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June 27, 2022

Dinner With Henry 24: The Hot Spot

By Bruce Memblatt

It was a hot day on Delancey Street. Cats and dogs spread across the sidewalk. Their tongues hung down like cactus leaves praying for a spray of moisture, in a desert so hot the lizards turned to sand. Ice cream melted out of the back of an abandoned ice cream truck. In the meanwhile, Henry and Diego were in their new apartment in the warehouse arranging furniture.

Diego said, wiping the sweat from her brow, "I think it should go over there, Henry."

"But I just moved the couch over there five minutes ago," Henry said. His wing hung low.

"Five minutes ago the room looked different," Diego sighed.

"That's because the couch was over there five minutes ago." Henry shrugged.

"I wonder when the power will come back on, Henry?"

"Not soon enough, Diego. I think this must be the hottest day ever recorded in the history of Delancey Street."

"Then why are we moving the couch, Henry?"

"I thought you wanted to move the couch, Diego."

"No, Henry, you wanted to move the couch."

Frustrated, they sat down on the couch. The sun beat through the open windows. Half empty glasses of water sat on the coffee table.

"The mayor said they're doing everything they can to fix the blackout," Diego said, throwing Henry's transistor radio down on the couch.

"Yeah, well, the mayor does not have to worry about it, does he? I would bet he is as cool as a cucumber!"

"You sounded just like Andre for a moment, Henry," Diego breathed.

In the meanwhile, in the kitchen, Andre stood by the freezer. "Shakespeare, help me throw some of this stuff out of the freezer -- yeechh -- everything is melting."

"Oh, let it melt," Shakespeare snapped.

"But if we let it melt there will be a big mess, do you want a big mess in the kitchen? I don't like messes. I like a neat and tidy kitchen."

Shakespeare threw his arms up in the air and sighed. "It is too hot to clean. I wonder when the power will come back on?"

"I would bet the mayor does not have to worry about it. I would bet he is as cool as a cucumber!

"It is so hot.
I feel like my blood is going to clot.
Ice cream would hit the spot
But it has melted melted melted into the fires of hell!"

Andre sung and then he kicked the refrigerator.

"That won't help, Chubby," Shakespeare giggled, throwing out a melted box of ice cream.

"I know, I know, Shakespeare this is not like me. I am the positive one. The one who is always finding the silver in the lining of the clouds, the one whose cup is always half full. The one who sees the rainbow before the storm has subsided."

"The one who carries on and on and on and on," Shakespeare grumbled.

"Yes, that is me -- I am a carrier!"

"Ugh," Shakespeare said, "here, carry this." and he threw a box of ice cream on the floor.

Andre waved his hands in the air and said, "I did not even know we had so much ice cream!"

"Simpson must have found a sale," Shakespeare barked.

"No doubt. But now it is all gone, melted sad puddles of ice cream," Andre said and took off his hat. "Poor ice cream."

"Poor us," Shakespeare shrugged.

"Hey, I just had a thought, Shakespeare! I wonder if Sincere could work her magic on this terrible heat!"

They walked to the back of the kitchen to find Sincere standing in a corner with her shirt removed.

Andre jumped. "Egads!"

Shakespeare lurched, "What is it?"

"Egads, Sincere, your shirt is off! You are naked!" Andre cried.

"It's hot. I took my shirt off. Relax, gentlemen." Her crooked teeth glistened. Her wrinkled breasts sagged.

"This is one of those times when I'm grateful to be a blind midget."

"Now Shakespeare, she is, ahem, hot, it is hot out, so she took her shirt off; a reasonable thing to do," Andre said covering his eyes, wincing. "Anyway, Sincere we were wondering if your most fantastical powers could fix the blackout or change the weather?"

"Nope. Sorry," Sincere said, and she began to remove her pants.

Andre and Shakespeare rushed back to the front of the kitchen. Ice cream continued to melt everywhere.

"Well what now, P.T. Barnum?"

"What now? What now? What now? ... um, I guess we continue to clean up the ice cream and hope the power returns to us soon or the weather cools off. Wait! Wait! Andre has an idea. Outside! The sun will set soon. We can all go outside; we will bring candles and flashlights. It will provide a most intriguing atmosphere!"

"So you want to light up the looters and rapists?"

"Now now, Shakespeare, we will stay close to the front of the building. We can bring chairs outside, and I'll try and see what I can rustle up. It will be like a moonlit picnic. It will be so much fun! I will sing camping songs! Go upstairs and tell Henry and Diego!"

"Sure, sure, send the poor blind midget up the stairs on the hottest day ever recorded on Delancey Street," Shakespeare grumbled.

"I knew you were going to say that, Shakespeare, but I am doing things too. Look at me, I am getting ready to prepare our magical picnic. Imagine the energy and precise thought this will require!"

"Magical shmagical, don't forget the beer!" Shakespeare snapped, and zipped out the door.

While Shakespeare trudged up the stairs, Andre gathered candles and flashlights. He found a few boxes of wafers in the cupboards they used to make parfaits, and a bottle of wine under the sink.

Andre hurried down the stoop and began to set up the lights.

"Let me see ... I think I will place a candle on the side of each step, won't that be lovely!"

He placed the candles down and lit them.

"Ah yes this looks nice, oh and I have a nice lantern I can put right on the sidewalk below."

He placed the lantern down.

"Ah yes, this looks wonderful! Yes, it will be a magical night on Delancey Street. Oh look, a leetle cat is sleeping right next to the lantern. "Hello mister, cat!" Andre said ,and he bent over and patted the cat oh his head.

"Hi, Andre," the cat sighed, purred and closed his eyes.

"OH MY GOD it is a magic cat! I can not believe it! I have found a talking cat . No it can't be! It must be the heat! Yes, the heat has gone to Andre's head! Andre has had too much heat!"

"Whatever you say, Chubblechunks," the cat snapped.

Just at that moment Shakespeare, Diego and Henry came barreling down the stairs.

"Wow, this looks cool, Andre," Henry said, as he and Diego hit the bottom step.

"It reminds me of Paris," Diego breathed and she looked off into the distance.

"I didn't know you've been to Paris," Henry said, his wing fluttering.

"There are many mysterious things you don't know about me, Henry," Diego breathed and looked off into the distance again.

Andre jumped up and down and cried. "NEVERMIND NEVERMIND I HAVE FOUND A TALKING CAT!"

"Sure sure ya did, Chubblechunks," Shakespeare giggled.

"No, look!" Andre said, and he pointed toward the lantern.

"I don't see a cat," Diego said.

"Neither do I," Henry said.

"Neither would I if I could," Shakespeare muttered.

Andre's face turned red. His lips quivered and he said, "Um, he must have scampered off into the night. But when he comes back I am sure he will talk to you all. Now, now, here I've got a nice bottle of wine and some glasses, and look, some nice wafers too."

"Yeah, yeah, skip the wafers and pour the wine," Shakespeare said as he sat down on the bottom step.

Andre began to pass the glasses of wine around.

Henry turned to Diego and said, "Honey, I don't think you should have any wine."

"Yes, you are right, no wine for me, no cigarettes, no gum, no chocolates, no fun for me. NOTHING FOR DIEGO EXCEPT NOTHING!" Diego cried and she threw the glass of wine down on the pavement.

A hush fell over the stoop.

"I think she's cracking up," Shakespeare sniped.

"Oh quiet, LITTLE ONE!" Diego screamed.

"Oh my! Oh my! What is happening to my magical party? The magic is fading. The stark glare of reality has crept into the night. What will become of us? What will become of us all? I shudder to think." Andre's lips, eyes and nose quivered. His hat fell to the ground.

Henry quickly stood and said, "Honey maybe this once a glass of wine wouldn't hurt. Go ahead."

"Are you sure, Henry? Just a little glass, just a little taste," Diego said. Her eyes opened wider than usual.

Andre walked over to Diego and poured her glass of wine. "Here, here, Diego. Enjoy -- Henry is right, a little glass of wine couldn't hurt."

Diego grabbed the glass. Just as she was about to take a sip, she felt a writhing pain and she screamed. "Henry the baby is coming!"

Henry rushed over to her and said." Are you sure, honey?"

"YES GOD DAMM IT!" Diego screamed as another labor pain hit her. She threw the glass to the ground.

"Oh no! Oh no! Dear god!" Andre stammered, "There is a blackout, how will we get Diego to the hospital? Oh my. Oh my my my, what will become of us? What will become of us all? I shudder to think."

They stared into the darkened street.

Shakespeare turned and said, "Like I said before, this is one of those times when I'm grateful to be a blind midget."

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-01-10
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