Carl Steadman visits Goonie's mother through he can provide little comfort and no details of her son's death.
Meeting Rick Chappie, a somewhat disgruntled social worker, Carl agrees to go to the antiwar march in San Francisco.
Pam and Angie live in Davis, a stop on the way to S.F. Rick and Carl add them to the bus for the trip.
On the way Carl argues with Angie who holds rigid views of the military. Pam and Rick tend to ignore Angie.
In S.F. the travelers find lodging with an elementary school teacher and her lawyer husband.
Carl gets involved in a kinky sexual encounter with his hostess and quickly removes himself from their bedroom.
Early the next day they all drive to the plaza at City Hall. The spectacle of so many peaceful people doesn't assuage Carl's thoughts of a rocket dropping into the crowd.
The anti-war march to Kezar Stadium surprises Carl. There are more suits and ties in the crowd than he thought would be protesting.
The stadium crowd is intent on chants, the possibility of stars like Joan Baez performing, and getting stoned.
Angie persists in needling Carl but she has second thoughts about her treatment of him when she finds out how close he was to Goonie.
The group has had enough of the antics of the crowd in the stadium and they leave to find the streets are just as crowded as Kezar.
After leaving the crowd the group finds a restaurant that appeals to all. Even though they enjoy the food there is more tension between Carl and Angie.
The undercurrent championed by Morton is that if you didn't go to college you aren't up to snuff and would be hard-pressed to contribute to sparkling conversation.
Unknown to Carl the party that all are going to represents a microcosm of the city: members of the elite (docs and lawyers), rowdy toughs that have little use for anybody, homosexuals and a liberal attitude shared by almost all of the invitees.
Society matrons find Carl attractive. He is singled out to talk about the war and the protest, neither of which is an attractive subject for him.
What happens as the party progresses, and Carl is accosted by those seeming to want to know how he engaged in and reacted to the war, is one flashback after another to My Trang.
Carl is haunted by Goonie's death and the events that took place in My Trang.
We'll have to finish the last quarter of the book to get the answers to both of those very important aspects of Carl's Vietnam experience.
Carl thought coming to the party could go either way: be a good beer bust or end up in a brawl.
The first part of his party assessment worked out nicely. The second was no surprise as some of the rowdy toughs started in on Carl pinning him so the others could punch him out.
As Rick and Angie broke into the crowd that was giving Carl a working over, he was able to get loose and damage the main antagonist.
Shortly after, Angie provided Carl with some needed first aid. The drinks Angie had consumed put her in a romantic mood. She and Carl enjoyed a sexual encounter in one of the spare bedrooms.
Returning to the party Carl wondered what the point was of putting his life on the line to protect the values the party goers had espoused.
Outside, Carl and Angie escape the noise of the party but Carl can't escape the action at My Trang. He doesn't think Angie can understand what his time in The Nam was all abut. She tries but her revulsion at his description of My Trang wins out.
Later Carl confronts Morton to tell him that if he continues to seek public office Carl will reveal what took place at the Chicken Factory.
Rather than ride back to David, Carl opts for the YMCA to sort out his thoughts as Rick, Angie and Pam drive off.