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February 19, 2024

Dinner With Henry 107: Big Bad Mama

By Bruce Memblatt

"What's wrong, mother, I have to know."

Clarissa buzzed, "Nothing, Henry. Everything is fine and dandy." She peered down at her son, the dot standing in the center of the main room of the loft. The son she could never touch. Sometimes being big was lonely.

"Are you sure, Mother, because this is the third week in a row you have destroyed the kitchen."

She peered down at him again. So small, so human. Why why did he do it? "I'm sure, Henry, I'm just feeling a little antsy."

"Antsy? That is a strange word for you to use, Mother. Regardless, Andre says he has had it up to here, he said he can't repair the ceiling again, so looks like you're going to have to hire someone to take care of it."

"Oh, all right, Henry, tell Maria to get someone, but just this once!" She spat, her black eyes jumped.

Henry shook his fists, "Well it is up to you, Mother, just stop breaking the kitchen!"

Suddenly, her head spun, and she buzz-sobbed, "I will try, Henry, but I am just feeling something is unsettled in this warehouse, something is underfoot."

Then Henry winked, "We are all under your foot, Mother."

"Very funny, Henry, you think it is easy being big all the time -- I assure you it's not!" She lurched her tentacles. Hay went flying across the floor.

Henry struggled to stand, grabbing onto a crate of sugar cubes lying next to a large bag of flour. "Mother, please, calm down!" he said before he scurried out of the loft.

She watched her son the dot, slide through the front door of the loft and she sighed.

Shelves fell from the walls as she slithered into the other room, continuing to sigh.

* * *

Andre shook his head, and removing his hat he said to Henry, who stood near the stove anxiously tapping his shoes, "You know, Henry, you must understand your mother is a very complicated creature. Imagine being so huge, Henry, everyone so far away, and you are like an untouchable. The torment she must go through. The lonely hours she must suffer." A tear dripped down Andre's cheek. He reached in his pocket for a tissue, and brought it to his eye. "I almost can't go on, Henry."

"Oh, how you must suffer," Shakespeare snapped.

Henry, surprised, leaned down and cried, "Hey, where did you come from?"

Shakespeare spun his head, "I am small, I can come and go, and you hardly notice me. I am like a gentle breeze."

"That is almost poetic, Shakespeare," Henry said, his ears pinched up. "I have never seen this side of you."

Andre threw his hat to the floor and said, "Can we get back to me? After all, I am the one who is crying!"

Shakespeare, who was pulling a bowl of cream from the lowest shelf in the freezer snapped, "Oh please forgive us. We weren't talking about you for almost thirty seconds."

"I think it might have been even thirty-two seconds," Henry winked, but his wing drooped in anticipation of Andre's next remark.

Andre stomped his feet. "I have really had it!" he cried, pounding on the stove. "I am trying to explain a deep psychological problem surrounding your mother, and all you can do is make jokes, Henry."

"I guess I am a horrible person, Andre," Henry said, when two men wearing overalls, carrying toolboxes, and smoking cigars stumbled into the kitchen.

They stopped about a foot from the stove and drew puffs of smoke in unison while Andre's jaw dropped.

That's when Shakespeare snapped, "Don't mind him, he's just a tad sensitive."

"A tad sensitive indeed!" Andre cried, "Put those cigars out! Are you two CRAZY? You cannot smoke in my kitchen!"

The man on the left said, "But, sir, this aren't real cigars, these are e-cigars."


Henry, always wanting to avoid a fuss, grabbed Andre's hand, and he said to the men, "Please, turn them off, he will never understand it. Please, trust me your lives will be so much easier if you just turn them off."

"That's right, Henry embarrass me. Treat me like a MORON!"

Quickly the two men put the contraptions in their pockets. "That's okay, sir," the man on the right smiled, "We just came here to fix the ceiling."

"To fix the ceiling and patronize me."

"No sir, just to fix the ceiling, if we may?"

Then the man on the left pulled on the front of his overalls and said, "You know, we don't have to fix the ceiling if he's going to be rude."

"You're right, Lionel," the man on the right said. "We don't."

"Do whatever you want!" Andre shook his fists and said, "I don't care!"

Suddenly a chunk of plaster fell from the hole in the ceiling and splattered all over the stove.

Henry darted after the men. "Please stay. Please stay. He'll be quiet -- won't you, Andre?"

"Aren't I always, Henry?" Andre said while he bent over and picked up his hat from the floor.

Then the two men proceeded to step over to the stove and began eyeing the ceiling. The man on the left said, "Say, how did this happen anyway?"

Henry explained, "My mother is very large. She's a giant bug. Lately, she's been getting angry and breaking things ... we don't know why."

The man on the right tipped his construction hat and said, "That's the problem with the big, they get to feeling isolated and they start breaking stuff."

Andre sighed.

* * *

In the meanwhile, in her office, down the hall from the kitchen, Maria bent over and petted the small beagle she had found picking through the garbage cans outside. How would she tell everyone she was taking a dog in? Would Clarissa even let her? How do giant insects feel about dogs anyway?

Suddenly the dog stood on its hind legs and began to bark and bark.

Maria stared into the dog's mouth as it barked, as if it were speaking to her in words. Then Maria said, "You want me to kill her? Are you sure this is what I must do?"

The dog continued to bark.

Maria's eyes glistened.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-02-17
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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