(GK: Garrison Keillor, TK: Tom Keith)
GK: This portion of our show brought to you by the Cafe Boeuf on West 43rd Street with your host, Maurice the maitre'd. Happy holidays, Maurice. Joyeux Noel.
TK: You what? You can't find your hotel?
GK: Joyeux Noel!
TK: You hear a bell?
GK: Joyeux Noel. Merry Christmas.
TK: Ah! Christmas! Of course. Joyeux Noel.
GK: That's what I said, Joyeux Noel.
TK: I have no idea what you're talking about.
GK: Never mind. It's good to see you. Do you have a table for one?
TK: Do you have a reservation, monsieur?
GK: No, but--- it doesn't look like you're that busy tonight----
TK: These tables, monsieur ---- they are all reserved. All of them.
GK: All of them?
GK: Your reservation book doesn't look full---- (BIG BOOK SNAPPED SHUT)
TK: You can't go by that, monsieur. (FRENCH IRRITATION) Non, non, non....
GK: But if people haven't reserved the tables, how can they be reserved?
TK: Because I have reserved them.
GK: For who?
TK: For the young, for the exciting people of fashion, the designers --- the people in black, the beau monde, for the---- for the---- people who do not wear that kind of tie.
GK: This tie? This was a gift.
TK: So is herpes.
GK: Is it that bad?
TK: A fish belongs on a plate, not on a tie.
GK: I thought it was sort of festive.
TK: If you wish a table, let me put you back this way, monsieur. Come. (FOOTSTEPS) I'm sorry, but that tie of yours ---- it's not a good advertisement.
GK: I could take off the tie....
TK: Yes, but then what would distract people from looking at your face....
GK: Maurice!! (FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE)
TK: Let us be frank, monsieur.
GK: This is no time for frankness. It's Christmas.
TK: People will look at you, they will assume that this is a restaurant that serves only cheese and potatoes.
GK: How far back are we going? (FOOTSTEPS CONTINUE)
TK: A little farther. (DOOR OPEN) Down here, monsieur.
GK: You're putting me down the basement?
TK: The wine cellar. You'll like it. Come. (FOOTSTEPS ON STAIRS) (REVERB) Watch your step, monsieur. The light--- it's burnt out.
GK: Are there tables down here? (FOOTSTEPS ON CONCRETE FLOOR, HESITANT) It's so dark. I don't know how you could even read a menu down here. This must be the table here. Where the candle is. Hello? Is there someone else here?
TK (LARRY): Hi. It's me.
TK (LARRY): Yes.
GK: Larry, what are you doing down here? It's Christmas.
TK (LARRY): I know.
GK: Why aren't you with your family?
TK (LARRY): I don't want em to see me like this. My hair transplant failed.
GK: Your hair transplant failed?
TK: My own hair. Rejected me.
GK: I thought you were leaving the country, Larry. Selling your Web site and taking your cats and moving to Antigua---
TK (LARRY): I sold the website.
TK (LARRY): I got two million dollars for it.
GK: That's great. Congratulations.
TK (LARRY): Two million dollars. For Larry dot com-dot com.
GK: We ought to celebrate. Maurice???!!! That's wonderful.
TK (LARRY): And then the people I sold it to turned around and sold it.
TK (LARRY): For two hundred and twenty million dollars.
TK (LARRY): Two weeks after I sold it to them.
GK: Well ---- kind of rough, huh.
TK (LARRY): I just lost two hundred and eighteen million dollars.
GK: But you've got two million....
TK (LARRY): Have you ever lost two hundred and eighteen million dollars?
GK: No, I haven't.
TK (LARRY): It's quite a feeling.
GK: I imagine.
TK (LARRY): It's sort of like having your lungs yanked out.
GK: Well ---- you'll go to Antigua, you'll get on the beach, life'll start to look good again.
TK (LARRY): This is like the time you threw the ice chunk and hit me in the head.
TK (LARRY): I used to be the popular one. I used to have loads of friends. Then you hit me in the head with that ice chunk.
GK: It was a snowball, Larry. It was light fluffy snow.
TK (LARRY): It didn't feel light and fluffy.
GK: Larry, listen---
TK (LARRY): Don't give me that stuff about looking for the silver lining.
GK: But it's true, Larry. You've got to look for the silver lining whene'er a cloud appears in the blue. Because somewhere the sun is shining and the best thing to do is let it shine on you, Larry.
TK (LARRY): I'm a basement kind of guy. I'm not a sunshine guy.
GK: Life is good, Larry, if we look for the good that's in it. If we live every moment to the fullest.....what do you want to eat?
TK (LARRY): I'm not hungry.
GK: How about a salad?
TK (LARRY): I hate salads.
GK: How about some fish?
TK (LARRY): It tastes too fishy.
GK: How about soup?
TK (LARRY): Too messy.
TK (LARRY): It reminds me of snake meat.
GK: Snake meat?
TK (LARRY): It tastes just like chicken.
GK: How about roast turkey?
TK (LARRY): I'm sick of it.
GK: How about the steak au poivre? With pommes frites?
TK (LARRY): I don't think I'd like it.
TK (LARRY): Pork is okay. Pork sausage. With potatoes and melted cheese.
GK: Okay. (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)
TK (LARRY): Don't tell him I'm here. Okay?
GK: Okay. Is that you, Maurice? (FOOTSTEPS STOP)
TK (MAURICE): Yes, of course. So---- are you ready to order, monsieur?
GK: I'd like the pork sausage with potatoes and melted cheese, Maurice.
TK (MAURICE): Very well.
GK: And I'd also like the steak au poivre.
TK (MAURICE): Well, thank you very much, I do my best.
GK: No, no ---- I said steak au poivre. Poivre.
TK (MAURICE): You wish to take what off?
GK: No, no ---- steak au poivre with pommes frites.
TK (MAURICE): What about the economy?
GK: Pommes frites.
TK (MAURICE): You're taking trigonometry?
GK: French fries and a pepper steak.
TK (MAURICE): Aha!!! Steak au poivre and pommes frites.
TK (MAURICE): How would you like your steak, monsieur?
TK (MAURICE): Rare!! (FRENCH ADMIRATION)
GK: Yes. Rare.
TK (MAURICE): Rare!! (FRENCH SHIVER OF EXCITEMENT AND SOPHISTICATED LAUGH) I salute you, monsieur. (TWO KISSES ON EACH CHEEK)
GK: And bring two forks, please.
TK (MAURICE): Of course we're in New York.
GK: And merry Christmas, Maurice. The Cafe Boeuf New York....The home of heroism and passion and irony and (KNOWING FRENCH LAUGH)- --- (PLAYOFF)
(c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor