Waiting for Lefty

Ladies and Gentlemen, and don't let an

Agate Keller

Waiting for Lefty

See more monologues from Clifford Odets


Age Range
Act 1, Scene 6
Time & Place
1930s, a union hall in New York City
Time Period
Show Type

Monologue Context

Agate Keller, a member of the cab driver’s union, passionately advocates for his

Monologue Text

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! 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 mazuma. Sit down, boys. I'm just sayin' that about unions in general. 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. Yes, our officers is all aces. But I'm a member here - and no experience in Philly either! Today I couldn't wear my union button. The damnedest 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? [He lifts his right hand into the air: the 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 outa us? 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? For the debutantes to have their sweet comin' out parties in the Ritz! Poppa's got a daughter she's gotta get her picture in the papers. Christ, they make'em with our blood. Joe said it. Slow death or fight. It's war! You Edna, God love your mouth! Sid and Florrie, the other boys, old Doc Barnes - fight with us for right! It's war! Working class, unite and fight! Tear down the slaughterhouse of our old lives! Let freedom really ring. Hear it, boys, hear it? Hell, listen to me! Coast to coast! HELLO AMERICA! HELLO. WE'RE STORMBIRDS 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 up to little pieces. We'll die for what is right! put fruit trees where our ashes are! Well, what's the answer? STRIKE, STRIKE, STRIKE!!!

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