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May 13, 2024

Dinner With Henry 114: The Key to Maria's Heart

By Bruce Memblatt

"Hey, Shakespeare did you see this?"

"Oh sorry."

"Shakespeare, you will never guess what I found near the stove?"

Shakespeare snapped, "Jimmy Hoffa?"

"Oh please, "Andre said, "such an old joke even for you. I found something better. I found an envelope, and do you know what is inside this very envelope that I'm holding in my hands?"

"Your letter of resignation?"

Andre shook his head "Very funny. No, a key -- a key to a bank box!"

Shakespeare stared. "But Andre, it is not your key."

Andre pulled the key out of the envelope, and held it up towards the dingy florescent light on the celling. "It is now! I'm going down to Chase on the corner, and finding out what is in the box! Maybe I'm a millionaire, huh?"

Shakespeare shrugged and sighed, "But you're not the owner of the key, you can't just walk in there and open up the box."

Andre pounded on the countertop, and held the key up to the light again. "Oh yes I can, because I have the key!"

At once, from behind, Andre felt a hand wrap around his shoulder, and pull the key out of his fingers.

"You dummy," Maria cried, now holding the key in her hand and dangling it at Andre, her bracelets jangling, "it is my key, and you just can't walk in and use it. What boat did you just get off of?"

"It wasn't The Good Ship Lollipop, that's for sure," Shakespeare snapped.

"What does that even mean, Shakespeare?" Andre said as he placed a pot of water on the stove.

Shakespeare sighed again, "I don't know."

"Oh what does it even matter?" Maria cried, then she spun around, and jangling her bracelets furiously she cackled, "You will never never never ever never ever find out what's inside my box!"

She raced toward the door, slamming it behind her, leaving Andre and Shakespeare sighing in her wake.

It was then that Andre turned to Shakespeare and whispered, "Indeed. Let's follow her to the bank."

"How do you know she's going to the bank?"

Andre slapped Shakespeare on the head and said, "Oh please, Shakespeare, I know her like a book."

Moments later Andre and Shakespeare hid in the alley next to the warehouse waiting for Maria to climb down the stoop, and make her way down Delancey Street. A pigeon paced along the edge of the pavement where the alleyway met the sidewalk, making bubbly pigeon coos.

"That is one noisy pigeon," Andre said, while his eyes anxiously peered over the steps of the stoop. As soon as Maria opened the front door, and started to descend the stairs, they'd duck back into the alleyway then quietly follow her after she passed. Easy as pie.

The pigeon crossed Andre's path again.

"Look, Shakespeare, at this noisy pigeon. He doesn't care how close to me he gets, or how noisy he becomes. This is one daring rude pigeon."

Shakespeare snapped while he kicked some gravel into the alleyway, "Maybe we should call him Andre?"

Andre mockingly slapped his knee, "Oh, you are on fire with the jokes today, Shakespeare. Maybe I should call you Henny Youngman?"

"Who's that?"

Andre rolled his eyes, and he sighed, "Take my Shakespeare ... please. Oh, never mind, but about this pigeon?"

"So shoot it."

The pigeon's bubbly coos became louder as he paced, almost generating into a growl.

Andre jumped, just about knocking the garbage pail next to him over. "Did you hear that, Shakespeare? This bird is scary. "

"Maybe that was some of your leftovers returning."

Andre stamped his feet. "You know, Shakespeare there comes a point when it's JUST NOT FUNNY ANYMORE."

"When would that be?" Shakespeare said and then he leaned against the wall of the warehouse adjacent to the stoop and he sighed some more.

That is when the pigeon pointed his beak up at Andre and he whispered, "You know I wouldn't take that attitude from a blind midget."

Andre nearly fell across the alleyway. He clutched his heart, pointed his finger at the pigeon, and cried, "Shakespeare did you hear that? THIS PIGEON CAN TALK!"

The pigeon crossed Andre's path again making gurgly pigeon coos.

Shakespeare snickered, "Sure he can and I am the goalie for the Rangers."

"I swear, Shakespeare, he even called you a blind midget, just like I do."

Shakespeare snickered some more.

Andre's eyes glared. "HE DID. In fact his exact words were, I wouldn't take that attitude from a blind midget."

Shakespeare stepped away from the wall, zeroed in on Andre, and shook his head. "Do you suppose there is a reason why this so-called talking pigeon sounds exactly like you?"

"Yes," Andre said eyeing the stoop in case Maria should come trotting down the stairs then, "because he is smart."

Shakespeare slapped his eyeless head. "No, you big dummy. It is because you are imagining it!"

Andre's face contorted, his hands shook. "How dare you! How dare you accuse me of imagining that that pigeon is talking when he is!"

"What?"

Andre shook his hands at Shakespeare, "You heard me!" Then his attention turned to the pigeon pacing near his feet and he cried at it, "Well just don't sit there pacing! SHOW SHAKESPEARE YOU CAN TALK!"

The pigeon stopped walking, peered up at Andre and said, "Fuck you." Then he spread his wings and took off.

Andre just stared at the ground as if he were praying it would open up and swallow him when Maria's voice filled his ears. His head lurched up and he saw her coming down the street as if she were heading back from the ...

"Hello, Andre and Leetle One. What are you two doing out in the alleyway? " Maria smirked and waved her hands, jingling her bracelets.

"Nothing," Shakespeare said, "just talking to the pigeons."

Andre raised his hands and he cried, "But how did you get out of the building without us seeing you? It's just not possible!"

"Oh, sure it is," Maria smirked, "I left out the back entrance, and ran to the bank where I took the stuff out of my box, and put it in a box you will never see -- not if you live to be a million." Then she laughed, blew a kiss at Andre, pranced up the steps of the stoop, and disappeared into the warehouse.

"Ew. I think I'm gonna be sick," Shakespeare snapped.

Then Andre turned toward Shakespeare and said, "You know something? I think she likes me."

Shakespeare sighed.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-06-16
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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