National Onion Singing Messenger Service.

800/277-4702. Weekdays 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., weekends 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Major credit cards are accepted. Call 333-7377 for a demonstration tape.

Several years ago when the singing telegram went the way of the hurdy-gurdy man and the nickel shoe shine, some enterprising people moved in to fill the silence with a "singing messenger" service by the name of Western Onion (yes, onion). Now, two years and one legal battle later, Western Onion calls itself National Onion and delivers singing messages in person (for $25) in 11 U.S. cities, including Washington, or over the phone (for $12.50) in any city. The service was "persuaded" to change its name when Western Union complained that there was trademark infringement on its name (meaning that the name similarity was "too close for comfort" and was confusing too many people). National Onion has survived its title revision and continues to meet the demand for these flabbergasting greetings. Set to tunes like "The Entertainer" and "The William Tell Overture," the cleverly original verses are worded to announce every occasion from an anniversary to a request for a date, and are usually sung by professionally trained singers.