"Bah bah bah."
Andre rushed to the kitchen door when he heard Shakespeare's voice in the hall. "Oh my! Oh my! You are back, Shakespeare! How was your vacation! How was Newark?"
Shakespeare strolled past Andre as if he wasn't there and staggered to his locker near the dessert counter. He twirled the lock quickly and threw a large bag inside the compartment.
Andre stood near his stove eyeing Shakespeare. "So I take it you have nothing to say to me, Shakespeare? You are gone for a month and have NOTHING to say?"
Shakespeare silently continued to go about his business.
A moment later he turned and said, "What is there to say? I was gone and now I'm back. "
Andre slapped his head and said, "You were gone for an entire month! It's not like you went out for milk! Didn't you miss us?"
"I missed my work."
"You missed making parfaits for seven dollars an hour? I see, well, it is good to love what one does! That makes life so much better. But didn't you miss me, or Henry, or Diego, or widdle Winifred, or Sincere, or Alarm, or even Simpson? I would think you would, Shakespeare."
"Oh would you? Well think again, Kreskin. I might have missed Simpson."
"Simpson? What? You do not even like Simpson!"
"No, but I respect his consistency."
Andre threw his hat to the floor and slapped his head again. "I will never understand you, Shakespeare!"
Then Shakespeare said, "I notice you didn't mention Her, the big cheese, Clarissa."
"Oh dear! Where is my mind today, Shakespeare! But she's been so quiet and withdrawn lately one hardly knows she is here."
"Just because everyone thinks she's nuts? And no one believes her stories about THE DOOR?"
"Well yes, that and because I think she probably really is nuts, poor Henry. The way she clung, still clings to her vision of what is behind that door. It's sad. I hear all she does is lie down and mope staring at that door endlessly, but enough about her, what about you, Shakespeare? "
"Like I said, I was gone and now I'm back."
At that moment Diego wandered into the kitchen carrying a small hammer. "Does anyone have a nail? Anyone? Does anyone have a nail?"
Shakespeare walked over the edge of the counter and gleamed, "No, but I've got a nice screw if you'd like it?"
Diego continued to wander through the kitchen. She turned towards Shakespeare, but she didn't really look at him, and she breathed, "I see the little one is back. Do you have a nail, Andre?"
Then Andre threw his apron to the floor and cried, "What is wrong with everyone here! Shakespeare is gone for a month, an ENTIRE MONTH and no one is excited to see him, except me? And he isn't excited to see us? Are we that sophisticated? That nonchalant? THAT JADED?"
"Yes," Diego said and then she opened one of the drawers under the counter, and continued her search. "I'm sure Henry will be excited, but I need a nail."
Andre pulled a pan from the cabinet beneath the sink and began to melt butter in it. As he circled the pot across the flames he asked, "Where is Henry, anyway?"
"He took Winifred for a walk somewhere. No one has a nail?"
"Whatcha want a nail for?" Shakespeare said as he placed strawberries into a parfait glass.
"I want to hang up my nursing degree so Winifred can see it. Then she can ask me what it is, and I can tell her."
"Are you going to tell her about the incident at the hospital, too?" Shakespeare grinned devilishly.
"Well," Diego sighed, "if she asks, I will tell her."
Andre slapped his head. Shakespeare slapped his head. Then Andre's eyes shot clear and he said, "Maybe it is a good idea you tell her, that way she can understand why you are missing an ear."
Accordingly, Shakespeare snapped, "And you can tell her why you are misusing a brain!"
Suddenly a smile appeared on Andre's face and he said, "Shakespeare, you snapped at me! You are really back!"
"Well what did you think, Chubby?"
"What do you mean, Chubby? Look at all the weight I've lost since you've been gone!"
"Hmmm, hello, genius, remember I'm a blind midget."
"Well, then I guess you will just have to take my word for it," Andre grinned and stirred the contents of his pan. Suddenly he reached his spoon in the air and he began to sing:
"It's almost like spring,
Shakespeare is back.
We can't know what fall will bring,
But Shakespeare is back.
I have an annoying crick in my neck.
And I'm suddenly drained.
But you won't hear me complaining.
No, because Shakespeare is back, and I like cheese."
Henry walked into the kitchen, looked at Shakespeare, and then he continued to march to the sink, gently pulling Winifred's stroller behind him.
Andre slapped his head and said, "Is it me?"