One day a couple of weeks later, as the two of them sat by a running stream in the woods above the Delaware Water Gap, Alan made some kind of outlandish proposal to Lawrence involving penises. It required a great deal of methodical explanation, which Alan delivered with lots of blushing and stuttering. He was ever so polite, and several times emphasized that he was acutely aware that not everyone in the world was interested in that sort of thing.
Lawrence decided that he was probably not one of those people.
Alan seemed vastly impressed that Lawrence had paused to think about it at all and apologized for putting him out. They went directly back to a discussion of computing machines and their friendship continued unchanged. But on their next bicycle ride…they were joined by a new fellow, a German named Rudy von something-or-other.
Alan and Rudy’s relationship seemed closer, or at least more multilayered, than Alan and Lawrence’s. Lawrence concluded that Alan’s penis scheme must have finally found a taker.
‘What advice do you, as the youngest American fighting man ever to win both the Navy Cross and the Silver Star, have for any young Marines on their way to Guadalcanal?’
Shaftoe doesn’t have to think very long. ‘Just kill the one with the sword first.’
‘Ah,’ Reagan says. ‘Smart–you target them because they’re officers, right?’
‘No, fuckhead!’ Shaftoe yells. ‘You kill ’em because they’ve got fucking swords! You ever had anyone running at you waving a fucking sword?’