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December 04, 2023

Dinner With Henry 94: Don't Cry for Me, Patti LuPone

By Bruce Memblatt

Andre was furiously stirring a cream sauce when he thought he heard someone entering the warehouse. He turned, looked below and nodded at Shakespeare. "Shakespeare, did you buzz someone into the building?"

Shakespeare grinned and snapped, "Yes, didn't you see me before, standing on the ladder?"

So Andre, flustered, responded, "So, you are saying it isn't you? Well then, why don't you just plainly say so? What is the point off all this snapping?"

"It's what gets me through the day," Shakespeare said and then he sighed and he sluggishly walked towards the rear of the kitchen carrying a parfait glass in his hand.

Andre stirred his sauce some more, shrugged, eyed the ceiling and said, "Well, I guess it's going to be another one of those days."

Maria, rushing in her office, grabbed a file off her desk, pulled up her skirt, shook her wrists, making sure her bracelets were jingling properly, and left the office, closing the door behind her. As she approached the kitchen she heard Andre arguing with a man.

"Sir, I told you, I don't need any life insurance!"

"But Mister, listen to me, this is a real good deal and everyone can use good life insurance."

"But I have no children, no wife to leave it to! Please go away!"

"You can leave it to a relative, a friend, or your favorite charity!"

"Listen," Andre cried, "I am just trying to make a cream sauce -- will you please go away!"

At that moment Maria rushed through the kitchen doors. She ran over to Andre, tugged on his shoulders and cried, "Please, Andre, be quiet for just a minute!"

"Okay, but just one minute," Andre said, and he proceeded to tap his shoes.

Maria scrambled over to the man, stood in front of him, put on her best smile and said, "Why hello, you must be Mr. Richfield, so happy to meet you. I am Maria. I called you about the referral!"

That is when Andre looked at the ceiling again and shrugged. "The referral?"

Mr. Richfield tipped his hat, smiled back at Maria and said, "So nice to meet you. I was just talking to your chef."

Maria glared at Andre and said, "So I heard." And she continued, "Andre, Mr. Richfield sells life insurance at Acme Life. I recently purchased a policy, and I found out if I can get a friend to buy a policy as well, accordingly I will get the referral prize of dinner at the Cafe Carlye, and guess who will be the evening's entertainment?" Her eyes bulged. "Patti LuPone! Can you believe?" Her bracelets jingled. "The moment I heard this I just had to get Mr. Richfield to come here! You understand don't you?" She breathed heavily. "When I was just a little bambina I saw her in Evita! She was so radiant!" Maria cried, catching her breath, and then she began to sing: "Don't cry for me Argentina"...

Andre removed his cap and said, "I'm afraid you are going to have to do some crying, Evita." Then he grinned, and his eyes nose and lips quivered with satisfaction.

Maria said, shaking her hands at Andre. "Andre, please don't be so mean! Just listen to Mr. Richfield."

Andre stuck his nose in the air and snipped, "No, I don't want to listen to Mr. Richfield," which caused Maria to glare at Andre again and say, "Andre, will you stop being such a dick."

It was then that Shakespeare toppled over and began to laugh uncontrollably. So did the sparrow who was perhched on the kitchen windowsill trying to catch some shade that afternoon.

The man looked toward the floor, nodded and softly said, "I have never been subjected to such vulgarity in my entire life."

Andre shook his head and said, "This is the low class common stuff one can expect to hear from a Patti LuPone fan."

Maria glared at Andre again, shaking her fists."Watch it, mister."

Then Shakespeare picked himself up from the floor and said, "Well then, why don't you stop being such a dick, Andre."

"Oh really, big shot! Why don't YOU buy some life insurance?"

"I don't need any, besides I don't think they sell life insurance to blind midgets."

Mr. Richfield nodded his head and said, "He's right, we don't sell life insurance to blind midgets."

This caused Maria to peer at the man cross-eyed and say, "That is odd."

"Rules are rules," Mr. Richfield said. Then he tipped his hat, looked toward the ceiling, and said, "I remember the days when the insurance salesman was respected, was the family friend." He sighed.

Shakespeare scrunched his nose and snapped, "When was that?"

Andre patted Shakespeare on the head and whispered, "Let him keep his illusions, he's obviously remembering some old TV commercial from his childhood."

"Okay," Shakespeare whispered back to Andre, "but I still think it's rotten that I can't get life insurance."

Maria stomped her foot and shouted, "What is all this whispering about? Are you two plotting against me again?"

"No," Shakespeare snapped, "we plot against you on Tuesdays, it's only Monday."

Then Andre stretched his hands and said, walking back to the stove, "We were just saying how unfair it was that this so-called insurance salesman will not sell poor little Shakespeare life insurance."

The insurance salesman then tossed his hat to the floor and said, "I have never had the displeasure to meet such abhorrent people before."

"Just you wait," Shakespeare snapped, "here come Henry and Diego."

"How do you know that, Shakespeare?" Andre leaned and asked.

"I can hear them in the hallway," Shakespeare said, and he grinned.

Andre glared at Mr. Richfield and said, "And you won't sell him insurance."

In that instant Diego and Henry entered the kitchen. Henry waved and he said, "Hey what's going on?"

"Nothing." Andre raised his eyebrows and said, "Just a visit from some insurance salesman."

Suddenly Maria rushed over to Henry and pled, "Oh, Henry, please, if you will, just buy some life insurance from him. I can have an evening with Patti LuPone at the Cafe Carlye if you do! Please, pretty please." She quivered. A symphony of bracelet jingles filled the room.

Diego glanced at Henry, elbowed him, and hushed, "Oh do it, Henry."

Mr. Richfield loudly cleared his throat. Every eye in the room tunred to him, and he said, "I'm sorry, we don't sell life insurance to bug people, either."

Maria stomped her foot, marched to the door, and before she slammed it behind her she shouted, "Wait till Patti LuPone hears about this!"

The sparrow sighed.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2013-07-22
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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