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January 23, 2023

Dinner With Henry 49: Rum with a View

By Bruce Memblatt

Andre and Shakespeare were still enjoying the blissful benefits of an afternoon intoxication in the rear of the kitchen when the clock struck two. And in the meanwhile, in the loft, Clarissa was still waiting for them to arrive for tea which had been supposed to commence at noon.

Andre passed the bottle of rum to Shakespeare and said, "You know, Shakespeare, I don't really like my stove. It is bulky and the burners never achieve just the right temperature. I think they are off-kilter just a centimeter or two. I remember when I was at the Sorbonne the temperature was always just right!"

"You're not exactly a fun drunk, are you?" Shakespeare said, taking a swig from the bottle.

"Whatever do you mean, Shakespeare?"

Shakespeare snapped, "I mean, Bozo, we've been sitting here for hours passing this bottle around and all you can talk about is the burners on your stove?"

Andre's nose curled and his eyes sizzled. "Oh, my goodness! Please forgive Andre for not being a fun drunk like you! By the way, leetle Shakespeare, just what have you said that has been so much fun? O great arbitrator of fun!"

"Well, in fact, I talked about that tattooed lady at the carnival where I used to work."

"I don't care for tattoos ... think about it, Shakespeare, letting someone take a needle and insert dye into your skin. Whenever I look at a tattoo I think about that and I cringe inside and out."

"See what I mean?"

Suddenly, Andre saw Diego spying down at them, looking confused and amused at the same time.

She stared at the bottle of rum and said, "That is a bottle of rum."

"Very good, Diego, you win the prize," Shakespeare snapped.

"Now, Shakespeare, that was actually a good guess. It could have been a bottle of scotch or a bottle of gin, but Diego knew right anyway it was rum."

Diego continued to stare at the bottle. "What prize did I win?"

Andre and Shakespeare sighed. Then Shakespeare said, "What are you doing here, Diego?"

Diego batted her eyes and said, "What are you two doing here drunk in the afternoon? May I have a swig?" "Certainly, Diego. Shakespeare, please pass the bottle to Diego."

Shakespeare grudgingly passed the bottle to Diego and said, "Okay, but I know we're going to regret this."

Diego sat next to Andre and Shakespeare on the floor next to the dessert counter.

She smacked her lips and said, "That was good."

Andre turned and asked, "Would you like another sip, Diego?"

"Maybe just one more," Diego hushed and brought the bottle to her mouth and guzzled it down hard.

"I like how she sips," Shakespeare snipped.

"Ahem, so, by the way, what brings you here, Diego?"

"Tea," Diego said as she leaned her back against the cabinet door and stretched her arms.

Suddenly Andre slapped his head, "Oh my god! That's right -- we were supposed to go to the loft. Clarissa invited us for tea!"

An egg rolled off the dessert counter and fell to the floor. It didn't break and no one noticed it.

Shakespeare reached across Andre's lap and grabbed the bottle from Diego. "I don't like tea. I like rum."

"You know, Shakespeare, I am not a big fan of tea either. How about you, Diego?"

Diego tossed her hair, "I like green tea, but I prefer rum. Can I have another? I wasn't able to drink rum while I was carrying Winifred."

"Shakespeare, give the bottle to Diego."

"Okay, but she's gonna drink it all."

"Now, now, Shakespeare, don't be a greedy midget. There is plenty and Diego is our guest."

Shakespeare kicked up his feet. "What do mean, guest? She works here like you and me, but she's got the privilege because she married up."

"'She's got the privilege?' Maybe you should have married Henry, Shakespeare."

Shakespeare stuck his tongue out and said, "Yeeech. No bugs for me."

Then Andre cried, "You sound just like She. Tell me, Diego, do you think of Henry as a bug?"

Diego sighed, "Henry is only half bug. I think of Henry as a half-bug."

"Hmmm," Andre said, scrunching his nose, "let me see, do you see the half of Henry that is bug as more predominant than the half that is human?"

Another egg rolled off the dessert counter and fell to the floor without breaking.

"I see Henry as three or four."

Shakespeare snapped, "I see her as one card short of a deck."

Frustrated, Andre pointed his finger at Shakespeare. "Everything with you is cards, Shakespeare; cards and booze."

Diego tossed her hair and brought the bottle to her mouth, "Wait. I didn't finish what I was saying. I see Henry as three hearts and one ace." She passed the bottle to Shakespeare.

Andre pulled the bottle out of Shakespeare's lap and stood. "Oh, that is so sweet, Diego! I think I have to sing a song!"

"Do you have to?" Shakespeare asked snappishly.

"Yes, I have to, of course, I have to!

"Once I just had just one heart,
But now I have three.
Three hearts to pour love through,
Three hearts to make me sing,
Three hearts to drive me to drink,
Three hearts to make my world shrink."

"What was that?" Shakespeare said reaching for the bottle.

Andre waved his hands. "I don't know. I am drunk. I am a drunken singing chef wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Shakespeare's head swerved. "Did you just say wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?"

Andre pulled the bottle out of Shakespeare's reach. "Now, you try it, Diego!"

"I don't wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

"It looks like you do, Diego!" Andre said, waving his hat in the air.

Diego shrugged and sighed. "Not since I got pregnant. Something is different about Henry. He doesn't want to wheeeeeeee much anymore."

Andre sat down and handed the bottle to Shakespeare. "Oh, I am so sorry, Diego, but I thank you for revealing such an intimate detail of your life with me and Shakespeare. It is good to know you trust us so implicitly. That is what makes the world a better place. You can sum it up in one word: trust," Andre said and his lips, nose and ears quivered.

"Well, frankly, I didn't need to hear it. Why does everyone feel the need to unburden themselves around me? Is it because I'm blind?" Shakespeare said, and he shook his head. His eye sockets almost looked like they could see.

Diego began to stare at the dessert counter intently and she hushed, "I guess my body isn't what it was before I had the baby. I think it's hot, but maybe it's changed." Then she ripped her shirt off and said, "What do you guys think?"

Andre dropped the bottle to his side and cried, "Oh my god! Diego you took your shirt off! You are naked before us!"

"I know, but what do you think?" Diego said as she flexed her breasts, grinning.

Quickly, Andre turned his head down, and said, "They are fine, Diego. Don't you think you should cover up in case Henry comes down?" His eyes, nose, ears, lips, fingers, and toes quivered.

"What's the difference? He doesn't like them anymore." Diego said and she pointed at her breasts.

Then Shakespeare called as he tossed the bottle to Andre, "Can I just say once again how happy I am at this moment to be a blind midget?"

Suddenly Andre and Diego's eyes stared at the floor.

Then Andre said, "Did you see that, Diego? That egg fell to the floor and did not break -- there's not a scratch on it."

"It looks like there are three of them," Diego said, staring at the floor and she hushed, "Like Henry -- three hearts."

And as they sat staring at the eggs, they saw something large and scaly sweep across the floor.

And then they heard her buzz.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-07-18
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