Lighting comes from single wall brackets, two at left and two at rear. He is about fifty, a little under medium height, with a stout, roly-poly figure. They are staring at him, uneasy and beginning to feel defensive. (They all pour out drinks.) HOPE--That sounds more like you, Hickey. That don't mean I'm a teetotal grouch and can't be in the party. (kiddingly) That ought to encourage you, Governor--show you a little walk around the ward is nothing to be so scared about. It was going on twelve when I went in the bedroom to tell Evelyn I was leaving. Of course, I was only kidding Cora with that stuff about saving you. (He is staring ahead of him now as if he were talking aloud to himself as much as to them. That walk around the ward you never take-- HOPE--(defensively sharp) What about it? Even the walls show evidence of having been washed, although the result is only to heighten their splotchy leprous look. And if yuh tink we're just kiddin' ourselves, we'll show yuh!
There are three rows of tables, from front to back. The one at left-front has four chairs; the one at center-front, four; the one at right-front, five. De gang is expectin' yuh wid deir tongues hangin' out a yard long." And I kidded him, "How's de iceman, Hickey? " He laughs and says, "Fine." And he says, "Tell de gang I'll be along in a minute. His face is round and smooth and big-boyish with bright blue eyes, a button nose, a small, pursed mouth. The only reason I've quit is--Well, I finally had the guts to face myself and throw overboard the damned lying pipe dream that'd been making me miserable, and do what I had to do for the happiness of all concerned--and then all at once I found I was at peace with myself and I didn't need booze any more. Hickey looks round and grins affectionately--apologetically) But what the hell! (He pulls a big roll from his pocket and peels off a ten-dollar bill. That water-wagon bull--Cut out the act and have a drink, for Christ's sake. Hell, why d'you suppose I'm here except to have a party, same as I've always done, and help celebrate your birthday tonight? Their eyes are fixed on him with uneasy resentment. My old man used to whale salvation into my heinie with a birch rod. HICKEY--(grinning affectionately) Why, you know as well as I do, Harry. The electric light brackets are adorned with festoons of red ribbon.
He is the only occupant of the room who is not asleep. ROCKY--(rinsing glasses behind the bar) Cora got back around three o'clock. She may be a tart, but-- ROCKY--(considerately) Sure, dat's all I meant, a tart. He says Joisey's de best place, and I says Long Island because we'll be near Coney. My dogs was givin' out when I seen dis guy holdin' up a lamppost, so I hurried to get him before a cop did. " (They all roar with laughter at this burlesque which his personality makes really funny. All of them, with the exception of Chuck and Rocky, have had plenty to drink and show it, but no one, except Hugo, seems to be drunk.
He stares in front of him, an expression of tired tolerance giving his face the quality of a pitying but weary old priest's. (Rocky beams complacently and takes the glasses back to the bar. She woke up Chuck and dragged him outa de hay to go to a chop suey joint. MARGIE--(disgustedly) I'll bet dey been sittin' around kiddin' demselves wid dat old pipe dream about gettin' married and settlin' down on a farm. Chuck wid a silly grin on his ugly map, de big boob, and Cora gigglin' like she was in grammar school and some tough guy'd just told her babies wasn't brung down de chimney by a boid! MARGIE--(rebukingly) Yuh oughtn't to call Cora dat. PEARL--(giggling) But he's right about de damned cows, Margie. And I tells him, How do I know yuh're off of periodicals for life? What de hell yuh tink I tink I'm marryin', a voigin? He waves his hand in a lordly manner to Rocky.) Do your duty, Brother Rocky. (Rocky grins and goes behind the bar to get drinks amid an approving cheer from the crowd. (Hickey takes the chair, facing front, at the front of the table in the second row which is half between Hope's table and the one where Jimmy Tomorrow is. ROCKY--(coming to Hickey's table, puts a bottle of whiskey, a glass and a chaser on it--then hands Hickey a key) Here's your key, Hickey. HICKEY--(shoves the key in his pocket) Thanks, Rocky. Haven't been able to sleep lately and I'm tired as hell. HOPE--(as Rocky puts drinks on his table) First time I ever heard you worry about sleep. (He raises his glass, and all the others except Parritt do likewise.) Get a few slugs under your belt and you'll forget sleeping. (They all join in with the usual humorous toasts.) HICKEY--(heartily) Drink hearty, boys and girls! They are trying to act up in the spirit of the occasion but there is something forced about their manner, an undercurrent of nervous irritation and preoccupation.
He has a gaunt Irish face with a big nose, high cheekbones, a lantern jaw with a week's stubble of beard, a mystic's meditative pale-blue eyes with a gleam of sharp sardonic humor in them. He says, "Quit ticklin' me." While I was friskin' him for his roll! Den I toined him 'round and give him a push to start him. (They all laugh.) CHUCK--Ain't Uncle Sam de sap to trust guys like dat wid dough! He has the salesman's mannerisms of speech, an easy flow of glib, persuasive convincingness. (They all stare, hoping it's a gag, but impressed and disappointed and made vaguely uneasy by the change they now sense in him.) HOPE--(his kidding a bit forced) Yeah, go ahead, kid the pants off us! Chuck sits in a chair at the foot (left) of the banquet table. Near the middle of the row of chairs behind the table, Larry sits, facing front, a drink of whiskey before him. Hickey was goin' to have sixty candles, but I says, Jees, if de old guy took dat big a breath, he'd croak himself. We never had no flowers for Harry's boithday before. He's buttin' in all over de place, tellin' everybody where dey get off.