...Brought to you by the Cafe Boeuf----
TK (ON PHONE): Bon soir, Cafe Boeuf. This is Maurice speaking. (LITTLE GIBBERISH) How may I help you?
GK: Maurice, it's Carson Wyler, I'd like to make a reservation for two for dinner tonight at seven?
TK (ON PHONE): (MURMURING TO HIMSELF) Wyler --- Wyler --- yes, I remember you from last time. You ordered the Manischevitz. How many in your party, Mr. Wyler?
GK: Two for dinner.
TK (ON PHONE): And what will you be wearing?
GK: What will I be wearing?
TK (ON PHONE); Yes. So we know where to seat you, monsieur.
We like to color coordinate, yes.
GK: I'll be wearing a gray double-breasted suit and a white shirt and a red tie.
TK (ON PHONE); A red tie, did you say?
GK; Is that going to be a problem?
TK (ON PHONE); Blue would be much better, monsieur.
TK (ON PHONE): Blue with a small print. No stripes, no fish, just little ---- dee, dee, dee, dee, dee ---- little dots. Oui?
TK (ON PHONE); How about your socks? Eh?
GK: I'll wear black socks.
TK (ON PHONE): Very good, very good. This is not a business occasion, is it?
TK (ON PHONE); We're not going to have a big conversation about mutual funds and that sort of thing----
GK: No, no.
TK (OH PHONE): We're not going to open up big sales charts and manila folders, are we, monsieur?
TK (ON PHONE): This is a French restaurant.
GK: I understand.
TK (ON PHONE); In a French restaurant, we talk about ideas.
GK: Of course.
TK (ON PHONE): We talk about love, beauty, philosophy----
GK: I'll do my best.
TK (ON PHONE); And if we tell jokes, we tell jokes of elegance, we have a play on words, we don't tell jokes about (RASPBERRY)---
GK: Fine. Good. I won't.
TK (ON PHONE); So do you have any thoughts about beauty, monsieur?
TK (ON PHONE): Is that question too complicated for you?
GK: Do I have thoughts about beauty?
TK (ON PHONE): Would you like time to think about it? I'll put you on hold.
GK: No, not on hold. Please.
TK (ON PHONE): How about a table a month from now? That'll give you time to read a book.
GK: Please. Tonight.
TK (ON PHONE): I'm sorry.
GK: We'll talk about beauty. I promise.
TK (ON PHONE): You promise?
GK: Please. A table for two.
TK (ON PHONE): I don't know----
GK: I'll wear the blue tie with the dee dee dee dee dee..
TK (ON PHONE): How about ten-thirty?
GK: Seven, please.
TK (ON PHONE): Impossible....
GK: Would it help if I were in a mood of black despair and smoked unfiltered cigarettes and crossed my legs and quoted Camus?
TK (ON PHONE): Perhaps, perhaps....
GK: How about if I wear a black turtleneck and I'm unshaven and look haunted and I talk about the comedy of Jerry Lewis---
TK (ON PHONE): Eh. Monsieur Jerry. (HE DOES JERRY LEWIS MORON). Very profound. (FRENCH GIBBERISH)
GK: The Cafe Boeuf....you have to work at it, but you can usually get in. Good luck. (PLAYOFF)
© 1997 by Garrison Keillor