WHO WAS SHE—AND WHY THE SONG?

By Bob Tennison

 

who_march2011Last night I heard an old recording by Lena Horne about “A Ms Otis regretting she would not be able to dine today.” As Pago would have questioned, “Who in the blue-eyed world was Ms Otis and why was she so important that the song was written?” She is not in any Who’s Who in America in any of the many issues I checked, so she still remained a mystery to me.

I couldn’t get the song out of my mind, and I feel certain I am not alone in wondering about this, so, for all of you thousands of people who have spent these many years tossing and turning through sleepless nights trying to come to a conclusion as to why she had to cancel that luncheon engagement, I have arrived at what I feel sure happened on that fateful day, as all of my research was vain:

It all began with a call to her dearest and closest friend, Marsha Mason as follows:

“Rogers, Beckman and Armstrong. How may I direct your call”?

“This is Ms. Lucinda Otis calling for Marsha Mason.”

“One moment, please, and I will connect you.”

“Hello, Lucy. What’s going on?”

“I regret that I will be unable to dine with you today.”

“Oh, no. Is something wrong? You sound upset.”

“I just shot and killed Raymond, and I need to call the police.”

“What?! You just killed Raymond? Your husband? Why?”

“I found out he has been cheating on me for a long time, and I lost it.”

Dead silence. “Do you have any idea with whom?”

“Yes. A nurse at the hospital where he works.”

She could have sworn she heard a brief sigh of relief from Marsha’s end before Marsha asked, “What are you going to do?”

“After I do some cleaning up, I will call the police. I will call you later. On second thought, why don’t you just come over after work so we can have a farewell drink together before I call them.”

“That I will do. See you at five.”

Shortly after five and a somewhat lukewarm hug from Lucy, Marsha followed Lucy into the living room saying. “Oh, I just can’t believe this. Whatever shall I do without you?” Lucy told Marsha to make herself comfortable as she walked behind the bar and started mixing the Martinis. After placing the one for Marsha on a small serving tray, she crossed over to where Marsha was seated, handing her the tray.

As Marsha leaned over to pick up her glass, she noticed that next to it was a sheet from her monogrammed note pad, immediately recognizing it as the one she had given to Raymond the night before thanking him for the flowers and the beautiful bracelet. Obviously, he had left it in his coat pocket.

Her first quick thought was how stupid it had been on her part to have used that note pad, and as she looked up towards Lucy, who was only a few feet away and pointing a gun at her, giving her an evil smile, and saying, “He was cheating on both of us.”

Before she could say anything to Lucy, the gun was fired, the glass dropped into her lap bounced onto the floor, and Lucy was saying. “I’ll see you in Hell, you Judas.”

As Lucy walked toward the phone to dial 911, she said to herself, “It will be months before they find the body of that silly nurse.”

Later the song was written.

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