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November 27, 2023
"Mes de los Muertos"

Dinner With Henry 78: Two Hats Are Not Better Than One

By Bruce Memblatt

Andre and Shakespeare were still tearing apart the kitchen, as Diego and Henry looked on, when the buzzer rang.

"Don't worry, I'll get that," Henry said, scratching his head, still bewildered by the enormous mess Shakespeare and Andre had made in the kitchen searching for Andre's chef's hat.

"Thank you, Henry!" Andre said, tossing another box of flour from the cabinet.


"Sorry, Shakespeare."

Suddenly Diego blurted out, "Yes, thank you, Henry."

Henry scratched his head some more, and then he walked to the front door of the warehouse. When he opened the door he saw a short and stocky police officer holding a white chef's hat in his hand. First, he wondered why the NYPD were even bothering with Andre's silly chef's hat, but what puzzled him most was how they knew that it was missing.

He greeted the officer. "Good morning, officer how can I help you?" Henry said, holding the door open.

The officer pulled in his chest and said, "Well see, I found this here hat in the street, then it came to me that that loud mouthed chef works here, so's I was wondering if he lost his beanie?"

Henry smiled, pushed the door open further and said, "Yup, that's our loud-mouth. C'mon in -- they practically tore apart the kitchen looking for that thing."

The officer squinted, holding up the hat, and said. "Well, I can sort of understand that, it's a nice hat." He followed Henry down the hall.

When they walked through the doorway the officer's jaw dropped stunned by the condition of the kitchen. "My god, it looks like a tornado passed through the room, " he said, slowing down his pace.

As soon as Andre saw the hat in the officer's hand his eyes lit up like they were neon. He ran towards the officer, almost charging, shouting, "Why did you steal my hat? Give me my hat, flatfoot!"

The officer, just inches away from the stove, grinned and said, "Flatfoot? Now there's one for the history books, but you best go easy with those accusations, chubby!"

"Who are you calling 'chubby'?" Andre said, ripping the hat out of the officer's hand. "Hey, mister, I was doing you a favor and the first thing you do is accuse me, A POLICE OFFICER, of stealing your hat, after you call me a FLATFOOT!"

"I believe it was before," Shakespeare interjected, stepping closer to the officer, who was standing in front of the stove. "First he accused you, and then he called you a flatfoot."

Stunned, the officer pointed towards the floor and said, "Whom, or what are you?"

"I'm Shakespeare the blind midget."

The officer slapped his head. "Oh that's right, you're chubbo's partner."

"Will you stop calling me chubby!" Andre hollered until he saw the light in the kitchen catch his hat and he smiled, and placed the hat firmly on his head.

Something about the hat didn't feel right, but Andre was so happy to have it back he ignored his first instincts.

The officer looked down at Shakespeare, then he gazed at Andre, then he stared at Henry and said, "Hey, you are half-bug, he's a blind midget, and the chubby one is insane. This is a strange place."

Then from the back of the kitchen came Sincere, stepping over the debris, carrying a can of worms in her hand.

"Wait, it gets stranger," Shakespeare said.

Suddenly, Diego hushed, "Excuse me, I have to toss my gum in the garbage pail." She marched across the kitchen, spat in the pail, and then she stared into the pail and she kept staring into the pail, as if she was in a trance.

It was then that Maria entered the kitchen.

Andre spotted her first, and he was taken aback. His nose, ears, and lips furiously quivered, "Maria, how is it that you are holding a white chef's hat in your hand when my hat is on my head? Did you buy me a new one?"

A snide edge colored his words.

A hush fell over the room.

Then Maria began to scream. And cried, "Where did you get that hat? AY, I have taken your hat! I took your hat and I will take your soul too, your fat chatty maricon!" Her bracelets jangled on her wrists like she was a Gypsy.

The officer came to life. "Evidently we have what we call a situation here."

Shakespeare, leaning on the counter, snapped his fingers and said, "You can say that again."

Then Andre cried to the officer, pointing at his own head, "You, you -- where did you find this hat?"

"I found it in the street, buster, why, are you accusing me of something?"

"Well, it is kind of strange, don't you think, that there are two hats, one in the street and one stolen by that witch?"

Maria began to cry and then she spat on the ground, "You bet I'm a witch, but this is your hat! That other hat is an imposter! That copper came here to rob me of my moment!"

Then the officer shouted, "Hey, crazy lady, this isn't about moments! This is about hats!"

It was then that Henry noticed Diego was still staring into the garbage pail. He walked over to her, and he waved his hands in front of her eyes, but she still remained in a trance until Henry looked down, and peered, into the pail.

Then he shook and he began to shout, "OH MY GOD! THERE'S A HEAD IN THE GARBAGE PAIL!"

"That's what I was trying to tell you, Henry," Diego hushed.

All eyes turned towards Diego and Henry.

The officer said as he walked over to the garbage pail, "Well sorry, Miss Witch, it looks like your moment is about to be over-shadowed!"

When the officer reached the pail, he stuck his hands in, pulled the head out, and held it up.

Andre cried, banging his hands on the stove, "I told you, Shakespeare!"

The officer continued. "Looks like you're all going down to the station."

Suddenly the walls began to shake. Clarissa's tentacle frantically squirmed across the kitchen floor. More stuff fell from the cabinets. She grabbed the officer around his stomach, pulled him out of the kitchen and ate him.

Then Shakespeare snapped his fingers and said, "Well, I'd like to see someone top that moment."

They all sighed.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-10-29
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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