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September 25, 2023

Dinner With Henry 48: One More for the Road

By Bruce Memblatt

Andre strolled into the kitchen grinning. He threw his coffee pot into the sink and began filling it with water. He swayed to the sunlight, and to the tingle he felt in the air. Then he lifted a dish and he began to sing.

"It's a new day.
There's light in the air,
And coffee in the pot.
I don't have a care.
I just want to say,
I want to take a shot at sneakers."

Shakespeare, right behind him, snapped, "Sneakers?"

"Yes, little Shakespeare, I thought, wouldn't it be nice to wear sneakers while I'm cooking? They would keep me light on my toes. It would make my job so much easier having a cushion under my feet."

Shakespeare curled his lips and said, "A cushion wouldn't survive under your feet."

Andre put the pot on the stove and said, "Ha! You can do better than that, Shakespeare. It doesn't matter anyway, nothing you can say can bother me today. I haven't a care in the world now that the cops are not after me for enticing Jonas Campion to take a shot at the mayor."

Next to Andre's leg Shakespeare was picking up a spoon Andre had dropped to the floor. He looked up and said, "You know how these stories go. Eventually the truth will come out. Everyone will know that you told Campion to shoot the mayor."

"Once again, I didn't ask Campion to shoot the mayor, I told him to drug him!"

Then Simpson's voice entered the room. "Drug, shoot, what's the difference, Andre?" He stood before Andre and Shakespeare. He cleared his throat and continued, "Good morning, people."

"He did it again," Andre nudged Shakespeare and whispered.

Shakespeare whispered back, "I know. That's why they call him The Wind."

"Is that why?" Andre said, his eyes crossed, his lips quivering.

"Ahem, if you two are done, I would like everyone's attention. You too, Sincere."

As the words left Simpson's lips, cups and saucers began to float across the kitchen in formation from the rear of the room to the stove.

"Oh no. She's at it again," Shakespeare snapped.

Andre waved his hands and pulled a cup from the air, "Oh, Shakespeare, let her have her little fun. It does not hurt anyone. And it is nice having a little magic in the kitchen." He took a make-believe sip from the cup and smiled.

"You mean black magic. She 's a witch!"

Then suddenly Sincere was standing next to Shakespeare smiling a crooked toothy grin and she said, "Got something against witches, shrimp?"

"Oh go away, Elvira."

"Now, Shakespeare, leave poor Sincere alone," Andre said, and then he turned to Simpson. "So what was it you'd like to say, Mr. Simpson?"

Simpson clicked his heels, curled his lips and snarled, "Why thank you, Andre, ahem, as I was saying ... She has invited us all upstairs this afternoon for tea. So I suggest we go."

Andre's eyes grew wide and his hands shook furiously. "Well, of course we will go. This is an honor and a privilege!"

Shakespeare threw his hands in the air. "Oh no, she's going to start talking about that door again."

Andre began to laugh. "Yes, the magic door. We really should humor her. It couldn't hurt and she seems so serious about it. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that door doesn't contain some powers, after all, she is an extraordinary creature, maybe it takes extraordinary eyes to see it."

Shakespeare quipped, "You mean crazy eyes."

At that moment Sincere's cups and saucers crashed to the floor. She staggered to the back of the kitchen and she cried, "You people best believe in the magic."

Then Shakespeare snapped, pointing to the rear of the kitchen, "You best clean that up!"

Softly Sincere tweaked her nose and in a flurry, the broken pieces of porcelain rose from the floor, swirling, reattaching, spiraling into the cabinets.

Simpson's face turned beet red. His fingernails clenched the counter and he whispered, "If we are all done? First things first. If Clarissa says that door is magic then it's magic. That's all there is to it. Second thing; Henry, Diego and Winifred are out at the park. They will meet us there later. Please be in the loft by noon." And then he vanished.

"I still don't know how he does that!" Andre cried, "Shakespeare, I think you'd best believe in the magic. We should all believe in the magic. And you know something? Magic and science are not that far apart, for after all, what is science but the practical realization of magic? The magic of our imaginations come true, and what is Clarissa but a product of science and magic?"

"And five hundred pounds of food every day," Shakespeare said.

"Listen, Shakespeare giant bugs have to eat, no? And if she didn't, where would we be? " Andre's lips quivered and he began to prepare a cream sauce.

Then Shakespeare waddled to the rear of the kitchen and began slicing strawberries.

The hours passed quickly. At eleven forty-five Andre pointed to the clock and said, "It's eleven forty-five, we should get going. Shakespeare -- what are you doing?" He looked toward the rear of the kitchen. There he saw Shakespeare on the floor by his counter with a bottle in his hand and a silly grin on his face.

He ran to the rear of the kitchen, stood over Shakespeare and said, "No, no, no, tell me you're not drunk, Shakespeare."

"I'm not drunk," Shakespeare answered, and then he hiccupped.

Andre waved his hands in the air and said, "Oh, this is just wonderful. What else is going to happen to me today? Someone tell me, please! What else is going to happen to poor Andre today?"

Shakespeare wagged his index finger up and down, hiccupped again and said, "Hmmm, let me see. You're going to get arrested for conspiring to shoot the mayor?"

"Again! I didn't tell him to shoot him. I told him to drug him! Why do you drink, Shakespeare? Tell me, why is it you drink?" Andre asked and then he sat down on the floor next to Shakespeare.

Shakespeare passed the bottle to Andre and said, "Because it's fun."

"That is why? You're not escaping things in your life you cannot deal with, you drink merely because it is fun?"

"Yes," Shakespeare said and he grinned, "Take a swig."

"Okay, maybe just one," Andre said and he pulled the bottle to his mouth. "Mmm," he smacked his lips. "What kind of drink is this, Shakespeare?"

"Its rum, Bacardi," Shakespeare said, stretching his legs.

"Hmmm. I like it. Perhaps I will have just one more drop." He pulled the bottle to his lips again. "It's like magic."

"What about sneakers? Weren't you going to get sneakers?" Shakespeare said, and he grabbed the bottle and took a swig.

"I will get sneakers tomorrow. Will you come with me?"

"I'll see," Shakespeare said as he handed Andre the bottle. "I should get sneakers too."

"You look like a sneaker ..."

And the clocked ticked away.

And in the loft Clarissa waited.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-07-11
1 Reader Comments
11:57:14 PM
This time, surely Clarissa will eat them. No sneakers for Andre!
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