From “Waiting on Sean Flynn”

Waiting on Sean Flynn, Portland

After her first, harrowing day in the field covering the Vietnam War, LEE, a radio correspondent, drops by the apartment of SEAN FLYNN, a combat photographer….

Tinkling bells in background. SEAN sits on straw mat. His shirt is unbuttoned. A tray with an opium pipe, paraphernalia, and extinguished lamp lay before the mat. SEAN’s eyes are closed. They slowly open.

SEAN: Hey. How you doing, Lee?

LEE: Brought you something.

She tosses the bloodied notepad before SEAN.

SEAN: Thank you. It’s taken care of.

LEE: Keep it anyway. Where are your playmates?

SEAN: Out playin’. Dana’s in Da Nang.

LEE: I don’t know him.

SEAN: He’s up there with Page. Wait ’till you meet Page.

LEE: Heard about him.

SEAN: “That Page.”

LEE: Yeah.

LEE sits.

LEE: Thank you.

SEAN: For today?

LEE: Yes.

SEAN: I hate to miss someone’s first helicopter ride.

LEE: I was kind of nervous.

SEAN: You were? I was scared.

LEE: You were not.

SEAN: I’m always scared.

LEE: When you go out?

SEAN: All the time. (Grins) You’ll see.

LEE: I don’t know if I’m built for this.

SEAN: Well, at first you’re scared. Then you get used to it. And you’re still scared. Then you get angry ’cause you’re tired of being scared all the time. That’s when you get really scared.

LEE: Then what?

SEAN: Then you always have a place to come back to.

LEE: It gets worse?

SEAN slowly nods.

LEE: How much worse?

SEAN: Depends.

LEE: On what?

SEAN: On how close you get.

LEE: To what?

SEAN: To what scares you most.

LEE: What scares you?

SEAN: Vietnam.

LEE: I can’t argue with that.

SEAN: You did great. Lotta’ guys see less than you did, never leave Saigon again.

LEE: How do they cover the war?

SEAN: Press conferences.

LEE: I haven’t heard anything at a press conference that resembles what I saw today.

SEAN: It’s there. Just takes a special kind of ears.

LEE: What I’m afraid of, Sean—

SEAN: Yeah?

LEE: I’m afraid of screwing up.

SEAN: You were pretty good at what you did back home.

LEE: Damn straight.

SEAN: But this isn’t like you expected.

LEE: It isn’t like I was told.

SEAN: Uh-huh.

LEE: Someone is wrong.

SEAN: Or someone is lying.

LEE: That’s the story, isn’t it?

SEAN: That’s one story.


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