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

TK: Bon soir, thank you for calling the Cafe Boeuf Miami. This is a recording. If you are calling to make a reservation for this evening, please call next week. We are completely full----

GK (ON PHONE): Maurice? Hello?

TK: And therefore the earliest we are making reservations for is next Wednesday. We are very sorry....

GK (ON PHONE): Maurice, it's Carson Wyler.

TK: ---for any inconvenience this may cause, and thank you for your continued patronage.

GK (ON PHONE): Maurice? hello?

TK: Shut up. This is a recording. ---We hope that we may continue to serve you in the future.

GK (ON PHONE): This is not a recording.

TK: This is too a recording. How would you know? --- If you wish to leave a message, please do so after the tone. (TONE)


TK: Do you wish to leave a message or not? I don't have all day.

GK (ON PHONE): I need a table for tonight.

TK: We are full. Can't you hear?

GK (ON PHONE): Please. I'm begging. A table for two. In back.

TK: Monsieur, if you beg, how can a maitre d' have respect for you? Respect, monsieur. That is the secret of getting a good table. Respect.

GK (ON PHONE): I see.

TK: You must do as the French do, monsieur.

GK (ON PHONE): What is that?

TK: When the French see an obstacle, they simply deny its existence.

GK: (ON PHONE): I see.

TK: We French are rationalists, monsieur, and there is a rational way to deny the existence of almost anthing.

GK (ON PHONE): Okay. I am coming at seven, I must have a table, and therefore the first table I see is my table.

TK: Very good. Excellent.

GK (ON PHONE): So can I have a table? In the back?

TK: At seven o'clock? No.

GK (ON PHONE): Seven-thirty, eight....nine...ten....

TK: I am sorry. How about a table in the very back?

GK (ON PHONE): What's that?

TK: The loading dock.

GK (ON PHONE): Please.

TK: I have seats at the bar.

GK (ON PHONE): No, please. Not at the bar.

TK: Why not at the bar.

GK (ON PHONE): Please. That's where you put the tourists.

TK: Yes? So?

GK (ON PHONE): I can't sit with tourists.

TK: You'll have a lot to talk about.

GK (ON PHONE): Please. No.

TK: You can discuss soybean futures. Talk about basketball, the PTA.

GK (ON PHONE): It's the NBA.

TK: Who cares? P-T-A -- N-B-A --I'm French!

GK (ON PHONE): I'm coming at seven tonight, Maurice.

TK: That is better.

GK (ON PHONE): I will be accompanied by a mysterious and beautiful woman, a woman in black, who swept me away and I never learned her name so I can't call her and tell her there is no table.

TK: That is better. How French.

GK (ON PHONE): She is tall and has short black hair and she may or may not be leading a small jaguar on a leash.

TK: I like that.

GK (ON PHONE): I'll be there at seven and I'd like a very good Chardonnay on ice, open, not too dry, and not a penny more than $15.

TK: Magnifique.

GK (ON PHONE): And have the chef make me that lamb cassoulet -- with fresh tarragon.

TK: Excellent choice.

GK (ON PHONE): Madame will have a green salad and a small piece of beef, uncooked.

TK: Excellent.

GK (ON PHONE): And then there is the bald man with the large clock and the giraffe.

TK: Wonderful.

GK (ON PHONE): He will need a bathtub.

TK: Of course.

GK (ON PHONE): And the numeral 7.

TK: Naturally.

GK (ON PHONE): And no cheese on his clock.

TK: No cheese on his clock.

GK (ON PHONE): Thank you, Maurice.

TK: (FRENCH GIBBERISH) The Cafe Boeuf....because it is necessary for someone to be French.

© 1997 by Garrison Keillor