Loading...
Menu

623 E. 68th St., Apt. 3-D

623 E. 68 St., Apt. 3-D

A Reading Play

 

By J. R. Duke

 

Copyright 2017 J. R. Duke

 

Shakespir Edition

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Scene 1

Scene 2

Scene 3

Scene 4

Scene 5

To

Lucy and Desi

From

A Lifelong Fan

Lucy: I have an idea!

 

Ethel: How can you stand there in the middle of this mess and utter those four horrible words, I have an idea?

 

-I Love Lucy episode

[]Scene 1

(Before the play begins there is a musical prologue, none other than the theme to “I Love Lucy”; but just as it builds to its familiar climax it loses steam, gets slower, becomes off-key, and quickly deteriorates into unrecognizable sour notes, like the slowing down of a record on a turntable; the sound of the player’s needle being ripped from the record is heard and then the record being shattered; there is semi-darkness at first, the living room of a vaguely recognizable apartment can be seen in the low-light; a door buzzer starts buzzing, very loud and obnoxious, which should sound familiar; it persists and someone barely visible enters from the left; this person, a woman, hollers and curses at the buzzer/buzzee and when she makes it to the door she turns on a light: it is Lucy and we are in the Ricardo’s last apartment, but now many years later; time has taken its toll on the apartment and Lucy, both looking old and worn down; Lucy is now a senior citizen, not aging well to put it mildly: her once henna-red hair is grey, still in the same puffy Lucy hairdo from the past, but frizzy and uncombed/unbrushed; her makeup, which was excessive when she was much younger, is now even more so with exaggerated eyebrows, lipstick, and rouge making her appear clownish; throughout this scene she seems out of it, not just drunk which she probably is, but foggily vague and almost incoherent, as if she’s having difficulty struggling to become fully awake; she searches in her tattered robe pockets, finds an empty liquor bottle, tries to take a swig but it’s only fumes, then tosses it away and rummages through the couch cushions; she finds another bottle with barely anything in it, takes the last swig, and pauses as the contents does its thing; she wipes off her mouth, tosses this bottle too, and finally goes to answer the door (the buzzing has continued through all this) cussing under her breath all the way; she stops to look at herself in a mirror next to the front door, hollers, and nearly faints from shock at what she sees; she recovers, turns the mirror around, and answers the door; the person standing there is a man in his thirties, Latino and good-looking, strongly resembling Ricky Ricardo at that age.)

 

Man : Hi, it's me --

 

Lucy: (cuts him off) Not interested. (tries to close the door but he holds it open)

 

Man: Wait a minute, Mom.

 

Lucy: Mom? That’s a new one. Sorry, not gonna work. I don’t want to buy whatever you’re selling, now go away. (tries to close the door again and he holds it open again)

 

Man : I'm not selling anything and you are my mom -- don’t you recognize me?

 

Lucy: (squints comically while taking a closer look, then shakes her head) Never saw you before in my life. Leave or I’m calling 4-1-1.

 

Man: That’s 9-1-1 and you don’t have to call. I’m Little Ricky.

 

Lucy: Little who?

 

Man: Ricky.

 

Lucy: (has to think about this for a second) Ricky? What are you doing back here? I threw you out and told you never to come back and I meant it -- and I still do.

 

Man : No, not that Ricky -- Little Ricky, his son. Your son.

 

Lucy: (he’s starting to get through her drunken haze) Oh, that Little Ricky.

 

Little Ricky: Yes, that’s me.

 

Lucy: Prove it.

 

Little Ricky: Prove it?

 

Lucy: Yeah, prove it.

 

Little Ricky: How?

 

Lucy: A driver’s license and a credit card will do it.

 

Little Ricky : Mom -- look at me!

 

Lucy: (takes another close look) Okay, I guess you are him, or were him, or whatever.

 

Little Ricky: May I please come in?

 

Lucy : Sure, why not -- you don’t have to ask. You used to live here too, I think. (honestly not sure) Didn’t you?

 

(He enters and she closes the door. They go to have a seat on the couch; there is a pack of cigarettes and a lighter on the coffee table in front of the couch; she offers one to him which he declines and she proceeds to light one up and chain-smoke through the rest of the scene.)

 

Little Ricky: Of course I lived here, you must be kidding.

 

Lucy : Yeah, that’s right, I'm only kidding -- you know me, the big kidder.

 

Little Ricky: I’ve always said I got my sense of humor from you. (takes a closer look at his surroundings) This place still looks the same, sort of, and different too. I guess that’s how it is with memories -- you think you remember how things were, but your mind can play tricks on you.

 

Lucy: If you say so. Want a drink?

 

Little Ricky: A cup of coffee or tea would be nice, if it’s not too much trouble.

 

Lucy: I mean a drink. (stares at him in a vapor lock)

 

Little Rick: (gets what she means) This early in the morning?

 

Lucy: Why not? Don’t you want to be sociable with me?

 

Little Rick: Maybe some other time, but you go ahead if you like.

 

Lucy: That’s the spirit. (she rummages around again behind and between the couch cushions and still can’t find a bottle) Got any on you?

 

Little Ricky: No, I don’t.

 

Lucy: Damn.

 

Little Ricky: I can go get something for you later, after we’ve had a chance to talk.

 

Lucy: (perks up) You will? (grabs him by the collar, he nods) Promise?

 

Little Ricky: I promise.

 

Lucy: Thank you, thank you, thank you -- you're a good son. (hugs him; pause as she’s still trying to focus on what’s going on) So, you’re Little Ricky.

 

Little Ricky: Yes.

 

Lucy: And you’re here.

 

Little Ricky: Yes.

 

Lucy: Why?

 

Little Ricky: Why what?

 

Lucy: (a little impatient) Why are you here?

 

Little Ricky: I wanted to see you again.

 

Lucy: What for?

 

Little Ricky: I’d like to talk to you.

 

Lucy: About what?

 

Little Ricky: Lots of things. It’s been a while since we’ve seen one another, we have a lot of catching up to do.

 

Lucy : Oh, okay. How long has it been -- weeks, months?

 

Little Ricky: Years.

 

Lucy: Years? (he nods; disbelieving) Years? You waited years before you decided to come see me again?

 

Little Ricky: I guess I’ve been too busy, Mom.

 

Lucy: Hah.

 

Little Ricky: I’ve tried calling, but your phone was disconnected.

 

Lucy: Yeah, well.

 

Little Ricky : I got worried and called Aunt Ethel -- she said you were okay, didn’t she tell you I called?

 

Lucy: (honestly) I don’t know, maybe.

 

Little Ricky : And I've sent cards -- you know, for Christmas, and Mother's Day, and your birthday, didn’t you get those?

 

Lucy: Is it my birthday?

 

Little Ricky: Well, it was.

 

Lucy: Yeah, I guess it was. Thanks. (pause) Are you sure you don’t have something to drink?

 

Little Ricky: No, but like I said, I’ll go get something shortly.

 

Lucy: Yeah, that’s right, you promised.

 

Little Ricky: Do you forgive me for not keeping in touch more often?

 

Lucy: (gives it some thought, then caves in) Why sure, I forgive you. (she hugs him again) You're my boy, my only child, my little -- (can’t remember)

 

Little Ricky: Ricky.

 

Lucy: (starts to sob) Little Ricky. I’ll never forget all the wonderful times we had together here when you were growing up.

 

Little Ricky: Here and at the house in the country.

 

Lucy: (lost) The what in the where?

 

Little Ricky: The house you and Dad bought out in the country in Connecticut. (she’s still lost) We moved there to get away from the city that you thought was noisy and dirty, and this apartment, which you thought was too small for us. (she’s trying hard to remember) It was a nice big house and you bought a lot of new expensive furniture for it and got in trouble with Dad, but he forgave you, just like he always did. And we raised chickens and sold the eggs. Uncle Fred and Aunt Ethel moved out there from the city to live with us in the guest house to help out.

 

Lucy: (sort of remembering) Oh, okay -- yeah, how about that.

 

Little Ricky: It was fun growing up in a big house and playing outside with all my friends.

 

Lucy: Yeah, that does sound like fun. (pause) And then what happened?

 

Little Ricky: Well, after I grew up I left home.

 

Lucy: That’s right, you did, I remember that. (not really) And then what?

 

Little Ricky: I found a place to live on my own and started my band, just like Dad.

 

Lucy: Who?

 

Little Ricky: Dad. (she still doesn’t know) Big Ricky. (she mouths the name as if she’s never said it before) Ricky Ricardo, the famous Cuban bandleader. (still clueless) Your husband.

 

Lucy: (she gives this a thought, seems to remain clueless, then suddenly the past dawns on her as she remembers, and it’s very painful) My husband.

 

Little Ricky: Yes.

 

Lucy: (spits it out) Ricky Ricardo, the FAMOUS Cuban bandleader. You mean the famous Cuban bastard!

 

Little Ricky: Mom!

 

Lucy : Well, he is -- at least he was, and I'm sure he still is.

 

Little Ricky : I know you and Dad had your ups and downs over the years --

 

Lucy: You can say that again!

 

Little Ricky: But you always seemed to get over all the down times and, well, you know, kissed and made up.

 

Lucy: Yeah, right. Not the last time, not even close. It was definitely THE last time. Forever.

 

Little Ricky: You mean when he lost his job.

 

Lucy: Bull’s-eye, exactly what I mean. That’s a down you don’t get up from.

 

Little Ricky: But it wasn’t his fault.

 

Lucy: I’d say bull something else, but I’m too much of a lady.

 

Little Ricky: It was because public tastes had changed and not as many people went out to nightclubs any more like Club Babalu.

 

Lucy: You mean baba-lousey.

 

Little Ricky: It was still good entertainment.

 

Lucy: You call that entertainment? I call it a waste of time and money. Who wants to pay to see an over-the-hill conga beater who’s losing his voice, his hair, and his looks?

 

Little Ricky: He couldn’t help any of those things.

 

Lucy : Yeah, but he could’ve helped me, his wife, the one he's supposed to be supporting -- to make sure I had a roof over my head, and something to eat, and clothes to wear. And something to drink!

 

Little Ricky: I’m sure he did everything he possibly could do.

 

Lucy: Yeah, sure he did.

 

Little Ricky: Aunt Ethel told me he went on unemployment for as long as he could and when he wasn’t able to find a decent job he filed for bankruptcy and sold the house.

 

Lucy : The one out in the country -- now I remember. How could he do such a thing?

 

Little Ricky: He had no choice.

 

Lucy : That big, beautiful house and furniture, all gone now -- gone, gone, gone.

 

Little Ricky: It was nice of the Mertzes to let you come back here and stay rent-free until Dad could find some kind of work in the city. That was very generous of Uncle Fred, knowing how he is about money.

 

Lucy : Oh, don’t worry about that -- you can bet your Uncle Fred's keeping track of every penny we owe him for back rent. He's a bastard too -- all husbands are.

 

Little Ricky: Aunt Ethel also said that Dad was making a little money giving drum lessons.

 

Lucy: (rolls her eyes) Drum lessons. Now there’s something everybody needs. I was thinking about going shopping for a new mink stole from all the money he’s making doing that.

 

Little Ricky: At least he’s trying.

 

Lucy: Yeah, right.

 

Little Ricky: I’d like to talk to him too while I’m here. Is he home?

 

Lucy: I don’t know, he might be around here somewhere. Go take a look.

 

(Little Ricky makes a quick tour of the apartment calling out ‘Dad’ and returns empty-handed.)

 

Little Ricky: I guess he’s not here.

 

Lucy: I could’ve told you that.

 

Little Ricky: Why didn’t you?

 

Lucy: (truthfully) I forgot.

 

Little Ricky: Forgot?

 

Lucy: Yep.

 

Little Ricky: How could you forget where your own husband is?

 

Lucy: It took a lot of practice, but I finally got the hang of it. (laughs at her joke)

 

Little Ricky: Don’t you want to know where he is? Aren’t you worried? I am.

 

Lucy: Don’t get your bowels in an uproar. I could remember where he is if I really wanted to, but I don’t.

 

Little Ricky: Well, I want you to. Could you at least try?

 

Lucy: Why?

 

Little Ricky : Because I asked. Do it for me -- please?

 

Lucy: Okay, since you asked nicely, but don’t make a habit out of it. (she gets quiet and stares into space)

 

Little Ricky: Well?

 

Lucy: Hold your horses, I’m thinking about it. (she tries a little harder, squeezes her face into various contortions, then remembers) He’s not here.

 

Little Ricky: I know that, where is he?

 

Lucy: Just a second, I was going to tell you. He’s at the yimca.

 

Little Ricky: Yimca?

 

Lucy: That’s what I said.

 

Little Ricky: (tries unsuccessfully to understand by repeating it) The yimca.

 

Lucy: The yimca.

 

Little Ricky: What’s that?

 

Lucy: (looks around quickly to see what she thinks he’s referring to) What’s what?

 

Little Ricky: The yimca!

 

Lucy: Geez Louise, I guess I’ll have to spell it out for you. He’s at the Y – M – C – A, he calls it the yimca.

 

Little Ricky: Oh, I get it.

 

Lucy: Well, it’s about time. (to audience) I thought I’d raised a smarter kid than that.

 

Little Ricky: What’s he doing there?

 

Lucy: What’s who doing where?

 

Little Ricky: Mom!

 

Lucy: I’m right here. Boy, I’m beginning to worry about you.

 

Little Ricky : What's Dad doing at the -- yimca?

 

Lucy: See? That’s what you call it too, you talk just like him.

 

Little Ricky: Why is he there and not here at home?

 

Lucy : He's at the yimca -- also known as the YMCA to those of us who can speak English -- because he likes it there. And because he doesn’t like it here. And I don’t want him to be here so it's worked out real well. That’s all I know. End of story.

 

Little Ricky: There’s got to be more to it than that. The YMCA isn’t expensive but it still costs money to stay there. How can he afford that?

 

Lucy : You're right, he can't afford it. He can't afford anything -- he never could.

 

Little Ricky : Mom --

 

Lucy : He doesn’t have to afford it -- the owner is a friend of his, used to play the trombone in his band, or something like that, and he lets your father stay there free of charge for old time's sake. Free is his favorite price.

 

Little Ricky: Why doesn’t he want to be here? Did the two of you have a disagreement?

 

Lucy: You mean a fight?

 

Little Ricky: Is that what it was?

 

Lucy: (thinks about it, puts up her dukes) Yeah, it was a fight all right, one heckuva fight, a knock-down, dragged-out, winner-takes-all, to the bitter end fight. And I mean bitter. And it looks like I won because I’m the one who’s still here. So there.

 

Little Ricky: I hope it didn’t get physical.

 

Lucy: Physical? Naw, that’s not the way we fight, your father never laid a hand on me. (he gives her a knowing look) And I never touched him either. It was just yelling, like it always was. Nobody can yell at each other like we do, we were a match made in heaven -- or maybe hell. ( thinks about it and laughs) Yeah, hell. We were hellfighters. (laughs until she starts coughing and takes a moment to compose herself)

 

Little Ricky: What did you fight about this time?

 

Lucy: (thinks about it, can’t remember) Oh, I don’t know. Something or other. Yeah, that’s right, it was something or other. Whatever it was, that’s what we fought about.

 

Little Ricky: Sorry to hear that. I’m sure deep-down you really miss him.

 

Lucy: Deep-down he makes me so sick I want to throw up.

 

Little Ricky: Okay, Mom, if you say so.

 

Lucy: I did say so.

 

Little Ricky: But I don’t think you mean it.

 

Lucy: I don’t care if you do or don’t.

 

Little Ricky: Okay, okay.

 

Lucy: If you don’t watch it I’ll send you packing to the yimca too. (there is a pause of embarrassed silence) So -- why are you here?

 

Little Ricky: Well, like I said, I wanted to see you again.

 

Lucy: Here I am, take a good look.

 

Little Ricky: And talk to you too.

 

Lucy: I think that’s what you’re doing right now. (looks at the audience in disbelief)

 

Little Ricky: There’s something I need to tell you. It’s kind of a surprise.

 

Lucy : A surprise? I like surprises -- let me guess. You did bring something to drink, right? (desperately looks around) Where’s it at? Where’d you hide it?

 

Little Ricky: No, that’s not it.

 

Lucy: (disappointed) Oh.

 

Little Ricky: The surprise is, I’m getting married.

 

Lucy: (still somewhat disappointed) Oh.

 

Little Ricky: How do you feel about that? Is it okay with you?

 

Lucy: (thinks about it) Yeah, why not. Well, well, well -- Little -- (still can’t remember)

 

Little Ricky: Ricky.

 

Lucy : Yeah, that’s right -- Little Ricky's getting married.

 

Little Ricky : And -- ?

 

Lucy: And what?

 

Little Ricky: Aren’t you happy for me?

 

Lucy: Happy? (thinks about it) Sure I am -- here, give your one and only old mother another big hug. (he does) I’d be happier if the surprise was something to drink, but whatever.

 

(Pause)

 

Little Ricky: Don’t you want to know who it is?

 

Lucy: Who what is?

 

Little Ricky: The person I’m marrying.

 

Lucy: Don’t you know?

 

Little Ricky: (patiently) Yes, Mom.

 

Lucy: I hope so, I wouldn’t want you to be marrying a stranger. (looks at audience and laughs)

 

Little Ricky: She’s definitely not a stranger. We’ve known each other for a long time. She’s the lead singer for my band.

 

Lucy: She’s the what for your which?

 

Little Ricky: (has by now gotten used to this) Lead singer -- you know, someone who sings.

 

Lucy: Yeah, I knew that, just joking again. So, what’s the name of your band, isn’t it the something something something or other?

 

Little Ricky: When my friends and I first got together we called ourselves the Ricky Ricardo Junior Players, in honor of Dad.

 

Lucy: I don’t like the sound of that.

 

Little Ricky: Neither did we after a while.

 

Lucy: I don’t blame you.

 

Little Ricky: It was too long and not catchy enough.

 

Lucy: Yeah, that’s not catchy at all.

 

Little Ricky: So we changed it to Los Musicos Ricardo.

 

Lucy: (like she’s tasting it) Los Musicos Ricardo.

 

Little Ricky: What do you think?

 

Lucy: (repeats it several times to get the hang of it, does a little dance to it) That is a little more catchy.

 

Little Ricky: It means the Ricardo Musicians.

 

Lucy: (not really) I knew that. (pause) So -- why are you here?

 

Little Ricky: Well, first of all I wanted to tell you that I’m engaged.

 

Lucy : Oh, yeah, right, happy new year -- I mean congrats.

 

Little Ricky: Thanks. And second, there’s something I wanted to ask you.

 

Lucy : Oh? Uh-oh, I hope it's not money -- if it is you're gonna have to go fish.

 

Little Ricky: No, I don’t need any money.

 

Lucy: Good, happy to hear it.

 

Little Ricky: I wanted to ask you if it’s okay to stop by sometime soon.

 

Lucy : You already did -- you're here right now. (looks at audience and shakes her head with a smile)

 

Little Ricky: I mean both of us together.

 

Lucy: (takes a look at both of them) I’m here too, isn’t that both of us?

 

Little Ricky: I mean me and my fiancée.

 

Lucy: Oh. (takes a look) Where’s she at? Is she shy or something?

 

Little Ricky: She’s not here yet. I wanted to check with you first before I brought her to meet you, would that be okay?

 

Lucy: (starts to sink in) Meet me? (gathers her clothes around her and takes a look at herself) I’m not so sure about that.

 

Little Ricky: She’s really looking forward to meeting you.

 

Lucy: Well, maybe some day, but now’s not a very good time.

 

Little Ricky: I didn’t mean right this very minute. I’ll let you choose when, so you’ll have plenty of time to do whatever it is you’d like to do to get ready.

 

Lucy: Oh, okay, that’s fine with me.

 

Little Ricky: Great, so when would be a good time?

 

Lucy: (thinks about it) Oh, I don’t know, how about two years from now or so?

 

Little Ricky: There you go kidding again.

 

Lucy: (not really) Yeah, there I go again.

 

Little Ricky: How about next Saturday sometime?

 

Lucy: Saturday?

 

Little Ricky: Yes.

 

Lucy: Next Saturday?

 

Little Ricky: Is that too soon?

 

Lucy: (thinks it over) That depends.

 

Little Ricky: On what?

 

Lucy: What day is it today?

 

Little Ricky: Monday.

 

Lucy: Oh, yeah, I knew that.

 

Little Ricky: That’ll give you almost a week.

 

Lucy: For what?

 

Little Ricky: For whatever you feel like you need to do before then.

 

Lucy: Let me think it over and get back to you.

 

Little Ricky: Couldn’t you tell me now so I can let Belle know?

 

Lucy: Belle? Who’s that?

 

Little Ricky: (has remained impressively patient) My fiancée.

 

Lucy: Oh. That’s a pretty name.

 

Little Ricky : That’s what it means in French -- so is she.

 

Lucy: What, French?

 

Little Ricky : No, Mom -- she's pretty like her name. You'll see. But there's more to her than that, she's a very special person. I feel so lucky that we met.

 

Lucy: Well, I’m so glad that you did.

 

Little Ricky: We’re going to be very happy together.

 

Lucy: I’m sure you will.

 

Little Ricky: Just like you and Dad.

 

Lucy: (turns her head and dry spits) Why’d you want to bring him up again? We sure aren’t happy together any more.

 

Little Ricky: Maybe not at moment, but the two of you still have plenty of time to work things out.

 

Lucy: (this sort of sinks in) What are you getting at?

 

Little Ricky: It’s five days until Saturday.

 

Lucy: If you say so, so what?

 

Little Ricky : That’s when I'll be back with Belle -- I want Dad to be here too.

 

Lucy: (gets the picture) Oh, no he’s not!

 

Little Ricky : Mom -- !

 

Lucy: No!

 

Little Ricky: Please, I want him to meet Belle.

 

Lucy: Then take her to see him at the yimca.

 

Little Ricky : Here would be better. Please -- do it for me, okay?

 

Lucy: (rolls her eyes in defeat) Whatever. But you're going to owe me big time -- and I mean big as in a gallon bottle.

 

Little Ricky: Anything you want, I’ll be glad to get it for you.

 

Lucy: You keep saying that, just be sure you don’t forget.

 

Little Ricky: I won’t.

 

Lucy: You won’t because I won’t let you.

 

(Pause)

 

Little Ricky: It’s been a while since I’ve seen Dad, there’s something I want to talk to him about too.

 

Lucy: (barely paying attention) Whatever.

 

Little Ricky: I need his help. The only way Belle would agree to get married was if she no longer had to be the lead singer of my band.

 

Lucy: Los Ricardo something-or-other.

 

Little Ricky: That’s close.

 

Lucy: See, I can remember stuff, sort of.

 

Little Ricky: Belle has gotten tired of all the traveling we do for our gigs and wants to get married and settle down. So do I, but that means I need to get a replacement for the lead singer. I hope Dad still has show business contacts who can help him find someone. That’s why I want to talk to him.

 

Lucy: Yeah, yeah -- whatever. [_ (but what he has just said slowly begins to sink in and apparently an idea comes to her, just like the old days -- feeble at first, but it grows as she thinks about it) ] Replacement, huh? [_(it’s almost there)] Find someone. (the idea suddenly wakes her from her fog and she jumps to her feet as if struck by lightening, her eyes wide open and mouth agape) Omigod!

 

Little Ricky: What’s the matter?

 

Lucy: Nothing’s the matter, I just want to make sure about something. (hoping beyond hope) You said -- you said you need a new singer.

 

Little Ricky: That’s right.

 

Lucy: And you’re serious about that.

 

Little Ricky: Yes, I am. If I don’t find somebody soon Belle will change her mind about wanting to get married. And the band’s got a big gig coming up, so I guess I’m kind of desperate.

 

Lucy: (growing confidence) Desperate? As in, not very picky?

 

Little Ricky: Maybe a little, but not a lot. As long as it’s a female who can sing I’d be happy. Do you happen to know someone yourself?

 

Lucy: (getting excited) Do I? Do I!

 

Little Ricky: Well, do you?

 

Lucy: I sure do.

 

Little Ricky : Hey, great -- when can I meet her?

 

Lucy: You already have.

 

Little Ricky: That’s even better. Who is it?

 

Lucy: Someone you know and love.

 

Little Ricky: I don’t think that’d work out too well.

 

Lucy: Okay, just someone you know.

 

Little Ricky: So it’s a friend.

 

Lucy: Yeah, that’s right, a friend.

 

Little Ricky: What’s her name.

 

Lucy: Guess.

 

Little Ricky: Gee, I don’t know. I’m not bragging but I have a lot of female friends. (he says several names and she says no to each one, until he happens to say Lucy)

 

Lucy: That’s the one.

 

Little Ricky: Lucy, huh? Just like you.

 

Lucy: Yeah, just like me.

 

Little Ricky: I think I know who you’re talking about, is it that Lucy I’ve known since I was a little boy?

 

Lucy: That’s the one.

 

Little Ricky: It’s been years since I’ve seen her.

 

Lucy: Oh, it hasn’t been that long.

 

Little Ricky: Yes, it has. The last I heard she got married and had children.

 

Lucy: That’s right, a boy. A devoted and faithful son.

 

Little Ricky: She doesn’t sound like someone who’d want to be in a band.

 

Lucy: You’d be surprised.

 

Little Ricky: How do you know that, have you talked to her recently?

 

Lucy: As a matter of fact I have, right before you got here.

 

Little Ricky: What a coincidence.

 

Lucy: Yeah, what a co-inky-dinky.

 

Little Ricky: And you think she’d really be interested?

 

Lucy: I know so, trust me.

 

Little Ricky: Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to talk to her. Dad might not know anybody and I really need to find someone right away.

 

Lucy: Don’t waste your time talking to him, you’ve found her.

 

Little Ricky: When could I meet her?

 

Lucy: How about now?

 

Little Ricky: Now? Does she live near here?

 

Lucy: Pretty close. In this apartment.

 

Little Ricky: Is she staying with you?

 

Lucy: Something like that.

 

Little Ricky: I guess you took in a boarder to make some money. (she shrugs her shoulder) Is she in the other room? I didn’t see her when I looked around for Dad. I’d like to speak to her.

 

Lucy: You already are.

 

Little Ricky: (joking) Don’t tell me she’s invisible.

 

Lucy: (looks at herself to check) Nope.

 

Little Ricky: (looks around) Then where is she?

 

Lucy : I already told you -- here.

 

Little Ricky: Where?

 

Lucy: Right here! (he looks puzzled, doesn’t know what else to say) It’s me.

 

Little Ricky: I know you’re you, but where’s Lucy? (she gives him a ta-da and it takes him a second to realize what she’s suggesting) You mean you?

 

Lucy: Yes, me!

 

Little Ricky: (thinks about it) Oh, I get it, there you go kidding again.

 

Lucy: Nope, not this time.

 

Little Ricky : Mom --

 

Lucy: I said I’m not kidding.

 

Little Ricky: Where’s the girl named Lucy who’s a singer?

 

Lucy: I’m a girl, right?

 

Little Ricky: Yes.

 

Lucy: And my name is Lucy.

 

Little Ricky: Yes.

 

Lucy: And I’m a singer. (he’s silent) Well?

 

Little Ricky : Well --

 

Lucy: Well, what? Why not me?

 

Little Ricky: I don’t think it would be a good idea.

 

Lucy : Why? Give me one good reason -- and don’t say because I can't sing because you and I both know that’s not true.

 

Little Ricky: I was looking for someone more my age.

 

Lucy: I’m your age and then some. Age is only a number, you’re as young as you feel, and all that kind of stuff. Next?

 

Little Ricky: You’re my mother and it’d be a little awkward if you were working for me.

 

Lucy: I won’t work for you, I’ll work with you, we’ll be a team, it’ll be all teamwork. Next?

 

Little Ricky: (unhappily) I guess that’s about it.

 

Lucy: Then that means I’m hired.

 

Little Ricky: I didn’t say that.

 

Lucy : I know, I said it for you -- see, we're a team already. (he’s quiet) Or maybe I’m not hired. What’s the matter, don’t you like your own mother any more?

 

Little Ricky : Mom --

 

Lucy : I guess that was hitting below the maternal belt. But it shows you how much I want this -- and I do, I really, really, really do. (he walks away from her and she follows him) Please? (she gets down on her knees to beg and follows him around on her knees) Please! Please! Please!

 

Little Ricky: Mom, get up. (he lifts her up from the floor)

 

Lucy : All I'm asking for, all I want, is a chance, one last chance. Your father kept saying no for years and years -- and years. (grabs him forcefully by the collar and gets close up in his face) What do you say?

 

Little Ricky: (as if he has no other choice, softly) Okay.

 

Lucy: I can’t hear you.

 

Little Ricky: (louder) I said okay.

 

Lucy: (goes from a grab to a hug) That’s my boy! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you again! You’re the best son a mother could ever have. You’ll never regret this, I promise.

 

Little Ricky : But --

 

Lucy: (lets go of him) But? But what? I don’t like the sound of that. There's a catch, there's always a catch -- what is it?

 

Little Ricky: You’ll need to audition first.

 

Lucy: Audition? Why?

 

Little Ricky: I’m only part of the band. The rest of the guys have a vote in this too.

 

Lucy: But you’re the leader of the band.

 

Little Ricky: Not really. I’m the one who got us together but we don’t have a leader. The band belongs to all of us.

 

Lucy: But I’m your mother.

 

Little Ricky: That’s an even bigger reason for you to audition. That way no one will be able to say you got picked because of who you are.

 

Lucy: Oh, I getcha. We need to go through the motions, but it’s just a formality. I’ll be the singer anyway, right?

 

Little Ricky: We’ll see.

 

Lucy: (thinks it over) I guess that’s better than no, I’ll take it. When’s the audition? Do you want to hear me sing now?

 

Little Ricky: (Heaven forbid) No, not now. The others need to hear you too.

 

Lucy: Yeah, that’s right, I didn’t think about that.

 

Little Ricky: I’ll let you know when. In the meantime, is it okay if I tell Belle?

 

Lucy: Who?

 

Little Ricky: Belle, my fiancée.

 

Lucy: Oh, yeah, Belle. Tell her what?

 

Little Ricky: That you’d like to meet her.

 

Lucy: Yeah, sure, why not.

 

Little Ricky: So is this Saturday okay?

 

Lucy: (gives it a thought) Yeah, okay-dokey.

 

Little Ricky: Terrific. And will you invite Dad too? (she starts to disagree again) Please? For me?

 

Lucy: (reluctantly) Yes, I’ll invite him, but only because you’re doing something special in return for me.

 

Little Ricky: You mean get you something to drink.

 

Lucy: Yeah, that too. I’m talking about the audition. You haven’t forgotten already, have you?

 

Little Ricky: I haven’t forgotten, you’ll get to audition.

 

Lucy: Good.

 

Little Ricky: (checks his watch) I’ve got to run now.

 

Lucy: Okay, go run now.

 

Little Ricky: I’ll call you in a couple of days to see how things are going?

 

Lucy: How what’s going?

 

Little Ricky: (looks around the apartment’s disarray) Well, I just assumed you need some time to get ready.

 

Lucy: For what?

 

Little Ricky: This Saturday. And please don’t ask what’s happening then, I don’t have time for any more joking. (kisses her on the cheek) Great to see you again, Mom. I can’t wait for you to meet Belle. (he exits)

 

Lucy: Yeah, I can’t wait either. Bye, son. (after he leaves she remains standing there staring into space, trying to recall the conversation she just had with him; suddenly it dawns on her what’s going to happen and she panics) Ethel -- gotta call Ethel! (she rushes to the phone and dials a number, having to bring the dial close to her face to see the numbers; she listens but the line is busy; she imitates a busy sound) An -- an -- an. Who the heck are you yakking at? I'm the only one you ever talk to and you're not talking to me right now. (she hangs up the phone and rushes to the front door and opens it; yelling) Ethel! ETHEL! Get off the phone! I need you! Hurry up, it’s an emergency! It’s a matter of life and death! Ethel! (she runs out the front door to go get her)

[]Scene 2

(A few moments later Ethel can be heard calling Lucy’s name; Ethel enters by the back door and goes through the kitchen to the living room, still calling for *Lucy*; Ethel also looks appropriately older, but is in much better shape and attire than Lucy; she goes into the bedroom and returns to the living room without having found Lucy; she notices that the front door is open and goes to close it; just as she does Lucy comes barreling back through the front door and shoves Ethel behind it as she enters; Ethel closes the door and reveals herself standing there which startles Lucy who hollers out in surprise; Ethel grabs her and tries to calm her down.)

 

Ethel: Lucy! Calm down!

 

Lucy: You frightened me, Ethel.

 

(Ethel takes her over to the couch and they sit down.)

 

Ethel: I thought you were looking for me.

 

Lucy: I was, but I wasn’t expecting to find you hiding behind the door. What’s wrong with you, are you trying to give me a heart attack?

 

Ethel: I came here because I heard you calling my name and it sounded like you needed me right away.

 

Lucy: I do, I do.

 

Ethel: Are you okay?

 

Lucy: I think so.

 

Ethel: Then what’s the problem?

 

Lucy: Little Ricky stopped by a few minutes ago.

 

Ethel: He did? I’m sorry I missed him, you should have called me sooner to let me know he was here.

 

Lucy : Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t -- I'm not sure.

 

Ethel: How could you not be sure?

 

Lucy: I'm just not -- but there's a way to find out. (extends her arm) Here, pinch me. (Ethel does) Ow, not so hard.

 

Ethel : Sorry -- what was that for?

 

Lucy: To see if I’m really awake. Can you feel pain when you’re asleep?

 

Ethel: I don’t think so.

 

Lucy: Then I must be awake. I still don’t believe it.

 

Ethel: Believe what?

 

Lucy: What just happened.

 

Ethel: I guess it has been a while since you’ve seen Little Ricky. He should come by more often.

 

Lucy: He’s going to, that’s what I needed to talk to you about. He told me he’s engaged.

 

Ethel: Oh, how nice.

 

Lucy: That’s not all. He wants to bring his fiancée to meet me.

 

Ethel: (looks around at the living room’s mess) I can see why that would be a problem.

 

Lucy: That’s still not all. He wants Ricky to be here too.

 

Ethel: That’s an even bigger problem. Did you tell him where Ricky is and why he’s there?

 

Lucy : He was wanting to talk to him so I had to -- he made me promise that Ricky will be here when he comes back with his fiancée.

 

Ethel: Did he say when that would be?

 

Lucy: Yes, Saturday. What am I going to do?

 

Ethel: Well, if it was anyone else but you I’d say invite them for a fancy home-cooked dinner.

 

Lucy: You’re right, I can’t remember the last time I cooked anything that resembled a dinner, let alone a fancy one. And look at this place.

 

Ethel: (takes another look) I’m looking.

 

Lucy: (gets up and goes to the mirror, turns it back around) And look at me. (she looks at herself and hollers again) No, don’t or you'll start -- crying. (which she does; she turns the mirror back over)

 

Ethel: Now Lucy, come away from there. (Lucy returns to the couch and sits down, still crying) Saturday is several days away, I’m sure we could get this place back in shape by then.

 

Lucy: We? You mean you’ll help me?

 

Ethel: I don’t have much choice if you want to get it all done in time. You could never do it yourself.

 

Lucy: (looks around at the mess) No, I couldn’t.

 

Ethel : And I tell you what -- since it was my idea I'll be glad to cook the dinner for you, as long as you invite Fred and me to help you eat it. I want to see Little Ricky again and meet his fiancée too.

 

Lucy : You're invited. But what about Ricky? I don’t want to ask him to be here -- we have a rule that whenever we're not speaking the one who speaks first loses and I don’t want to lose.

 

Ethel: Yes, I remember that rule. What were you two fighting about this time?

 

Lucy: I don’t know, something he said or I said, or that we both said.

 

Ethel: That doesn’t sound like a big deal.

 

Lucy: Well, it was. And I promised Little Ricky that he would be here.

 

Ethel: Why don’t you ask Ricky indirectly?

 

Lucy: How would I do that?

 

Ethel : I'll do it for you. Fred stays in touch with Ricky -- I'll tell him to tell Ricky about the dinner on Saturday and who'll be there and that Little Ricky wants him to come. That way you won't have to talk to Ricky.

 

Lucy: What if I’m tempted to give him another piece of my mind when I see him on Saturday night?

 

Ethel: That’s a temptation you’ll just have to resist. Both of you need to be on your best behavior at the dinner so you can make a good impression on Little Ricky’s fiancée.

 

Lucy: I suppose so, but it’s not going to be easy.

 

Ethel: It won’t be for very long. And who knows, maybe it’ll break the ice between you and Ricky.

 

Lucy: Hah! That’ll never happen. (thinks a moment) That takes care of dinner and Ricky, but what about me? I don’t want to meet anybody looking like this and I don’t have anything nice to wear. I feel like Cinderella before the ball and you're my fairy godmother -- got any more tricks up your sleeve to help me out?

 

Ethel: Well, you’re older than you used to be just like we all are, so there’s nothing you can do about the wrinkles. How about fixing your hair like you used to way back when.

 

Lucy: I can’t afford a bottle of henna rinse and it’s too expensive to go to a beauty parlor. (pause to think for a second) You still get yours done. Don’t you have a good friend down at that place you go to? I could be a friend of a friend.

 

Ethel: She might be a friend, but she doesn’t do it for free. And before you ask, I don’t have any extra money for you to spend on your hair.

 

Lucy : I wasn’t going to ask for money -- maybe your friend will do it for something else.

 

Ethel: Like what?

 

Lucy: She’s a lot younger than you, right?

 

Ethel: Yes, so?

 

Lucy : She's bound to have heard of Little Ricky and his band -- you can tell her I'll get her free tickets to his next show.

 

Ethel: Are you sure you can do that?

 

Lucy: I’m his mother, he’ll do anything I ask.

 

Ethel : Well --

 

Lucy: Those tickets are worth a whole lot more than what it would cost to do my hair.

 

Ethel: I guess it wouldn’t hurt to see what she says about it, just don’t get your hopes built up.

 

Lucy: You can tell her she’ll also get to meet Little Ricky in person after the show and all the other members of the band too. But only as a fan, he’s already taken.

 

Ethel: That might do it.

 

Lucy: (getting her full Lucy on, jumps up with enthusiasm and hits her hand with her fist) Of course it will. (gets a little discouraged) I wish I could buy a new dress too, but that’s impossible. (thinks while pacing back and forth, then stops next to Ethel) What do you have to say about that, fairy godmother?

 

Ethel: We can take a look at what you’ve got in your closet, there’s got to be something we can bring back to life. After years of living on a extremely limited wardrobe budget I’ve gotten pretty good at doing that. If we don’t find any possibilities we can take a look in my closet for a dress.

 

Lucy: Okay, but we’d have to take one of your dresses in quite a bit to fit me.

 

Ethel: Is that any way to speak to your fairy godmother?

 

Lucy: My apologies. I don’t want to make you mad. I need you on my team.

 

Ethel: That’s more like it. If we can’t find anything good in your closet or mine then we’ll go shopping.

 

Lucy: With whose money?

 

Ethel: We’ll go to the thrift stores, surely we can scare up some loose change for that.

 

Lucy: I think I’ve got a few pennies left hiding somewhere.

 

Ethel: I’ll throw any I can find into the kitty too, that ought to be enough.

 

Lucy: You know, this is starting to sound doable.

 

Ethel: Sure it is.

 

Lucy: And I think I’m even beginning to look forward to it.

 

Ethel: So am I.

 

Lucy: All except the Ricky part.

 

Ethel: Well, don’t think about that.

 

Lucy: You’re right I won’t, why let him spoil everything?

 

Ethel: Good girl.

 

Lucy: You know Ethel, you’re not just a fairy godmother, you’re the best friend a person could ever have. (hugs her)

 

Ethel: I think you might be buttering me up a little by saying that for all the things that need to be done.

 

Lucy: Well, it always worked in the past.

 

Ethel: Yes, I remember that too. (thinks) You know, if Ricky is coming Saturday he’ll want to look his best too.

 

Lucy: So what?

 

Ethel : I'm sure he doesn’t have any dress up clothes down at the YMCA -- all his things are here.

 

Lucy: That’s his problem, not mine.

 

Ethel: You need to be a little fair about it.

 

Lucy: I don’t see why.

 

Ethel : Now, Lucy --

 

Lucy: Oh, all right, what am I supposed to do?

 

Ethel: Let Ricky stop by to get something to wear.

 

Lucy: Not while I’m at home.

 

Ethel : How about sometime when you're not here -- you and I could be at the beauty parlor. I'll tell Fred that the coast is clear and he can let Ricky know. Be a sport, Lucy, it's the right thing to do.

 

Lucy: The right thing to do would be to keep the door locked so he can never get in again.

 

Ethel : Lucy --

 

Lucy: Okay, he can come when I’m not here, but I’m going to pick his clothes for him. There’s a box of them in the closet.

 

(She goes to the hall closet and opens the door, there is a mini-avalanche of stuff that falls on top and around her; she digs through it until she finds a large box in the back that she carries to the couch with Ethel’s help.)

 

Ethel: What’s in this?

 

Lucy: Ricky, years and years ago.

 

(She opens the box and proceeds to take out: an old suit with wide lapels and huge shoulder pads, a shirt and wide tie, a pair of black patent leather shoes with lifts, and a mannequin head with a man’s full toupee on it of black hair in Ricky’s hairstyle; she arranges these together on the couch so that it looks like someone sitting there.)

 

Ethel: (laughs) That really does look like Ricky.

 

Lucy : It is him, or what's left of him -- from his toupee to cover his bald spot down to his high heel shoes to make him taller than me.

 

Ethel: (looks at one of the lifts) I didn’t know he wore those.

 

Lucy: He fooled you just like he did everyone else. He always wore high heels for men so he could be a half foot taller than he was, the big phony. (puts the shoe where it belongs and steps back to take a look) There -- those are the best clothes he has in the whole apartment.

 

Ethel: I guess they’ll do.

 

Lucy: They’ll have to because that’s all he’s going to get.

 

Ethel: You really are still mad at him.

 

Lucy: Yes, I really am.

 

Ethel: Did you tell Little Ricky the actual reason you’re mad at big Ricky?

 

Lucy: I already told you it was because of something he said.

 

Ethel: Or something you said to him.

 

Lucy : Yeah, whatever -- it was something or other. I don’t remember.

 

Ethel: Well, I do because Ricky told Fred and Fred told me.

 

Lucy: What did those two lying husbands say?

 

Ethel: It was because of a drinking problem. Does that ring a bell?

 

Lucy : I don’t know, I guess so. When Ricky worked at the nightclub he always came home after having a few -- that’s what they served there. But he didn’t stop when the nightclub closed down for good -- he began drinking more and more and I guess I finally complained that I had enough of it. Can you blame me?

 

Ethel: Not if it were true.

 

Lucy: Then there you go, that’s what it was all about.

 

Ethel: But that’s not the truth.

 

Lucy: It’s not?

 

Ethel: No. Ricky’s not the one with a drinking problem.

 

Lucy: Then who is? (Ethel gives her a knowing look) Me? (Ethel nods) Hah! That’s a laugh.

 

Ethel: It’s not funny, Lucy.

 

Lucy : You're wrong, one hundred percent wrong. Oh, I might have had a glass of this, that, or the other from time to time, but who wouldn’t, living in a dump like this -- no offense.

 

Ethel: It was more often than that. As a matter of fact, it got to the point where you were the one drunk all the time. I couldn’t bear to be around you or see you that way unless I really had to.

 

Lucy: What a friend you are.

 

Ethel: I am your friend, Lucy, the best you’ll ever have just like you said. That’s why I brought this up. You’ll never be able to make a good impression this Saturday if you don’t stop drinking.

 

Lucy: I already have.

 

Ethel: Is that so?

 

Lucy: Yes, that’s so.

 

Ethel: Then how come I could smell it on your breath as soon as I came in here? You’ve been drinking this morning. I’m surprised Little Ricky didn’t say anything.

 

Lucy: He didn’t have to, I asked him if he wanted a drink.

 

Ethel: See there.

 

Lucy: But I ran out of anything. That reminds me, he said he would buy me some more.

 

Ethel: He did?

 

Lucy: Yes, but I’m glad he didn’t because I really truly have stopped drinking.

 

Ethel: For how long?

 

Lucy : For at least as long as you've been here -- have you seen me take a drink?

 

Ethel: No, but that’s only been a few minutes.

 

Lucy : It's a start -- and I'm going to keep on not drinking from now on. I have to.

 

Ethel: You mean for the dinner on Saturday.

 

Lucy: Yes, but more than that. There’s something else I haven’t told you about yet. It’s important, vitally important. Almost a matter of life and death. (says it slowly, deliberately) I -- have -- an -- idea.

 

(Pause as this sinks in; when it does, Ethel jumps off the couch and starts to leave.)

 

Ethel : Oh, no -- ! Good-bye, Lucy!

 

Lucy: (grabs her by the dress) Come back here, Ethel!

 

Ethel: I’ve got to go, I hear Fred calling me.

 

Lucy: If it’s daytime then Fred’s asleep. Now sit down so we can talk.

 

Ethel: Well, if you insist. (she sits) How’s the weather?

 

Lucy: That’s not what I want to talk about.

 

Ethel: I know, but I don’t want to talk about what you want to talk about.

 

Lucy: You haven’t even heard what it is yet.

 

Ethel: I don’t have to. I learned the hard way a long time ago that whenever you say those four words “I have an idea” to take off running as fast as I can. I’m still recuperating from your last idea and that was years ago.

 

Lucy: The least you could do is listen while I tell you about it.

 

Ethel: (resigned) All right, let’s get it over with, what’s your idea?

 

Lucy: Guess.

 

Ethel : Lucy --

 

Lucy: Come on, guess, it’ll be fun, just like the old days. There, that’s a hint.

 

Ethel: Let me see, an idea just like the old days. (thinks) Did you buy another dress you can’t afford and you’ve come up with some hair-brained idea to raise the money?

 

Lucy: No. And I don’t appreciate you calling it hair-brained.

 

Ethel: Well, it was.

 

Lucy: Never mind that now, guess again.

 

Ethel: (thinks) A hat?

 

Lucy: No.

 

Ethel: New furniture?

 

Lucy: No! It doesn’t have anything to do with money this time. You’re not trying hard enough. Think.

 

Ethel: (thinks harder) The only other idea is the one where you want to get into show business, but that can’t be it.

 

Lucy: Yes, that’s it!

 

Ethel: You can’t be serious.

 

Lucy: I am too serious.

 

Ethel: Oh, Lucy, I thought you had given up on that for good.

 

Lucy : I did, but I decided to give it one more try -- all because of something Little Ricky said about his band.

 

Ethel: The Ricky Ricardo Junior Players. (Lucy is surprised she knows this) He told me all about it the last time I talked to him on the phone.

 

Lucy: They changed the name.

 

Ethel: They did? I didn’t know that.

 

Lucy: It’s called Los Musicos Ricardo.

 

Ethel: (pronouncing it slowly/badly) Los Musicos Ricardo? That sounds interesting, what does it mean?

 

Lucy: The Ricardo Musicians. Isn’t that catchy?

 

Ethel: Yes, it is, in Spanish or English. He probably kept the Ricardo name in it to honor Ricky.

 

Lucy: He doesn’t deserve to be honored.

 

Ethel : Now Lucy --

 

Lucy: Well, he doesn’t, and don’t get me started on him. Ricardo is also Little Ricky’s last name.

 

Ethel: That’s true.

 

Lucy: And mine too.

 

Ethel: Yes, but so what? It’s also the last name of hundreds of other Ricardos.

 

Lucy: Yes, but none of those hundreds of others are members of the band.

 

Ethel: Like he is.

 

Lucy : Right -- and like I am too.

 

Ethel: You?

 

Lucy: Yes, me.

 

Ethel: That’s news to me, when did you become a member of the band?

 

Lucy: I haven’t yet, but I’m going to, that’s what my idea is all about. Little Ricky’s fiancée is the female singer for his band.

 

Ethel: So?

 

Lucy : She told him she'd only marry him if she could quit being in the band. That means Little Ricky needs a new female singer for his band -- that’s me. I'm going to take her place. He said I'd have to audition for him and that’s what I plan on doing this Saturday. (it takes a second for this to sink in for Ethel; at first she thinks it’s a joke and starts laughing) What’s so funny?

 

Ethel: You wanting to be in Little Ricky’s band.

 

Lucy: Well, you can stop laughing.

 

Ethel : Oh, come on Lucy -- you could never sing, what makes you think you could start now?

 

Lucy: I can if put my mind to it, I’m just a little rusty. All I need is practice and some help. (She looks at Ethel pleadingly)

 

Ethel: And I suppose you want me to help you.

 

Lucy : Yes, Ethel -- please?

 

Ethel: What can I do? I’m not a magician.

 

Lucy: Don’t be so smart. All you have to do is listen when I start practicing and tell me what I need to do to sound better. It’s hard to hear your own voice when you’re singing.

 

Ethel: How about if we see now just how rusty you are. Let me hear you do a scale, like this. (she clears her voice with a ‘mi, mi, mi’ and then does a decent scale) Okay, your turn.

 

Lucy: Okay. (she goes through quite a bit more to comically clear her voice, sounding like a car having difficulty starting complete with coughs; Ethel rolls her eyes; then she tries to do a scale which comes out typical old Lucy only worse; she stops and looks warily at Ethel)

 

Ethel: (rolls her eyes and gets up to leave, heads for the kitchen door) So long, Lucy.

 

Lucy: Oh, no you don’t! (blocks her way to the kitchen)

 

(Ethel* heads for the front door and Lucy hurriedly blocks the way; when Ethel tries to go to the kitchen door again Lucy jumps in the way there and then jumps back and forth in front of both doors; she looks fiendishly at the cornered *Ethel; Ethel heads for the exit to the bedroom.)

 

Lucy: Where are you going? You can’t leave that way.

 

Ethel: Oh, yes I can, if I jumped out the window.

 

Lucy: Don’t be crazy, you’d never do that.

 

Ethel: I would if it meant I wouldn’t have to stay and listen to you trying to sing.

 

(Lucy gives up; defeated, she dejectedly goes to sit on the couch and starts to cry.)

 

Ethel: Forget it, that’s not going to work. I’m not Ricky. (this makes Lucy wail even louder) You’re wasting your time and tears. (Lucy subsides into sobs) There now, that’s a little better. (prompting Lucy to wail again) You win, I’ll do it, just please stop crying.

 

Lucy: (immediately dries up) Thanks, Ethel. This will probably be my last chance to get into show business and become a big star, just like I always wanted and Ricky would never let me. I feel like it’s now or never. Don’t you understand that?

 

Ethel: I guess so.

 

Lucy: And who knows, maybe Little Ricky could use you too and even Fred.

 

Ethel: I don’t think Fred or I would fit in very well with his act.

 

Lucy: Well, I’m going to, if it’s the last thing I do. And I promise that after I become rich and famous and have an act on my own I’ll put both of you in my show, how does that sound? I never forget the little people that have helped me out.

 

Ethel: I’ll keep that in mind. (pause; looks around at the mess) I guess we’d better get started. We’ve got a lot of miracles to perform before Saturday gets here.

[]Scene 3

(Musical interlude accompanying the next montage of mini-scenes of Lucy and Ethel doing their insufficient best to clean up the messy apartment: Ethel returns with an armload of cleaning gear and hands Lucy a roll of plastic garbage bags; Lucy starts stuffing them with the garbage that’s everywhere including a mountain of empty liquor bottles; Ethel attempts to dust horizontal surfaces but ends up stirring up so much dust in the air that the two of them have coughing fits; Lucy tries to warm up her windpipes a couple of times by singing, much to the displeasure of Ethel who either drowns her out with a vacuum cleaner or covers her ears while cleaning; they both finally reach a point where it looks like they’re as done as they ever will be and sit down on either side of Ricky’s clothes still laid out on the couch exhausted.)

 

Lucy: (looks around her) That didn’t take very long, and it doesn’t look half bad now.

 

Ethel: You’ll have to settle for half, I don’t have the energy to do anything more.

 

Lucy: You’ve done enough.

 

Ethel: Does that mean I don’t have to cook the dinner?

 

Lucy: I still need you to do that, don’t back out on me now.

 

Ethel: I won’t, I’m a woman of my word.

 

Lucy: Good, I’m glad to hear it. And don’t forget you said you’d help me get ready too.

 

Ethel : I haven’t forgotten. We'd better start on that right away -- you're an emergency.

 

Lucy: There’s no need to be nasty about it.

 

Ethel: If you don’t believe me go take a look in the mirror.

 

Lucy: I already have, I believe you. Did you tell Fred to tell Ricky about being here on Saturday?

 

Ethel : Yes, but I decided to be a little sneaky about it. Ricky might suspect you told me to tell Fred to ask him -- that’s almost the same as you asking him, which means that Ricky would win the fight you two are having.

 

Lucy: I never thought about that. So what did you do?

 

Ethel: I told Fred to tell Ricky about the dinner party and that you didn’t want him to be here, but Fred thought he should come in spite of you because he’s Little Ricky’s father and should meet his future daughter-in-law too.

 

Lucy: Yeah, I think that’s called reversed psychology, that really is sneaky. I guess I’ve rubbed off on you after all these years. Did it work?

 

Ethel: Like a charm. Ricky is determined to be here no matter what you say or do. As a matter of fact, both of them will be stopping by in a little while to pick up old Ricky. (indicates Ricky’s clothes) Fred is waiting for us to go to the beauty parlor so he can call Ricky to let him know it’s okay for him to come over.

 

Lucy: Then let’s get going to the beauty parlor. Boy, it’s been a long time since I’ve said those words, it sure feels good. (to Ricky’s clothes) See you later, señor.

 

(They exit out the front door.)

[]Scene 4

(A little while later, no one is in the living room; the doorbell buzzes several times and stops, then the door is unlocked from the outside and is slowly opened; a man sticks his head around the door before entering, a senior citizen of Latino origin who turns out to be Ricky.)

 

Ricky: (calls out) Lucy. (no answer) Lucy, I’m home. (still no answer; satisfied that she’s not there, he enters and takes a quick look around to make sure, then he exits to the bedroom briefly and returns; next stop, the kitchen as he takes a quick look there with the same result of no Lucy; he comes back into the living room and shrugs his conclusion that she’s not home; then with great shock he notices his old clothes displayed on the couch and goes to inspect them)

 

Voice: (in the hallway) Anybody home, Rick?

 

Ricky: Come on in Fred, there’s nobody here but me.

 

(Fred enters wheeling himself in a wheelchair; he already looked old years ago and looks ever older now, like an escapee from an old folks’ home; one leg is wrapped in bandages and is resting on a horizontal platform; there’s an oxygen tank attached to one side with tubes leading to his nose; in spite of all this he appears and sounds as sharp as ever.)

 

Fred: (looks around) Wow, they really did fix up this place, just like Ethel said.

 

Ricky: Yeah, this is the cleanest I’ve seen it in years. I never thought it would look like this again.

 

Fred: All it took was the big dinner on Saturday for Little Ricky and his fiancée.

 

Ricky: The one that Little Ricky wants me to come to, but Lucy didn’t want to ask me herself because if she talked to me first I would win our fight, so she told Ethel to tell you to ask me instead and say that Lucy didn’t want me to be here and that way I would come just to make her mad.

 

Fred: (confused, thinks about it) I guess that sounds about right. I’m getting old and it’s hard to keep track of what I’m supposed to say and not say.

 

Ricky: I’ll be here, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

 

Fred: I’m coming too, is that okay with you?

 

Ricky: Sure it is, I want you to meet Little Ricky’s fiancée like everybody else.

 

Fred: That’ll be nice, but I’m more interested in the dinner. Ethel doesn’t cook fancy meals very often any more and we haven’t been to a restaurant in ages.

 

Ricky: Neither have Lucy and me.

 

Fred: This will be the first time in a long time that you and Lucy will be together in the same room, aren’t you worried about that?

 

Ricky : Naw, she'll behave herself in front of all the others, I'll just have to try to keep from being alone with her or the fireworks will start up again -- will you help me with that?

 

Fred : I'll be glad to -- I can be your sidekick like in a western and stay right by your side for protection.

 

Ricky: Gracias, amigo. I just hope Lucy doesn’t scare Little Ricky’s fiancée away.

 

Fred: You mean by being Lucy.

 

Ricky: Yes, but also by acting like she does nowadays after having one too many.

 

Fred: It’s more like five or six too many.

 

Ricky: I guess it did get that bad. That’s the main reason I left and moved to the yimca. I couldn’t take it any more.

 

Fred: The yimca?

 

Ricky: You know, where I live now.

 

Fred: (still not getting it) Oh, yeah, the yimca.

 

Ricky: I’m worried that she’s not going to make a very good impression.

 

Fred: You don’t have to worry about that.

 

Ricky: Why not?

 

Fred: Lucy is off the sauce, at least for the time being.

 

Ricky: I don’t believe it.

 

Fred: That’s what Ethel said.

 

Ricky: I’ll believe it when I see it.

 

Fred : Yeah, me too. Oh, hold on a second -- you mean the YMCA, now I get it. Hey, what's that there on the couch?

 

Ricky : Come take a look -- it's me.

 

Fred: You? (he wheels himself around to the front of the couch and takes a look) Well, what do you know, it really is you! Those must be the clothes Lucy dug out for you to come and get for the dinner. What do you think -- are you going to wear them?

 

Ricky: (takes a closer look) I don’t know, maybe.

 

Fred: I wonder if it’ll all still fit. You and I are not the same size as we used to be.

 

Ricky: (picks up the coat and holds it in front of him) It might fit, I haven’t put on that much weight. Look at those shoulders.

 

Fred : They're kind of snazzy -- that was the style a long time ago.

 

Ricky: It’s back in style now.

 

Fred: It is?

 

Ricky: Yeah, it’s the latest thing. It’ll look like I just bought it. (puts down the coat and picks up the mannequin head with the full toupee) Should I wear this or stay like I am? (puts the mannequin head next to his for comparison)

 

Fred: (considers them) Well, that depends on how you want to look -- natural like you do now, getting gray and bald, or pretend to be younger wearing that.

 

Ricky: I think I’ll go for the younger look, it’ll be fun.

 

Fred : Sure, why not -- say, do you have any more of those stashed away somewhere? I could go for the younger look myself.

 

Ricky: I don’t think so, but I’ll check.

 

Fred: If you can’t find another one I’ll just stick with the mature dignified look. (poses mature and dignified, runs his fingers through his bald hair)

 

Ricky: (laughs, indicates toupee) I wonder if Lucy found one of these to wear for herself. The last time I saw her she was getting gray and bald too.

 

Fred: Lucy asked Ethel to have her friend down at the beauty parlor fix her hair. Lucy promised to get the friend a couple of free tickets to one of Little Ricky’s band performances and it worked. And they’ve been scrounging up something nice for Lucy to wear out of both of their closets.

 

Ricky: It must be killing Lucy not to be able to buy a new dress.

 

Fred: There’s something else they’re cooking up that I’m not supposed to tell you about. Ethel can’t keep her big bazoo shut and she blabbed to me about it before she realized her mistake. She made me promise not to tell you and I did, but we husbands have got to stick together so I’m going to tell you anyway.

 

Ricky: Thanks, I owe you one, fellow husband. What did Ethel tell you that you’re not supposed to tell me?

 

Fred: Are you ready for this? Lucy wants to get back into the act.

 

Ricky: What?

 

Fred: You heard me.

 

Ricky: I heard you, but what act does she want to get back into? She never had one and I don’t have one any more. Don’t tell me it’s the same old worn out ‘I want to be in show business too’ routine?

 

Fred: That’s the one. (Ricky thinks about this, then does his characteristic laugh) You can laugh all you want, but it’s the truth.

 

Ricky: (continues to laugh, then stops to think about it and becomes serious) Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi.

 

Fred: That’s really why she’s getting herself all fixed up. And she’s been rehearsing every day for the last several days.

 

Ricky: You don’t mean singing?

 

Fred : That's what she calls it, but that’s what it ain't. I thought we had a couple of cats fighting, but it turned out to be Lucy. You know how thin the walls are in this place -- it's been torture. I finally told Ethel to tell her to stop because she was getting better -- fortunately Lucy believed it and clammed up.

 

Ricky: So she’s going to make her big return to show business tonight at the dinner party?

 

Fred: That’s the plan. (Ricky laughs again) You’d better get that out of your system by tonight. And bring some cotton for your ears, you’re gonna need it.

 

Ricky: Why would Lucy want to do her version of singing while Little Ricky’s fiancée is here? She’ll scare his fiancée so much that she’ll go running out the door.

 

Fred: It’s because of his fiancée that Lucy’s going to do it. Little Ricky’s girlfriend is also the lead singer in his band, and now that he’s proposed to her she’d like to quit and settle down as husband and wife.

 

Ricky: And Lucy wants to take her place.

 

Fred: It didn’t take you long to figure that one out.

 

Ricky: All I had to do was think like Lucy. And now that I am, I think I’ve got an idea.

 

Fred: That sure does sound like Lucy. Are you planning on trying to stop her?

 

Ricky: Why would I do that? If she feels this will be her last shot at getting into show business I’m not going to stand in her way this time. But there is something else I just might do. Let me show you, stay right there.

 

Fred: I’m not going anywhere.

 

(Ricky goes to the closet which nearly explodes on him when he opens it; he digs through the mess that tumbles out onto the floor and goes inside the closet and brings out a conga drum which he straps on; then he belts out a rhythm and sings a few notes; Fred puts his hand up to his ears; the effort quickly wears him out as he stops and collapses on the chair.)

 

Ricky: I guess I need a little rehearsing too.

 

Fred: Is that your old conga drum?

 

Ricky: Yes sir, The same one. I’ve held onto it for years after I shut down Club Babalu and retired, just in case I ever decided to make a comeback.

 

Fred: So that’s what you’re going to do now?

 

Ricky: Absolutely, why not?

 

Fred: (thinks about it) I don’t think that’ll go over too well with Lucy.

 

Ricky: Who cares? She won’t know until she finds out when I do it, it’ll be my little surprise for her. Unless you happen to open your big bazoo before tonight and blab to Ethel.

 

Fred: My lips are sealed! (pantomimes zipping his lips)

 

Ricky : Good. We'll see who has the best comeback. Who knows, maybe it'll really be my return to show business. I can see my name up in lights now -- Ricky Ricardo With His Son Little Ricky and His Band. What do you think?

 

Fred: I think you’ve been hitting the sauce too.

 

(They both laugh.)

 

Ricky: Is it okay with you if I take all this stuff over to your place so I can get ready there for tonight?

 

Fred: Sure, but you’d better hide that drum or Ethel will see it and wonder what’s going on.

 

Ricky: Will you help me do that?

 

Fred : You bet -- I know all sorts of hiding places Ethel hasn’t figured out yet, even after all these years.

 

Ricky: Okay, pardner. We’d better get going before the wives come back. How much can you carry?

 

Fred: Load me up and we’ll see.

 

(Ricky piles all the clothes on top of Fred and nearly buries him, comically putting the toupee on his head; then he straps on the conga and wheels Fred out the front door and closes it behind them.)

[]Scene 5

(Lights go down and there’s a musical interlude indicating the passing of time; lights go up to reveal Ethel setting up the dinner table in front of the couch; she lays out silverware for the table settings just as Lucy enters from the front door wearing a large scarf that covers whatever the beautician did to her hair.)

 

Ethel: There you are, I was beginning to worry about you. I left you at the beauty parlor hours ago. I thought you were going to be late.

 

Lucy: The traffic on the bus was awful, I got here as soon as I could. (she puts the dress on the couch and goes to look at the dinner table) This looks wonderful, Ethel. I had forgotten I had such nice tableware.

 

Ethel: You don’t, I do. It’s my good stuff that Fred and I haven’t used since we got it as a wedding present, so I guess it’s all antiques, just like Fred.

 

Lucy: (laughs) How’s dinner coming?

 

Ethel: You mean the one I’m cooking for you?

 

Lucy: Yes, the one you’re cooking for me.

 

Ethel: I just wanted to remind you of all the trouble I’m going to.

 

Lucy : I know -- I'll pay you back somehow, I promise.

 

Ethel: No need for that, I actually enjoyed doing it. How’d your hair come out? Let me take a peek. (she tries, but Lucy slaps her hand away)

 

Lucy: It’s not ready yet. I still need to do the finishing touches. I hope I remember how.

 

Ethel: Don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll be just like riding a bicycle, you never forget.

 

Lucy: (looks at herself in the mirror) I need to do my makeup too. And while I’m at it I may as well do a little rehearsing. (inhales to start singing)

 

Ethel: Trust me, you’ve done enough rehearsing. You’re about as good as you’ll ever be.

 

Lucy: That’s what Fred said too.

 

Ethel: It wasn’t a compliment.

 

Lucy: You know, Ethel, I’m starting to get a little nervous.

 

Ethel : What for? You've already met Little Ricky -- and his fiancée is just some girl.

 

Lucy: I mean about performing.

 

Ethel: They say it’s a good thing to be nervous before you go on.

 

Lucy: Maybe so, but what I could really use right now is a drink.

 

Ethel: You gave that up for your big comeback, remember?

 

Lucy: I was just saying it, not doing it.

 

Ethel: That’s better.

 

Lucy: Besides, we got rid of all the bottles when we did the big clean-up.

 

Ethel: Yeah, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you still had one hidden away somewhere in case of emergencies.

 

Lucy: (goes over to the dining table) I said I quit and I have. (looks at a picture hanging on the wall) Isn’t that picture behind you on the wall a little crooked?

 

Ethel: (takes a look) It looks fine to me.

 

Lucy: It doesn’t to me. Could you move it just a little that way? I want everything to be just right for the dinner tonight.

 

Ethel: (she moves the picture a little and when she does so Lucy grabs a fork from one of the place settings and hides it behind her back) How’s that?

 

Lucy: Perfect. (looks at the table) But the table isn’t.

 

Ethel: What’s wrong with it?

 

Lucy: A fork is missing.

 

Ethel: Where?

 

Lucy: Right there. (points at the incomplete setting)

 

Ethel: That’s impossible, I brought six place settings with me and that’s what I put out. (she takes a look) Hey, there is one missing. I wonder how that could have happened?

 

Lucy: Maybe you dropped it on the way here.

 

Ethel: I think I’d notice something like that.

 

Lucy: Go take a look in the hallway, that’s probably where it is.

 

Ethel: Okay, but I know it won’t be there.

 

Lucy: Well, if it isn’t, go back and get another one. If you don’t then one of us isn’t going to be able to eat dinner.

 

Ethel: (starts to exit) I hope I find it. That’s an expensive fork. I’ll never be able to replace it. (she exits)

 

(Lucy looks to make sure she’s gone then hurries back inside the room to a funny hiding place where she has stashed a liquor bottle; she unscrews the top and is about to take a big drink when Ethel returns.)

 

Ethel: Ah-hah! (this startles Lucy who chokes and immediately hides the bottle behind her back) I thought so! You’re up to your old tricks again. It took me a minute or two to figure it out, but I did. Give that to me.

 

Lucy: No!

 

Ethel: Give it to me right now!

 

Lucy : No, it's my medicine -- I need it!

 

Ethel: That’s not a medicine bottle and you know it. Now hand it over.

 

Lucy: No!

 

(Ethel tries to corner her but Lucy is too quick; she comically chases her around the room, tackles her, and pries the bottle from Lucy’s hand; both of them get up from the floor.)

 

Ethel: (smells the bottle) This medicine smells like it’s two hundred proof. Do you have any more hidden somewhere?

 

Lucy: (mimics her) No, I don’t have any more hidden somewhere.

 

Ethel: Are you sure? You’re looking a little puffy around the edges. (goes up to her and starts poking her in the sides) Got another bottle up your sleeve?

 

Lucy: That’s not where I had that one and the answer is no. (but just as she says this the fork she stole falls from her sleeve to the floor; Ethel picks it up)

 

Ethel: Looks like the mystery of the missing fork is solved. (wipes it off and puts it back in its place on the table) Honestly, Lucy, I can’t believe even you would pull a stunt like that.

 

Lucy: I’m just nervous. I want everything to go well tonight. This is very important to me.

 

Ethel: Yes, I know, your big show business comeback.

 

Lucy: You could offer a little support instead of being so mean.

 

Ethel : I helped you clean this place up, I got you a free trip to the beauty parlor, I'm loaning you my best dress, and I'm cooking the dinner for you -- how much more support do you want?

 

Lucy: I’m sorry, Ethel, but you can’t blame me for being uptight. (pause as she thinks) Are you sure Ricky will be here?

 

Ethel: He picked up those old clothes you had laid out for him.

 

Lucy: That doesn’t mean he’s coming.

 

Ethel: I’m pretty sure he will. As a matter of fact, he’s already here.

 

Lucy: (panics) He is? Where?

 

Ethel: Calm down, he’s over at my place getting ready.

 

Lucy: Getting ready?

 

Ethel: Yep, he’s holed up in the guest bedroom with Fred. He didn’t want me to see him in his old getup. He was acting like a bride before a wedding. I think it’s kind of cute.

 

Lucy: (second thoughts, having doubts) Oh, Ethel, I don’t know if this was such a good idea.

 

Ethel: You’re having stage fright, just like you said. (looks at her watch) And it's almost curtain time -- everyone will start showing up at any minute. You'd better skedaddle and finish getting ready.

 

Lucy: Okay. Will you stay here to greet everybody and let them in?

 

Ethel: Yes, now go on. (she shoos Lucy out of the room and hollers at her as she leaves) And no more hidden bottles, you promise?

 

Lucy: (offstage) I promise.

 

Ethel: (looks at the one she took from Lucy) I just might go polish you off myself.

 

(She exits to the kitchen to take it there; pause, then the front doorbell buzzes.)

 

Lucy: (offstage, loud and panicky) Ethel! Someone’s at the door! (the doorbell buzzes again) Ethel!

 

(Ethel* returns hurriedly from the kitchen and answers the door; it’s *Little Ricky.)

 

Ethel : There's my one and only favorite godson -- come in, come in!

 

(Little Ricky enters and they hug.)

 

Little Ricky : Hi, Aunt Ethel -- good to see you again.

 

Ethel: It’s good to see you again too. It’s been so long since you stopped by that I really shouldn’t be speaking to you, but I forgive you.

 

Little Ricky: I guess with all the bad feelings going on between Mom and Dad I just didn’t want to get in the middle of it.

 

Ethel: I feel the same way. Have a seat. (they sit down next to one another on the couch) So how come you’re alone? I thought you were bringing your fiancée tonight to meet your parents.

 

Little Ricky: She’ll be here shortly, she’s still getting ready. She wants to make a good first impression.

 

Ethel: I hope she doesn’t change her mind about showing up.

 

Little Ricky: No, she’d never chicken out. She’s looking forward to meeting Mom and Dad, since she’s going to be part of the family.

 

Ethel: That’s so exciting, I’m happy for both of you. I heard the two of you met through your band.

 

Little Ricky: That’s right. It started out as a business relationship but now it’s pleasure. Sorry, I didn’t mean to say it that way.

 

Ethel: No need to apologize, I’m a big girl. I know what you meant.

 

(They get quiet; at first it’s just a slight pause in the conversation, but it soon extends to a much longer embarrassing one; they look at one another and smile, but continue to be quiet.)

 

Little Ricky: How’s Uncle Fred?

 

Ethel: He still gets around, just as cranky as ever. He’ll make an appearance when it’s time to start eating.

 

Little Ricky: (laughs) That sounds like Uncle Fred. It’ll be great to see him again too. (another long pause; he looks around) What about Mom and Dad?

 

Ethel: Your mother is in the bedroom getting ready and your father will arrive any minute now. (calls to Lucy) Lucy, Little Ricky is here. (no response) Little Ricky is waiting to see you. (still no response; hollers) Lucy!

 

Lucy: (offstage, yells back) Alright already, I heard you. I’m coming, I’m coming. (Ethel and Little Ricky wait uncomfortably for a couple of more awkward seconds) Okay, I’m ready. (they wait, still nothing) I said I’m ready. (another pause) Ethel! That’s your cue!

 

Ethel: (remembers) Oh, I forgot. (she jumps up and goes over to a record player and turns it on; grand introductory music plays)

 

(And Lucy makes a grand entrance: she swoops into the room like a diva and comes to a dramatic pause/pose at the fireplace; she looks surprisingly good, especially in contrast to her previous dishabille; she actually looks like a well-preserved noticeably older but still beautiful version of her younger self, complete with iconic henna rinsed red hairdo and excessive makeup; Ethel and Little Ricky are so impressed that they applaud.)

 

Lucy: (affectedly, to Little Ricky) It’s so good to see you again son, I’m glad that you could come to have dinner this evening.

 

Little Ricky : I'm glad to be here -- you look great, Mom.

 

Lucy: I feel great too. As a matter of fact, I feel so great that I’ve decided to sing to show you how great I’m feeling.

 

Little Ricky: (apprehensive) There’s no need for that.

 

Lucy: No, I insist. And don’t worry, I’ve been practicing. Isn’t that right, Ethel?

 

Ethel: (unconvincing) Yeah, right.

 

Little Ricky: (still apprehensive) Oh, okay.

 

(Lucy winds up to start singing, but before she can get the first word out the front door suddenly opens and we hear a conga drum intro.)

 

Lucy: What’s going on? What’s that?

 

Fred’s voice: Preee-senting, the old-time favorite Cuban singing sensation, headliner of Club Babalu, in person himself, Mister Ricky Ricardo!

 

(Ricky* enters with great energy playing his conga drum and dressed in his Ricky persona outfit; he congas around the room as he plays and ends up chasing Lucy around the room who runs away from him and is finally cornered where he ends with an extended flourish; the effort has exhausted him; Little Ricky and *Ethel, joined by Fred who has entered and closed the front door, all applaud; then they turn to look at Lucy for an expected response; she doesn’t disappoint.)

 

Lucy: Oh, yeah? Try this on for size! (She finally starts singing, taking a comic moment or two to find the first note, then ‘sings’ a song loudly and gratingly, perhaps “I’ve been working on the railroad”; the others wince from the aural pain and she starts backing down Ricky with her singing and corners him with a final blast of a high note; it takes a moment for Ricky to recover, but he soon does.)

 

Ricky: That’s what you think! (he starts beating his drums again and she responds with more singing; they drum/sing/chase one another back and forth until Fred, who can no longer stand the noise, intervenes by wheeling himself in between them and grabs both their arms to stop what they’re doing; then he whistles real loud to drown them out.)

 

Fred: Will you two please stop making so much noise? It’s killing my ears!

 

Ethel: Mine too.

 

Lucy: He’s the one who was making noise, not me. I was singing.

 

Ricky: You call that singing? It sounded more like someone screaming bloody murder.

 

Lucy: You take that back!

 

Ricky: I will not.

 

(They get up in each other’s face.)

 

Lucy: You will too.

 

Ricky: Who’s going to make me?

 

Lucy: I will!

 

Ricky: I’d like to see you try!

 

Lucy: Oh, yeah?

 

Ricky: Yeah!

 

Lucy: Yeah?

 

Ricky: Yeah!

 

(They are face to face kissing close, but obviously not going to kiss, both breathing hard from the effort; Little Ricky stands up and goes between them.)

 

Little Ricky : Mom, Dad, I'm glad to see both of you two together again -- I think. But why are you dressed up like this and playing the drum and singing?

 

Lucy: (to Ricky) Yeah, what’s the big idea?

 

Ricky : Don’t yell at me -- he asked you too.

 

Lucy: Is that so?

 

Ricky: Yes, that’s so.

 

Little Ricky: (intervenes once more) Don’t get started again. Both of you calm down. (they do, a little) Now take a deep breath, and ‘splain. (Lucy and Ricky both start talking at the same time) Not at the same time. Mom first, okay Dad?

 

Ricky: Okay.

 

Little Ricky: (to Lucy) So what’s going on here?

 

Lucy: I’ll tell you what’s going on here, it’s the same old story all over again, just like it happened so many times before. I wanted to get into show business and he wanted to stop me by hogging all the limelight himself. This was going to be my one last big chance.

 

Little Ricky: I still don’t understand.

 

Lucy: Remember when you dropped by a few days ago and told me that your lead female singer, who happens to be your fiancée, was thinking about quitting and you needed to find a replacement and I said how about me and you said I’d have to audition first and I said okay I’ll do it?

 

Little Ricky: Yes, I remember all that.

 

Lucy: Well, that’s what I was doing. I thought I’d surprise you by auditioning now.

 

Little Ricky: It was quite a surprise.

 

Lucy: (to Ricky) It’s your turn. Why don’t you tell him why you’re here dressed up like it’s Halloween and coming as your own grandfather?

 

Little Ricky: Well, Dad?

 

Ricky : Fred told me Ethel told him that Lucy was going to do -- what she just did -- because she wanted to make her show business comeback.

 

Ethel: (to Fred) You promised me you wouldn’t tell Ricky.

 

Lucy: (to Ethel) And you promised me you wouldn’t tell Fred.

 

Fred: Oh, for corn’s sake, what difference does it make who told who what.

 

Little Ricky: I completely agree, Uncle Fred. (to Ricky) You haven’t told me yet what you’re up to, Dad.

 

Ricky: I thought if anybody was going to make a comeback it should be me and not her. I’m the one who used to have a career in show business.

 

Lucy: Used to is right, as in has-been.

 

Ricky: And you’re a never was.

 

Lucy: Whatever that is.

 

Ricky: It was you.

 

Lucy: How can I be a never was if I never was one? You can’t even make sense trying to insult me.

 

Little Ricky: (intervenes) I really appreciate all the trouble the two of you have gone to, but it really wasn’t necessary.

 

Lucy: Why not, wasn’t I good enough for you?

 

Little Ricky: (trying to be nice) You sang -- very confidently.

 

Lucy: Gee, thanks. (sticks her tongue out at Ricky)

 

Ricky: How about me? I was the only one making music.

 

Lucy: You call that noise music?

 

Ricky: It sounded better than what was coming out of that mouth of yours.

 

Little Ricky: You were very good too, Dad, and very loud. (Ricky* takes this as a compliment and sticks his tongue out at *Lucy) But the truth is I don’t need either one of you, or anyone for that matter. That was something else I was wanting to tell you when we all got together.

 

Lucy: Well, we’re all here now, tell us.

 

Little Ricky: I’m getting out of show business myself.

 

Lucy: You’re what?

 

Little Ricky: I’m disbanding my band.

 

Lucy: Disbanding your band? What does that mean?

 

Ricky: I know what it means. Why, son?

 

Lucy: Yeah, whatever it means, why?

 

Little Ricky: I’ve enjoyed playing the drums and singing practically all my life, but it was never what I wanted to do with my life. It was just a hobby until I was able to do what I really wanted to do.

 

Lucy: And what’s that?

 

Little Ricky: Don’t you remember when I was a little boy and used to play being a doctor all the time? That’s what I want to do.

 

Lucy: I remember that, but you can’t just play being a doctor now that you’re grown up.

 

Little Ricky: I’m well aware of that, you have to go to medical school. And that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ve applied for scholarships to some of the best in the country and I’ve received several offers to choose from. I want you two to help me make the decision of where I’ll be going.

 

Lucy: I’ll be glad to, but I can only speak for myself.

 

Ricky: That’s because your mother isn’t speaking to me, although I don’t know the reason why.

 

Lucy: You know exactly why.

 

Ricky: No, I dunt.

 

Lucy: Not much you dunt!

 

Little Ricky: You’re been speaking to each other the last few minutes.

 

Ethel: That’s right. I was keeping an eye on both of you when you saw one another again after being apart for so long. (to Lucy) You had a big smile on your face when Ricky came through that door all dressed up like he used to and playing the drum.

 

Lucy: (melting a little) Yeah, well --

 

Ethel: (to Ricky) And I saw the way your face lit up when you took a look at Lucy all dolled up for the first time in ages.

 

Ricky: (also melting a little) Yeah, well --

 

Ethel : You can at least shake hands and make a truce for a little while -- not only for Little Ricky's sake but for your own too.

 

Little Ricky: She’s right Mom, Dad. I wanted to see you both together and here you are, almost like I remember you used to be. Let’s be a family again for the time being like Aunt Ethel said and who knows, maybe for good. (he looks at both of them imploringly)

 

Lucy: (to Ricky) What do you think?

 

Ricky: I don’t know, what do you think?

 

Lucy: I guess it wouldn’t kill us.

 

Ricky: No, I guess it wouldn’t.

 

Lucy: But only for a little while, okay?

 

Ricky: Okay.

 

Ethel: That’s the spirit. Why don’t you shake on it? (they don’t want to, but she grabs one of each of their hands and pulls them together in a handshake) Go on now. (they half-heartedly shake hands) See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? (they take back their hands and keep their distance, Lucy wipes hers on her dress)

 

Fred: Can we please stop this yammering so we can get on with dinner? We’re all here and hungry. Go get the food Ethel so we can start to eat.

 

Little Ricky: But we’re not all here yet.

 

Lucy: That’s right, we’re still waiting for your fiancée. When is she supposed to get here?

 

Little Ricky : Any minute now. She's been working on getting herself fixed up all day long -- she wants to make a good impression.

 

Lucy: (kindly to Ricky) Just like us.

 

Ricky: (reciprocates) Yeah, just like us, how about that.

 

Little Ricky: She’ll probably be a little shy at first, so take it easy on her.

 

Lucy: (now actually friendly) Don’t worry, we’ll take it izzy, right Ricky?

 

Ricky: (gets the joke, laughs) Yeah, we’ll take it izzy.

 

(The front doorbell buzzes.)

 

Little Ricky: That’s probably her. I’ll get it.

 

(He goes to the front door and opens it, it is indeed his fiancée; she is quite a shock to the others who could never have imagined what they are seeing: she is taller than all of them, naturally tall and made taller by a pair of spiked high heels and a hairdo that rises nearly a foot on her head; her outfit is punk/gothic kitsch exposing her body in almost obscene areas, with long black lace gloves that have intentional holes, black fishnet stockings, a Madonnaesque brassiere, lots of jangly jewelry (bracelets, necklaces, huge earrings) and very large tattoos all over each arm, and that’s just from the neck down; it gets even more shocking from the neck up: she is very heavily made up with over-huge cherry red lips, too dark rouge, heavy eye makeup including too long eyelashes and Cleopatra eye shadow; her hair is pinkish-red and is strangely familiar-looking in style: a ball of hair in the front and back but with razor cut etchings along the sides in the form of lightening bolts; it is a very exaggerated version of Lucy’s iconic hairdo; Little Ricky greets her and escorts her into the room, closing the front door; the others stand by aghast at what they’re beholding and cringe a little away from her; they don’t notice at first, due to their initial shock, but soon come to realize it’s a man in drag.)

 

Little Ricky : Well, everybody, here she is -- my fiancée Belle Taco. (to his fiancée) This is my mom, my dad, and my Aunt Ethel and Uncle Fred.

 

Belle: Hi, everybody, wassup?

 

(They are all still too stunned to say anything, but Lucy finally works up enough courage to speak.)

 

Lucy : Hi, I'm -- I'm glad to meet you -- (takes a second to remember her name) -- Belle. (she shakes her hand, then turns to prompt Ricky) Ricky, say hello.

 

Ricky: Hello. (Lucy grabs his hand and lifts it up to shake Belle’s hand)

 

(Lucy scowls at Ethel who takes the hint and becomes friendly.)

 

Ethel: Hi, I’m glad to meet you too. (shakes her hand) Fred?

 

Fred: (brusquely) Hello. Can we eat now?

 

Ethel: Fred!

 

Fred: Well, I’m starving. (Ethel glares at him and he shakes Belle’s hand) Glad to meet you. (to Ethel ) She got here -- let's eat, dammit.

 

Lucy: We will in a few minutes, Fred, but let’s all sit down first and have a little chat so we can get to know one another. (they all sit down, but instead of a chat they’re awkwardly silent; she tries to break the ice) So, Belle, what’s new with you?

 

Belle: Not much.

 

Lucy: Is that so?

 

Belle: Yes.

 

Lucy: That’s nice. Right, Ricky? (gives him an intense prompting look to say something)

 

Ricky: Yes, that’s very nice.

 

Lucy: Ethel?

 

Ethel: Oh, I agree.

 

Lucy: Fred? Fred? (he has fallen asleep) Oh, Fred! (he snores loudly, she gives Ethel a prompting look)

 

Ethel: (punches Fred) Wake up!

 

Fred: (wakes up with a lot of old man snorting) What’s going on, is dinner over?

 

Ethel: No, dinner hasn’t started yet. (to Belle) Please excuse him, it’s been a while since we’ve had company and he’s forgotten how to act.

 

Fred: I haven’t forgotten anything, I just want my dinner. Isn’t that why we came here?

 

Ethel: We’ll eat later.

 

Fred: In that case I’m going back to sleep.

 

Ethel: Oh, no you’re not! (but he starts snoring loudly again)

 

Lucy: Maybe we should go ahead and eat, Ethel. It’s all ready, isn’t it?

 

Ethel: Almost, there are still a couple of things I need to do and it’ll be done.

 

Lucy: Then go do them before Ricky falls asleep too.

 

Ricky: I’m not going to go to sleep, why do you say that?

 

(Ethel exits to the kitchen.)

 

Lucy: Oh, be quiet.

 

Ricky: You be quiet.

 

Lucy: Oh, yeah?

 

Ricky: Yeah! (grumbles in Spanish under his breath)

 

Lucy: That’s right, mumble awful things about me in a foreign language. (to Belle) He’s been doing that for years. Maybe somebody will start behaving like an adult after he’s had something to eat.

 

Ricky: I’m behaving, why are you always picking on me?

 

Little Ricky: (to Belle) Us Ricardo men always get grumpy when we’re hungry, isn’t that right Mom?

 

Lucy: I don’t know, it’s been quite a while since there’s been a Ricardo man around here so I don’t remember.

 

Ricky: (to Little Ricky) So now you’re picking on me too?

 

Little Ricky: No, Dad, I was just trying to make Belle feel at home.

 

Belle: I do already, especially since I’m sitting here with all these good-looking men.

 

Fred: (suddenly wakes up, all charm) Is that so? Present company included?

 

Belle: Especially you, I’ve always been attracted to older mature men.

 

Fred : Well, well, well -- what do you know!

 

Lucy: Now that the conversation has finally gotten going, I think I’ll go help Ethel in the kitchen. Excuse me. (she starts to exit but stumbles as she passes Ricky who has intentionally tripped her; she starts to yell at him but he gives her a fake innocent look, so she exits instead)

 

(Scene moves to kitchen where Ethel is getting dinner together as Lucy enters.)

 

Lucy: Need some help?

 

Ethel: The salad needs a little tossing.

 

Lucy: I still know how to do that. (starts tossing the salad) So what do you think about Belle?

 

Ethel: Do you want me to be nice or tell the truth?

 

Lucy: Can’t you do both?

 

Ethel: I don’t think so.

 

Lucy: Then tell me the truth.

 

Ethel : The truth is -- the truth is --

 

Lucy: Well? Say it.

 

Ethel: I don’t know if I can.

 

Lucy: Ethel, do you want this salad tossed on your head?

 

Ethel : No, but you probably will after what I'm about to say. The truth is, at least I think it is -- Belle is no belle, as in southern belle.

 

Lucy : You're right, she's not from the south -- didn’t you hear her Bronx accent?

 

Ethel: I mean she’s not a woman.

 

Lucy: (thinks about it) I guess she didn’t act all that lady-like, so what?

 

Ethel: She is acting. I don’t think she’s a lady or a woman.

 

Lucy : Then that only leaves one possibility, and surely you don’t think she's a -- (suddenly realizes what Ethel means) -- a man?

 

Ethel: Yes, I do.

 

Lucy: Dressed like that? (Ethel nods) Don’t be silly.

 

Ethel: Take another look.

 

Lucy: (peeks through room divider) Her outfit might be out in left field and her make-up is a little heavy, but so is mine -- that doesn’t make me a man.

 

Ethel: No, but her Adam’s apple does. Look again.

 

Lucy: (peeks once more) I can’t see it while she’s talking.

 

Ethel: Well, I saw it. You wanted the truth and that’s the truth.

 

Lucy: Why would Little Ricky get engaged to a man?

 

Ethel: Where have you been? This is a whole different world now, people do all sorts of things they never did before, at least in public.

 

Lucy: Has the world changed that much?

 

Ethel: I’m afraid so.

 

Lucy: And Little Ricky too? (Ethel shrugs her shoulders) I've heard of things like that, they used to joke about it all the time way back when, but my own son -- and son-in-law to be? (thinks about it) Now I really need a drink.

 

Ethel: So do I, but not now, we’ve got a dinner to serve.

 

Lucy : And to eat too -- how can I do that without staring at her -- or him?

 

Ethel: I know, it’s not going to be easy.

 

Lucy : Well, let's go get it over with and send them on their way so they can be happy together. If that’s what Little Ricky wants -- (takes a big gulp) -- then so be it. (takes another peek) I’m still not sure you’re right. Why don’t you stand over Belle while you’re serving her something so I can see if she really does have an Adam’s apple.

 

Ethel: Okay.

 

Fred: Ethel, will you please hurry up with that food?

 

Ethel: We’re coming.

 

(She and Lucy make a couple of trips from the kitchen to the living room to serve dinner; the boys and Belle take a seat at the table, Fred more than glad to take a seat next to and flirtatiously close to her; they start to eat and Lucy signals Ethel to stand up and serve Belle a dinner roll while hovering above her and chatting with her; as Belle looks up Lucy can clearly see Belle’s Adam’s apple and tries unsuccessfully to contain her shock; she begins to choke on some food.)

 

Little Ricky: What’s the matter, Mom?

 

Lucy: Oh, nothing, something just went down the wrong way, I’ll be all right. (but she isn’t; she continues to choke)

 

Belle: (gets up and goes behind Lucy) Let me help, I know exactly what to do, I moonlight as an EMS. (she proceeds to give Lucy the Heimlich maneuver to comical effect as Lucy’s choking becomes less serious and then goes away; but before Belle lets her go Lucy accidentally reaches up and pulls off Belle’s wig to reveal a Marine-style short crewcut; she now undeniably looks like a man; Ricky and Fred are dutifully shocked at what they can’t believe they’re seeing; Belle puts her wig back on)

 

Ricky: (to Little Ricky) What’s going on here?

 

Fred: Yeah, I’d like to know that myself.

 

Little Ricky: What do you mean?

 

Ricky: (indicates Belle) Is this some kind of a joke?

 

Little Ricky: No, Dad, and that’s not a very nice thing to say. (to Lucy) Is that the way you feel too?

 

Lucy: Don’t ask me, I’m eating my dinner.

 

Little Ricky: How about you, Aunt Ethel?

 

Ethel: The same as her. (to Lucy) Pass the mashed potatoes please.

 

Lucy: Certainly. (passes the mashed potatoes, Ethel takes some) Would you like some gravy on that?

 

Ethel: Yes, please. (Lucy* pours some gravy on her mashed potatoes and she takes a bite) This is one of the best dinners I’ve ever cooked. (to *Fred) Eat your dinner, Fred, and stop staring at him -- I mean her.

 

Lucy: I completely agree. I like what you did to the roast beef, you’ll have to give me your recipe.

 

Little Ricky: Would you two please stop eating so we can talk?

 

Lucy: (as if nothing is wrong) What would you like to talk about?

 

Little Ricky: Why is everyone behaving like you are?

 

(They all look at one another and act as if they don’t have a clue.)

 

Belle: I know very well what’s going on. I’m not welcome here. And in that case I think it’s time for me to leave. (she gets up) Thanks for inviting me, it was nice meeting all of you. (to Little Ricky) I’ll wait for you outside. (starts to exit)

 

Little Ricky: (gets up to stop her) There’s no need for you to leave, Belle. (but she opens the front door and exits; to everyone else) Well, I hope you’re proud of yourselves.

 

Lucy: Why, what did we do?

 

Ricky: Yeah, what did we do?

 

Little Ricky: You made Belle feel unwelcome here and hurt her feelings. I’m ashamed of all of you. I was hoping we could have a nice meal together like the old days, but I guess that’s impossible. I thought you might have changed with the times like most people have, but you haven’t changed a bit, you’re still like you always were. There’s definitely a joke going on here but it’s not Belle, it’s you. Good luck with your careers in show business. You’re going to need it. (storms out and slams the door behind him)

 

Lucy: (gets up and goes to the front door and opens it) Little Ricky, don’t leave. Please come back, you’ve got it all wrong. Little Ricky. (but he doesn’t come back and she slowly closes the door; she stops and think a minute and then begins to cry)

 

Ricky: (gets up to console her) Don’t cry, Lucy, he’ll come back.

 

Lucy : No he won't, you saw how mad he was -- he never got that mad before. He looked like you when you get mad.

 

Ethel: Ricky’s right, he’ll be back.

 

Lucy : No, he's gone for good -- and so is my last chance to be a star.

 

Ethel: Not that again.

 

Lucy: Yes, that again, for the last time. After all the hard work I went to in getting ready. This is the worst day of my life. (cries some more; she is drowned out by Fred’s snoring)

 

Ethel: Fred? Fred! (but he only snores louder) If he’s sleepier than hungry it’s time for us to go. (she puts his dinner plate of food in his lap and grabs hers; then she wheels him to the front door and opens it) We'll see you two later -- bye. (she wheels Fred out and closes the door behind her; Ricky takes Lucy to the couch and sits down with her)

 

Lucy: I wonder if she will?

 

Ricky: Will what?

 

Lucy: See us later, here together.

 

Ricky: I guess that’s up to us.

 

Lucy: How do you feel about that?

 

Ricky: Well, here we are.

 

Lucy: Yep, here we are. (they both stare into space for a moment) So, what did you think about Little Ricky’s girlfriend? (he gives it some thought, at first appears to think ‘what the heck, why not’, but then he can’t resist his real reaction which is to start laughing; this prompts her to start laughing too) My thoughts exactly!

 

Ricky: I just hope he’ll be happy.

 

Lucy: Me too.

 

Ricky : Although I don’t know how with -- that. (they start laughing again) But the world has changed a lot, so live and let live.

 

Lucy: Yeah, whatever, that’s the way I feel.

 

Ricky: You know, Lucy, you’ve changed too, but you really haven’t changed a bit.

 

Lucy: So have you and neither have you.

 

Ricky: You always wanted to get into the act and you still do.

 

Lucy: And you always threw cold water on me and just wanted me to be your housewife and mother of Little Ricky.

 

Ricky: What was wrong with that?

 

Lucy: Everything. I had to put my show business career on hold for years and years until Little Ricky wasn’t little any more and grew up.

 

Ricky: Well, it looks like he finally has. (gives her a knowing look)

 

Lucy: (starts to get her hopes up) What are you getting at?

 

Ricky: They say better late than never.

 

Lucy: Better late for what? Are you saying what I think you’re saying?

 

Ricky: I’m trying not to say it, just like I forced myself not to say it for so many years, but maybe now’s the time.

 

Lucy: (can’t stand it) For what?

 

Ricky: To get into the act.

 

Lucy: (gets up, all excited) What act -- who, when, where?

 

Ricky : You, right now -- and me. My act, the one I've been rehearsing again for Little Ricky. And yours too.

 

Lucy: You’re right, we could put them together into one act, just like the old times.

 

Ricky: Sure we can.

 

Lucy: (jumps on him and grabs him by the shirt) You’re not just playing around with me, are you? (puts her fist in his face) If you are I’ll punch you in the mouth and make you talk even funnier than you do right now.

 

Ricky: I’m not playing around. I thought about doing it after Little Ricky said what he said about me being a joke. We’ll show him.

 

Lucy: Yeah, we’ll show him.

 

Ricky : I'm going to call my agent and tell him I'm ready to get back into show business again. He's been asking me for years if I felt up to it -- he said people are into nostalgia.

 

Lucy: Nostalgia?

 

Ricky: You know, things from the past, like me.

 

Lucy: And me too, don’t forget.

 

Ricky: Yeah, you too. I can play all my old songs again, they’ll be big hits just like they were way back when.

 

Lucy: How about my songs?

 

Ricky: Your songs?

 

Lucy : Yeah -- Cuban Pete and Sally Sweet, remember that? (he nods smiling) And then there was We’ll Build A Bungalow, you know, tap-tap-tap, that number. And By The Light of the Silver Moon, Sweet Adeline, Nobody Loves the Ump, and a whole bunch more.

 

Ricky: I’ve forgotten about all those myself.

 

Lucy : Well, I haven’t -- I remember every word and every routine.

 

Ricky: But what about your voice?

 

Lucy: (puts a fist in his face again) What about it?

 

Ricky : Well --

 

Lucy: Well, what?

 

Ricky: (thinks about it) Well, it might just work. You know you were never that good of a singer -- it could be a comedy act.

 

Lucy: (getting pumped) Yeah, a comedy act, I never thought of that! I love making people laugh.

 

Ricky: Don’t worry, when you sing you’ll have them rolling on the floor.

 

Lucy: Yeah, all over the floor, how about that! Why are they on the floor?

 

Ricky: Because they laughed so hard they fell down.

 

Lucy : Oh, I get it -- hey, that’s funny all by itself.

 

Ricky: (stands up and puts on his bongo) Do you remember this song? (he starts playing ‘That Means I Love You’; she does remember and they do the entire routine together; at the end they kiss)

 

Lucy: Oh, Ricky, after all these years it’s finally going to happen, I can just feel it.

 

Ricky: I hope so.

 

Lucy: I know so. We’re going to be a hit, the biggest stars in show business history. Are you with me or not?

 

Ricky : I'm with you all the way, Lucy -- I always have been and always will be, no matter what. (they kiss again) Do you remember this one too? (he sings the I Love Lucy theme song; they kiss again at the end)

 

CURTAIN


623 E. 68th St., Apt. 3-D

  • ISBN: 9781370564156
  • Author: J. R. Duke
  • Published: 2017-09-20 22:35:15
  • Words: 18467
623 E. 68th St., Apt. 3-D 623 E. 68th St., Apt. 3-D