Page 50 - WTP VOl. VIII #7
P. 50

 It’s Monday night, my night off, and I’m barely back home when the phone rings. I’ve been out at the cinema indulging again in “Babette’s Feast.” It just won a well-deserved Oscar and I can’t wait to get my hands on it once it’s released on VHS. I’m so in thrall to the film that I’m tempted to let my answering ma- chine take the call. But at the last moment I pick up.
The woman’s voice—musical, earthy, friendly, teas- ing—takes me by surprise.
“So you work at a French restaurant, eh? I’m more of a cheese-steak girl myself.”
She’s got a hint of a lisp, and she swallows her “t”s, but her laugh is hearty and a little sassy. It suggests we already know each other. We don’t.
After an awkward breath she adds, “Sure hope I called the right number.”
That earns a laugh. “Let me guess. Straight Shooter?”
“It’s Mindi, actually. Sorry, I shouldn’ta jumped in like that. I’m a bit new at this.”
“That’s two of us.” I kick off my shoes. “So, Mindi. Those steaks... Wit whiz or widdout?”
Her laughter is music. “For being Frenchy French, you know your cheesesteaks.”
“Just my food is French. I’m Philly bred, through and through.”
“Well, there you go. We already have something in common.”
Mike’s the one who turned me on to Single Simplicity. He goes by Michel now that we’ve opened the res- taurant. Says it sounds more sophisticated. You can’t argue with that, but he’ll always be Mike to me. I’m still annoyed he named the restaurant after himself, since we’re supposed to be partners. But then again he owns the building, and I’m just the maître d’—a fancy title for standing around waiting for the oc- casional diner to show. They say the eighties are a defining decade for fine cuisine, but I wouldn’t know about that.
On that day when we first talked about the dating 43
service Mike was crouched behind the bar refreshing the wine cooler. I was reviewing dinner reservations and starting to get pissed off at his relentless dissing of my ex-fiancé.
“I thought you liked her,” I finally told him. “That’s what you said. You said you liked her.”
“Nah...” Just the top of his wild, black hair was visible over the counter. “I only told you that ’cause she was your girlfriend.”
He snorted. “Only in your head. C’mon, Dale—you had to know she was gay.”
“Bi. And no, I didn’t.”
“And a demon to boot. Consider yourself lucky.” “I don’t know...she’s so gorgeous.”
“And you call me superficial?”
He stood, a case of Pinot Gris in his arms. “As they say, my friend, don’t judge a book. Plus, just because you proposed doesn’t make you engaged. The chick’s gotta say yes, you know.”
“You said we were perfect together.” He shrugged. “I lied.”
Mike placed the wine atop the bar and draped his arms over the counter.
“Look, man. I’m sorry. Really I am. But c’mon. There’s a lot of fish in the sea. Consider this whole thing spilt milk.”
“Elegant mix of metaphors.”
“Bite me. You should do what I did after my divorce.”
“Which was...?”
“Go back out and screw around like a crazed rabbit.”
“Says the man who never leaves the restaurant. And how do you find these cwazy wabbits?”
Mike spread his hands wide, as though unveiling the mystery of the universe.
The Color Surge
DaViD halloCk SanDeRS

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