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August 08, 2022

Dinner With Henry 84: Cause for Alarm

By Bruce Memblatt

A sparrow plunged off the kitchen windowsill to its death.

Tension hung in the air like a live wire.

Henry kept his ears perked, trying to listen to the huddle, but he knew even if they chose his mother's freedom over Andre's, Fransau would never agree. Fransau came to the kitchen to turn Clarissa into his personal freak show-goldmine, and nothing and no one would stop him.

The sun shone starkly, making the kitchen appear sharp and metalic.

Everything and everyone seemed on edge that fateful Friday morning.

Fransau turned to Henry, winked at him and said, "No matter what, I win, Henry. No matter what," Then he grinned and lit a cigar, and suddenly he stumbled and cried, "What is this?"

Henry shrugged and said, "It's the can of peaches Shakespeare was kicking around before."

"That little imbecile," Fransau said. He kicked the can. It rolled across the floor.

All Henry could do was sigh and pray for a miracle. He stared across the room at Diego in the huddle, who seemed to be saying something to Andre, but he couldn't make out the words.

"This is what we have to do, Andre -- we have to somehow lead that little man to the magic door then push him through it," Diego sighed, stepping on Andre's foot.

Andre grimaced, "Could you please not step on my foot, Diego! And really, truly should we be sending people beyond that door again? The body count is rising!"

"Eh, it's just two; that cop and Simpson," Shakespeare snapped.

"I hate getting into huddles with you, Shakespeare, because you always turn into Humphrey Bogart," Andre said, rolling his eyes.

"Who is Humphrey Bogart?" Shakespeare asked while he tugged on Andre's leg.

Maria started to shake, "Who is Humphrey Bogart! Really, Shakespeare, have you never seen Casablanca! Who is Humphrey Bogart? My God!"

Then Shakespeare glared at Maria and said, "Look, Sweetheart, can we just stick to the matters at hand?"

"Of course, you little dick," Maria snarled.

Shakespeare looked up at Andre, winked and said, "These crazy dames never know when to call it quits."

"So then it's all agreed," Diego sighed. "We will lead him to the door and push his obnoxious little body through it, yes?"

"YES!" Andre cried, "Now, we've got to tell Henry. But first, unfortunately we have to give an answer to that lunatic."

"Well then," Maria said, "since it doesn't matter, lets give him the answer he wants to hear; that we are giving him Clarissa. My God, it is hard even to get those words out. Forgive me, my Queen!" A tear came to her eye.

Andre, Diego, and even Shakespeare stared at Maria like she had just arrived from Mars, and Shakespeare said, "I think I'm gonna puke."

"What are you all staring at?" Maria cried. Her bracelets shook and her eyes glared with shock.

Andre shook his head, sighed and straightened his hat. They all began to stand and un-huddle, and he said, "This is not a time for discord amongst us, Shakespeare, this is a time for unity."

"Oy, my back is killing me," Maria kvetched as she stretched her arms.

"Mine too," Diego said, staring across the kitchen at Henry and Fransau while she stood, hoping to catch a glimpse from Henry. Then she saw him wink at her and she winked back.

Sunlight caught the freezer door in a way that made it appear as a monolith.

Then Maria nudged Andre and said, "How are we going to get that worm to the door?"

"Hopefully, when we get to the loft Clarissa will be sleeping, and then we can just merely walk Fransau to the door, and tell him she is behind it, waiting for him." Andre grinned wide. His lips quivered, unerving Maria who had been staring at their movement while she waited for his response.

Then Shakespeare popped up between Maria and Andre and said, "But what if the crazy bitch is in the main room of the loft talking to herself like she usually is?"

At once Maria stared down at Shakespeare glaring, smacked him in the head and said, "Watch how you talk about her, or I will step on you as I would a cockroach!"

"Shakespeare, you are not to be believed," Andre cried, pointing his hand at Shakespeare. His fingers quivered which further unnerved Maria.

Then Diego said, inching her way over to Maria, Andre and Shakespeare, "Send me. I will go to the loft first and warn her."

"But, Diego, what about Fransau? How will you ever escape his sights?" Andre said with alarm in his eyes.

"Do not worry," Diego said shaking her hips, seductively smiling. "I can handle him."

Andre slapped his head, and cried, "Oh my God! You will get us all killed!" His eyes, nose and lips quivered.

Then suddenly, Maria, staring at Andre, screamed, "MAKE IT STOP, PLEASE. IT IS GROTESQUE. WHY ARE YOUR BODY PARTS QUIVERING?"

Outraged, Fransau began to walk towards them. Scowling, he cried,"What is wrong with you people? Why are you always arguing?" Then the clock struck twelve and the kitchen door flung open.

"Oh my God! I forgot it is Friday!" Andre said watching Alarm sail through the door screaming, her wedding gown trailing in the breeze behind her, her hands jerking and flailing like bats.

Fransau, who was still marching across the kitchen, had no idea who the woman on roller skates wearing a wedding dress was.

Startled, he began to scream back at Alarm, when he tripped over the can of peaches he had kicked across the kitchen floor earlier that morning, and he fell to the linoleum.

Alarm, unaware, rolled over Fransau's neck, snapping it in two.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2013-02-04
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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