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May 20, 2024

Dinner With Henry 47: The Door Stop

By Bruce Memblatt

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

The minutes passed slowly.

Andre bit his nails while Shakespeare waddled and paced back and forth which caused Andre to bite his nails even harder. Henry stood silently staring up at his mother whose black shadowy head hovered above the doorway like a harbinger of doom. Her eyes fixed on the door. A strange look, like she was caught between a river and a swamp, appeared on her face.

She suddenly tilted her head and buzzed-sighed, "I'm hungry."

Shakespeare slapped his head and snapped, "Of course, She's always hungry."

Then Andre took his hand out of his mouth, looked up at Clarissa and said, "I am so sorry, Clarissa, but as you know we are all waiting by the door for the officers to come out. We have not time to prepare any meals."

She darted her eyes and buzzed, "They're not coming out."

Henry continued to stare at his mother in silence. His wing drooped. If the coppers didn't come out, things could get worse than he'd imagined. They had to come out. This door couldn't really lead to another dimension. They were in a warehouse on Delancey Street. Things like this didn't happen on Delancey Street. Then his eyes spied the mirror in the hallway. He gazed at the reflection of Shakespeare, his hollow eyes, then Andre, then his mother's giant legs, and he knew he was wrong: anything could happen on Delancey Street.

He turned toward his mother's legs and cried, "God dammit, they have to come out!"

"Sorry, Henry." She buzzed and stretched her tentacle as if to flip Henry the bird.

The clock above the doorway ticked out the minutes at an agonizing crawl.

Then they heard the sound of Winifred's stroller being pushed down the hall.

Diego saw Henry, Andre, Shakespeare and Clarissa hovering around the door and she sighed. "I see we're all at the door again? Ho hum." She pushed Winfred's stroller back and forth.

Henry took his gaze off of his mother and said to Diego. "This time it's different. The cops are in there."

Then Andre waved his hands frantically and said, "Yes, they came for a noise complaint against Henry's mother and somehow they wound up behind the door!"

"They wound up behind the door because She," Shakespeare said, and he pointed up toward Clarissa, "because She kept yelling things like It's all going to shoot up! It's all going to shoot up, like a freakin' loony tune."

"Well it is," Clarissa buzzed and tilted her head. Her black eyes rolled back and forth.

Andre bowed down and said, "If I may, dear Clarissa, what does this thing mean it's all going to shoot up?"

"It means all hell's going to break loose, ding-dong," Shakespeare snapped.

"I was asking Clarissa, not you, you leetle speck."

Then Clarissa reared her head and said, "You're wrong, Shakespeare. Shoot up means grow. Grow, as in advance. As in become what we were finally meant to be at the end of the evolutionary plane, when we all meet at the place we all meet. When we all just be."

"Oh no, she's saying that be stuff again." Shakespeare cried and he held his ears.

Andre said, "Now, Shakespeare, there may be something to this. Get it -- be?"

"Shut up, lardo."

"No, I tell you something -- you shut up, Shakespeare!" Andre cried, and he kicked the door.

Diego released her hands from Winifred's stroller and said, "I am getting a headache, make them stop, Henry."

Then Winifred stretched her tiny hands over her tiny face and said, "Uncle Andre, please stop fighting with Shakespeare."

Suddenly, comically, Shakespeare scampered over to Winfried's stroller, grinned and said, "Thank you, little girl."

"It's okay, Shakespeare. I think we're all going to die anyway," Winifred said with an intense look in her teeny eyes.

At that moment Diego stared at the door. Then Henry walked over to the stroller and picked up Winifred and said, "What made you say that, Winifred? We're not going to die. Everything will be fine, I promise you."

"But we will all die eventually won't we, Daddy?"

Then Diego, still staring at the door as if in a trance said, "Yes."

Andre slapped his head and cried. "What is wrong with you people? Why is this baby talking about death? Death is not a thing for a baby to discuss. I am sorry, my little Winifred, but this is too dreary a topic for you!"

Then Clarissa's head began to swerve back and forth furiously and she loudly buzzed, "Don't tell my grandchild what she can and cannot discuss, you blabbermouth chef. This is all your fault, Henry. If you hadn't married that human, if you hadn't become half-human yourself ..." She bopped her head up and down.

Henry turned towards his mother's tentacle. "I have had just about enough of this. I am what I am. You are what you are. Enough, Mother. We have bigger problems on our plate today."

"She always has something on her plate."

"Now now, Shakespeare, She is big so she eats a lot. You are small so you eat less. This is common sense. I think everything can be broken down into common sense. Things are really simple when we don't complicate them."

"You're really simple!" Shakespeare snapped and then he kicked the door.

"Stop kicking the door," Diego said, and then her ear perked as though she heard a noise. "I think they're coming out now."

Feverishly Clarissa's head swooped down over Diego and she buzzed, "They can't come out -- they're dead."

Then the door opened and the officers walked out.

Diego continued to stare.

Shakespeare smirked.

Andre's jaw dropped and stood suspended in mid-air.

Henry's wing darted

The short officer piped, "Well, thanks for sending us into your broom closet on a wild goose chase."

"Never mind, let's just get out of here," the tall officer cracked, "another dimension, indeed."

The officers gruffly walked down the hall and through the main room and slammed the front door of the loft as they made their exit.

Diego grabbed Winifred's stroller and said, "C'mon, Henry."

Henry joined Diego and Winifred. They walked down the hall and through the main room and then they slammed the front door as they made their exit.

Andre arched his nose in the air and said, "Let's go, Shakespeare, we have food to prepare."

Shakespeare joined Andre and they walked down the hall and through the main room and they slammed the front door as they made their exit.

With all of them gone, Clarissa pushed the door open with her tentacle and she saw before her endless black space dotted with flickering, swerving, magical, evolutionary light.

She grinned.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-07-04
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