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July 04, 2022

Dinner With Henry 79: The Sheer and Utter Morality of It All

By Bruce Memblatt

Henry couldn't believe his eyes. His mother just ate that police officer like he was popcorn. He still stared through the doorway down the hall, watching Clarissa's tentacle slip and slide and inch back to the loft. Something hit him inside -- this is what he was; his mother was only being what she was -- like mother like son -- they were natural born killers.

Henry lowered his head for a moment when Andre began to shout, "Oh my God! OH MY GOD!" every inch of his body quivering like electricity. "OH MY GOD! Henry, your mother ate a police officer! We are in such trouble! I CAN NOT BELIEVE, HENRY! WE MUST TURN OURSELVES IN BEFORE THE GUILT EATS US ALIVE!"

Shakespeare snapped, "All you think about is eating. I ain't turning myself in so fast, buster!"

Diego, holding the head Andre found in the kitchen between her fingers said, "Me neither."

"Neither am I," Sincere said, crouched over, crookedly smiling at Diego, holding her hands out to her. "Here, darling, let me have that head."

"No I found it. It's my head," Diego hushed.

Henry jumped in, "Honey, give her the head before Winifred wakes up and sees it."

Diego walked over to Henry and said, "No." She put the head on the counter.

In the stroller Winifred's eyes began to flutter.

Suddenly Andre shouted, "PLEASE, DIEGO! PLEASE, EVERYONE! ONE THING AT A TIME! WHAT ABOUT THE COP?" WE MUST ALL CONFESS!"

Then Shakespeare snapped, "Why? We didn't eat him, SHE did."

At once came loud crying sounds and bracelets jangling, then Maria spoke as if she'd woken from a trance, pointing her hands at Andre! "HEY! WHO PUT YOU IN CHARGE, YOU FAT DUMMY?"

Andre pointed his finger across the room. "I wish everyone would stop calling me fat for a moment." His eyes scanned the room like a periscope, "We have bigger fish to fry. There is a lot on our plate. What, no wisecracks, Shakespeare? Ahem. First we have to deal with the officer that your mother ate, Henry. And then we also have that dead skull. Now! About that police officer; how can we stay silent when someone has lost their life? I ask ALL OF YOU!! Even if he was annoying. Remember what happened to that man in The Tell-Tale Heart. He was driven to madness by guilt! That will happen to us. I will eat my hats if it doesn't. Our silence is morally and philosophically abhorrent!"

Shakespeare snapped, "Your silence is never abhorrent."

That's when Maria began to laugh. "Good one, little one! And after all we must not forget that it is Clarissa who supports us all. What Andre is recommending would get her in deep shit! But she is not responsible, because she is not a human, she is a bug! "

To that Henry said, "I'm sorry, but my mother knows the difference between right and wrong."

"So you would turn in your OWN MOTHER YOU HALF- BUG MARICON!" Maria cried, shaking her butt.

"He is not a maricon," Diego hushed and smiled while pushing Winifred's stroller back and forth.

Shakespeare scampered to the freezer, opened the door, reached in it for a popsicle and said, "This is the dumbest conversation I've ever heard." Then he pointed in Sincere's direction. "Better put that head in here, honey, before it stinks up the joint."

Sincere carefully lifted the head from the counter, slowly stepped over to the freezer. Her crooked smile glistening, her hunch hunching, she knelt over and placed the head on the second shelf next to the chicken livers. Then she licked her fingers, turned around, closed the door and whispered, "Remember I have magic if you need me," and she marched to the back of the kitchen.

That's when Andre stepped over to the butcher block counter between the stove and the freezer grabbed a mallet and began pounding on the wood, "ORDER! ORDER! WE MUST HAVE ORDER!"

Maria cried, "Stop that, dummy, I have a headache, but I tell you this, people," she shook her bracelets, "There is no way NO WAY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH WE ARE TURNING THE MISTRISS IN, YOU BUNCH OF UNGRATEFUL GRINGOS!"

Suddenly Diego came to life, stood at attention and said, "Well, I never. What is a gringo?"

"Never mind, honey," Henry said to Diego, then turned to Maria. "If you are correct, they will understand that my mother did what she did because she is, like me, a natural born killer."

The room broke into hysterics. Shakespeare toppled over laughing. Diego slapped her knees.

A big grin broke out on Andre's face, he put his arms around Henry's shoulders and said, "Oh please don't eat us, Henry!"

Then Diego hushed, pushing Winifred's stroller, staring at the door, "Please oh please, Henry."

Shakespeare grinned. "You don't have to add any salt to me."

"All right! Enough with the fun and the games -- what are we going to do?" Andre said, straightening his hat.

Shakespeare said, pacing back and forth between the counter and the freezer, "Let's do nothing!"

"Maria's bracelets shook. "Wheeeeee! I like this little one. Let's do nothing!"

"I agree too," Diego breathed.

But Andre would have none of it. He beat his hat down on the counter. "I WILL HAVE NONE OF THIS! DON'T YOU SEE, PEOPLE? DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?" His face scrunched. "If we stay silent this once, then next time it becomes easier, and easier after that until we really don't know the difference between right and wrong, until our hearts run cold as ice. We must be ever aware of our actions and our words!"

"Looks who's talking, Mr. Shoot the Mayor!" Shakespeare cried, his pacing becoming more frantic.

Pain came to Andre's eyes like he was stung by a bee and he returned, "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU? I SAID DRUG HIM NOT SHOOT HIM!"

A look of surprise and shock that turned quickly to disgust ran across Maria's face. She turned to Andre, pointed at him and sneered, "You are reeeepulsive!"

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah ..."

The argument in the kitchen that day continued for some time. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the unusual staff of the warehouse Clarissa had spat out the officer several hours earlier because as she put it, "He tasted like crap."

He agreed never to speak a word of what transpired at the warehouse in exchange for his freedom. Without hesitation he took off like a bat out of hell, and then he of course, sighed.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-11-12
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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