GK: ...brought to you by the Cafe Boeuf, with Maurice the maitre'd your host.
TK: (GIBBERISH ENDING IN FRENCH WOOFS)
GK: Yes, at the Cafe Boeuf, in the tradition of French elegance, dogs are now welcome.
GK: The old French aristocracy would never think of going out without their dogs----- (TK: Non non non non non) --- and now you can bring yours too, if it's well behaved, as my French poodle Elaine is (ELEGANT BARKS) Good evening, Maurice.
TK: Bon soir, monsieur. Bon soir, Elaine. (ELEGANT BARK) This way, monsieur. (FOOTSTEPS) A quiet table, monsieur? Near the window?
GK: Excellent. (FOOTSTEPS STOP) Merci, Maurice.
TK: Does monsieur wish an apertif or wine this evening?
GK: Uh. Elaine, voudriez-vous une apertif? (DOG BARK) Non? Une vin blanc? (DOG BARK) Non? Une vin rouge? (DOG BARKS TWICE) Tres bien. Red wine, Maurice. A half bottle of Chateau La Foot. And two glasses.
TK: Chateau Lafoot. Excellent. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)
SS (SLIGHTLY OFF, AT FIRST): Excuse me---- that's a nice looking dog.
GK: Thank you.
SS: Seems very intelligent.
GK: Yes, she is. (DOG BARK, PANTS) Excuse me. Q'est-ce que vous avez du? (WOOF) Voudriez-vous une cigarette? (TWO WOOFS) Oui, oui, Elaine. Excuse me--- ma'am?
GK: Do you mind if my dog smokes?
SS: Your dog smokes?
GK: She is French. You know.
SS: No, I don't mind. Go ahead.
GK: Thanks. Un moment, Elaine. (LIGHTS MATCH) Tres bien. (DOG INHALES, EXHALES SMOKE. PANTS)
SS: I notice that your dog understands French.
GK: Yes. She seems to. So far.
SS: So you're fluent in French?
GK: No, no. But how much French do you need to know to talk to a dog? Huh? I mean---
SS: She doesn't care for English?
GK: No. Doesn't like the sound of it.
SS: But can your dog understand English? (DOG INHALE, EXHALE. PANTS)
GK: I honestly don't know.
SS: You never tried to find out?
GK: Nope. No need to.
SS: I must say, I've always thought those haircuts they give poodles are the dumbest looking things ----- (DOG SNARL) --- what is she doing? why is she coming toward me? is she going to bite??
GK: No, ma'am. This dog never bites.
SS: But---- (PAUSE AND SOUND OF DOG PEEING ON SHOE). Oh my. Oh dear. This is outrageous. This is--- I am----- you are not----- Waiter! Waiter---- (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH) Waiter, this dog ---
TK: Madame, I am not a waiter. I am a maitre'd.
SS: I don't care. This dog has just expressed herself on my shoe.
TK: Well, how would you like me to express myself on your other shoe----
SS: This dog has ruined my shoe. Look at this. That dog did that.
TK: That is a French dog, madame. I'm sure she had her reasons.
SS: Well. This is the last time I come in here. Goodbye. (A RATTLE OF PLATES AS SHE STANDS UP AND ANGRY WOMAN'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY)
TK: What did she say to Elaine?
GK: She insulted her hair style.
TK: The wrong thing to say to a French dog. Your wine, monsieur.
GK: Elaine? C'est bien? (DOG LAPPING WINE. TWO WOOFS)
....A message from the Cafe Boeuf. (PLAYOFF)
© 1997 by Garrison Keillor