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October 03, 2022

Dinner With Henry 46: All That Glitters

By Bruce Memblatt

The police continued to knock on the front door of the loft.

Andre grabbed his chest. "What are we going to do? What am I going to do?"

Above, Clarissa still buzz-shrieked, "It's all going to shoot up! It's all going to shoot up!"

Henry's thorax did somersaults as the knocking on the door grew louder.

From behind the door they could hear the cops hollering, "Open up! Open up!"

Shakespeare meandered close to the door and called, "Hey, do you have a search warrant?"

The police called back, "We don't need a search warrant we got probable cause!"

Then Andre began to quiver. "What are you doing, Shakespeare? You're going to get us all arrested! Why do these things always happen to me? Why why?" he cried, chewing on his fingernails. His hat fell off his head.

"Because you have no class!" Shakespeare snapped.

"No what? No class! I am the epitome of class! I'll have you know I attended the Sorbonne! "

Shakespeare snapped, "Yeah, till you got thrown out."

Frantically, She reared her head high and buzzed, "It's all going to shoot up! Shoot up!"

Then Henry, who was pacing back and forth, suddenly turned around and shouted, "Quiet, everyone! We have to let them in!"

"Are you sure are you sure, Henry?" Andre pleaded. His eyes, nose and hands quivered as he stared at the door.

"Yep, the jig is up, Ranger," Shakespeare sighed.

"What do you mean, 'Ranger'? I should hide! Someone hide me!"

"There isn't a place big enough ..."

Andre slapped his head. "GOD I knew he was going to say that! Why! Why! Why! I'm going to be arrested as an accessory to attempted murder and he makes jokes!"

The arguing and shouting continued as Henry stepped to the door and opened it. Before him stood two officers, one tall and one small.

The small one tapped a pencil on a pad he was holding in his hand and said, "Good thing you opened that door, Sherlock, or we would have had to use force."

The tall one looked down at the small officer, sighing, and then he looked down at Henry and said, "Please, sir, don't mind him, he is small and stressed. Thank you for opening the door. May we come in?" He smiled.

"Certainly." Henry said, and returned the officers smile.

Behind Henry, Andre and Shakespeare stood startled and shaking. Above them all, Clarissa stood silently, moving her black eyes back and forth.

As the officers entered the loft, the small one pointed at Clarissa, who at that moment had a confused look in her beady eyes, and he suddenly cried, "Hey, I know that dame. She was the one who we had to get down from the roof a few months ago. She is nothing but trouble, nothing but trouble."

"Now, now," the tall officer said, "We don't use words like dame and we don't prejudge."

"Listen, I have had just about enough of you, Gigantor," The short officer snapped.

Shakespeare, amused at the similarities between the officers and he and Andre, nudged Andre and giggled.

"This is no time for levity," Andre whispered, grinning at Shakespeare. The officers stared at them and they stared back. Clarissa continued to twitch her eyes back and forth silently glaring at the officers in fixed attention.

"Why is the big dame so quiet? And why is she staring at us like that?" The short officer said.

"Maybe she's going to eat you," Shakespeare snapped.

Quickly, nervously, Andre cried, "Don't mind him! He is stressed and short too!"

Then Henry, his wing shaking, stood before the officers and said, "So how can we help you? Why are you gentlemen here?"

The cops slowly stepped toward Henry. Above, Clarissa lowered her head within feet of the officers. Her long tongue darted in and out of her mouth like a hyperactive snake. Behind Henry, Shakespeare and Andre became still as ice.

Then the tall officer said, "Well, there have been some complaints."

"Noise," the short officer stated irritably, "noise coming from this loft."

Clarissa reared her head and buzzed loudly, "It's all going to blow up! It's all going to blow up!"

Andre, relieved and confused, stood forward and began to laugh. "You mean you're here because of a noise complaint?"

"Yeah, can you tell her to knock it off?" The small officer snapped.

The tall officer said, "What my partner here means ... if she could just be a little quieter?"

Shakespeare nearly toppled over, and then he said, "Yeah, we'll get the old lady to knock it off!" He wiped the sweat from his brow and then he nudged Andre and whispered, "Can you believe this? You really are the luckiest chef in the world."

"Indeed I are," Andre grinned and patted Shakespeare on the head.

Then Clarissa began to manically move her head back and forth and she buzzed again, "It's all going to blow up! It's all going to blow up!" The walls in the loft shook. Pictures and small cups fell to the floor.

The short officer cried, "Like I said, that dame has to knock it off!"

But Clarissa continued her tirade. "It's all going to blow up! It's all going to blow up!"

The tall officer stared up at Clarissa, and then he reached in his pocket and took out a megaphone. His demeanor noticeably changed from polite to stern when he called at her through the horn, "Madame, you must stop this immediately or we will call pest control!"

Henry, unable to contain his nervous anger, shouted at the tall officer, "Don't you speak to my mother like that!" His wing darted sideways.

Frustrated, the short officer pulled on the tall officer's jacket and gritted, "Give me that thing!" The tall officer reluctantly handed the megaphone over to the short officer. The short one held the megaphone to his mouth and said, looking up towards Clarissa, "What is going to blow up? What are you talking about, you crazy broad?"

Clarissa continued to cock her head and she buzzed, "Stay away from that door!"

The short officer pulled the megaphone away from his mouth and asked, "What is she talking about?"

Andre was pacing back and forth. When he heard the short officer he cried, "The magic door. She thinks there's a magic door back there that leads to another dimension. It is something she's quite serious about too."

Then Shakespeare added, "Yeah, she's off her tentacles, in case you haven't noticed."

"Now, now, Shakespeare, we don't know that because we haven't been behind the door. She could be right! After all she is an amazing creature filled with history and passion. I am convinced she knows things that we can't even begin to imagine."

"Filled with history and passion? Please, she's filled with bug juice and sugar. All she does is eat -- she never stops eating. Day and night night and day. She's a bottomless bug pit."

"Shakespeare, this is no time to complain about a bug's eating habits, you little alcoholic!"

"I'm not an alcoholic! I just like a little refreshment now and then!"

"More now than then!"

The tall officer began to shake his fists at Andre and Shakespeare and he barked, "The two of you knock it off! Take us to this door!"

Henry leaned on the side of a potted plant that stood next to the wall and said, "My mother has said no one is to open that door! Now I don't' know if what she says is true, or her imagination, but officers, I would heed her!"

"Henry, knock it off," Shakespeare snapped.

Then the little officer pointed to Shakespeare and said, "Yeah, like the midget without the eyes said, knock it off!"

Clarissa swerved her furry head up and down. Her eyes pulsated and sternly beamed at the officers and again she buzzed, "Stay away from that door. Stay away or you'll be doomed to die!"

The tall officer threw his hat off. "That's it. Where's the door? That door is obviously the cause of all this noise. Lead us to that door!"

"All right, all right, Henry, let's just take them to the door. What else can we do? They're cops; they're going to bully us into taking them to that door anyway so we might as well just show them the stupid door!" Andre cried, his nose lips and eyes quivering. "Besides," he slowly whispered, "we all secretly want to see what's behind that door, anyway."

"No!" She buzzed and reared her head frantically.

"Yes!" Andre called back to her.

Then Henry said, "I'm sorry, Mother, we're taking them to the door."

Her head bolted up and she sighed-buzzed. "Suit yourself, Henry. Take them to the door."

Quietly, they walked down the hallway past the main room, and they stood in front of the door. The short officer laughed. "Ha, this is silly, it's just a stupid door."

"Yeah," the tall officer said and he grinned snidely, "So do you want to go first, or should I go through the magic door first?"

"Let's go at the same time, Ace," the short officer said as he turned the knob.

At that moment, the clock on the wall above the door began to ring. Andre, who was standing next to Shakespeare and Henry behind the officers, cried, "Are you sure? This could be a terrible mistake! I could be wrong. Maybe we should never see what's behind that door. It is not our time to open that door!"

"Oh shut up, Chubby!" The short officer snapped and they walked through the door.

The door snapped shut like a Venus fly trap behind them.

Henry and Shakespeare and Andre waited in silence by the door for the officers to come out.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-06-27
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