Let's begin by introducing the characters who appear throughout this work.
An unemployed veteran of the Iraq War. He served in the US Army on the outskirts of Basra from March 2003- April 2005. When an IED ripped through his armed vehicle, killing two of his comrades, he sustained multiple leg, neck, and head injuries. Now he mostly drinks beer, listens to heavy metal music, and studies computer programming. His hope is to get a “decent job” for a military contracter and find himself a “decent lady” who enjoys football, computer gaming, and high-calorie food. He likes to think of himself as patriotic and a paragon of traditional American values. In reality, he is lazy, self-indulgent, and more interested in profit and glory than democracy or human rights.
An inquisitive freelance writer and journalist living with her mother and chubby cat near Washington D.C.. She studied journalism at college and worked as a newspaper reporter before being laid off in 1998. From 1991-1996 she was married to a junior lobbyist in Washington. After divorcing, she felt increasingly ambivalent about men. In 2007 she briefly dated Sam, but recently she has been fascinated by Kris. Alas, those feelings are one-way. Terri likes to think of herself as “independent-minded” and prejudice-free. In reality, she isn’t quite sure of anything and regards life as an ongoing exploration. Continually struggling with her own contradictions, currently she attempting to lose 15 pounds without giving up her daily Coldstone® Ice Creams.
A retired veteran and head of a bustling employment agency on the outskirts of Washington D.C. After finishing high school, he joined the U.S. Army and served in Iraq with Sam and several hundred thousand other Yanks. After an honorable discharge in 2006, he started a small business helping jobless people find “meaningful work”. Now a rising entrepreneur, he owns a fancy house in Virginia and is happily married with two charming daughters. Ted has a strong practical streak and seems anti-intellectual at times. He likes to regard himself as a “realist” that avoids “bullshit”. While this is true, at times he's also afraid to see the connections between events in his own life and around the world around him. As a consequence, he is often a small thinker.
A third-generation Korean-American computer code warrior. She works for a small computer game company Virginia. In her free time she likes parasailing, snowboarding, and kayaking: anything with a sensational thrill. Raised in a strict Christian family, she is actually more in love with Bugs Bunny & Ollie the Pig than Big “J” & the Old Testament prophets. Suffering from attention deficit disorder and frazzled from multiple SNS involvements, when she does manage to focus Kris has phenomenal energy and an alluring joie de vivre. Distrusting things that claim to be profound, often she goes so fast through life that she does not have time to look beneath its surface. Is she attempting to run from her own shadow? Or simply obsessive about “getting things right”?
A cynical retired professor and father of Sam. He spends most of his time outside of the U.S., but once a year comes Stateside to visit his son. He used to be an idealistic, new-age liberal. Over time, however, he became increasingly jaded. The election of Donald Trump was a tipping point for him. He no longer believes in America. Now divorced and working as a ghost writer on several projects, he likes to think of himself as an "intellectual". In reality, he's a meaningless fossil whose noble-sounding words rarely translate into action.