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November 27, 2023
"Mes de los Muertos"

Dinner With Henry 59: Gone With The Wind

By Bruce Memblatt

The strange wind continued to sear the hall. Diego, her hair bristling in the breeze, leaned over the stroller and tightened Winifred's blanket around her.

"Thank you, Mommy," Winifred said with apprehension as the cause of the strange wind weighed heavily on her mind.

Andre's hat sailed down the hallway and a small frightened Shakespeare grabbed onto his leg.

"This is no time to be frightened, little Shakespeare."

"Um, can you think of a better time?" Shakespeare half- heartedly snapped.

Andre looked back toward his hat, which was still sailing down the hall, and he said, "It is nothing but the wind, Shakespeare, not more."

Shakespeare turned his eyeless head up and said, "Don't you mean, 'nothing more?'"

Diego nudged Henry and breathed, "See, I told you the big one was nuts."

"Diego, don't antagonize them now," Henry whispered. "We have bigger fish to fry."

Shakespeare snapped, "At last someone got one right."

They turned around and looked behind them to see Simpson's door slamming, and then they saw Simpson run down the hall toward the front door, as they tried to make their way, against the wind, to the opposite side of the hall, and Clarissa's loft.

"I told you he was a coward," Shakespeare said, still hanging on to Andre's leg.

"You are right, Shakespeare, he is a coward, but after all, he is just a member of the aristocracy. He is a bourgeois and a coward by nature."

"I see you've been reading Marx again," Shakespeare said and then he hugged Andre's leg tighter as the wind grew stronger.

"Yes, Groucho. No, Shakespeare you have been right all along -- it's all about who butters your bread. Everything boils down to economics."

Then Winifred's stroller stirred and she said, "I hope not, Uncle Andre, it would be an awfully dull world if that were true."

Without haste, Henry tucked in Winifrid's blanket and said, "Don't worry, Angel, that's not true."

"Spoken like a true boss's son," Shakespeare said, holding his fist in the air.

Diego turned around and approached Shakespeare. Shaking her hands through a burst of wind, she said, "You better put that fist down, little one, or I'll chop it off."

"I would not mess around with her, little Shakespeare," Andre said while he waved Shakespeare down.

"And you are a coward too!" Shakespeare barked at Andre.

"No, Shakespeare, I just know your limitations."

"Very funny," Shakespeare said, when suddenly the building shook and another pipe fell from the ceiling, this one landing only inches from Andre's foot.

They jumped.

"OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD ! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!" Andre cried, his nose, eyes ears and lips quivering. Winifred began to cry.

Henry's voice rose and he said, "Look at what you've done, Andre, you've made my daughter cry!"

Andre, nervously twitching his fingers, returned, "Now, Henry, who is it that made her cry -- was it me? Or the falling pipe and the wind coming from YOUR mother's loft?"

"He has a point, Henry," Diego said as she grabbed Winifred's stroller tighter. The wind became stronger as they drew closer to the loft.

"Of course! As usual, everyone likes to blame everything on my mother," Henry said with defiance, and his wing winced.

"Well, Henry," Andre softly said, "the wind, it is coming from your mother's loft. Now it is possible it is not her fault, but it is emanating from the loft, but haven't we, as people, done enough arguing this afternoon? We must be united to face this storm, don't you agree? Ah ... I think I feeel a song coming on ..."

Shakspeare slapped his head and Andre burst into song.

We can't let the wind divide us,
Not as long as we use reason to guide us.
There is an old saying that goes
Just don't step on my toes.
And so please don't hurt my feet
A rose is a rose is a rose.

"What does that mean?" Shakespeare said as he picked up a piece of the pipe that had fallen to the floor.

"I have no idea," Andre said. "Um, why did you pick up a piece of the pipe?"

Shakespeare wickedly grinned and said, "In case we need a weapon."

Then Winifred's little voice called, "Good thinking, Uncle Shakespeare, I think we shall all need weapons."

Henry turned towards Andre and Shakespeare and cried, "And now you're teaching her how to make weapons?"

"Well, Henry, there is a strange wind, and the building is shaking," Diego breathed as she picked up a piece of the pipe that had fallen to the floor, and shook it at Henry.

"Honey, that piece of pipe can't stop a wind. You can't stop the wind with a weapon."

Andre's hand rose in the air and he cried, "NOW EVERYONE PLEASE LISTEN TO HENRY! WHAT HE JUST SAID IS MOST IMPORTANT, AND TRUE! HENRY HAS UTTERED A TRUTH! You cannot stop the wind with a weapon -- all the weapons in man's arsenal can not stop or deter the wind at all. THAT IS THE TRUTH so everyone put the pipe down."

Then a strong gust of wind shook the hall, and pictures fell from the wall. Winifred's stroller started to rock forcedly in the breeze. Henry and Diego and Andre quickly grabbed on to her stroller and held it down till the wind subsided.

"I don't give a shit; get me a piece of pipe, Henry!" Diego ordered. And Henry sheepishly picked up a piece of pipe from the floor, shook his head, and handed it to Diego. Winifred grinned and then Andre and Shakespeare began to laugh.

By then they were within feet of the door to the loft. The wind still chased and blew furiously, the door to the loft swung open, and there they saw, up in the air, Clarissa holding a box of Kleenex and sneezing.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-12-26
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