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June 24, 2024

Dinner With Henry 55: Andre Day

By Bruce Memblatt

When Andre entered kitchen that morning, he placed his hat on top of counter next to the stove. Then he sighed and said, "My hat feels funny today." Groggy, he stretched his arms and he yawned a mighty yawn, and then he spoke more. "Where is everyone this morning, I wonder? I don't think it is my hat. Actually, I think it is my head that feels funny today."

Longingly, he stared at the coffee pot on the stove; scratching his stomach he said, "Coffee, I need coffee."

And then Andre stepped over to the sink, and turned the faucet waiting for the cool water to pour into the pot, but none came. His lips started to quiver and he said, "That's funny. There isn't any water coming out of the faucet. It's just not my day."

Suddenly, Simpson appeared by the stove, and said, "It's never your day, is it, Andre?"

Andre stepped back for a moment; he clasped his hands as if he were about to pray and said, "No it isn't. When will there ever be a day that is just for Andre?"

"How about today?" Simpson asked, and pulled a wand out of his pocket.

"Where did you get a wand?"

"I had it in my desk. Do you like it?" Simpson said, and he twirled the wand around in his fingers.

Suddenly, Shakespeare reared his head and snapped, "Hey, do us a favor and turn him into a chef."

"Oh, quiet, you leetle toad. Didn't you hear? Today is Andre Day!" Andre said and he smiled a big toothy smile.

Then Simpson waved his wand and he whispered, "That's right, today is Andre Day. Andre, in honor of Andre Day, I'm giving you the day off."

Shakespeare jumped. "What about me?"

"You too. Everyone has the day off for Andre Day," Simpson said and then he vanished.

"See, Shakespeare, I told you it was Andre Day. Let's go outside."

As Andre and Shakespeare stepped down the stoop in front of the warehouse, Andre noticed there was a Con Edison truck just across the street from the building. Then he saw another and then another and then another. He turned to Shakespeare and said, "I wonder why all those Con Ed trucks are outside the building? There must be twenty of them, Shakespeare!"

"Maybe it's really Con Ed Day," Shakespeare snapped as they hit the last step.

"C'mon, let us find out what all this tumult is about," Andre said and then he grabbed Shakespeare's arm and pulled him across the street. The sun was hitting the side of the truck so brightly Andre had to cover his eyes. When they pulled up to the passenger window of the truck Andre saw two women inside the cab. He held onto Shakespeare's hand and said, as he knocked on the door of the truck, "Hey, in there!"

One of the women stuck her head out of the window and said, "Hay is for horses!"

"Clever, clever," Shakespeare grated.

The woman called to her friend, saying, "Hey, Avery, look what we have here. We got ourselves a real live midget."

Feeling he should intervene before trouble ensued, Andre cried, as he tapped on the door of the truck, "Now, now, we did not come here to discuss midgets!"

"And who might you be, Fatso?" the first woman said with a glare in her eyes.

And then her partner Avery said, "He looks like the Pillsbury Dough Boy."

Shakespeare began to laugh.

"Shakespeare," Andre cried, "this is not funny! We came here to find out why there were so many Con Ed tucks in front of our building!"

"There was a water main break, didn't you know that, Huey?" the first woman said.

Then Shakespeare toppled over, pointed at Andre and said, "Yeah, Andre Day, you mean Water Main Break Day."

Andre, about to burst, stomped his foot and said, "Are you meaning to imply this is not really Andre Day -- that Simpson just used the water main break as a rouse to make me feel he had declared this special day for me? The RAT -- THE SWINE! We would have gotten the day off anyway because of the water main break, THAT DIRTY CRUMB!"

At that point, Diego, Henry and Winifred arrived. Henry looked at Andre and Shakespeare and the two women and the truck, and he lowered his head and sighed, "Um what's going on, Andre?"

Andre squeaked out, his face turning red, "Nothing, not a thing at all, Henry, N-O-T-H-I-N-G -- nothing!"

Then Shakespeare said, "Simpson proclaimed this Andre Day. He said we could have the day off. Then we come out here and find out there was a water main break. We would have had the day off anyway." Then he snickered.

Henry, not knowing what to say, putting his arm around Andre, who was just about in tears, said, "Don't worry, Andre. As far as I'm concerned every day is Andre Day."

Andre smiled and said, "Oh thank you! Thank you, Henry! See," he said, pointing at Shakespeare, "this is a real friend, not a worm. Henry is a man with class!"

That's when Avery pointed at Henry and cried, "What is that thing?"

The first woman replied, "Looks like some sort of sci-fi creepy crawly thing. Doesn't he, Avery?"

Diego marched to the door of the truck, pulling Winifred's stroller with her, and she said, "That is no creepy crawly thing, that is my husband!"

"Your what?" Avery said and then she began to laugh uncontrollably.

The first woman laughed with her. And they both slapped their knees and laughed some more.

Suddenly Winifred raised her little hands and said, "Leave my daddy alone!"

Then the two women abruptly stopped laughing and stared frozen at Winifred like she was some sort of alien.

At that moment, Andre cleared his throat loudly and said, "Never mind all this, I am a chef. I need the water to cook the meals. When will the water be back on?"

The two women resumed laughing uncontrollably as they rolled the window up on the truck.

"Oh, what a fun Andre Day this has been so far. It is no use. There will never be an Andre day. I don't even want an Andre Day anymore!" Andre cried and he threw his hat to the pavement.

"Neither do we," Shakespeare snapped as he stepped away from the truck.

Diego stared at the truck and breathed, "I want coffee."

"But there is no water. How can we have coffee without any WATER?" Andre said, stomping his foot again.

"I have an idea! There's a new Starbucks on the corner," Henry said, pointing to the new Starbucks on the corner of the street.

They entered Starbucks. There was a long line of people in front of the door to the bathroom and all the tables were taken, but just as they walked towards the counter, Andre noticed a table opening and he scooted towards it. "I've got it! I've got a table!" Andre hollered across the Starbucks.

Diego, who was at the counter ordering a latte with soy milk, turned around and stared at Andre and said, "Stop yelling, we're not in the warehouse."

After Henry, Diego, and Shakespeare got their drinks, they headed towards the table where Andre was seated. They put their drinks on the table and sat down. Henry pulled Winfred's stroller over to the side of the table.

Then Andre said, "Well where is my drink? After all, it is Andre Day!"

"And," Winifred said, raising her little hands in the air, "where is mine?"

"Oh you are so cute ,Winifred! But you know babies can not drink coffee!"

"Then what will I have?"

"I'll get you a Frappacino, sweetie, don't worry," Diego breathed, looking strangely at Andre.

"A Frappa-what?" Andre said, his nose quivered.

"It's like a smoothie," Shakespeare said as he pressed his coffee cup to his lips.

"You would know about smoothies, wouldn't you?" Andre said, sneering at Shakespeare. Then he pointed to the bathroom door and asked, "Why is the line to the bathroom so long?"

Henry said, "Because it's Starbucks' policy to let everyone use the bathroom whether they buy something here, or not."

"Hmmmm," Andre said; his nose quivered, and then he pointed to the people at the next table. "And why are those people seated at the next table eating Chinese food? Does Starbucks serve Chinese food?"

Then Henry said, "Because it's Starbucks' policy to let people bring in food they don't sell."

"Hmmm that is strange. Is this a bus station or a coffee shop? Why are there people sleeping in the corner? Don't tell me ... I'll guess."

Diego stood, and said, "They offer free wifi, too." Then she walked over to the end of the line of people waiting to get into the bathroom.

"Free wifi? What is that?" Andre said. His eyes perked and then he said, "No, don't tell me," and he ran up to the counter.

After waiting for long minutes for the line to move, he finally reached a barista and said, "I'd like a cup of your free wifi."

The barista started to laugh, and then all the baristas started to laugh.

Andre slinked back to the table, sat down, put his hands over the table top and said, "They are all out of free wifi." He sighed, "Like I said, there will never ever be an Andre day."

** Editor's note: Author Bruce Memblatt will be on hiatus for a month to six weeks as he recovers from illness. Dinner with Henry will resume after that.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-09-12
2 Reader Comments
03:36:25 PM
Enjoyed your story so far. I hope you feel better soon!
Bruce Memblatt
05:53:31 PM
Thank you so much, Lyidia! I'm doing much better and in fact I have just finished Henry part 56, so the story should be back up soon! I wish I had a chance to see your comment sooner. I apologize for the delayed response.
My best,
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