(CAFE AMBIENCE, TABLEWARE CLINKING)
SS: So now, who's for more coffee here? Don't everybody speak at once. You care for coffee, Carl? It's real fresh. Made it just this morning.
TR: Coffee, huh. Well, as long as you got it there in your hand, Vi, guess I might as well. Ya wouldn't happen to have some dumpcake to go along with it, would you?
SS: I don't know if we got any dumpcake left or not, Carl.
TR: Well, what else you got then?
SS: Let me go take a peek in the kitchen.
TR: Don't go to no extra trouble for me now, Vi. That's okay. I'm trying to lose some weight anyway.
SS: It's no trouble. I was going to go back to the kitchen anyway, so I'll just take a peek while I'm there.
TR: Okay, but don't go out of your way or anything.
SS: I'll just go check. No problem. Be back in a jiffy.
(TR SLURPS COFFEE)
SS: Okay, all outta dumpcake, but we've got red jello and banana here. You care for that?
TK: Oh, I don't know, maybe just coffee would be fine here, Vi. That coffee looks pretty good today.
SS: You care for cream or sugar with that?
TR: If it's handy, sure, but it don't matter. I like it either way.
SS: Here you go. ---So, you hear about this new language they're teaching in the schools now----
TR: No, what's that about, Vi?
SS: Oh, it's some new program or something. I don't know. They say that kids in Minnesota grow up learning this whole separate language and teachers ought to know it too so they can teach better, don't you know. It's called Wobegonics.
TR: Uh huh. So what is this Wobegonics all about then?
SS: Oh, it's basically just your ordinary English except that there are no confrontational verbs or statements of strong personal preference, you know.
TR: Huh, interesting.
SS: Yeah, I read about it in the paper. I thought maybe you woulda seen it.
TR: No, I didn't read about that.
SS: Oh. Yeah, it was right in the paper.
TR: Huh. Funny I missed that.
SS: Yeah. You care for more coffee, Carl?
TR: Oh, as long as you're up, maybe just a drop there.
SS: Okay. There you go. (POURING) I heard that your garage fell down then. Is that right?
TR: Yeah. Just fell over. Too much snow on the roof, I guess. I donno.
SS: Yeah, somebody told me it fell down. I forget who. Well, I suppose it was insured then.
TR: The garage? Yeah, you could say that.
SS: Well, that's nice, you'll be getting something out of it then.
TR: Oh no, I wouldn't file a claim on a thing like that. It was old. I was gonna tear it down anyway.
SS: Well, you could prob'ly get five or ten thousand for that garage, Carl.
TR: Oh, I couldn't claim a thing like that. I wouldn't feel right about that.
SS: Yeah, but you been payin on the insurance all these years, nothing wrong with getting something back, you know.
TR: Naw. Heck, if I'da had any sense, I woulda put some bracing in those walls years ago. My own darn fault the thing come down.
SS: Well, I don't know. It's up to you. But if it was me, I'd sure think about it.
SS: You care for a doughnut with that, Carl?
TR: Well, what kind you got?---
SS: I got plain, I got sugared, I got a couple chocolate frosted---
TR: Sure, I'll take one if you got an extra.
SS: Which kind would you like?
TR: Oh, I'll take any one of em, it don't matter to me.
SS: You care for a chocolate frosted?
TR: Sure, that's fine.
SS: Or would you rather have the sugared?
TR: Either one, Vi. Whatever's easier.
SS: How about I give you half and half?
TR: Oh, don't go to all the trouble of cutting em up for me---- I'll take either one.
SS: It's up to you.
TR: It don't matter to me. Just give me whatever's closest.
SS: They're all close, Carl.
TR: I'd take any of em. Whatever.
SS: Or you could have the plain.
TR: Plain'd be fine too. Any one of em. (CLICK OF GUN HAMMER) What you get the shotgun out for, Vi?
SS: Tell me which doughnut you want, Carl, or I'll blow your head off and put you through the blender and run you down the sink. I'm not kidding.
TR: I never seen you like this before, Vi. Are you okay?
SS: No, I'm not okay. I'm at the end of my rope. Twenty-five years you been coming in this cafe and you never ever once said anything nice about my hair----
TR: Well, I was just thinking ---- that's a nice thing she's got going there with her hair ---- I was thinking that it looked pretty good, Vi.
SS: You never say what you really think, you never express your feelings, Carl ----
TR: Well, I think I do, Vi----
SS: You never tell me that you love me----
TR: Well, I married you, didn't I---
SS: You're gonna collect the ten thousand insurance on the garage and you're gonna take me to Hawaii, Carl, and you're gonna make passionate love to me for a whole week----
TR: Well, whatever you want, Vi, is fine with me.
SS: We're gonna eat our dinner outdoors under the palm trees by candlelight and you're gonna talk --- you're gonna say things --- ya hear me? you're gonna carry on a conversation with me----
TR: Sounds good to me.
SS: Now tell me which doughnut you want.
TR: What kinds you got again?
SS: Plain, sugared, and chocolate frosted.
(A LONG PAUSE. THEN A CLICK OF THE GUN HAMMER)
SS: You sure?
(INTO KATE AND GK DUET)
(c) 1997 by Garrison Keillor