"Whenever I see a man wearing a medal," said Marilee, "I want to cry and hug him, and say, 'Oh, you poor baby-all the terrible things you've been through, just so the woman and the children could be safe at home.'"
    She said she used to want to go up to Mussolini, who had so many medals that they covered both sides of his tunic right down to his belt, and say to him, "After all you've been through, how can there be anything left of you?"
    And then she brought up the unfortunate expression I had used when talking to her on the telephone: "Did you say that in the war you were 'combing pussy out of your hair'?"
    I said I was sorry I'd said it, and I was.
    "I never heard that expression before," she said. "I had to guess what it meant."
    "Just forget I said it," I said.
    "You want to know what my guess was? I guessed that wherever you went there were women who would do anything for food or protection for themselves and the children and the old people, since the young men were dead or gone away," she said. "How close was I?"
    "Oh my, oh my, oh my," I said.
    "What's the matter, Rabo?" she said.
    "You hit the nail on the head," I said.

    "Wasn't very hard to guess," she said. "The whole point of war is to put women everywhere in that condition. It's always men against women, with the men only pretending to fight among themselves."
    "They can pretend pretty hard sometimes," I said.
    "They know that the ones who pretend the hardest," she said, "get their pictures in the paper and medals afterwards."