Hughie is set in the lobby of a seedy Times Square Hotel early one morning in the late '20s. Its characters are the hotel's gray, withdrawn night clerk, and "Erie" Smith, a penny-ante gambler who has spent most of his last fifteen years at the hotel between periods of drunkenness. His most recent bender was prompted by the death of the title character who was the night clerk's predecessor. Erie babbles through tales of his life's imaginary successes, as well as his panicky optimism towards the futile future. The night clerk can only listen to this study in fraudulent glibness which is touching, revealing, and a telling measure of what is behind this man's delusions.