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April 15, 2024

Dinner With Henry 103: We're Fixing a Hole

By Bruce Memblatt

Gypsum hung from the kitchen ceiling like soggy bubble gum. Andre handed Henry, who stood on the ladder, another rag to wipe up the goop he had spread over the plaster board, and said, "Soon the ceiling will be good as new, Henry!"

Henry peeked at the ceiling, then turned his head and looked down at Andre with a confused look in his eyes.

"I promise you it will, Henry," Andre said while he mixed some more of the goop up in a big pail on the counter next to the stove.

"I don't know, Andre," Henry said, shaking his head, applying more gypsum to what he hoped would be a wall soon.

Then Shakespeare's voice popped up and snapped, "What is the difference? His mother will just get drunk again and break the ceiling and the table and every glass and plate in the place again."

Andre scratched his chin and said, "I am not so sure, little Shakespeare. I think she has learned her lesson."

"A leopard doesn't change its spots," Shakespeare said while he made his way toward the ladder.

Henry swiped the plaster board and said, "Hey, that is no leopard, that is my mother!"

Then Andre stirred the goop in the pail on the stove some more, his eyebrows jumped, and he said, "Look who is talking, Shakespeare, remember you had your battles with the bottle too!"

"Them weren't battles, them were parties."

Henry started laughing, and almost dropping the can he was holding in his gloved hands, he said, "Them were crazy."

This caused Andre to glare at Henry and say, "Henry, I am shocked at your encouraging Shakespeare in his past debauchery -- then again, I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

That's when Maria came charging into the kitchen carrying a vase. "What do you think of this for the new table? We can put flowers in it, maybe petunias, I love petunias don't you, Henry?"

Shakespeare snapped, "Maybe you can put your wig in there."

"Wig? You little rat, I don't wear a wig! This beautiful red hair is my very own!"

"Yeah, yours and Clairol."

Suddenly Maria's face looked like it was twisting in the wind, and she took the vase, smashed it on the floor, and cried, "This is my natural hair! I don't care about the stupid table anymore, or the ceiling, or the wall or the floor! You should all be ashamed of yourselves! I come in here to show you the beautiful brand new vase I just purchased and all you do is make my hair the butt of your ridiculous jokes!"

"Today it's your hair, tomorrow, who knows -- maybe your butt?" Shakespeare said while he ran for cover, unbeknownst to him, under the ladder Henry was standing on, causing it to tip and make Henry drop the can of goop he was holding in his hand on Andre's head.

His hair covered in gypsum, Andre cried, "I CAN NOT BELIEVE THIS! YOU ARE ALL CRAZY!"

While Andre proceeded to wipe the goop from his face, Maria began to laugh uncontrollably, her bracelets jangling.

Then Shakespeare turned in Maria's direction and said, "What's so funny, Broom Hilda?"

"Ha that is for me to know and you to find out, maricon. I will never tell you never, never, never!"

So Andre blurted out, still struggling with the gunk in his hair, "Yyou ran under the ladder and knocked poor Henry's hand and that crap fell all over my head. You lettle toad! I may never get it out."

Then Shakespeare began to laugh uncontrollably too.

Andre pulled some paper toweling off the rack in the kitchen sink and muttered to himself, "I see what passes for humor around here. They are nothing but a bunch of juvenile delinquents. Plebeians. Common toads." He scrunched his nose and wiped more goop from his face while Diego, entering the kitchen, spotted Andre and began to laugh.

Andre stomped his feet, stared at Diego and said, "Not you too! Dear Diego."

"Talk about your juvenile delinquents," Shakespeare snapped.

Diego, wrapping her hands around her chest trying to subdue her laughter, said, "So where is Henry?"

Hearing Diego, Henry called, "I'm up here fixing the ceiling, Honey."

Diego's head turned up and spotting Henry, she waved to him and said, "Be careful, Henry! Why are you fixing the ceiling? Just leave it alone, Henry."

Andre's nose scrunched. "What are you talking about, Diego?"

Then Diego, staring at Henry and the broken ceiling, breathed, "Why bother fixing it? It's just us living in this old warehouse, so what if there's a hole in the kitchen ceiling? Why go through all this trouble? Besides, it's dangerous; you could fall, Henry. If she wants the ceiling fixed so bad let her hire someone to fix it. After all, she broke it."

Shakespeare tugged on Andre's apron and said, "You know, she has a point."

Andre's eyebrows fluttered and he called to Henry, "So what do you think, Henry?"

Henry smiled and said, "I agree my wife has a point, plus I can't stand it up here."

Henry began to descend the ladder while Maria cried, "You are all loco," and stomped out of the kitchen.

Diego, watching Henry come down the ladder, said, "Hey! Henry, do you think Simpson will ever come back again?"

Then Shakespeare sarcastically snapped, "Don't be silly, he's on his way to becoming a little beam of light."

"I don't know," Diego said, staring at the ceiling intently, "I don't know." And she sighed.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2013-12-09
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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