Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (copy)


Less than five minutes in Iraq was all it took. The firefight at Al-Ansakar Canal made them all heroes overnight thanks to a Fox News crew embedded in the company. Bush is using the win to drum up support for the war and our heroes are back in America on a whirlwind “Victory Tour” through the country.
Dubbed Bravo Squad from the repeated airing of the fight, these eight young men are uneasy with the new fame. All manners of people recognize them with eager handshakes and talk of personal wars or thank them for getting back at those 911 dastards. Unfortunately, after the first 20 conversations on the same topic, the men are having a hard time focusing. Even after meeting with the President and his pale sidekick, Cheney, they are beginning to numb.
It doesn’t help that Bravo Squad spent all night drinking at a bar called Tiffany’s Finest where the girls are named after jewels. Billy Lynn spent most of his time with Emerald, but doubts she is seriously thinking of him as a boyfriend; although, she did make promises.
Sleepless and combating serious hangovers, the boys are all quiet until the limo arrives. Major bling blinds them as they bounce on the leather seats and fumble with the switches of the white Hummer. Someone has found the bar and Sgt. Dime approves one drink each to fend off the hair of the dog.
The limo is compliments of the Dallas Cowboys and they are heading to a Thanksgiving game. Bravo is part of the halftime extravaganza sharing top billing with Destiny’s Child. Albert, a Hollywood agent, has accompanied them during the two week tour and has big news. Hillary Swank has agreed to play the part of Dime. Bravo breaks into laughter as they point out she is without the necessary appendage.
Specialist Billy Lynn actually feels the individual rocks underneath his combat boots as he stumbles out of the limousine. His headache is extreme and he asks Albert for aspirin. The weight of the Silver Star seems unbearable as he morns the reason he wears it.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain is full of cursing, womanizing, fighting, and heart-wrenching loss as our hero, Billy Lynn, spends the day wrestling with the idea of freedom.

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