Cafe Boeuf
Saturday, May 31, 1997

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


TK (ON PHONE): Bon soir, Cafe Boeuf. 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): Wyler --- yes, yes, certainly. (MUTTERING TO HIMSELF) How many, Mr. Wyler?


GK: Two for dinner.


TK: Very well. How about a seat up front, near the front door?


GK: No, please. Not up front. Please. In the back. Not by the front door.


TK: It is very convenient, next to the coat check.


GK: Please. Don't do this to me. Not by the front door. Okay?


TK (ON PHONE): And you are coming to dinner with---- who, monsieur?


GK: My wife.


TK (ON PHONE): Not some software salesman from Omaha in a green plaid jacket, eh?


GK: No, it's with my wife. Please.


TK: Very good, monsieur. The same woman who was with you----


GK: Yes, the same woman who was with me last Saturday night.


TK (ON PHONE); Excellent. A lovely woman. Very (FRENCH GIBBERISH).


GK: Thank you. I think. So do you have a table for tonight?


TK (ON PHONE); Would you mind if I ask a personal question, monsieur?


GK: What is that?


TK (ON PHONE): Last week, I could not help but notice. Your hair, monsieur. It looked very ---- not right. A bad day, perhaps? Non?


GK: It's fine now. Trust me.


TK (ON PHONE); It looked like you had just gotten out of bed----


GK: It's fine now.


TK (ON PHONE): You're sure---- and your cologne last week ---- did you happen to pick up a spray can of air freshener by mistake, eh? One used by truck drivers perhaps?


GK: I was trying out a new deodorant. I'm going back to my old one.



TK (ON PHONE); Very well. And I noticed last week that when you tasted the wine you turned and said to the lady, "Boy, that's a humdinger of a Chardonnay----" non?


GK: No, no.


TK (OH PHONE): Non? You didn't say, "Boy, that's a doozie"? eh?

GK: No----


TK (ON PHONE): This is a French restaurant.


GK: I understand.


TK (ON PHONE); In a French restaurant, we do not use the word humdinger to describe a wine.


GK: Of course.


TK (ON PHONE): We talk about wine as if it were a beautiful woman.


GK: Give me another chance.


TK (ON PHONE); And when the waiter asks if you'd like fresh ground pepper, you don't say, "okey-dokey, you're the doctor"---- eh?


GK: Fine. Good. I won't.


TK (ON PHONE); So why don't we give you a table up front so I can keep an eye on you?


GK: Please not the front.


TK (ON PHONE): You'll be right next to the men's room.


GK: Please don't. Tell me what you want me to do.


TK (ON PHONE): What's wrong with up front?


GK: No. Please. Tell me what you want me to do.


TK (ON PHONE): How about a table up front at ten-thirty?


GK: Please. Tell me what you want me to do.


TK (ON PHONE): Could you try to be a little more fatalistic.....sardonic.....more irony.


GK: Irony. Right.


TK (ON PHONE): You look at the world through a cloud of tobacco smoke---- showing a heroic impassivity to the turns of fate....


GK: Smoke. Right. And impassivity.


TK (ON PHONE): And when someone speaks to you, you fix them with a dark look and then you laugh a bitter sardonic laugh, the laugh of experience.


GK: Sardonic laugh. Gotcha.


TK (ON PHONE): Let me hear your sardonic laugh.




TK (ON PHONE): A table in front. Ten thirty.




TK: Like this. HE LAUGHS.




TK: A table towards the middle. Seven thirty.


GK: It is immaterial to me what you think of me, Maurice. You don't know me and you never will. There are things I could tell you, but---- why bother? HE LAUGHS. I don't believe that anyone can ever know anyone else. Not really. We're alone in this world. I know that I am. Goodbye.

TK: Okay, a table in the rear. Seven o'clock.

GK: I don't care. I may come. I may not. HE LAUGHS

TK: The Cafe have to work at it, but you can usually get in if you try. Bon soir, mon ami. Bon soir, Annique. (GIBBERISH) (PLAYOFF)

© 1997 by Garrison Keillor

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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