Early afternoon December 24th
Lena is sitting at the bar scratching scratch off tickets. Al is behind the bar watching a rerun of The Christmas Story. The movie goes to a commercial. Al turns to Lena, “What are you gonna do?”
Lena looks up from her scratch ticket, “Do about what, Al? I can’t do anything about the weather, if I could, I’d set the daily temperature at 80 degrees, the nighttime temp to 65 and every day I have blue sky and sunshine. The rain we get will only come at nighttime.”
“You want Camelot. That’s what you want. You’re not gonna find Camelot in the neighborhood. You going to the Christmas party at The Lucky Canary?”
Lena glances up at Al, “We got a choice?”
Before Al can answer, the door to Lena’s Bar and Grill opens. Lena and Al look at the door. Lena says, “Why?”
Al says, “It’s a mystery even a rocket scientist can’t figure out.”
From the doorway, “Bogey’s here and Bogey needs advice from the wise one.”
Lena whispers to Al, “Who’s the fool talking to, you or me. It can’t be me, if I was the wise one, I wouldn’t be living in the neighborhood.”
Al whispers, “I live here, too. Is there anyone else in here?”
Lena says, “It’s gotta be you because I been living in the neighborhood longer than you, that makes me a bigger fool.”
“That’s only because you’re older than me,” says Al.
“I’ll take any edge I can get these days. The way I figure it, I ain’t old, but I’ve been around a long time,” says Lena.
Bogey waddles over to the bar carrying a brown bag. He sets it on the table and takes out four cheap beers. Bogey slides a cheap beer to Al and one to Lena and keeps two cheap beers for himself. He says, “Bogey says Merry Christmas. Drink up and you are gonna see what you are missing by not having the cheap beer concession in the neighborhood.”
Lena says, “Thanks. Can I get a gift receipt?”
Bogey says, “Bogey needs advice, wise scratch off broad.”
Lena glances up at Al, “That’s the first time someone has called me a broad in thirty years. I think it’s a compliment. What do you think?”
Al sips his cheap beer, “Take the compliments when you get them. You never know when the next compliment comes around. There’s something about the cheap beer, I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ll get it.”
Lena says, “What’s the problem, Bogey?”
Meanwhile down the other end of Spring Street at The Lucky Canary . . .
Roxie’s warming up.
The weather outside is frightful
Inside The Lucky Canary is so delightful
Since there’s no place else to go
Let it snow.
From the corner table, “Yo, Roxie. You are the best. I love Christmas carols. They remind me of the time I got let off with a suspended sentence.”
Roxie taps Legos arm, “You sure Tony’s not dangerous?”
Tony calls over, “Roxie, I got new lyrics for you.”
Legos taps Roxie’s forearm, “Please, don’t encourage him. There’s nothing good that can come from it.”
“He’s sort of cute in a weird sort of way,” says Roxie. Roxie turns toward the corner table, “Whatcha got, Tony?”
“I wrote it just for you. I was thinking you were thinking of me when you were singing it.”
“Oh, oh,” says Legos.
Tony says, “I want a Sunday kind of love / A love to last past Saturday night.”
Roxie says, “How many times I got tell you, you can’t take somebody’s song and claim it to be your own. You know you can go to jail if you do that?”
“Will they send me to Bridgewater for the winter?” says Tony.
“Dear God, when will I listen to you, Legos. He really is nuts,” says Roxie.
Legos glances at the table, “I’m surprised they showed up this afternoon. We close in a couple of hours to get ready for the Tuna’s Christmas party.”
Roxie says, “Something is going on. That’s what you say.”
Legos glances at the wall clock, the yellow canary’s big wing is on the eleven. The yellow canary’s short wing is on the three. Legos says, “I got a hunch we’ll know when Marcy Stankowski comes on at three.”