...Brought to you by the Cafe Boeuf----

TK (ON PHONE): Bon soir, Cafe Boeuf. Maurice speaking. If you wish to make a reservation for July, please press 1. If you wish to make a reservation for the fall, please press 2. If you wish to make a reservation for tonight ---- ha! Noway! Yes, this is Maurice. How may I help you?

GK: Maurice, it's Carson Wyler, I really need to make a reservation for two for dinner tonight at seven? It's really important. Terribly important.

TK (ON PHONE): Wyler --- yes, I remember you. With the red socks. (MUTTERING TO HIMSELF) You were here last week. You asked for pot roast.

GK: And it was very good.

TK; It is not called pot roast, monsieur. It is pot au feu. Also known as (GIBBERISH) or in Provence it is known as (GIBBERISH). But we do not call it pot roast. (FRENCH MUTTERING)

GK: I'm sorry.

TK: Can you say pot au feu?

GK: Pot au feu.

TK: Non non non non. Not "pot O' few" --- it is pot au feu. Or it is (GIBBERISH), or in Provence, it is (GIBBERISH). I don't have anything in the back tonight, how about up front by the bar?

GK: No, please. Don't put me at the bar.

TK: This is not "at" the bar, it is near the bar.

GK: How near?

TK: Sixteen inches.

GK: No, please. Look again. You must have a table.

TK: How about in the basement?

GK: You've opened up a dining room in the basement?

TK: You would be our first customer.

GK: No, please, check again. How about over on the side.

TK: At seven o'clock? No.

GK: Seven-thirty, eight....

TK: The last time you were here you asked for strawberry Jell-O.

GK; And it was delicious.

TK: It is not Jell-O, monsieur. It is gelatine du framboise.

GK; I'm sorry.

TK: We have two seats at a long table in front with a busload of Jehovah's Witnesses from Nebraska.

GK: Nothing in the back?

TK: I think you might enjoy these people.

GK: Please. Take another look.

TK: They dress sort of like you. Their hair looks like yours. Sort of dead.

GK: My hair? Dead?

TK: What are you spraying in it? Plastic?

GK: I spray nothing in it.

TK: Hair does not need to be sprayed so it presses down on the head, monsieur. It can be loose. Happy. (FRENCH INDICATING ELEGANT, LIGHT)

GK; If I can make my hair happy, can I have a table for tonight?

TK: How about on the sidewalk?

GK: You have a sidewalk cafe?

TK: For you. I will put out a card table.

GK: Please.

TK: This is a French restaurant, monsieur. We cannot have red socks. We cannot have people ask for jell-o.

GK: I understand that.

TK: And your cologne ---- do you have a French cologne?

GK: I'll find one. I promise.

TK: And when you taste the wine, don't ---- (GARGLES).

GK: I won't. I promise.

TK: Say, "pot au feu".

GK: Pot au feu.

TK: Feu.

GK: Feu.

TK: Non non non. Feu.

GK: Okay. Feu.

TK: This is a French restaurant. We speak French.

GK: I understand. Feu.

TK: The Cafe Boeuf...because it is necessary that someone be French. (GIBBERISH) (PLAYOFF)

© 1997 by Garrison Keillor