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March 27, 2023

Dinner With Henry 45: A Tangled Web

By Bruce Memblatt

Andre was about to open the magic door in spite of Clarissa's warnings when Winifred began to cry from the main room. They all turned their heads; Clarissa, Andre, Shakespeare, Henry and Diego. Then Diego began to run to Winifred's stroller.

Andre's hand dropped from the door knob, and he cried, "Just as soon as we find out what's wrong with Winifred I am opening this door!"

"No, you're not, little man," Clarissa buzzed as her head weaved down the hallway towards the main room.

"What does she mean little?" Shakespeare nudged Henry.

"It's all relative," Henry said as they all made their way towards Winifred's stroller.

When they entered the room, Winifred was sobbing and pointing at the TV.

To repeat -- in another startling turn of events in this bizarre story, Julius Campion has taken his own life in his prison cell. As you recall, it was just yesterday evening when Campion shot the mayor while serving him dinner. The mayor still remains in stable condition at Bellevue. Of course we will be following this story as it develops. There no doubt, will be many questions to follow..

Shakespeare's head swerved up to Andre. "God, you're the luckiest chef in the world."

Andre was still in a state of disbelief. Stunned he replied, "Dear god," his lips quivered, "but someone has died. Where is the luck in that? Someone has died and it is my fault! Oh my god! The burden I now have to carry."

Then Winifred began to cry some more from her stroller, "Don't be sad, don't be sad, Uncle Andre."

Diego walked over and hushed, "Listen, Andre, better him than you."

Clarissa rose above them, her head bobbed toward the skylight, and she shrieked-buzzed, "NO ONE IS TO TOUCH THAT DOOR! Do you all understand?" Her black eyes jutted back and forth sternly.

Andre shuddered. His hands waved in the air toward Clarissa. "Okay okay, jeez, I promise I won't touch the door, you crazy..."

She reared her head. "CRAZY WHAT?"

Shakespeare tugged on his leg. "Um, I think you ought to quit while you're ahead, Bucko."


Then Henry said, "I wonder what this all will mean in the grand scheme of things. Will it help our cause, or will it make the mayor even more determined?"

Andre, hardly able to contain himself, cried, "I don't know! I don't know! But in the grand scheme of things, in the big picture, I will most likely burn in hell!"

Winifred began to cry again, loudly and profusely.

"Oh do not worry, little Winifred, do not cry, I will be getting my just desserts."

"As long as it's dessert, what do you care?" Shakespeare giggled and snapped.

Winifred's sobbing continued; through her tears she cried, "Oh, Uncle Andre, what are we going to do?"

Diego picked Winifred up from the stroller, cradled her in her arms, and whispered, "We're going to keep our mouths shut. Not a word of this to anyone. That's what we're going to do."

Then Henry walked over to his wife and his child and said, "I'm afraid your mother is right this time. We have to protect Andre."

That's when Shakespeare said, "Listen, you dweebs, we're home free. The dude is dead. He ain't squealing. We can rest easy."

Then Clarissa buzzed loudly, "You are a sniveling bunch of amateurs, novices. Look at you. You all sit their fretting and plotting against this silly mayor, because of these puerile ID cards. The cards don't matter. Let him have his ridiculous cards. This is nothing in the grand scheme of things. This is lint. There are much bigger things happening, things he can't control, things we can't control, things no one can control. It's all gonna shoot up. It's all gonna shoot up!"

Winifred began to cry profusely again. Then Diego cried, "Henry I'm taking her downstairs! Your mother is a lunatic."

Shakespeare elbowed Andre and said, "She ought to know about lunatics."

Then Henry called to Diego as she wheeled Winifred out of the loft. "I'll be down soon, Honey, don't worry about a thing." But Henry was worried. He was worried about his mother. He was worried about Andre. He was worried about the mayor's next move. But most of all he was worried about the price they'd have to pay for their silence because he knew deep down it wouldn't go away. Somehow the shit would hit the fan and the cops would find out it was Andre who set Julius Campion into motion. What a tangled web we weave was the phrase that popped into his head as his wing drooped.

Andre raised his head to Clarissa and said, "Clarissa darling, dear Clarissa, what do you mean when you say it's all going to shoot up? Those are strong words, words of warning, words of prophecy. Dare I say, you sound almost biblical."

"Andre please," Henry sighed, as they all stood in anticipation waiting for an answer from Clarissa.

"Oh, he's just trying to egg her on, because the big bozo hasn't had enough for one day," Shakespeare snapped.

"Bozo! You call me bozo! You embarrassment to blind midgets everywhere! You impossible drunk!"

"I may be a drunk but I'm not an idiot. It wasn't me who told Julius Campion to shoot the mayor."


Shakespeare shot back, "Oh yeah, how do we know? How do we know?"

"Are you calling me a liar?" Andre's ears, teeth, nose, lips and eyes quivered.

"Well, if the Demerol fits..." Shakespeare snarled.

Henry intervened. "Now Shakespeare, if Andre said he told Campion just to drug the mayor then that's the truth. Andre doesn't lie."

Suddenly She shook her head violently in the air. "It's all going to shoot up, I said. Shoot up. Explosions, pain suffering, flashes of light, extreme intense heat, the full deal, the full deal. It's all going to explode." Her eyes jumped back and forth like pinballs slamming against a clown in an old penny arcade.

Then, at once, they heard a knock at the door.

There came the sound of a stern voice. "Hello, it's the police. Can we come in? We need to talk to you."

Their heads turned.

Shakespeare toppled over.

Andre's eyes froze.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-06-20
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