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April 08, 2024

Dinner With Henry 118: Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

By Bruce Memblatt

"Mother, I have something to tell you." A queasy feeling simmered in Henry's stomach the moment he entered the loft Sunday morning. Henry could feel the sun rush against his arms from the skylight above. Everything ached and needled that day, even the sun.

How would he tell her? He repeated the words again. "Mother, I have something to tell you."

Her black eyes towered above like moons.

She buzz-sighed, "Well, Henry, I'm not getting any younger."

He could feel her eyes focusing on him as if he was dinner. "Mother, how do you feel about this place?"

Her head bounced. "What place?"

Henry strode a little closer to her tentacle, which was gently gliding across the parquet, "This place, the loft, the warehouse, Delancey Street. Where we live."

"It's okay, I guess, I haven't really thought about it. Don't get out much, you know. In fact, I don't think I've been out since the last time I was up on the roof. Remember that, Henry?"

"I think all of Delancey Street remembers you doing the Godzilla thing, Mother."

"Well, I was depressed, Henry. But all those visits from that shrink and Elvira helped. Stupid me, acting like such a loathsome human. I'll never do that again, I swear." She raised her head, and her tongue shot out of her mouth and then she spat.

Henry sighed and thought she might do it again, and the queasy feeling in his belly erupted.

Her head dangled, "Are you okay, Henry? I hope you aren't eating that crazy chef's food too."

Henry wiped his mouth, "I'm okay, Mother, just feeling a little tired and anxious because I've got to tell you something."

"Well, spit it out, Henry. And I don't mean literally." Her tentacle began to swipe against the floor harder, nearly knocking Henry down.


"Sorry, Henry, but you're making me nervous, and I'm just too big to be nervous."

Henry's eyes scanned across his mother's vast form from the top of her antennae to the cusp of her tentacles. Her head was now nearly touching the skylight, her eyes bristling down on him, waiting, wondering what was in store.

There was only one way to do it -- just to do it.

"Mother, we have to move."

She buzzed, almost nonplussed, "Henry, why? Don't I pay you enough?"

Henry paced back and forth. "No, Mother, not just me and Diego and Winifred, all of us, you too."

She buzz-laughed. Her head shook, almost hitting the skylight. "Henry, are you making a joke? How ridiculous. Me move? Where? Where would I move, Henry, the Empire State Building? Where, tell me." She continued to cackle.

"We will find another warehouse with another huge loft, hopefully not far from here."

"And why, Henry, WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?"

Henry could see her teeth gleam now. The sight terrified him for a moment, but he answered calmly, "Because they are building a new mall and the city has seized this warehouse to help in its construction."

Her head jumped, "Get me the mayor on the phone!"

"You mean the one Andre almost killed?"

Her body shook, causing the walls of the loft to shake as well. "Oh, NEVER MIND. NEVER MIND. WHAT's the use? What's the use? Okay, we'll move. It's not a big deal, really. All they have to do is transport me from here to there, or if it's close enough I can just walk over. Won't the neighbors just love that?"

"Are you sure, Mother?"

She buzz-sighed, her head returned to its natural state. "I'm sure, Henry, positive. It's just a bunch of human-built walls to me, anyway, no matter where we live. One place is no different than any other."

"If you're sure, then I'll go tell the others. We've lots to do. We've got to find a new place. And then lots of packing -- packing and planning."

"You know something, Henry? You're very annoying, please go."

"If you're sure, Mother."

"Please, I'm sure," she buzzed as she watched Henry disappear into the hallway.

Then, satisfied she was alone, she shook and she cried, and she buzzed out, "Not on your LIFE, HENRY. NOT ON YOUR LIFE! There is one tiny difference between this place and every other, the door, Henry, the door. Have you forgotten my special door?"

She stomped her tentacles. A shelf of porcelain eggs fell from the wall and cracked across the parquet.

There was only one thing left to do.

Article © Bruce Memblatt. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-09-29
Image(s) © Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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