...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.
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.
GK (ON PHONE): And then there is the bald man with the large clock and the giraffe.
GK (ON PHONE): He will need a bathtub.
TK: Of course.
GK (ON PHONE): And the numeral 7.
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