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February 19, 2024

Dinner With Henry 17: The Big Room

By Bruce Memblatt

Just two flights above Henry's room secret plans were underway in a large two bedroom apartment. Shakespeare held a broom in his hands. Andre held a paintbrush in his hand and Simpson held a cup of coffee in his.

"Just a little to the right, Andre," Simpson said as he pointed to the wall.

"You said to the left two seconds ago, Simpson, what am I, a yo-yo?" Andre said while he pointed the brush back and forth in his hands.

Simpson in turn pointed his hand across the stained walls, waved his hands across the debris ridden floor and said, "Andre, do you want to get this apartment ready for Henry and Diego, or not?"

"Not!" Shakespeare snapped.

"Now, Shakespeare, of course I do, Mr. Simpson. It will be such a wonderful surprise for Henry and Diego; a nice spacious apartment to raise their new arrival. When I think of the look of happiness we'll see in Henry and Diego's eyes when we show them this place, tears come to my eyes."

"Mine too." Shakespeare snapped again.

"You are not funny, Shakespeare."

"Yes I am," Shakespeare said as he held the broom in place on the floor.

"Well maybe you are a little funny, but not everything is funny, Shakespeare. This will be Henry and Diego's new home.

"A new home.
A new place.
A new beginning
With a new face."

"I'd like a new home too, but all I'm getting is a broken back,"Shakespeare said.

Simpson put his coffee cup down on the kitchen counter. "Listen, you two, we have a lot of work to accomplish here."

"What do you mean we, Mr. Simpson? Pardon me, but I don't see you doing any sweeping or painting."

"Someone has to orchestrate the job, Andre, otherwise there would be chaos," Simpson said with a trace of a smile on his lips.

"Oh I see, so you are like Leonard Bernstein." Andre said. His eyebrows quivered.

"He's more like Leonard Maltin," Shakespeare smirked.

Andre turned and said, "What is wrong with Leonard Maltin?"

"I've never liked his reviews."

Andre slapped his head. "Oh what is the difference? There are a million things to do here! We will never get it finished, and Mr. Simpson, there is not such a big crowd of workers here that we need conducting like we are the philharmonic! Even in the kitchen we don't have a conductor. We are not musicians, although, I do tend to break out into song now and then as you might have noticed. And forgive me but I don't think I am out of bounds, because we're not in the kitchen now! What is that?" Andre said slowly pointing at the water running across the floor. His lips quivered.

In the meanwhile in the kitchen:

Diego turned from the sink and breathed, "There, I think I've found it."

"Found what, honey?" Henry said as he leaned over Diego while she leaned over the sink.

"My spoon," Diego said as she pulled a spoon out of the sink. Then she held the spoon toward the light and stared at it.

"You have your own spoon?"

"The spoon from my coffee this morning, I liked the way it curved," Diego sighed and then a curious look crossed her face. "Where is everyone today, Henry?"

"Andre said they were all going shopping but my wing told me something was up."

"Your wing talks, Henry, can I ask it something?" Diego said, staring at the spoon intently.

"No not like that Diego, but I got a notion that something mysterious was underfoot." Henry said turning the faucet on.

"Underfoot? Like what, Henry?" Diego whispered.

Suddenly Sincere stepped up. "Me too."

Henry jumped back. "I didn't see you there, Sincere."

"I get the same feeling too, Henry," Sincere said holding a worm in midair.

"Nothing personal, Sincere, but what is it with you and worms?" Diego asked, when a strange man in brown shorts carrying a package suddenly walked into the kitchen and said, "Hi, U.P.S. I have a delivery. I tried to leave it in the office but no one answered. Can someone here sign for it?"

"Henry, you'd better sign for it," Diego said, staring towards the door.

"I wonder why Simpson is gone too?" Henry said as he walked over to the UPS man.

The man handed Henry a small box and said. "I'll bet it's some kind of surprise."

"See, Henry the UPS man has a wing, too."

"No ma'am I don't have a wing but I do have a sixth sense."

"He does, I can tell," Sincere smiled and stretched her hand out toward the man dangling a worm, "Want a worm, mister?"

"Thank you," the UPS man said and he grabbed the worm and walked out the door.

Diego turned and breathed, "He is a strange man."

In the meanwhile, back in the large two bedroom apartment, chaos erupted due to a broken pipe in the sink. Andre and Shakespeare fought valiantly against the rising tide. Simpson tried to orchestrate the pair until he finally realized he couldn't prevent chaos. His only choice was to pitch in and try his best to towel it up.

"Andre, do you have another towel?" Simpson shouted from the entrance to the living room.

"I'm sorry, Simpson, all the towels are soaking! Why don't you look in the bathroom, maybe you'll find something in there?" Andre said as he tried to tighten the pipe under the sink with a wrench.

"Um what does a blind midget do in the event of a flood?"

"Float," Andre laughed. That's when Shakespeare kicked Andre in the rear.

"Shakespeare, what are you doing? I am trying to fix the leak; this is no time for fun and games. We have a very serious situation on our hands! "Andre said waving the wrench around.

"Thanks, Andre, I did find a few in the bathroom." Simpson said and then he saw the water rising around Shakespeare. "Shakespeare, maybe you'd better go downstairs."

"But if he goes downstairs they will know something is underfoot!" Andre shouted.

"Andre, I think they will find out anyway if we can't find some way to control this flood." Simpson said while a he mopped up a puddle on the living room floor with a towel.

"Can I ask you something, Mr. Simpson? When was the last time a plumber has set foot in this building? These pipes are all rusty. You know something like someone once said I don't remember who now so don't ask me while I have my hands under the sink, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

"Benjamin Franklin said it, but in Simpson's case an ounce of prevention costs too much because he's cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap," Shakespeare said holding on to the kitchen table.

"All right, Shakespeare." Simpson said, "It doesn't matter now! What matters now is the problem at hand."

"Unfortunately, he is right, Shakespeare, we have to deal with the problem at hand. Oh my and poor Henry and Diego! We were supposed to surprise then with a nice new apartment. But now we only have a mess for them, a mess .Why do these things happen to me? Why why why?"

"Um, you're doing it again," Shakespeare snapped.


"Never mind."

It was at that point that the pipe broke and water rushed all over the kitchen and into the living room and into everywhere in the apartment water could rush. With no other alternative left, they fled downstairs. Simpson may have even thought of calling a plumber.

They entered the kitchen hurriedly.

Diego was the first to spot Andre and Shakespeare and Simpson. She said, "Did we get a pool? They look like they've been swimming!"

"No, we did not get a pool, Diego," Simpson said as he wrung his shirt out.

"Mr. Simpson, weren't you going to call a plumber?"Andre asked as he wrung his hat out.

"Yes, I'm going to my office now to call one," Simpson said clenching his teeth. A pained look appeared on his face as he slowly inched his way to the door.

"Why do we need a plumber?" Henry cried as he rushed toward Andre and Shakespeare and Diego.

"Gee, I don't know why we would need a plumber -- do you suppose our soggy appearance might belie a clue, bug breath?" Shakespeare said pointing at himself.

"Now now, Shakespeare, be nice to Henry. How is he supposed to know why we are all soaking wet! Why should he know about the tragedy that befell us? Simply because we were trying to do a nice thing by fixing up the apartment upstairs for he and Diego, so they'd have a bigger place to raise their child!"

"Um, great work Rona Barrett."

"I'm sorry, Shakespeare, but what is the difference now? They should still know how hard we suffered and toiled trying to make this surprise happen for them. Okay, so it is no longer a surprise. But I am wet and I do not like being wet. I do not like it at all."

"Whatever you say, Dr. Seuss," Shakespeare giggled.

"Wow I can't believe it! That's so swell of you guys," Henry said. His wing fluttered. "I knew something was up, my wing told me before, but I didn't think it was this!"

"Yes this is very sweet of you ," Diego whispered. "Can we see it?"

"Yeah let them see it," Shakespeare said, smirking.

"But it will take us forever now to get it ready for you and Diego, Henry! It is such a mess -- water is all over the place. It is unbelievable. You will not believe it! It is like the Poseidon Adventure. I fought valiantly against the rising tide, but I could not stop it." Andre wrung his hat out again.

"Can we see it anyway, please please?" Henry said, his wing still fluttering.

It was around that time that Sincere rushed upstairs. Remembering her magic, when she entered the two bedroom apartment she waved her hand and the water that covered the floors rushed back into the broken pipe under the sink. Another wave of her hand caused the pipe to seal, it even sparkled. After another flurry of waves, the apartment appeared clean and bright and nicely furnished like one that you might find in Good Housekeeping magazine. She had just finished fluffing a pillow when Andre, Shakespeare, Diego and Henry were making their way up the stairs.

"My goodness! Look! What has happened here!" Andre cried, tossing his hat as they walked through the door.

"You sure had us fooled, Andre, now where is the pool?" Diego sighed.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-10-25
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