And on the third day of wandering, somebody shot at the four from far away--shot four times as they crossed a narrow brick road. One shot was for the scouts. The next one was for the antitank gunner, whose name was Roland Weary.
The third bullet was for the filthy flamingo, who stopped dead center in the road when the lethal bee buzzed past his ear. Billy stood there politely, giving the marksman another chance. It was his addled understanding of the rules of warfare that the marksman should be given a second chance. The next shot missed Billy's kneecaps by inches, going end-on-end, from the sound of it.
Roland Weary and the scouts were safe in a ditch, and Weary growled at Billy, "Get out of the road, you dumb motherfucker." The last word was still a novelty in the speech of white people in 1944. It was fresh and astonishing to Billy, who had never fucked anybody--and it did its job. It woke him up and got him off the road.
There's something oddly sweet about Billy's reaction to this sniper attack. Billy, who never expected to be shot at as a chaplain's assistant, is stunned into immobility, not sure what his response should be. He's only twenty-one years old, a virgin in more ways than one. For Billy, the world is still a kind place. A beautiful orange that needs to be peeled.
Today, Donald Trump became President of the United States. You may be expecting a post full of venom, mean humor, jabs at Trump's racism and sexism and homophobia and Islamophobia, not to mention his bad hair and thin skin. I will not be doing that today. I will try to take a more Billy Pilgrim approach and hope I don't get shot at.
I have friends who have been urging me to be extra kind to everyone today--Hillary supporters, Bernie supporters, and Trump supporters alike. I suppose the idea is to combat hatred with kindness. To dispel the darkness with a little light. I understand that impulse and appreciate the advice, for I woke this morning feeling fairly . . . unhopeful. I have tried for most of the day to avoid television screens and media posts. Haven't even listened to NPR.
I cannot promise that, for the next four years, I will remain silent about Donald Trump. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that won't happen. However, I am trying, as Samuel L. Jackson says at the end of Pulp Fiction, REAL HARD.
So, tonight, I wish everybody kindness and understanding.
Saint Marty is grateful tonight for President Barack Obama and his family. For eight years of steady, calm, moral leadership.