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April 15, 2024

Dinner With Henry 106: Take a Letter Maria

By Bruce Memblatt

Maria sat down at her desk. Finally, the kitchen was quiet and she could take a few moments to write to her best friend Consuela in Miami.

She reached into the Flintstone's mug on her desktop and picked out her favorite pen from a selection of pens she kept in the mug; a Mickey Mouse pen she got at Disneyworld. She adored it -- it even had Mickey's head on the top with his two black ears sticking out like little clovers.

She shook her hands across the desk; her bracelets jingled. Then Maria drew the pen up in the air, stared at the fluorescent light on the ceiling for a moment, and she whispered, "I got it."

She brought the Mickey pen down to the paper and she began to write:

Dear Consuela ...

Mmmmmm ... Should she say Dear or Greetings?

Mmmmmmm ... while Dear was more personal, Greetings seemed more festive ... Then again what did she have to be festive about? What did anyone have to be festive about in this rotten world?

She was going with Dear.

She shook her pen and began again.

Dear Consuela,

I hope you are enjoying the warm air in Miami because I am freezing my tits off here in New York City! I have never been in such miserable wretched gut-wrenching cold weather before, and this isn't even the half of it, and how are you?

Was she coming on too strong? Perhaps she should make it sound nicer? Nah, her mama always said, "Maria, be yourself."

As you know I am once again in the employ of Clarissa the giant bug. And let me tell you this, that bitch can eat! We have the kitchen open all day feeding that crazy thing. Sorry, I didn't mean crazy. She is a rare thing and I love her, but we are all her dominion, her lackeys, her slaves.

Well, except for Henry, who is her son. And let me tell you she is still pissed at him for engaging in the experimental treatments that left him half- human. She cannot stand humans. She just puts up with us, so when her son became one FOGETABOUT IT!

He has never heard the end of it, and neither will we.


But I tell you, just between you and me, her son is a real wuss, but who am I to judge? I am merely the gofor who manages the kitchen and the warehouse, but then again who else would hire a crazy manic-depressive with a Latin temper like me? So I am lucky to be in her employ.

Well, she was lucky as anyone could be, but what did Consuela care or know about luck, or this? Maybe she should just forget this stupid letter and go down to Davey Blues on the corner and have a Margarita. A Margarita would hit the spot now.

Maria held the pen up and she stared at Mickey's face. "So what do you think, Mickey?"

After a brief pause, "Okay, okay, I'll finish the damn letter. Where was I?"

Oh yeah, anyway, but her son Henry married this amazing woman called Diego. I tell you, if it were not for her I would go loco here. I really would. She is statuesque and elegant, even though she only has one ear. There is a visible scar where her left ear used to be. I can't remember the story too well of how she lost the ear, but I have heard many versions. She used to be a nurse in a mental institution, and I think there was an altercation with a patient. Anyway, it doesn't matter. She is so interesting and so unique, people think she's crazy but I know better. And they have this cute new daughter; Winifred. Winifred is the only one, I think, Clarissa loves without question, although Clarissa denies there is such a thing as love, she believes everything is based on need.

Maybe she should take the last part out; what did Consuela know about love? Love was just an illusion wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a question.

Anyway, it was getting late and soon Clarissa would be hungry, banging against the walls, in the loft again.

Oy, Maria, Maria, what are you ever to do?

Oh, yes speaking of hunger.

And then there is the most revolting member of the kitchen staff that I must tell you about: the chef Andre, who is nothing more than a foolish fat blabbering ego-filled bore. On and on he goes about all his problems night and day, day and night. Why, it's enough to make you want to drive a stake through your own heart, and get this -- he sings, too. Well, he THINKS he sings but his voice is flat and his songs are strange.

Henry tells me the first night he was here he thought he had wound up in a horror show when he heard Andre's so-called singing.

And there is yet more, this chef has a sidekick: a nasty sarcastic son-of-a bitch blind midget named Shakespeare. And let me tell you, the two of them together are like WATER TORTURE.

I don't know how Clarissa even puts up with them, but she does, because she can't find anyone else who will take these jobs but oddballs like us.

I have even yet to mention two more loonies: Sincere and Alarm.

But basically, we are at each other's throats, and disposal.

Speaking of disposal, every once in a while someone will vanish here. Like, for example, the one I replaced, a man named Simpson -- he vanished, and I think a few cops have vanished too.

There are secrets here, Consuela; nasty secrets that may never be revealed.

But we go on, because we must take care of Her, and ourselves. Because there is work to be done.

Anyway, got to get back to the kitchen, all my love to you Consuela.

I will try to keep in touch,

Your friend,


Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-02-03
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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