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September 26, 2022

Dinner With Henry 23: The House Guest

By Bruce Memblatt

It was three a.m. and not a sound stirred in the kitchen, until Simpson staggered in at five minutes after three. He yawned, closing the door and turning on the lights. His robe brushed across the floor as he pulled open the refrigerator door. Something nice to snack on would send him back to sleep, he was certain. His eyes bugged out when they spied the chocolate cream pie on the center shelf.

He was tugging the pie out the refrigerator when he saw a mouse scurry across his feet. The pie went flying in the air. And Simpson went flying out of the kitchen.

The mouse ate the pie, then belched, and scampered into his hole.

The very next morning Andre walked into the kitchen singing a happy song about the morning.

"This is the morning
But Andre isn't yawning
Andre is happy
And the world is his mineral lotion.

"Ah, another beautiful day begins," he said as he walked over to the refrigerator. "Now let me see." He opened the door. He took out the bottle of milk on the top shelf and closed the refrigerator. A funny gleam crossed his eyes as he walked to the stove. "Hmmm," he said, "something is amiss." He ran back to the refrigerator and opened the door. "MY CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE! SOMEONE HAS EATEN MY CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE!"

Suddenly, Simpson came running into the kitchen.

"Good God, what has happened, Andre?"

"MY CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE IS GONE!!"

"Jumping Jehoshaphat, Andre, I thought something awful had occurred. It's just a pie."

"Just a pie? Just a PIE?" Andre said, waving his hands. "Do you think pies JUST come into existence by magic? I slaved for hours and hours over that pie! A lifetime of experience went into making that pie! I want to know what happened to it! ANDRE WANTS TO KNOW."

"Have you been sniffing the ginger again, Andre?"

"NO, MY PIE."

"All right, all right, it is my fault, Andre. I couldn't sleep last night, so I thought I'd come in here and have a little snack. I thought it might help me return to slumber."

"AND?" Andre roared, waving his hat in the air.

"Well, I saw the pie, and I was going to have just a tiny little piece, the teensiest sliver -- when I saw it."

"IT?!"

"A mouse -- I was caught off guard and the pie went flying into the air."

"AND?"

"Well, I assume the mouse ate it, Andre."

"AH HAH! Andre knows how to deal with evil mice." Andre slowly said. His lips and his eyebrows quivered.

Cautiously, Andre pulled a piece of cheese out of the refrigerator and placed it on a plate. He placed the plate near the stove. Then he reached in the drawer and grabbed a hammer. Quietly he placed a chair near the cheese and then he tiptoed over to the chair and sat down. He anxiously held the hammer in a readied position, silently waiting for the mouse.

And he waited for the mouse.

And he waited for the mouse.

Suddenly Shakespeare entered the kitchen and cracked, "Um, what is this -- some new kind of fondue?"

Andre whispered, "Shhhhhhhhhhhush! I am waiting for the mouse."

Shakespeare whispered back. "What mouse?"

Andre whispered, "The mouse that ate my chocolate cream pie last night. Simpson said he came in here to get something to eat because he couldn't sleep," Andre continued, waving the hammer," when he got scared by a mouse. The pie went flying in the air."

"Yeah, yeah, the old pie went flying in the air story. I'll bet Simpson ate the pie himself." Shakespeare snickered.

"Are you saying Simpson made up a story, that he is a liar?" Andre eyebrows quivered.

The mouse zipped across the floor. He grabbed the cheese, and zipped back into his hole.

Andre cried, lunging toward the plate. "See it is a mouse! A very smart and devious mouse. I will have to think of something extraordinary to catch this one. Something so clever, so insidious, so evil only Andre could devise it." Andre's lips, eyebrows, and nose quivered.

Shakespeare began to laugh. "Yes, mice shake in their boots when they see Andre the absent-minded chef heading their way."

"Very funny, Shakespeare, you will see. You all will see! HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH.

Attend the tale of Andre the mouse catcher!
He didn't need a fancy spatula.
He moved his hands and mice would quake,
And the earth would shake.
Did Andre, did Andre,
The mouse catcher of Delancey Street."

"Every think of going on tour?"

"Thank you, Shakespeare, it actually has crossed my mind from time to time. I think I have a very special talent ..."

"I meant a tour of Bellevue!" Shakespeare snapped.

"Oh, you are so funny, Shakespeare, but you shall see. Think, Andre, think," Andre said as he paced around the kitchen, "Think, Andre, think." He repeated and he paced some more. "AHAH! I've got it! It's a simple plan, but ingenious in its construction, extraordinary in its intelligence. Only Andre could think of such a masterful design."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, what is it, Mata Hari?"

"Sit and listen." Andre took his hat off and waved his spoon through the air like it was a wand. "A trail, a simple trail -- but a trail has to lead somewhere, yes? A trail of cheese leading to Her door."

"Oh, please, she'll probably hire him."

"Ha! That is funny, Shakespeare. He is small enough to replace you."

"No one can replace a blind midget."

"That is true, you are one of a kind. Now, let Andre begin." His lips quivered.

Andre tore into the refrigerator and grabbed the cheese. He cut it up into tiny pieces and began to make the trail. "Shakespeare, can you stand by the door, just to make sure it doesn't close when the leetle beast passes through."

"Whatever," Shakespeare said and he waddled over to the door.

Andre continued spreading the trail down the hall up to Her door.

"You know, these floors could use a cleaning," Andre said, placing another piece of cheese down.

"Don't tell Simpson or we'll wind up doing it!" Shakespeare snapped.

"Aha I am done. The trail is complete. The trap is set HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH."

Shakespeare looked confused. "You know those HAHAHAHAHA's are getting kind of scary."

"HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH."

"Jackass."

Andre walked back into the kitchen. "Okay, now all we have to do is wait. Oh, this is going to be so much fun. She will eat him like he was an appetizer." Andre's teeth glistened.

"He'll probably taste like one of your appetizers."

"Okay, the fun is over; let's be quiet and wait."

And they waited.

And they waited.

The mouse zipped down the hall devouring the trail. When he got to Her door he turned around and rocketed past Shakespeare and Andre and vanished back into his hole.

"NO! NO! NO! THIS CANNOT BE!"

"I'm afraid it can," Shakespeare sighed.

"This must be some super mouse, some mouse from another planet, some rare highly intelligent species of mouse. This mouse must be a genius mouse. Maybe we should try reasoning with him. Maybe he is the kind of mouse who will listen to reason?"

"Reason,shmeason, let's grab some pots and hit the little shit over the head."

"Ha, yes, let's!" Andre smiled.

They ran around the kitchen opening up cabinet doors, pulling out pots, pans, and spatulas.

"Now this time we are going to do it differently," Andre smiled sadistically. "We are going to wait patiently, and when he comes out his little hole we're going to clog it up. HAHAHAHHAHAHA!"

"Idiot," Shakespeare said.

"But Shakespeare, first we are going to place lots and lots and lots of cheese in the middle of the floor so it will take him a long time to eat it. This mouse may be smart but you are a GENIOUS, Andre!"

"You know your humility is inspiring."

"Thank you, Shakespeare I try to keep my head -- no matter what the situation, I am level headed and practical." Andre said.

"Don't tell me, in the dictionary under 'level-headed', it says 'Andre'."

"Ah, how did you know, Shakespeare?"

Shakespeare sighed, and they tore mounds and mounds of cheese into tiny pieces and placed them in the center of the kitchen. Armed with their pots and pans they devilishly grinned.

"Now you stay here, Shakespeare, and I'll go stand near his hole, so when the leetle bugger comes out I can plug his little house up."

"Who's afraid of the big bad Andre?
The mouse is!"

Andre stood by the mouse hole and Shakespeare stood in the center of the kitchen.

And they waited.

And they waited.

And they waited.

The mouse zoomed out of the hole. Quickly Andre turned around and blocked the hole with one of the pots in his hand. Then he ran over to Shakespeare. They saw the mouse gnawing away at the cheese.

A flurry of banging and clanging and crashing ensued. All the eye could see was a frenzied blur of pots and pans and arms waving.

That's when Henry and Diego walked in.

"Hi we're home!" Henry shouted.

"What is going on?" Diego sighed. "I don't think they can hear us, Henry."

Henry put their luggage down on the floor and began to yell. "HELLO! WE ARE HOME!"

Suddenly the commotion in the center of the kitchen slowed down to a trickle of pots tinkling

"Oh my!" Andre said. "Look, Shakespeare, the newlyweds are home!"

"Hello, newlyweds," Shakespeare said.

"Ah, I guess you are wondering why we are in the center of the kitchen banging and smashing pots around in a frenzied blur?" Andre said, taking his hat off.

"Well the thought did cross my mind," Henry said.

"We have been invaded by a mouse, so devious, so clever, so ..."

"A mouse? Come here, Fifi." Diego smiled.

The mouse scurried across the floor and sat by Diego's shoe.

"This is my pet mousie Fifi," Diego breathed.

Andre and Shakespeare sighed.

A pot fell out of Andre's hand and rattled across the floor.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-01-03
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