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April 15, 2024

Dinner With Henry 30: Still Up on the Roof

By Bruce Memblatt

Andre, Henry, Diego and Shakespeare looked on as an ambulance took Simpson away. The crowd on Delancey Street intensified. Clarissa was still up on the roof. Her tentacles slithered over the side of the warehouse in anticipation of Winifred's arrival.

"He'll be fine, don't worry, he was just a little shook up, and of course, who wouldn't be after being suspended in the air by a giant bug? Today I admire Simpson's courage a great deal," Andre said, looking off in the distance as the ambulance sped away.

Diego hushed while she leaned over Winifred's stroller. "He looked like Sponge Bob. Didn't he, Henry?"

Henry pushed the stroller closer to Diego. "I suppose." Henry sighed. "Diego, I don't think you should take Winifred up there."

Shakespeare intervened. "For once he's making sense."

Then Andre turned and faced Henry. "But Diego promised, Henry. If Diego breaks her promise She will have a fit of such proportions the world will not want to witness."

"I can't let Winifred go up there alone with her now. Not when she's acting like this. I'm her son, I'll talk with her first."

"Yeah, you're the son she wants to eat!" Shakespeare snapped.

Immediately Officer Ryan rushed up and said, "Listen, pal, it's your mother and your daughter you can do whatever you want, but if I were in your shoes -- er whatever -- I'd have the old lady bagged."

"Whaddyamean bagged?" Henry said. His wing drooped.

"I mean like they'd shoot her with some tranquilizer gun 'r something and take her off to a zoo."

Henry stood firmly and said, "My mother is not going to be taken to a zoo!"

"Are you sure, Henry?" Diego breathed, rocking the carriage.

Shakespeare shrugged, stepping over to the stroller. "Now she's making sense."

Andre could hardly contain himself. "This is outrageous, bagging? Has the word gone mad? She is a special creature. She holds the key to our destiny. So she had a bad day. Who among us has not had a bad day? Henry, I know you are wise and would never allow such a fate to befall your mother. Still I ask. How could anyone even suggest a thing?"

Suddenly bricks began to tumble from the roof of the warehouse as she stretched her tentacles impatiently. The crowd, which had increased in size and spread beyond Delaney Street, began to panic.

Andre continued, "Like I said, how can anyone even suggest such a thing?"

At that moment Elvira appeared on the roof of the warehouse carrying a five foot woman in her tentacles.

Diego spotted Elvira first. She yawned and said, "It looks like Elvira is on the roof."

Ryan looked up and threw his arms in the air. "Crap, there's two of them!"

At that moment the tall officer rushed over and cried. "That's it! We're gonna bag'em!"

Henry shouted to the officer. "No one is bagging anyone! That's my sister Elvira!"

Andre waved his hands in the air. "Everyone calm down and please listen to Henry. That is his sister Elvira, who I'm sure is also a very important part of our history. We can not bag these beings -- we must try to understand."

"Who is that short woman Elvira is carrying?" Diego cried, holding tight to Winifred's stroller.

Officer Ryan shook his head. "Is it Dr. Ruth?"

Suddenly, Diego pulled the stroller over to Henry. "I'm going up there again. You watch Winifred."

"Are you sure you want to go up there and without the baby?" Henry said grabbing the stroller.

Diego replied, "Well she's your mother Henry, but I think I have a certain sway over her."

"It may be a woman thing," Andre said holding his fingers to the wind.

Shakespeare giggled. "I think it's more like a deranged thing."

That's when the tall officer said, "Little lady, if you're going up there again, be extra careful! One bug is bad enough."

A confused look appeared on Diego's face. She squinted at the officer, sighing, and said, "Yup," and she then marched off.

They watched as Diego walked through the crowd and climbed the front steps of the warehouse.

Up on the roof, Elvira placed the short woman next to Clarissa's legs. And then suddenly Elvira lifted her up toward Clarissa's head. Clarissa's eyes darted back and forth zeroing in on the woman.

Her beady eyes buzzed crazily, "Who is she? Where is the baby- baby- deedle- deedle- dee?"

Elvira buzzed back, "Mom, this woman is here to help you."

"Help me? How could that little human help me? I'm fine."Her eyes quickly darted back and forth.

Elvira pulled the woman in the air higher. "Mom you're not fine, you've gone off the deep end."

She writhed. "I'm not speaking with a shrink, Elvira."

"I am not a shvink I'm a verapist." The short woman waved her hand and cried in a German accent. "And vet me tell you someting, Madame you are not vine."

"Listen, little human I can eat you," Clarissa buzzed, her tentacles stretched farther over the edge of the roof. More bricks began to tumble.

Elvira buzzed in, "Mother you're not eating anyone! Now listen to her!"

"Listen, Elvira I can eat you too."

The short woman continued. "Now let's try to put things into perspective, shall we? Clarissa, you say you're fine, but if that were so you wouldn't be on top of your roof threatening people and dat guy Simpson would you? If you were fine, your son and your daughter-in-law wouldn't have to vear bringing your grandchild to you."

"Vear? What is it they have to fear? I merely wanted to see my granddaughter."

"Now mother," Elvira said, "what was the weird baby deedle -dee chanting about? Not to mention the crazy look in your eyes."

The therapist said, 'Now Elvira, we don't use the word crazy. Let me ask, if I may, what was the intense look in your eyes about, Clarissa?"

"What intense look?" Clarissa buzzed.

"That is part of the problem -- you are in denial."

Clarissa looped her head around "This is Delancy Street, not the Nile."

"See vat I mean, Clarissa, it's time you vaced your problems."

"Face my problems? My only problem is my son is a half-bug who married a -- a -- a human."

"Gud, now we are getting somevhere," the therapist said, clutching her glasses.

Elvira's head popped over the short woman. "I think we knew this already, Doctor."

"Elvira, please, part of the cure is the admission. Now what I'd like to do is to try something just a little different. I'd like to try regression therapy. I think if we can find a past life where Clarissa was human it may help her gain a clearer understanding of her place in history, and perhaps a clearer understanding of how similar we are."

Clarissa's head shook. "Forget about it, Fraulein. I'll have nothing to do with your medieval witchcraft."

"Oh Mother," Elvira buzzed, "Give it a chance, you have nothing to lose. Don't you want to see the baby?"

Clarissa cried in a buzz, "Baby- baby- deedle- dee- dee- baby." Her tentacles shook. More bricks tumbled over the side of the building. The crowd below began to scream.

The therapist held her hands in the air, shouting, "Dis is enough! I'm going to hypnotize you, Clarissa!"

She pulled a watch out of her bag as Elvira drew her close to Clarissa's eyes. The crowd below hushed. The therapist began to speak. "Pay attention to my voice ... "

It was at that moment that Digeo arrived on the roof. She watched intently.

"We are going on a journey of the mind, a journey through history. We will travel beyond our bodies, beyond space and time to a place where all things meet. Vatch the vatch as I begin to count slowly back from von hundred."

She held the watch high and began to swing it back and forth. "Von hundred, ninety-nine, ninety-eight, ninety-seven ..."

And the therapist continued counting down. Clarissa watched closely at first, then she buzz- yawned. Meanwhile, Diego watched on intently from the roof below as if in a trance.

All eyes stared at Diego when she suddenly spoke. "I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection."

"Oh my god!" the therapist cried, "Who is she? Because she used to be Charles Darwin."

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-02-21
1 Reader Comments
09:56:23 PM
As usual, "Dinner with Henry" made me snork with amusement. The therapist's accent is outrageous, as is only fitting for someone willing to hypnotize a giant, deranged bug.
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