Franny was now sitting with the flat of her free hand pressed against the side of her face, like someone with an excruciating toothache.
"one other thing. And that's all. I promise you. But the thing is, you raved and you bitched when you came home about the stupidity of audiences. the goddam 'unskilled laughter' coming from the fifth row. And that's right, that's right-God knows it's depressing. I'm not saying it isn't. but that's none of your business, really. That's none of your business, Franny. An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's. you have no right to think about those things, I swear to you. Not in any real sense anyway. You know what I mean?"
there was a silence. both saw it through without any seeming impatience or awkwardness. Franny still appeared to have some considerable pain on one side of her face and continued to keep her hand on it, but her expression was markedly uncomplaining. The voice at the other end came through again. " I remember about the fifth time I ever went on 'Wise Child'. I subbed for Walt a few times when he was in a cast-remember when he was in that cast? Anyway, I started bitching one night before the broadcast. Seymour'd told me to shine my shoes just as I was going out the door with Walker. I was furious. the studio audience were all morons, the announcer was a moron, the sponsors were morons, and I just damn well wasn't going to shine my shoes for them, I told Seymour. I said they couldn't see them anyway, where we sat. He said to shine them anyway. he said to shine them for the Fat Lady. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but he had a very Seymour look on his face, and so I did it. he never did tell me who the Fat Lad was, but I shined my shoes for the Fat Lady every time I ever went on the air again-all the years you and I were on the program together, if you remember. I don't think I missed more than just a couple of times This terribly clear, clear picture of the Fat Lady formed in my mind. I had her sitting on this porch all day, swatting flies, with her radio going full-blast from morning till night. I figured the heat was terrible, and she probably had cancer, and -I don't know. Anyway, it seemed goddam clear why Seymour wanted me to shine my shoes when I went on the air. It made sense."
Franny was standing. She had taken her hand away from her face to hold the phone with two hands. " he told me, too," she said into the phone. " He told me to be funny for the Fat Lady, once." She released one hand fro the phone and placed it, very briefly, on the crown of her head, then went back to holding the phone with both hands. "I didn't ever picture her on a porch, but with very-you know-very think legs, very veiny. I had her in an awful wicker chair. She had cancer, too, though and she had the radio going full-blast all day! Mine did, too!"
"Yes. Yes. Yes. All right. Let me tell you something now, buddy....Are you listening?"
Franny, looking extremely tense, nodded.
"I don't care where an actor acts. It can be in summer stock, it can be over a radio, it can be over television, it can be in a goddam broadway theatre, complete with the most fashionable, most well-fed, most sunburned-looking audience you can imagine. But i'll tell you a terrible secret- Are you listening to me? There isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. That includes you Professor Tupper, buddy. And all his goddam cousins by the dozens. there isn't anyone anywhere that isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. Don't you know that? Don't you know that goddam secret yet? And don't you know-listen to me, now-don't you know who that Fat Lady really is?...Ah, buddy. Ah, Buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy."
For joy, apparently, it was all Franny could do to hold the phone, even with both hands.
For a fullish half minute or so, there were no other owrds, no frther speech. Then: "I can't talk anymore buddy." The sound of a phone being replaced being replaced in its catch followed...
LETS DO IT FOR THE FAT LADY!!!!!!!!
I was meant for the stage, I was meant for the curtain. I was meant to tread these boards, Of this much i am certain.
I was meant for the crowd, I was meant for the shouting. I was meant to raise these hands With quiet all about me. oh, oh.
Mother, please, be proud. Father, be forgiven. Even though you told me 'Son, you'll never make a living.' oh, oh.
From the floorboards to the fly, Here I was fated to reside. And as I take my final bow, Was there ever any doubt? And as the spotlights fade away, And you're escorted through the foyer, You will resume your callow ways, But I was meant for the stage.
The heavens at my birth Intended me for stardom, Rays of light shone down on me And all my sins were pardoned.
I was meant for applause. I was meant for derision. Nothing short of fate itself Has affected my decision. oh, oh.
From the floorboards to the fly, here i was fated to reside. And as I take my final bow, Was there ever any doubt? And as the spotlights fade away, And you're escorted through the foyer, You will resume your callow ways, But I was meant for the stage.