Waiting for Lefty

By Clifford Odets

Ladies and Gentlemen, and don’t let anyone tell you we ain’t got some ladies in this sea of upturned faces! Only they’re wearin’ pants. Well, maybe I don’t know a thing; maybe I fell outa the cradle when I was a kid and ain’t been right since-you can’t tell! Who’s paying you for those remarks, Buddy?-Moscow Gold? Maybe I got a glass eye, but it come from working in a factory at the age of eleven. They hooked it out because they didn’t have a shield on the works. But I wear it like a medal ’cause it tells the world where I belong-deep down in the working class! We had delegates in the union there-all kinds of secretaries and treasurers . . . walkin’ delegates, but not with blisters on their feet! Oh no! On their fat little ass from sitting on cushions and raking in the bucks. Oh, I know it ain’t true here! Why no, our officers is all aces. Why, I seen our own secretary Fatt walk outa his way not to step on a cockroach. No boys, don’t think…Out of order?!? (to audience): Am I outa order? Yes, our officers is all aces. But I’m a member here- Today I couldn’t wear my union button. The damnest thing happened. When I take the old coat off the wall, I see she’s smoking. I’m a sonovagun if the old union button isn’t on fire! Yep, the old celluloid was makin’ the most god-awful stink: the landlady come up and give me hell! You know what happened? That old union button just blushed itself to death! Ashamed! Can you beat it? What’s the answer, boys? The answer is, if we’re reds because we wanna strike, then we take over their salute too! Know how they do it? (Makes Communist salute.) What is it? An uppercut! The good old uppercut to the chin! Hell, some of us boys ain’t even got a shirt to our backs. What’s the boss class tryin’ to do-make a nudist colony outta us? (The audience laughs and suddenly AGATE comes to the middle of the stage so that the other cabmen back him up in a strong clump.)Don’t laugh! Nothing’s funny! This is your life and mine! It’s skull and bones every incha the road! Christ, we’re dyin’ by inches! For what? Joe said it. Slow death or fight. It’s war! You Edna, God love your mouth! Sid and Florrie, the other boys, It’s war! Working class, unite and fight! Tear down the slaughter house of our old lives! Let freedom really ring. Don’t wait for Lefty! He’s never gonna come. Why? Cos they found Lefty….Behind the car barns with a bullet in his head! Hear it, boys, hear it? Hell, listen to me! Coast to coast! HELLO AMERICA! HELLO. WE?RE STORM.. BIRDS OF THE WORKING CLASS WORKERS OF THE WORLD. . . . OUR BONES AND BLOOD! And when we die they?’ll know what we did to make a new world! Christ, cut us tip to little pieces. Well die for what is right! put fruit trees where our ashes are! (To audience): Well, what’s the answer? STRIKE! STRIKE! STRIKE!

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