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February 26, 2024

Dinner With Henry 117: Very Bad News

By Bruce Memblatt

Maria nervously paced across the kitchen floor. Before her sat Andre, Shakespeare, Diego, Henry, and even Sincere, who was just swallowing the tail end of a worm. She dangled the creature above her mouth like she was sliding M&Ms down her throat.

Diego winced, and was elbowing Henry when Maria finally spoke.

"Well," she said, her eyes opened wide, "I guess you are all wondering why I called this meeting?"

Andre rolled his eyes, sighed and said, "Yes, well, it has occurred to us."

"Okay, don't start with me funny man, this is serious business," Maria said and then she picked at her hair and pulled an envelope from her blouse.

"What happened, you win Publishers Clearing House?" Shakespeare snapped.

"You are going to be snapping a different tune, Mister, when you find out what's in this document."

Frustrated, Henry uncrossed his legs, causing his chair to squeak loudly. Then he scratched his head, and said, "Maria, can we just get on with it? What is in that document?"

"Henry," Diego jumped, "don't be so impatient. So sorry, Maria, you know how men are."

Maria squinted, because the sunlight from the rear windows was brilliant that morning, shrugged and sighed, "Does anyone else need to speak, or can I at last reveal the contents of the document?"

"Please stop saying the word document." Shakespeare snapped.

Andre furiously shook his hands. "Well for Christ sakes, reveal ALREADY!"

"Okay, if you insist! But is not good news, are you all sitting down?"

Everyone rolled their eyes except Sincere, who was scooping up the last bite of her worm.

Then Maria cleared her throat and said, "I'm afraid we will be moving. You know that new mall they are building? Well, according to this document, the city has granted them the rights to the land this warehouse is standing on. So, we will have to find a new place, or cease to exist. "

Jaws dropped: Diego's face appeared to be freeze. Shakespeare toppled over. Henry's head sunk into his lap while Andre cried, "WHAT? How can they do that?"

Maria put on her glasses, pulled the document close to her nose and said, "I got two words for you, Chubby: eminent domain."

"Shit," Shakespeare snapped, "Done in by J.C. Penny, Macy's and T.J. Max."

Andre raised his hand again. "I still don't understand, what is this thing eminent domain? It sounds almost religious."

Henry got out of his chair, stepped over to Andre, patted him on the back and said, "In a way it is. It's like this; the city can take private land if they deem it's for the greater public good. Evidently, they will need the land to secure the new mall, whether it be to accomodate greater traffic, or for sewage or whatever. So long as they pay the owner of the property a fair price, they can seize it."

"Gee, he sounds like a public service announcement," Shakespeare snapped.

Andre's eyes lit. "QUIET, SHAKESPERE! We could make a bundle off this deal!"

Maria's head shook. "Think again, buster. Not us, Apex Realty will -- we just rent."

Andre's head sunk. Sincere grinned; her crooked teeth gleamed and she said, "Maybe I could cast a spell?"

Diego's face came to life. "I don't think you have a spell for this, Sincere."

Maria frantically paced some more and shook her fists. "We don't need a spell, we need a miracle, because what is gonna happen when Clarissa finds out is beyond anything I can imagine!" Her bracelets jangled like alarms.

Andre's hands clasped his head. He trembled, "You mean to say she doesn't know yet and one of us will have to tell her?"

All eyes in the room shot to Henry, who had returned to the chair next to Diego.

"Okay, Okay," Henry sighed, "I guess it's only fair, I'll tell her, but I am not going to be responsible for anything that happens afterwards, so everybody better watch their shit!"

Diego stared. "Henry!"

"Sorry, Diego."

Then Diego grinned, "I didn't know I married such a tough and righteous dude."

"Yeah, just wait till he spills the beans," Shakespeare snapped.

"Do you always have to be such a downer?" Andre said, sneering at Shakespeare.

"Do you always have to be such a dunce?"

"Dunce, ha!" Andre smirked, "Who even uses the word dunce anymore? You are such a throwback."

"Watch it or I'll throw you back, fatso!"

"Yeah, just you try it, you pint-sized plebian!"

"Talk about words no one uses."

"I'll have you know plebian is a very sophisticated word. That is why you don't know it!"

"Oh yeah?"


"Oh yeah?"


"Oh yeah...?"

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-09-15
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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