’s legs.
I'd kinda like to see that.
INT. THE DOUBLE DOWN SALOON/MANHATTAN, NEW YORK - DAY
The television reveals Forrest as he drops his pants, bends over, kicks off his pants, to show the bandages on his heels. President Johnson looks down and smiles. The three men in the bar look up in disbelief. Mrs. Trump looks up in shock.
EXT. LINCOLN MEMORIAL - DAY
Forrest walks by the Lincoln Memorial. A fence surrounds the Memorial, as well as armed military guards.
After that, Momma kept drinking for a while and I didn’t see her for a few years. I didn’t need her, I was in our glorious national capital. So I went out for a walk.
Hilary, all right, I've got the vets, what do you want me to do with them?
What are you doing here so late?
Forrest takes a few coins from a fountain by the memorial. A woman named Hilary gathers together some veterans against the Vietnam War.
We've been waiting for you for half an hour, so just get them in a line, will you. Hey, hey, come on, pictures later. You look great. Oh come on, get in this line, come on, come on right in line. Come on, let him here, let him in here.
Hilary grabs Forrest and puts him in the line with the other vets against the war.
It's a good thing Momma was busy drinking in New York. 'Cause Washington streets were awful crowded with poor people looking at all the statues and monuments. She hates people. And some of them people were loud and pushy.
Hilary leads the line of vets toward the large anti-Vietnam War rally.
Okay, follow me! Come on.
The group of vets walk as Forrest tries to take coins from the hat of a busker. A vet behind him pushes him along. The vets sees that his hands have become sticky from pushing Forrest.
Let's move it out.
Hey, buddy, come on. We could use your help. Also, what are you covered in?
He tries to wipe his hands on another part of Forrest’s uniform but only becomes more sticky.
Forrest walks in the line and tries to read the banner above him, unsuccessfully, "Veterans against the War in Vietnam."
Everywhere I went, I had to stand in line. It gave me great business ideas. I was crazy for thinking about ways to make money. Fountains was my current best idea. People just leave money there. Momma said that if you can steal a coin from a fountain you get to steal someone else’s wish. I think that is why I am so lucky in life, I got lots of wishes.
Follow me, let's go!
Hilary leads the vets through a crowd of people outside the rally. The crowd moves away from the group awkwardly, as if repelled by some unknown force. Another woman, named Isabel, leads the vets toward the back of a stage.
All right, come on, guys.
Hey, you're a good man for doin' this. Good!
A man, wearing an American flag shirt, stands on the stage. He is anti-war activist ABBIE HOFFMAN.
We must declare to that fucking impostor in the White House -- Johnson. We ain't going to work on your farm no more! Yeah!
There was this man, giving a little talk. And for some reason, he was wearing an American flag for a shirt. He looked so cool, so American, you know? Rock, flag and eagle!
Now, I'm going to bring up some soldiers that are going to talk about the war, man...
...and he liked to say the "P" word. A lot. “P” this and "P" that. It was almost like he was serious. I forgot to ask him for his address so I could send him my tapes and show him how boring peace was and how cool war was. Anyway, every time...
...that war has come home, and we have to stop these politicians...
...he said "P" word, people, for some reason, well, they'd cheer. I almost puked.
...these guys just told Lyndon Johnson where to stick this fucking war! Yeah!
Forrest looks up at the cheering crowd. Abbie turns and motions for Forrest to come up on the stage.
Come on, man. Come up here, man.
Come on. Come on. Yeah, you!
Hilary pulls Forrest up onto the stage.
Come on, get up there. Come on. Move, move. Let's go! Let's go.
The other vets follow pushing Forrest onto the stage. It takes considerable effort. They all push him toward the microphones, other people on stage join in.
Come on, go. You can do it. Just get up there. Go on. That's it. Jeez, why are you so sticky?
I realised people wanted me to talk to the people. I was special. It made me want to be on television twice as bad, because of how everyone wanted to hear my voice.
Thousands of cheering protesters stand around the Washington Monument. Forrest looks at the crowd. Abbie Hoffmann steps up to Forrest.
Tell us a little bit about the war, man.
The war in Vietnam?
The war in Viet-fucking-nam!
Abbie raises his fist as the crowd cheers wildly.
There was only one thing I could say about the war in Vietnam.
...there was only one thing I could say about the war in Vietnam.
Forrest looks at the crowd as he speaks. A MYSTERIOUS FIGURE looks around, sneaking over to the audio circuit board.
In Vietnam war... well in the best episodes anywa...
The mysterious figure pulls the patch cords out of the audio board. Forrest's amplified voice becomes inaudible. Forrest continues to speak into the microphone, even though no one can hear what he is saying. Hilary looks over and notices the mysterious figure. Hilary rushes over toward the audio board, pushing the mysterious figure away and grabbing his trenchcoat. Another protester grabs the second half of the trenchcoat and pulls the jacket away.
Hey, what the hell are you doing? Don’t stop me! I’m from the future, I’m here to save humanity! The prophecy!
I'll beat your head in, you goddamned spook!
The Mysterious Figure runs away in the only safe direction, through the middle of the fountain in front of the monument. He runs, slowly, dressed only in a Trilby hat and a pair of rectangle-shaped futuristic sunglasses. Isabel, Hilary and another protester try to plug the tangled mess of wires back into the audio board.
Christ, what'd they do with this? That mysterious person filled most of the holes with… what is this… pubic hair?
Forrest continues to speak into the microphone. The crowd grows restless.
We can’t hear you! We can’t hear you!
They loved me. They loved my speech so much that I promised them I would do many more speeches. The best speeches. They loved me so much they shouted for me to be louder. I felt like Peggy Lee, like a rock and roll star. I’m Forrest Trump.
This one! This one! Give me that!
Hilary plugs in the right patch cord, spitting out a hair that is stuck to her lip.
...including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!
Forrest looks at the massive crowd. They are silent. Hilary steps over to Forrest and pulls him back by the shoulder angrily.
That future traveller was right! What the hell was that diatribe? What's your name, asshole?
My name is Forrest Trump. Forrest Trump.
Abbie does not notice what is going on. He lost his hearing from a mortar blast in Nam. He has missed everything Forrest had says. He gestures comically as he picks out a strange amount of wax from one ear.
Abbie pronounces his name wrong. Forrest looks at the man, memorising Abbie’s appearance. Abbie then raises his fist into the air. Abbie steps away from Forrest. The crowd cheers.
Then Forrest recognises something he hasn’t seen in a long time. The mysterious figure is bent over in the middle of the fountain weeping. It is similar to a spread Forrest has seen in a magazine once, many moons ago.
I failed, I am sorry humanity! Forrest! Forrest!
Joe collapses deeper into the reflection pool and splashes his hands in the water. Forrest recognizes his bent over form.
Forrest rushes off the stage as Joe tries to hide in the shallow pool. Joe has heard Forrest’s voice.
Forrest jumps down into the crowd and runs. Joe is slowly drowning. The crowd parts as Forrest runs into the pool. He rushes toward him.
Ughhh. Arrghh. Oog. Glug glug.
The massive crowd cheers as Forrest hugs the unconscious Joe Cob in the pool.
It was the happiest moment of my life.