GK: My name is Lenny and I did not have much of a Christmas when I was a boy, growing up in a labor camp in California, working eighty hours a week to pick the pears that go into fruit baskets and fruitcakes for Christmas and we were paid in fruit, not money, and I don't know if you've ever been on an all-pear diet, but it's not good. Plus which my parents were both members of the Communist Party. And they didn't buy us presents because the profits went to war-mongering capitalists. Lenny is short for Lenin, my given name, which is a real social handicap when you're a kid. Anyway, I grew up and got over it, and then a couple days before Christmas, it all came back. My sister Molly called. Her given name was Molotov.

SS (ON PHONE): Lenny, it's about Momma. It's bad.

GK: What about Momma?

SS (ON PHONE): She didn't want you to know.

GK: Know what?

SS (ON PHONE): I shouldn't have said anything.

GK: Tell me.

SS (ON PHONE): She's in the hospital.

GK: What's wrong?

SS (ON PHONE): Don't get yourself worked up over it.

GK: What's wrong?

SS (ON PHONE): I'm sorry I opened my big mouth.

GK: Tell me what's wrong.

SS (ON PHONE): Just forget that I said anything.

GK: Tell me, Molly.

SS (ON PHONE): She went blind, Lenny. The salt from her tears ate holes in her retina and everything went black.

GK: Her tears????

SS (ON PHONE): She was crying because she felt bad about bringing us up to be Communists.

GK: She's blind???

SS (ON PHONE): You sent her that beautiful poinsettia and your generosity made her feel guilty about your lousy childhood and she cried and cried and then she ate a poinsettia leaf, thinking it was arugula, and it's poisonous, as you know, and she's in the hospital.

GK: But I've forgiven her for the communism. I've been through therapy, I'm okay----

SS: I know, but she thought you were angry at her because you didn't send her a fruitcake this week, like you always do----- (STING)

GK: The fruitcake???? I forgot the fruitcake!!!!!! I can't believe it!!!!

SS: Don't be hard on yourself, Lenny.

GK: I've gotta go, Molly. (STING. CAR START, SCREECH OF TIRES, SPEEDING) I've got to get the fruitcake. (TIRES AROUND CORNER) There it is. Acme Fruitcake. (BRAKES. DOOR OPEN. RUNNING. DOOR OPEN W JINGLE BELLS. FOOTSTEPS)

TR (EGYPTIAN): Yes? May I assist you?

GK: I want a fruitcake. Your best fruitcake.

TR (EGYPTIAN): Our best?

GK: Your very best.

TR (EGYPTIAN): Our best fruitcake --- the awesome colossal wassail fruitcake with artisan nuts and heirloom fruit and flecks of gold ---- soaked in espresso, Sabroso, creme de cacao, Cointreau, Chartreuse, Campari, and Southern Comfort, sixteen feet high ---is a quarter-million dollars.

GK: A quarter-million is a lot for a fruitcake----

TR (EGYPTIAN): It comes with a choir. And for you, one hundred grand.

GK: Hold that fruitcake---- I'll be back in ten minutes. (CAR START, SCREECH, DRIVE FAST) And I headed straight for the nearest bank.


SS: Hello, welcome to U.S. Bank. Nice ski mask. --- What's this? A note? ---- "Empty your drawers and don't press your button." --- What is that supposed to mean? "Empty your drawers"??? Oh, you mean cash drawers?

GK: Gimme your cash and step on it.

SS: You want me to step on my cash? Why would I do that? That's just silly.

GK: Put it in the pillowcase, ma'am. And hurry.

SS: Does your mother know you took this pillowcase? Wait here, I'll go get you a paper bag. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)

GK: No, come back. Ma'am??? (FOOTSTEPS, STOP)


FN: Yeah?

GK: This is a robbery. Take all the cash out of your cash drawer and put it in this pillowcase.

FN: Aren't you forgetting something?

GK: What?

FN: A very important word.....

GK: Please.

FN: Okay. All I have is two-hundred thousand. Will that be enough?

GK: Yes. Thank you. Thank you very much.

FN: Okay. Off you go. Have a nice day. (BANK ALARM. SHOUTS)

GK: Oh boy. (RUNNING FEET, DOOR OPEN, CLOSE. TRAFFIC) I had valet parked my car and the attendant was slow as could be----

TR (OLD ): Not much snow for skiing, is there.

GK: Just get my car, wouldja.

TR (OLD): I used to have a .38 pistol just like that one.

GK: Would you mind getting the car?

TR (OLD): You're dropping money out of that pillowcase, sir. (STING, BRIDGE)

GK: I drove back to the fruitcake store and bought the cake and the choir was there, the Morbid Rabbit Ankle choir (SERIES OF GK GREETINGS, CHOIR REPLIES, GOING DOWN THE LINE). And then they threw their heads back and sang.


Fruitcake we have seen on high

Fruits and nuts of quality

The best fruitcake that one can buy

And you get the choir for free.

So-pran-os and al-tos and ten-ors and ba-a-sses

Sing in four part chorus

So prettily and so delicately with shining happy faces

And you should adore us.

GK: But how to get the choir to the hospital where my mama lay suffering from poinsettia poisoning and the salt erosion of her eyeballs---- I ran out to see if I could hail a bus and I forgot that I still had the gun in my hand and----

TR (IRISH): Okay. Up against the wall. Spread em. Gotcha dead to rights. In the squad car you go. Watch your head. You have the right to remain silent, (FADE INTO BRIDGE)

GK: And fifteen minutes later I was in the county jail (BIG DOOR CLOSES, SLAMS SHUT, LOCKS), locked in there with a man named Krebs.

FN: You smell like cinnamon and rum.

GK: I was taking a fruitcake to my mom.

FN: My mom sent me a fruitcake here in jail. It's got a steel file in it. I'm just about to cut through the bars and escape.

GK: Great. Maybe I can get to Mama before nightfall.


TR (HIGH BRIT): Christmas blessings on you, my friend, I come with communion if you care to partake ----

GK: You're an Anglican priest, I take it----

TR (HIGH BRIT): Yes, but if you'd rather---- there's a southern Baptist right here behind me. (FOOTSTEPS)

TR (SOUTHERN): And I say unto you, Repent and come to the Lord, even as the shepherds and the wise men from afar----

GK: No, thanks.

TR (SOUTHERN): Okay. We've got a Unitarian chaplain, too---- Reverend L. Stanton Rivers---- (FOOTSTEPS)

TR (LOCKJAW): May the divine that is within you gain strength from the metaphor of new birth that is found in so many religious traditions----

GK: No thanks.

TR (LOCKJAW): Very well.


GK: How you coming?

FN: Almost got it.

GK: And then who should come in but the choir ----- every week they came to the jail to sing and brighten the morale of the inmates. So I had to stand in front of where I'd cut the bars.


We have come to bring you cheer

Even though you have done wrong,

We have come as volunteers

To brighten up your day with song.

We're members of the Amalgamated Choir Singers of America

Local 43

And we are here to bring inspiration and afterward a bowl of soup

In the penitentiary.

GK: And I squeezed through the hole in the bars (RUNNING FOOTSTEPS) And I ran out of the jail (SFX) and the guards spotted me and (ALARMS) searchlights flashed ----- And I jumped in a cab. (SQUEAL OF TIRES, ACCEL, SIREN OFF) Hospital, driver. The cops are on my tail (SIREN) I'll just throw these sharp tacks out on the highway. (TIRES EXPLODING) There, that takes care of that. And I made it to the hospital. (BRAKES, DOOR OPEN, RUNNING FOOTSTEPS) And ran up to Mama's room on the fourth floor. (DOOR OPEN)

SS: Oh Lenny. Lenny, Lenny, Lenny.

GK: Mama, I'm sorry about your eyes. It's all my fault you went blind.

SS: Oh, that's okay. I got my sight back. I turned on Reverend Ernest Angley on TV and suddenly I could see. How about a hand of poker, Lenny?

GK: I didn't know you played cards, Mom.

SS: Texas Roll 'Em, jacks wild, low man calls, hundred-dollar deucy loosey. Aces high or low, two raises and you go to the dump, a thousand or higher to open, and you meet your bid or walk through the soup. Okay? You understand? I'll deal. (DEALING).

GK: What's this game called?

SS: It's called Spit on My Shoe. I love this game. Okay. Two up, two down, and one in the pocket. Dealer goes. (CARD SLAP) I call man in the hall. (CARD SLAP) And one for your Aunt Sally. (CARD) Weiners! (SLAP)

Gophers in the woodpile. (SLAP) One more behind the door. (SLAP) And one in the oven. (SLAP)

GK: And when it was all over---- I owed Mom quite a bit of money.

SS: Pay up, Lenny. I didn't bring you up to welsh on a debt. Cough it up.

GK: It was eighty-seven thousand dollars in one hand of poker. All I had left over from the robbery, after I paid for the fruitcake. I gave Mom a whole big stack of fifties and hundreds.

SS: Where'd you get all the nice new bills?

GK: Never mind. -----And then the fruitcake arrived at the hospital ---- I'd arranged for a whole show---- I got a cat trainer, with a flaming hoop (FLAME BURST) and his cats leaped through it, one by one (TR GERMAN COMMANDS) (CAT LEAPS. SIX TIMES)

And there was a comedian ---

TR: Anyway, one wise man says to the other wise man, "I know what the baby Jesus is getting for Christmas."

Oh? How do you know? ----"I felt his presents."

GK: And there was a bird act. Parrots dressed up as shepherds.

TR (PARROT): Awwwwwwk. Glory to God.

FN (PARROT): Peace on earth. Awwwwk.

GK: And then they wheeled in the fruitcake. Sixteen feet high (MEN IN MOVING CREW) and in came the Morbid Rabbit Ankle Choir (FOOTSTEPS, MARCHING) and they turned out the lights and they sang:


O Christmas cake your fruit is brightly shining

It is the night when the fruitcake has come



GK: And it was wonderful and as Mom enjoyed her slice of fruitcake, the choir leader told me I owed them twenty-two thousand dollars to sing.

FN: No checks, no credit cards. Payable in cash. Thanks.

GK: I thought this was included in the price of the fruitcake.

FN: No.

GK: Can I owe you until tomorrow?

FN: No. Now. Tonight.


Pay the money, pay the money, pay the money, pay the money, pay us the money

Pay the money, pay the money, pay the money, pay the money, pay us the money

Or we will bust your thumbs and break your kneecaps

The money, the money, the money, the money (ETC)


GK: So off I went with my pistol (FOOTSTEPS) and why I chose the same bank, I don't know, but I knew it was a mistake right away....


GK: And a dozen cops sprang at me out of the shadows (SFX) And off I went to the slammer. (DOOR CLOSE, LOCK) And this time I knew I wouldn't be getting out anytime soon. A filthy jail cell (DRIPPING) and demented inmates (FN SFX) and rats running around (SFX) and the food was slop (SFX). And the choir came to sing at chapel.

CHOIR (SINGS): Nobody knows the trouble you've been,

Nobody knows but I do.

Nobody knows the trouble you've been.

A pain in the wazoo.

GK: Christmas in jail. Not a great experience. But it was my fault. I never forgave Mom for bringing me up a Communist. And then I felt so bad about it, I spent a hundred thousand on a fruitcake and had to rob a bank. The moral of the story, folks: forgiveness. Wipe the slate clean. It's just so much simpler.

We have forgiven all of your stuff

All of your dirty business

You're no darned good but we forgive

Just because it's Christmas.

GK: Amnesty. Let go of your anger. Make peace with the world.

CHOIR (SINGS): All of the dirt they've done to you,

Forgive them 'cause it's Christmas.