"What time is it? Its one AM."
"They fucked over Ra."
"The Egyptian sun god?'
"He's not getting the Medal of Honor."
"Obama fucked him over. Or that faggot Gates."
"So, they had this investigation, right? And they determined that Lopez got shot in the head before he dived on the grenade. That he was going to die anyway."
"So, why should that change anything?"
"Because that Secretary of cocksucking, Robert Gates, said that he was brain-damaged before he fell on the grenade. That was what he said. Fell, not dived. His words."
"I know. I know and you know. We were both there. Physically present. He did the boot camp thing and should have gotten that shit."
"So he doesnt get anything?"
"Their giving him the Navy Cross."
"But the citation they used, for the Navy Cross, makes it out quite clearly that he dived on the grenade to sacrifice himself."
"Are you even fucking listening to me?"
"I'm sorry, dude. Its really early."
"When my phone rang I thought it was my alarm clock."
"Did I wake up your wife?"
"No. I was sleeping on the couch."
"Hunh. She's pissed off?"
"Kind of. And I was playing video games."
"The new Call of Duty."
"Thats cool. I dont have a system."
"Or a TV."
"So, back to Lopez, the tried to get his mom to accept the Navy Cross."
"And she was like, fuck you. Just like that. And they had a Congressman there, saying how the Secretary of Defense was wrong, Corporal Lopez deserved the Medal of Honor."
"Lopez wasnt a Corporal."
"Right. But they promoted him posthumously, or whatever."
"Lopez was never going to be a Corporal. He got non-rec'd twice. He almost got busted down."
"Look, Ryan, you want to talk about Ra? The guy was against any kind of authority. When he stood at attention he extended the middle finger, so he was flipping the bird. Remember that time Kurre caught him doing that? An ass chewing and barracks duty on a libo weekend."
"I mean, its not like they knew him."
"No. Its all bullshit. On one side they want to say he wasnt good enough for this award. On the other side he was. But at the end of the day, its a certificate and a piece of tin. It doesnt mean anything."
"Your fucking wrong."
"How am I? Elaborate."
"Who else talks about Fallujah?"
"Thats right. We talk about Fallujah and Korengal. Iraq and Afghanistan. Where we went. Being there. But no one else cares. It didnt happen here, in the US, so whose to say it happened at all? I mean, really, cant you just pretend you were in the Air Force, and got deployed to North Dakota, or whatever?"
"But it was real. Lopez proves it. It really happened, and he really died. Giving him that medal is something they cant look away from. Letting your guts explode, so you and I can live. Knowing its going to kill you. They cant look at Lopez and say, fuck you, your illegal, fuck you, your Mexican, fuck you, your young. They have to look at Lopez and say: your a hero. Your a hero, and I'm a big fat pussy, because I never did what you did, I never went where you will, and when I die, it will be from my big fat heart giving way after too many double quarter-pounders with cheese, or else from an accident when the tires on my shitty SUV hybrid give way, or else when I'm just too old and feeble to move out of bed in my nursery home and choke on the smell of my own diaper. And when it happens, it will mean exactly nil."