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July 04, 2022

Dinner With Henry 36: I Read the News Today

By Bruce Memblatt

"In the morning in the kitchen I coo.
In the morning in the kitchen I moo.
In the morning in the kitchen I wait.
For the day to start and I say.
I say,
In the morning in the kitchen let's play."

Andre sighed, and he said, "It's so nice I get to watch little Winifred today while Henry and Diego are off shopping. Ah, there she sits and sleeps in her little carriage next to the stove like a little lamb."

Shakespeare muttered, "You mean more like a little centipede."

"You know something, your bug jokes are getting as stale as your breath. Really, Shakespeare! Winifred is not a bug. She is part bug like Henry. We don't even know how much bug she is yet. She has a wing like Henry, but otherwise she looks just like you or me. Well, maybe not you," Andre sneered, "but you know what I mean."

"She has a wing and she talks. That's enough for me," Shakespeare said as a he reached for a parfait glass.

"Why do you have so little respect for Henry?"

Shakespeare barked while he rinsed out the glass, "Because he's a goody two-shoes, a company man, a square-peg."

"You are a no-peg, you little worm, watch how you talk about Henry in front of Winifred!"

Suddenly there came a tiny coughing sound followed by a gurgle. "See? You woke her!" Andre grimaced at Shakespeare. His teeth glistened.

"It's okay, Andre, I was just about to wake up anyway. Hello, Shakespeare!" Winifred said as she stretched her tiny hands and yawned.

"Hello, buggy," Shakespeare snapped and then he suddenly swerved his head toward the counter.

Winifred giggled, "Now stop that, Shakespeare, before I gurgle all over my pillow."

"He can't stop himself -- he's like a dog with a bone. We will hear those bug jokes forever, won't we, Shakespeare?"

Andre waited for a response but Shakespeare's ears were pinned to the sound of the TV on the kitchen counter.

Andre tried again. "Won't we, Shakespeare? Ever since Simpson put that old TV in here, he never gets any work done!"

"Shush and listen," Shakespeare hushed.

Andre's and Winifred's ears zeroed in on the TV.

"To repeat, today's top story concerns the rising number of the half-bug half-human population in the city, which seems to have increased fifty percent this year. As you might know, this began with experiential treatments back in the later part of the 21st century ..."

Andre pulled his hat off. "Oh my god! You were right, Winifred when you said more are coming. Oh my! It is like we are living in a sci-fi movie!"

At that moment Sincere appeared from the rear of the kitchen. She held her can of worms in the air and said, "You can say that again."

Then Shakespeare pointed to Andre and said, "Um you haven't noticed that before, Slick?"

Winifred cooed. "I've never seen a sci-fi film. I'd love to see one."

"Just look around you, kid; your mother's half bonkers, your father's half bug, your best friend is a strange singing chef, I'm a blind midget and back there some crazy old lady with magic powers is playing with a can of worms."

Andre said, "You know, Shakespeare, the way you put things makes them sound much worse than they are."

"What do you mean worse? I ain't laying any judgment on it; I'm just saying how things be." Shakespeare said, slapping his wrists on his thighs.

... Which caused Andre to throw his hat in the air and cry, "Why are you talking like that? Why is he talking like that!"

Then Winifred, beside her tiny self, said, "If you two don't stop it I'm going to have to do some baby crying."

"Oh please, Winfried, I can't take baby crying!" Andre pled.

"Then stop." Winifred said, raising her tiny fist in the air.

"Hey I ain't gonna be bullied by a one foot bug." Shakespeare snapped.

Andre sneered, "Look who's talking -- the three foot bug!"

Winifred let loose with a "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

Quickly, holding their ears, Andre and Shakespeare begged in unison, "Okay we'll stop!"

At once a serious look crept across Winifred's face and she said, "Now that we are back on topic. I wonder what Grandmamma will make of this news. I suppose preparations should be made?"

"What kind of preparations?" Andre slowly said, while his nose, mouth and lips quivered.

Then, suddenly they heard sounds coming from the loft, jungle sounds. Andre's eyes bulged. He grabbed his chest and cried, "Oh my god, it's like Planet of the Apes!"

Shakespeare shrugged and said, "Oh She's just watching Animal Planet. She watches it all the time."

"Then how come I never hear it, Shakespeare?"

"Because you're too busy yammering."

"What is Animal Planet?" Winifred said her tiny hands grasping at the air.

"It's a cable channel, Winifred. It has many many shows on it with all kinds of animals; dogs, cats, giraffes, everything. Every animal you can possibly imagine can be found on Animal Planet."

"I have a lot of TV to catch up on," Winifred said with a tiny pout. "But in the meanwhile preparations must be made."

Andre looked at Winifred with a curious smile and said, "What kind of preparations?"

Then a quizzical looked formed on Winifred's little face and she said, "I'm not sure yet."

Shakespeare tugged on Andre's leg and whispered, "Hey, she may be nutso like Grandmamma."

Andre made believe he didn't hear Shakespeare. He continued to smile at Winifred and he said, "Andre will be right back, little Winifred."

"Like I said that's redundant, Andre." Winifred said. A little smile touched her tiny lips.

"Ha ha, yes, I will have to remember, Winifred," Andre said, his eyes rolling. And then he scooted to the rear of the kitchen where he huddled with Shakespeare.

In the back of the kitchen Shakespeare pointed at Andre. "Like I said she may be bonkers like her grandmother, not to mention her mother."

Andre, whispering loudly, said, "Listen, Shakespeare, I don't know why you don't like half-bugs or what your problem is with other species and I don't like it! But," Andre said with a concerned looked in his eyes, "do you really think she's bonkers?"

"Like Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." Shakespeare said.

Andre jumped. "NO!"

Shakespeare jumped. "YES!"

"No WAIT just wait a second, what about the news report? She didn't create that in her mind. I don't think she is quite as mad as you surmise, Shakespeare. She is just a little baby."

"Um, that's redundant?" Shakespeare snapped.

They walked back to the front of the kitchen to Winifred.

Andre cooed, standing over Winifred's carriage, "Hello, I am so sorry, Winifred, I just had to have a little talk with Shakespeare."

Winifred said, "I'm not nutso, Andre!"

Andre wrapped his arms around Winifred and said, "Of course you aren't, Winifred, pay no mind to Shakespeare." He laughed. "He's nutso!"

It was then when Henry and Diego marched through the door. Seeing mother and father Andre waved and held Winifred up in the air.

Then Diego smiled and said, "Hello, my babies."

Henry, standing next to Diego, turned to her and gave her one of the looks he reserved for her rarer moments.

And at that moment Shakespeare snapped, "So did you guys hear the story on the news about the half-bug half-people people taking over the city?"

Andre interjected, "Now hold it, Shakespeare! The story was not about the half-bug people taking over the city."

"Soon there's not gonna be a place for a legitimate citizen to get a job." Shakespeare snapped.

"Now just wait a gosh darn minute," Henry said, "What do you mean, 'legitimate citizen'? Am I not a legitimate citizen? I'm surprised at you, Shakespeare."

"At least I'm all human."

"That is debatable!" Andre cried, his arms shook, and his hat fell from his head.

Then Diego lifted a pot in the air and dropped it to the ground. A loud metallic thud rang across the floor causing Winifred to let loose with another baby cry. "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa."

Andre cried, "Now you have done it, Shakespeare!"

Then Henry, just about reaching his limit, yelled, "Everyone quiet!"

Diego proudly smiled at Henry and said, "You tell them, Henry."

Then from Winifred's carriage came a grumbling sound and she said, "You all have to stop fighting. This is too much stress for a baby. Do you want to introduce psychological problems to my young make up? And Shakespeare, you better behave yourself."

Shakespeare lowered his head and meekly said, "Okay, I'm sorry, Winifred, I'll behave."

Then Henry turned to Shakespeare and he said, "Really, Shakespeare -- you remind me of my mother."

"Ah, Grandmamma," Winifred said, her tiny hands pounding against her tiny mattress. "I wonder what Grandmamma is up to today?"

At that moment Diego reached into a bag, and pulled out a DVD and held it in the air showing it to Winifred.

She breathed, "Sweetheart, I bought you a movie. It's an old sci-fi picture called It Came from Outer Space."

"Oooh thanks, Mommy! We were talking about sci-fi movies before, how did you know?"

Diego moved towards Winifred's carriage, then patted her on the head and smiled and said, "Mommy knows everything, Winifred."

That's when Shakespeare gritted his teeth and said, "This ain't gonna be easy."


In the meanwhile in the loft She stood at the end of the hall near a door that no one could pass, and she weaved her head back and forth, looked toward the ceiling, and She buzzed. "Soon, soon."

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-04-11
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