Henry's wing sank; of all of the loonies he encountered since he arrived at Delancey Street Fransau seemed to be the looniest, and he wasn't even on the staff.
A cloudy haze covered Delancey Street that day, making things and people appear ephemeral and ghost-like, which only added to Fransau's already mysterious presentation.
Henry watched Fransau pull another skull out of another box, and his thorax recoiled listening to Fransau's hysterical laughter increase.
Diego nudged Henry, "I was wrong, Henry. He's not crazy, he's insane."
Then Fransau held two heads in the air and whispered, staring at Diego sadistically, "Takes one to know one doesn't it, Diego? But you people don't know the half of it. I may be crazy, but soon, with Clarissa's help, I'm going to be rich and crazy."
It was all Maria could do not to take a knife out of the drawer and run it through Fransau's heart. She barreled toward Fransau, nearly knocking him over, as he pulled yet another head out of another box.
"Watch it, you buffoon, you nearly ran me down!'"
Maria raised her shaking hand in the air and pointed it at Fransau. "You scoundrel, you low life, you are lucky I didn't take a knife and ram it through your merciless heart!"
Then Andre, unable to contain his rage cried, marching towards Maria and Fransau, "What heart? This man has no heart!"
"You are right, Andre! I have no heart, hearts are for the weak," Fransau said while he threw a head to the floor and began to cackle.
It was then that Diego nudged Henry again. "Henry, he is starting to make sense."
Suddenly Shakespeare snapped, "Only to you, Diego. I really wish I could see all those heads. Man, must be neat."
"Only to you, Shakespeare," Andre returned, staring down at Shakespeare with a trembulating scowl.
Shakespeare was leaning against the edge of the stove several yards away from Fransau. When Maria saw Andre teetering over Shakespeare she lurched away from Fransau and rushed over to Andre.
She whispered in his ear, "Say, this Fransau is kind of thin and pale; I bet we could take him." Her bracelets jingled in Andre's ear.
"Honey, have you been hitting the tabasco sauce again?" Shakespeare snapped.
"You know, Shakespeare," Andre said leaning down further, "you have a very common way about you."
"At least I am not a murderer."
"I AM NOT A MURDERER! I MERELY TOLD JULIUS TO DRUG THE MAYOR."
Henry, about ready to burst, cried out, "You know, Andre, you always say that, but it doesn't make you look much better."
"You tell him, Henry," Diego hushed and nudged Henry.
Andre said, waving his hat in the air, "But it doesn't make me a murderer!"
Suddenly, Fransau threw his beret to the floor, turned, pointed at Henry, then Diego, then Maria, and then Shakespeare. His finger finally landed on Andre and he said with a sneer, "No, but it does make you an idiot!"
"He's got you there," Shakespeare snapped, tugging on Andre's leg.
Then Henry glared at Shakespeare. "Not now, Shakespeare, the kitchen is in trouble."
"That's right, you are all in deep doo-doo. So what is it gonna be? Andre's freedom or Clarissa's? You all have a choice to make. I will give you three minutes to discuss it amongst yourselves. Except for Henry," Fransau said pointing at Henry, "since she is your mother I will free you from involvement in this decision."
"What you really mean," Maria said seething, her eyes wild as fire, "is you don't want Henry's influence over the decision. You don't want us to hear his plantive tale." She stomped her foot on the floor.
"Oh what is the difference -- Clarissa's going to eat Fransau anyway?" Shakespeare snapped.
"No she won't, because I have a gun and I will use it," Fransau said, and then he cackled. His eyes glowed like a cat's in the dark. He raised a head in the air. "I can see your future, Andre and it isn't very bright."
At once thunder roared through the walls and a flash of lightning crashed across the kitchen. They heard rain fall like a wall had given way. Fransau appeared as a satanic doll with electric hair when suddenly from the rear of the kitchen they heard footseps.
"Who goes there?" Fransau said, his eyebrows raised high.
A crooked-tooth grin appeared out of the dark.
"Oh that is Sincere," Andre said slyly, smirking at Fransau. "Ahem. She knows magic."
"Yeah, she is our witch," Shakespeare said, sticking his finger in the air. "Now we will see who is in doo-doo."
At last Sincere's form assembled before the crowd. Her eyes seemed to be in a trance (more than usual); from the corner of her mouth a worm popped out and dangled down the side of her cheek.
"Well, go ahead -- give it to him," Diego hushed, staring at Fransau.
Then Sincere's hands waved and her eyes came to life. A wand appeared in her fingers and she fiercely pointed it at Fransau.
Fransau didn't budge. His eyes rolled and he just said, "Well?"
Undeterred, Sincere grimaced, waved her arms, and pointed the wand at Fransau again.
But Fransau just yawned, looked at his watch and said, "And?"
Sincere sighed and said, "never mind," and returned to the rear of the kitchen.
Fransau smiled like he'd just won the lottery, then he said, waving his beret in the air as if it were a victory flag, "Okay, ladies and gentlemen, the fun and games are over. You have three minutes to decide. Go ahead, huddle, or whatever it is you people do, except for you, Henry, you stand next to me."
Henry's wing slumped to the floor. He stepped over to Fransau's side while Andre, Shakespeare, Maria and even Diego gathered in a huddle near the freezer.
Henry perked his insectual ears trying to listen, but all he could hear were frantic whispers, the sound of Diego's gum popping, and one lonely sigh.