(HENRY’s “ow’s” can be heard for a second while the camera is still frozen on Cecelia’s worried and caring face. A quick jump switches to her face looking more agitated and exasperated as she dabs at HENRY’s swollen bonce with a bit of antiseptic. HENRY keeps “ow”-ing and hissing for a little while longer, perched on a comically short stool in the Brown’s homey kitchen. CECELIA houvering over him.)
CECELIA: It’s your own fault, you silly ass, prancing about like an idiot in an open stairwell. You’re lucky you didn’t split you whole ruddy head open!
HENRY: (still half in the bag) Phwaaw! I thought I looked rather dashing. You don’t agree?
CECELIA: (incredublous) Dashing? Henry Walters, you’ve never been dashing in your…are you drunk?
HENRY: Just a skoach…(he snorts) tee hee…scotch!
CECELIA: Oh, for the love of…! Henry, don’t you have to be at work tomorrow?
HENRY: (pouty, childlike) Awwww Cecelia, Don’t go sayin’ that! The less I have to think about that crushing bore of a job I’ve got the better. ‘Sides, I’d gladly take a sick day ‘n’ spend the night here…
(his liquor-addled brain takes a moment to realize just exactly what he said and, after all, he’s still Henry)
er, I mean…that is…not like “spend the night” spend the night, but…you know…just sit for a while…just sit…play some cards, maybe…you like pinochle? Funny word, that…
HENRY: Mm? (he cranes his neck up to look at her.)
CECELIA: Shut up. (she says it sweetly, without malice.)
HENRY: Mm. (he puts his head back down. There’s a small pause as she continues to dab at the lump on his head, but he doesn’t make any more uncomfortable noises.)
CECELIA: Is it that bad, Henry?
HENRY: Feels better, thanks.
(she rolls her eyes)
CECELIA: I meant your job, Henry.
HENRY: Oh…oh! Yeah, yeah it’s awful…an’ stupid…an’ boring… an’ pointless! Tell me, why do we even need agencies and people like me to compensate people for losses or disputes? Can’t people just ask for help, or settle disputes on their own? I mean, I know I could ask my Mum and Dad for money if I got hurt, and they’d have a lot more money if they didn’t have to pay bloody insurance! It’s a racket, Cecelia, a bleedin’ racket… an’ I’m just one of the strings…
(CECELIA thinks to comment on the fact that his metaphor has gone awry, but HENRY’s got a full head of steam now.)
HENRY: (deliberately, with the conviction only a souse has)
I sit there every day, smashing numbers together, pulling them apart, filling out my forms, helping people fill out their forms, printing new forms, reporting on forms, changing forms, forming forms, making little paper dolls out of forms…I’ve got quite a collection, you should see.
CECELIA: Gets boring, then?
HENRY: Too right. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost been caught by the boss napping or playing solitaire or doodling an unflattering cari… carica… carature… a picture of him…I just have some days where I feel like I’m doing nothing, Cecelia…an’ I wanna DO something!
CECELIA: Then why not leave?
HENRY: …I can’t.
(any budding admiration CECELIA had for him has erupted into old frustration)
CECELIA: Oh, there you go again! Never wanting to take chances, never wanting to rock the boat, nice old Henry, wouldn’t hurt a fly even if it burned his house down!
CECELIA: I don’t want to hear it, Henry! Don’t you realize that you’ve got to take some chances in life? You can’t just avoid anything uncomfortable you come across, you can’t just keep working at that same dead-end job forever! They can’t even pay you that well, obviously. I’ve seen your tiny flat, barely enough room for you to stick your arms out in! But still, you don’t want to upset anyone, you don’t want any kind of conflict, so you keep letting yourself grind away under someone else’s boot! It’s things like this, Henry…this like this that just…they ruin everything!
(she tosses the cloth she was dabbing his head with into the sink with a splash and crossed her arms resolutely. HENRY, his head hung low, is effectively cowed and has moved onto a drunken malaise. He mutters something unintelligible.)
HENRY: They pay well.
CECELIA: Who? Your job?
CECELIA: Right. And I suppose you choose to live in that ramshackle place?
HENRY: Yeah, I do.
CECELIA: (she sniffs) I don’t believe you. Why would you willingly do something like that?
(HENRY begins to rise slowly, speaking slowly with his back to CECELIA)
HENRY: Let’s say, for example, that some foolish little bug decides he’s gonna marry this girl. She marries, and she re-marries, on and on until she’s has seven husbands. And let’s say that, all this time, that foolish little bug has been working a job he doesn’t like, he outright hates, but he’s been saving all that extra money he’s not spending on his flat, or fancy food, or a car, or anything like that… because he’s planning for a life with that girl he loves. Let’s say that, in a few more months, he’ll have enough to start a real life on, and finally propose to that girl he loves, and then all the terrible days and terrible bosses will be worth it to give his Princess the castle and all the things she deserves. Would you still call that bug foolish?
(he turns around and places his bowler on his head, a sad little grin on half his face. CECELIA, on the other hand, is on the verge of tears. HENRY takes a step forward.)
HENRY: Sometimes, Cecelia…you don’t have to take chances. Sometimes, all you have to do is plan, and when your plan finally works, and you see that look in that special girl’s eye you know that you’ve really taken the biggest chance of all.
(he cradles her chin in his hands and places a small, sweet kiss on her forehead.)
HENRY: (whispering) I don’t blame you for being angry. It’s just how you show you care. I appreciate it. They way you are, it’s just…you…and I wouldn’t change that, not for the world…!
(He pulls away and hiccups lightly, drunkenly, and the two of them share a nervous giggle. With a bit of his swagger back, HENRY doffs the hat in a move that is pure Jimmy Durante.)
HENRY: Good night, Miss. Brown, wherever you are.
(he plops the hat back on his head, kicks up his heels, and heads out of the Brown house, whistling once again “Leaning on a Lamppost.” When he reaches the street, the camera shifts to an aerial shot from the Brown’s house, as his whistle is segued by CECELIA singing “Wonderful World” softly to herself from the balcony, watching the silly little shape disappear into the night.)
CECELIA: But I do know that I love you…
And I know that if you love me too…
What a Wonderful World this would be…