A Saigon Boulevard
The girls, or are they women? The women sit open crotches in the humid heat, lining the boulevard in front of the mini bars that have sprung up to service soldiers. It’s hard to judge the age of Vietnamese women. They call out invitations in limited English. “Hi, GI. Number one. Number one fuck.” Should there be any doubt, their body language makes everything clear.
Living advertisements, decked out in their prostitute finery, actually not so fine. Mini skirts, high heels, tank tops of all colors, hair bleached blonde or dyed red, imitations of femme fatales they’ve seen in American B movies.
It’s just another business in the passing economy of war and occupation by a foreign army. You shouldn’t feel sad for them. They’re better off than some: the dead, the maimed, the tortured, the starving.
A good gig is a GI who picks them up, takes them out to dinner, is gentle, and pays well. They can pretend they’re being courted.
Children appear and disappear among the women. Their children. They’re not just women. They’re mothers. The children are mixed race, not by accident, but decided on ‘rationally’ because of an offer of marriage, not sincere, but an offer, from a GI. Some mixed white and yellow. Some black and yellow.
They take time out from hawking their wares, relax and play games and laugh. Girls again. Girls that play at women, business women, making money to feed themselves and their children.
Paint a scene along a Saigon boulevard. Like Steinbeck’s general chapters. Add story chapter later.
Subtle political comment, not too overt (Steinbeck was criticized for being too preachy in Grapes of Wrath.)
Make the prostitutes sympathetic.
Show where and what the scene is. Don’t just say it outright like “Here we are in a boulevard in Saigon where prostitutes ply their trade.”