Collectively named “the boys”, Ned, Joe and Tom are Gar’s friends. Their “boisterous arrival” and “exaggerated laughter” break the silence of S.B.’s quiet scene.
There is a clear hierarchy among the boys with Ned being “the leader of the group”, the self-appointed alpha male. Tom seems in awe of Ned. Joe - "not yet fully committed to the boys’ way of life" - seems the most sensitive of the three.
There is much loud talk of their macho ways and the number of girls they attract, though Private tells us that they’re actually useless. It is obvious from Private’s commentary that the boys lie, fantasise and exaggerate. Yet he admits it wasn’t always like this, and that “there was fun and there was laughing”.
Although the only show of real friendship is when Ned removes his belt and presents it to Gar as a leaving present, the scene does close on a nostalgic note.
When the boys leave we hear Private’s monologue. It begins as a frustrated rant about his friends, but ends poignantly with Private, “almost in a whisper”, reflecting that the memories he is left with will be “precious, precious gold”.