Study Guide

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Chapter 1

By Ben Fountain

Chapter 1

The Thing Begins

  • Billy has had five Jack and Cokes in forty minutes (so, like…shouldn't he be dead?). He needed them to cope with his hangover, some well-meaning fans, and Thanksgiving Day traffic.
  • A lot of "grateful citizens" are thanking Billy for his courage and sacrifice, because as a member of the Bravo team, he's done something pretty famous.
  • The stretch limo Hummer that pulls up to give the Bravo team a ride is another clue that they've done something big.
  • The guys proceed to call Major Mac gay, because he's deaf. Uhh, guys?
  • Apparently, the Bravo squad has done something really great in the War on Terror, because between the ten of them, they have two Silver Stars and Bronze Stars, which are military awards for being awesome..
  • The guys have been interviewed multiple times about "the battle," but Billy is still trying to understand it himself, so his answers feel cheap and insufficient.
  • The successful battle was caught on film by Fox News and went viral, so Billy and the Bravo squad are back home in the U.S. on a "victory tour." Ahhh. That explains the interviews and the stretch limo.
  • Shroom was one of the Bravo dudes, but he was killed in the filmed battle.
  • On their C-130 flight out of Baghdad, the Bravo guys were accompanied by a bunch of chefs who were eager to show off their spoils of war. Billy thinks it's a bit wrong that some pudgy guys who've never seen battle get to bring home gold, cigars, and booze, when all the Army guys get to take back with them are their lives (if they're lucky).
  • Meanwhile, back in the limo, the guys are placing bets on football-related stuff. Did you know you could bet money on the Halftime Show opening song?
  • Albert, the big-shot movie producer who is traveling with Bravo, announces to everyone that Hilary Swank is interested in making their movie, as long as she can play Billy. Or Billy and Sergeant Dime merged into one mega-hero character. Weird.
  • Ahh, all the references to the Cowboys start to make sense: the Bravo guys are headed to the stadium to watch Thanksgiving Day football as part of their victory tour.
  • The guys are supposed to be doing something while there: maybe be on TV, maybe be part of the Halftime Show with Beyoncé and Destiny's Child—none of them really knows yet, but Billy's convinced that no matter what it is, it'll end up being embarrassing.
  • Whatever happens, Billy just wants to get laid.

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