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April 15, 2024

Dinner With Henry 16: Twisted Sister

By Bruce Memblatt

Sun streamed through the skylight of the loft.

Her black eyes darted. Then Her black eyes darted.

"Mother, when am I going to see Henry?" Elvira buzzed.

"Soon enough, I suppose. He's such a disappointment, unlike you who stayed all bug." Clarissa buzzed as her furry head drooped.

"But I'm still his sister and you're still his mother." Elvira's black eyes popped up and down in search of her mother's face.

"I have no choice -- it's a simple matter of biology."

"Now, Mother I know you still love Henry."

"Absurd," she buzzed and then she lifted her spiny legs and trampled down the loft.

"I suppose I will have to find a way to see Henry on my own," Elvira buzz-sighed. Her head jumped back and forth as she gazed at the skylight above.

The water in the shower was running in Henry's room. Henry was sitting on his bed waiting for Diego. There was something strange in the air that day; he could feel it in the pit of his thorax. He suddenly had an urge for a cigarette, although he'd never so much as held a cigarette before. Maybe Diego was rubbing off on him, he thought, and he stood and looked in the mirror, not bad looking for a half- bug half -human; and then he caught the refection of Diego's scar as she walked out of the bathroom behind him. Why was he looking in the mirror anyway?

"Henry," Diego breathed, "where is the shampoo?"

"It's right on the window sill in the shower," he grumbled.

"Oh, I can see someone is in an interesting mood today," Diego sighed and marched back into the bathroom.

In the meanwhile in the kitchen:

"Shakespeare will you put that dish down it is not a hockey puck!" Andre said, waving his spoon in the air.

"Once you put your food in, it will be," Shakespeare snapped as he twirled the dish in his hands.

"You toad, listen, the way you're twirling that dish I am beginning to wonder if you really are a blind midget!"

"Get a load of these eye sockets," Shakespeare said, pointing at his eye sockets.

"It could be a disguise -- maybe you are a warlock, or a fairy."

"Hey watch it, Jacque."

"I am not Jacque I am Andre! And you are a miscreant."

Simpson entered the kitchen and snuck up behind Andre. "I'm so glad everything is back to normal today," Simpson said grinning. His thin lips quivered.

Andre jumped. "Oh I didn't see you, Simpson!"

"You never do. Where are Henry and Diego?"

"Hm, let's see, they're not here, so where would they be, hmmm," Shakespeare said as he walked to the counter.

"Thank you, Shakespeare, you're helpful as ever. Well, I'm still going to make my morning announcement. Attention everyone we are taking inventory today..."

"Boo!" Andre booed.

"Hiss!" Shakespeare hissed.

"Now now, it's not so bad, and you're awfully good at counting, Shakespeare," Simpson snapped.

"Wise guy," Shakespeare grumbled as he spread topping on a parfait.

Henry and Diego entered the kitchen. Henry's head was drooping; he wondered why he felt so out of it that day and he thought maybe getting married to Diego wasn't going to be the paradise he'd imagined. Maybe he was making a mistake but with the baby coming there wasn't any room for second guessing. His wing hung low, he slouched, he frowned.

"Henry, are you all right?"Andre shouted.

"Why wouldn't he be all right?" Diego breathed, "and why is the little one taking everything out of the cabinets?"

"Oh, we are doing inventory today. Oh what a joy it is to do inventory! After all if we didn't do inventory, we would not know what we have would we? Because, I guess, we are stupid and unaware of the objects under our noses every day!"

"No I'm not all right. I'm sorry; I'm just out of it today. I'll go count something in the back." Henry sighed and walked to the back of the kitchen.

Then Simpson interjected. "Andre, you are doing it again."

"Doing what?"

"That thing where you forget that I am in charge here."

"I'm so sorry, Mr. Simpson. Yes, you are in charge and I am the employee. I remember this discussion from last week. I will try to be more aware of my station and more aware of yours. And I am thinking inventory will be a nice way to spend the day, counting away the hours. Hnmmmm Let me see ... one ... two ... three ..."

"All right, Andre. I'll see you all later," Simpson said and walked to the door.

Diego turned from the counter and breathed, "I thought he would never leave."

"Oh, he is not so bad, he's just a little -- how you say?"

"Stuffed up inside?" Shakespeare smirked.

"Just a little," Andre said, counting the pots under the sink, "five, six ... Henry, why are you so quiet today?"

"I'm counting."

"Henry, snap out of it," Diego said, staring at the door. "Now isn't that interesting ..."

"What is so interesting, Diego?" Henry said as he walked over to Diego.

"There is something slithering under the door, can't you see it, Henry?" Diego said leaning over and pointing to the bottom of the door.

"Hey, there is," Henry said, pointing to the thing Diego was pointing at.

Andre marched over. "Well, why is everyone so cautious today? Caution is for ordinary people -- we are unique! We are fearless! We say 'pooh,' to caution," Andre cheered as he flung the door open. Behind the door a massive tentacle slithered back and forth. Andre jumped, nearly falling to the floor. "Oh my!"

Diego said, "Clarissa?"

Henry said, "Mother?"

She buzzed, "No, it's your sister Elvira, Henry."

"Oh my, I did not know you had a sister, Henry. Hello Henry's sister! Welcome to our humble kitchen; as you can see we are doing inventory today, because we like to count things! I am Andre the chef and you of course are welcome to anything you like. It is so nice to meet you!" Andre waved his hands in the air.

"You mean there are two of them?" Shakespeare sniped.

"Shush, let Henry talk to his sister,"Andre said pointing at Shakespeare.

"Yes, talk to your sister, Henry," Diego hushed.

Henry stood stunned and then he said, "Elvira, it's been so long."

"Henry," she buzzed, "it's good to see you, even if you do look a little hideous." Her tentacle reached toward Henry. In the hall he could see her head lying on the floor as she stretched her body along the hallway.

"It's good to see you again, too, Elvira ... I know you never got used to my human side."

"Well Henry, it's so ugly." Her eyes jerked up.

"Try, Elvira. Oh, I am getting married -- this is my fiancé Diego." Henry said and grabbed Diego's arm and pulled her toward him.

Diego stood straight and waved out into the hallway. "Hello, creature, I am Diego."

"She's beautiful, Henry." Elvira buzzed.

"I like your sister, Henry," Diego whispered jabbing Henry with her arm.

"Henry," Elvira buzzed, "I won't be staying long. Maybe we can talk and catch up in the loft?" Her furry head shook up and down on the linoleum. "This isn't very comfortable."

"Sure thing," Henry said and he began to walk around her body in the hall.

"So nice to meet you," Diego cried as Elvira began to slither and twist down the hall.

"Yes! It was truly a pleasure I hope you can come back soon! We will make you something special to take with you!" Andre said tipping his hat toward the door. They watched as Henry and Elvira drew towards the loft. Andre turned to Diego and said. "Maybe you should go too, Diego."

"No, I would be in the way," Diego said. "I love her tentacle. I wonder..?"

"What Diego?"

"If our baby will have one too?"

"You will see, Diego! In time you will see. It doesn't matter though, tentacle or not, it will still be your child." Andre said, waving his spoon.

"Yes, but it would be neat if she had a tentacle."

"I can't take anymore of this," Shakespeare snapped, "Does he have anymore relatives?"

"Oh be quiet, Shakespeare, go count something! It was very nice of Elvira to stop by and say hello to all of us! Like Clarissa she is a big woman, but a woman with a heart!" Andre shouted as he began to prepare a sauce.

"Yeah I loved the part where she told Henry he looked hideous." Shakespeare snickered as he counted more stuff under the counter.

"You don't understand, Shakespeare, to her we look like the ugly bugs, well except for Diego!"

"I think she has exquisite taste," Diego said, reaching in her bag for a stick of gum. "I wonder if she smokes?"

"Oh I doubt she would smoke, Diego," Andre said and then he pulled a watch out of his pocket. "Do you see this watch, Diego?"

"Yes, it is very nice, do you want to know the time?"

"No, listen, my mother gave me this watch, and I'm going to give it your child when she or he is old enough to take care of it! It's a special watch! It I believe has protected me all these years."

"From what, the men in the white coats?"

"Very funny, Shakespeare. You know I am trying to have a tender moment here and you with your big smart mouth have to come along and say something smart. Well, you know something you are not so smart, Mister Shakespeare," Andre said and then stood on his knees and sang,

"You and your smart ways
One of these days, mister,
Your smart mouth
Is gonna take you way south."

In the meanwhile in the loft:

Elvira looked down at Henry sitting on the floor and sigh-buzzed. "Don't worry about it, Henry, everyone gets scared sometimes. I look at you and I get scared, but you love Diego, I can tell."

"I guess I do," Henry shrugged, "I just wish there was more time."

"Henry, you have plenty of time." She buzzed and her tentacle swiped across the floor.

"And what about mother?" Henry said, looking up at Elvira.

"Don't worry, Henry she'll come around."

"I don't know; she hasn't even gotten used to me, never mind Diego and a baby; a human baby."

"She will, I know she will. I have to go now, Henry. I wish you weren't so short."

Henry smiled. "Will you be back?"

"Nothing could keep me from the wedding. Don't worry, Henry."

"Good luck, Elvira."

"Henry, could you push that button over there?" She pointed her head down.

Henry walked over to the wall and pressed the button next to the window. A humming sound began to stir in the loft and the skylight slowly opened. Elvira spread her wings and her head pointed shakily towards the sky. Her tentacles pressed against the floor and then they pushed up, and she was off. Henry watched as she ascended. Her wings seemed to dissolve into the sunlight as she disappeared into the sky.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-10-11
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