Just about everything bad has happened to Lenny today. Her friend Babe’s husband has been shot by an ex-lover; her beloved horse Billy Boy was struck by lightning; Grandad’s on his last legs; and to top it off, everyone has forgotten her birthday, Yet, somehow, she has held it all together.
Sitting along in the kitchen, she lights a candle stuck in a cupcake and sings the Happy Birthday song to herself . . . several times, blowing the candle out and making a new wish each time. Then the phone rings: her sister-in-law, Lucille, is calling from the hospital.
Her song, one side of her phone conversation, is alternately spoken and sung as she gets progressively closer to tears.
LENNY: Hello? Oh, hello, Lucille.
Tell me – how's your brother Zack?
Have they got the x-rays back?
What did they say?
Oh, my! What? Yes, she’s on her way.
You’ve taken this so well, my dear.
Oh, now, I’m sure she’d want to hear
That he’s O.K. . . .
She’s still his wife! What’s that you say?
His liver’s saved? Well that’s good news!
I mean, I’d hate to see him lose. . .
I mean, thank God.
Huh? It does. It does seem odd.
I’m sure she wasn’t aiming for. . .
No, nothing makes sense any more. . .
It’s all a mess.
I understand just how you feel.
What? How does my grandpa feel?
Not well. I mean, he’s gotten worse.
I talked this morning to his nurse. . .
Oh, thanks. I will. I’ll tell him so.
Lucille, I’d better let you go.
‘Bye ‘bye, Lucille.
What’s that? The horse? How did you know. . ?
Yes, suddenly. No, lightning. Yes!
No, no suffering, I would guess.
Yes, quite a shock. . .
(Hmm?) Thank you dear, that means a lot.
Now, I should. . .I’ve got to. . .what?
The liver? Yes, I’ll tell Babe that.
His spine?. . .I’ll tell her that, as well.
This must be hell for you. Just hell. . .
Yes, I’ll tell her.
No big deal.
(Lenny hangs up and promptly breaks down.)
Words and music ©1993
Exercise: Song for Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley Music: assigned to Christopher Staton but not written
New Tuners Workshop, Chicago, Illinois