Ethel Sings Husky Musky Dusky

Damon Runyon


September 28.

DEAR SIR the other night I took my wife Ethel to a show on some passes a friend of mine gave me and a dame came out and sang a song that everybody except me applauded and when we got home I ses to Ethel what was the idea of that dame singing the way she did?

Ethel ses what way Joe? I ses so slow and low and so away down deep in her throat? I ses another thing all the time she was singing she was screwing up her face and twisting her handkerchief in her fingers. I ses that is the way I mean. I ses why was that?

Ethel ses why Joe that was to show she was tormented. I ses what was she tormented about? I ses who was tormenting her? Ethel ses why Joe she was tormented by her thoughts. I ses what was she thinking about? Ethel ses why my goodness Joe she was thinking about her fellow. I ses what fellow? Ethel ses the fellow she lost. What other fellow would a lady be thinking about Joe? Why Joe you heard the song yourself.

I ses yes I heard something all right but I did not understand what I heard. I ses she sang so slow and so low that I did not catch more than a few words here and there and Ethel ses yes that was Husky Musky Dusky singing. I ses what does that mean? Ethel ses well Joe it means slow and low like this. Lo lo lo lo lo. You see Joe I make my voice catch in my throat like I was coughing up something. Lo lo lo lo lo. Why look Joe I can sing Husky Musky Dusky too.

I ses all right Ethel we will let it go at that and she ses no Joe listen good now. Lo lo lo lo lo. I ses please Ethel you will wake all the neighbors up with that noise. I ses what I want to know is what was the fellow to her? Ethel ses what fellow? I ses the fellow you ses the dame lost and was tormented about?

Ethel ses O that fellow. Why he was the one she loved and he went away. It was awfully sad the way she was tormented Joe. She was tormented by her thoughts about him. I ses where did the fellow go? Ethel ses why how does anybody know where fellows go when they go away from those who love them? The songs never tell where they go. They just leave somebody to be tormented by their thoughts about them. Look Joe see if you think I have got it any better now. Lo lo lo lo lo.

I ses well what was the idea of her screwing her face up the way she did when she was singing? I ses if her fellow did come back and catch her with her singing with her face screwed up that way he would go on about his business again. Ethel ses Joe that is not a nice thing to say about that ladys face. It was not screwed up at all. That was just the way she holds her face when she is singing something to show how tormented she is in her soul.

I ses I thought you ses she was tormented in her thoughts and Ethel ses well it is the same thing. Everybody who is tormented holds their face a certain way. Look how I hold mine Joe. Lo lo lo lo lo. I ses Ethel I wish you would not make faces that way or that noise either and tell me what about the handkerchief that dame had. I ses was it necessary for her to be twisting that handkerchief like she was wringing something out?

Ethel ses why that shows she is tormented too. If you are tormented you like to have something in your hands to twist like a handkerchief though sometimes you can twist your skirt. Wait and I will get something and twist it so you can see what I mean. Joe I think it is wonderful the way I can sing Husky Musky Dusky. Lo lo lo lo. You see I get better every time.

I ses Ethel the middle of the night is no time to be making noises like that and Ethel ses but Joe that is not noises it is Husky Musky Dusky. Lo lo lo lo. You just feel my throat away down here Joe and see where my voice catches. That is what makes it sound that way Joe. Does it sound just like the lady in the show Joe?

I ses well sweetheart I guess it sounds better because it could not sound any worse but you better save it until tomorrow because I have got to get some sleep. She ses all right Joe and I left her standing in front of the mirror looking at herself and going Lo lo lo lo lo and went to bed but I had not been asleep long before Ethel woke me up and ses Joe I know what is wrong.

I ses wrong with what? She ses with the way I sing Husky Musky Dusky. I ses why I thought you was doing it all right and Ethel ses no I knew there was something wrong. I ses well what is it? She ses it is because I am not tormented by my thoughts about losing any fellow. I ses well maybe I can fix it so you can lose me and she ses O no Joe I would rather have you than sing Husky Musky Dusky or than anything else in the world.

I ses all right then come to bed and she ses well I only wish I could be tormented by something except losing you. Lo lo lo lo lo. Is that any better Joe? I ses good night Ethel.