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July 15, 2024

Dinner With Henry 22: Mother's Little Helper

By Bruce Memblatt

Storm clouds hovered above the skylight of the loft. Rain pounded the glass. A flash of lightning seared across the walls for an instant, illuminating Her face as thunder roared through Delancey Street.

Her black eyes weaved back and forth.

Her head bobbed up and down.

She buzzed. "Dirty dirty dirty, she had me down on the dirty floor. That magician, I'll get her. I'll get them. I'll show them magic, real magic. That marriage is a curse, a crime against nature.

"That human, the one-eared nurse, I'll show her. I'll take out her other ear. I'll destroy the lot. I'll ..."

"Mother," Elvira buzzed, mechanically walking into the room, her head sliding, her black eyes bouncing. "You're being ridiculous. Please knock it off." She stood slightly lower than Clarissa.

Her mother's eyes zeroed in on her. "Elvira, I'll take care of you too."

"Mother have you been drinking? It's your fault, picking up that preacher like he was a toy. I can't believe you, Mother," Elvira buzzed, staring at her mother.

A flash of lightning burst through the skylight. "I should have tossed the little devil into the river. Did you see the looks on their faces?"

"Mother, it wasn't funny."

"Yeah, I thought I saw your antennae popping," Clarissa said and she poked her head higher.

"Well, for a moment, but I was just as horrified as anyone else at the wedding."

"HA! wedding? Who cares about a gaggle of silly humans and their postpubescent rituals?"

"Oh, you're so superior with your cold heart," Elvira buzzed.

Her tentacles swept across the floor "Heart has nothing to do with it. Heart doesn't mean a whit without a brain."

"They love each other."

"Love, please --! Henry got her knocked up."

"Mother, you are so vulgar. Live and let live is my watch cry."

"You always were a softy, Elvira. I'm surprised you're not half-human too. Eccch," she buzzed. She lowered her head and spat on the floor.


"And where did she ... what is her name?"


"Of course."

"Cute," Elvira buzzed.

"Where did she get her powers? A human is bad enough but a human with power is an abomination."

"You know, Mother you speak in very biblical terms, abomination, crime against nature."

"That's because I know things, Elvira you should too. We are more, more than mere insects. We are the future."

"Oh, Mother, you must have hit your head on the skylight." Elvira buzzed and her body writhed above the loft. Thunderclaps rumbled in the distance.

"No child, listen to your instincts,"She buzzed.

"My instincts tell me my mother has very bizarre ideas."

"It's no use; you're as bad as Henry."

Clarissa lumbered across the room; her tentacles reached across the floor.

She picked up a small object.

She hurled it up in the air.

"What is that, Mother?"

"It's a voodoo doll of that witch. "

"You must be joking."

"The only way to deal with a witch is through magic."

"Mother put it away. Go have a crumb cake."

"We shall see, Elvira. We shall see."

In the meanwhile in the kitchen, Andre was standing over the stove. There was a small leak in the ceiling. "Shakespeare can you hand me a pot?"

Shakespeare stood below Andre, pointing under the stove. "Hey, look under the stove, there are hundreds of pots under the stove right below where you're standing. Why do I have to hand you a pot?"

Andre stuck his nose in the air. "Oh I am so sorry, I know what a busy midget you are, but there is a leak. The pot I'm holding is all full, so I thought you might hand me another, but I don't want to upset the busy midget."

"Okay, I'll hand you a pot!" Shakepeare snapped. He grabbed a pot out of the cabinet and whacked Andre in the rear.

Andre's hand slipped and the pot of water he was holding poured across the floor. "You know something, you are impossible! This is not funny, Shakespeare. What is She going to say when all her food is wet?"

Shakespeare jumped. "Oh, what does she care she's a bug!"

"She is a very picky eater, Shakespeare, you know how she is!"

"She's a big ugly bug!"

"And look at you, you midget, you're a small ugly bug!"

"And look at you, you're a fat ugly chef!"

Andre waved his spoon in the air. "Ugly! Andre is not ugly. Andre is a chef, an artist, a philosopher, a singer; Andre brings beauty into the world."

"Andre brings high cholesterol into the world," Shakespeare giggled.

Suddenly they heard Sincere giggling in the back of the kitchen, and Andre said, "Oh I see Sincere is a fan of your wise cracks. It's not going to be funny when She ... "

"She She She She She, what about us?"

"By the way, Shakespeare, She's been awfully quiet since the wedding. I imagine she must have been quite upset when Sincere worked her magic on her. I imagine she was seething! I tremble to think of the terrible things that must have been hovering in her mind," Andre said slowly and his lips quivered.

"She's probably waiting until Henry and Diego get home. Then she'll let 'em have it. There's gonna be a freaky bug war," Shakespeare said pointing at the door.

"Oh, Shakespeare, she is an intelligent woman -- I'm sure by the time Henry and Diego return she will have given this matter much deep thought. I am sure everything will be fine when they get back. After all, she's going to be a grandmother!"

"Ha! Go tell her that!"

"Maybe I will. Maybe what she needs is someone to listen to her concerns. Like Ernest Hemingway simply said, I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. And I am a great listener! She just needs Andre's ear."

"I don't know what she needs, but we need a large can of Raid."

"There is no talking to you, Shakespeare." They heard Sincere laugh again. "Sincere is in a merry mood today." Andre said as he grabbed another pot from below the stove.

"Maybe someone put something in her worms," Shakespeare snapped.

"Maybe she is just in a good mood!"

"She's a happy magician
She's a giddy girl
She's got the power.
She's got a voodoo that you do twirl!
She's a snappy happy wizardy girl!"

"She's just plain snapped!" Shakespeare snapped.

Andre grabbed a few eggs from the freezer. The leak had slowed down to a small steady drip. "I wonder if the rain has stopped. The leak seems to be diminishing. I am going to bake something special for Clarissa, and when Henry and Diego come home, I'm going to bake something even more special."

"Aren't you special!" Shakespeare said. "Why don't you make them a cake in the shape of a preacher?"

"Oh, I hope that poor man is all right. I imagine he won't be coming back here."

"Maybe to perform Her funeral he will."

"Shakespeare, there is no depth to your depravity is there?"

"There is no depth to your depth!"

"What does that mean, Shakespeare?"

"I don't know."

Sincere giggled again.

"Again," Shakespeare said, "Snappy over there has been breaking into laughter every 3.5 minutes.

"You've been keeping track?" Andre said. Andre broke the eggs over a bowl.

Shakespeare shrugged. "It's annoying -- you should have a talk with her, too, Dr. Freud."

"Maybe I will, but Sincere seems like she's in such a happy mood, why examine it? Sometimes you have to just let things be."

Let it be
Let it be
Let it ... be

"Let me be. If she doesn't stop soon I'm gonna let her be with a mallet."

"Oh, you are ridiculous, Shakespeare! And you are not funny. A mallet is a weapon not a toy. Careful the things you say, Shakespeare. Careful the spell you cast." "Careful the eggs you crack," Shakespeare giggled as Andre cracked an egg on the toaster.

"See, you have me so mixed up, Shakespeare, I have no idea what I'm doing!" Andre snapped.

They heard Sincere laugh again.

Andre and Shakespeare walked to the back of the kitchen. There they saw Sincere shrugging and laughing.

"Why are you laughing, Sincere? What is so funny?" Andre said, putting his arms around Sincere's shoulder. "I don't," she giggled, "I don't," she giggled, "know." She shrugged, "I feel ... I feel like I'm ... being tickled."

In the meanwhile back in the loft, storm clouds still hung over the skylight. Lightning crashed. Thunder roared. Clarissa held the voodoo doll, pricking it with a pin every 3.5 minutes. "Ha! You're going to die, you witch. You're going to burn in hell. Tweddle- deedle- dee, I'm going to break thee, smash thee, crush thee. The fires of Hades will consume thee."
Her black eyes darted up and down.
She buzzed.
She cackled.
She hissed.
She spat.
She snarled.

"Mother, will you put that thing down."

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-12-27
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