*HENRY and LEW part, both to their respective jobs. We fade to a scene of HENRY in a cubicle in an “office building,” which is the rusted out old truck from the farm. HENRY is seen typing away like mad at a computer in an office that seems far too modern and technologically advanced to be in a rusted old lorry, but it’s funnier that way. The telephone rings and Henry neatly nips it, slings it up to his shoulder, answering as he types.
HENRY: Driscoll Insurance, how may I help you? Uh-huh…uh-huh…yes, all right, Mrs. Harrison, let me look up your account…
(he types a few more keys, hen-pecking, of course, and continues)
Yes, Mrs. Harrison, we have an account for you and your husband…excuse me? Oh, I’m terribly sorry, my condolences. Well yes, I guess these things do happen, but…it was your husband, wasn’t it? Well, I just assumed you would grieve a loved one and… pardon? Yes, I am a mantis, why? Ah, I guess the accent is a bit of a tell…what?
What do you mean I can’t know anything about love? I’m perfectly capable of loving…
(an angry looking stag beetle in an ugly tie shuffles up and glares at HENRY, who cowers)
Erm, never mind, Mrs. Harrison, never mind…let’s talk about your policy. Now, your late husband…yes, Herbert…you say he was squashed? Ah yes, that is the leading cause of death in insects these days, outside of natural causes for the fruit flies… is he covered? Um, I’ll have to ask you a few questions…
(he types a few more keys and reads the questions robotically off the screen)
Was your husband a smoker, or a drinker? Okay… Was he intoxicated at the time of the incident? I’m sorry, Mrs. Harrison, but I have to ask…okay… was the squashing intentional? Pardon? Oh, it means did he allow himself to be squashed…okay…and… was he in a designated no-crawl zone? You know, driveways, sidewalks, anywhere a foot can easily tread…ah, okay. Yes, Mrs. Harrison, you can qualify under your policy for Accidental Depression. I will process the paperwork and send you the necessary forms. Erm…)
(The stag beetle taps a birchwood pipe against the wall of his cubicle, where a placard has been affixed. HENRY rolls his eyes ever so slightly and continues again, robotically)
Thank you for calling Driscoll Insurance, Ma’am, “the biggest coverage for the smallest folk at a competitive price.” Yes, thank you, Ma’am, have a good day, and I’m sorry for–!
(It is obvious that Mrs. Harrison has hung up on HENRY before he could express his sympathies for the deceased Mr. Harrison. The stag beetle glowers at HENRY, who fumbles for an excuse.)
HENRY: Sorry about that, Mr. Driscoll…it’s been a rough morning, Wednesdays, you know…she just got under my carapace a bit, I’m sorry…it won’t happen again…
(MR. DRISCOLL shuffles closer, nearly poking HENRY with his horned proboscis. He grumbles in a Cockney basso profundo)
DRISCOLL: See that it don’t.
(MR. DRISCOLL walks away, leaving HENRY to pull faces at his back and slump into his chair.)
HENRY: Really, the nerve of some bugs! Saying I don’t know a thing about love, her HUSBAND JUST DIED and she didn’t care! People think we mantises are crass…blimey!
(the phone rings again, and HENRY winces, but has to answer it)
HENRY: Driscoll Insurance, how may I help you?
(he seems initially elated to get a personal call, but then remembers who it is and deflates.)
Hello, Mrs. Brown, how are you? Yes, yes, I’m all right. I’m getting exercise, of course…I know how you hate this place, but it’s good money…yes, I know…thanks for watching out for me, as usual…hm? What’s that? Oh…(he grimaces) oh yes, they did it AGAIN today. Yes, every Wednesday…been almost a year now…I think it’s ridiculous too…hm? Oh…why thank you, Mrs. Brown, but I don’t think Cecilia shares your sentiments. I appreciate that, Mrs. Brown, but…yes, you are a bit old for me, and I’m not sure what Mr. Brown would think…
(despite himself, he’s enjoying the conversation)
Ah, well…I should be getting back to work, Mrs. Brown. (loudly, as if his boss is still prowling)Don’t like to waste company time, after all! (softer) I’ll talk to you…what? Pardon? No, no no no Mrs. Brown, you don’t have to do that, please… it won’t do any good, she won’t listen to you, she just… me? Well, yes, but…it won’t…(he sighs) Okay, you go an talk to her…yes…yes…(a bit grudingly) thank you. Bye.
(He hangs up the phone, shaking his head and smiling. Taking a brief moment for himself, he leans back and sings happily to himself:)
Mrs. Brown, you’ve got a lovely daughter…
(But is immediately interrupted by his cube-mates telling him to knock it off and get back to work. With another sigh, HENRY hunches over the keyboard and pecks away.)