My friend Lana and I are enjoying cocktails at Nice Matin on West 79th. After dealing with crazed yuppies all week it’s nice to sit down and be taken care of for a change. The place serves Mediterranean French cuisine. Good. I’m sick of Italian food.
After we finish our drinks the waiter comes and takes our order. He’s very smooth and friendly. I feel a twinge of professional envy. The service here is very good. I want to order the Five Napkin Burger with sautéed onions, comte cheese, and aioli but Lana steers me towards the fish. She orders the roast cod. I get the sea bass with artichokes stewed in olive oil. We order some glasses of wine. I get the Sauvignon Blanc. This is a real change of pace for me. I’m more of a pizza and beer guy in civilian life. But hey, change is good sometimes.
I examine the contents of the wine glass carefully.
“The four ounce pour,” I say smiling, “Measured to the last drop.”
“More bang for your buck,” Lana says over her glass.
“Oh well,” I reply taking a sip. The wine is good.
Lana is studying to be an analyst. She used to wait tables with me at the Bistro years ago. We get together every once in a while to catch up on things.
“So how’s head shrinking treating you?” I ask.
“Not to bad,” she replies, “I’m talking about my ex husband in analysis.”
“Sound’s like a load of laughs.”
“Did I ever tell you what happened after my ex moved out?”
“No,” I say.
“After living in that apartment for seven years the neighbors decided to tell me that the previous tenant murdered his wife in our bathroom.”
“Oh shit,” I exclaim.
“It gets better,” Lana continues, “he chopped her up in the bathtub.”
“Now that’s love.”
I’m silent for a moment.
“Honey,” I suddenly say in a falsetto voice, “Why is the tub stopped up?
Lana starts laughing.
“Oh! Wait a minute. I found the problem! How did a finger get stuck in here?”
“You’re bad,” Lana says shaking her head.
“Looks like ya got gristle in your drain little lady,” I say.
“Oh God, I hate that word!” Lana shudders.
“Kinda sums it up doesn’t it?” I offer.
Of course the food comes at this point.
“Yum yum,” I say, “Dig in.”
We do. The food is excellent.
After the plates are cleared we order some after dinner drinks. I get Armanagc and coffee. Lana has a café au lait. The conversation is free ranging, covering a myriad of topics. I enjoy talking with Lana. She is very, very smart. Before she was a waiter her previous incarnations included being a teacher, organic chef, and new age health practitioner. Her Dad was a philosopher of some renown. She knows her shit.
“So how’s the book coming?” she asks.
“Well, I’ve been talking informally with a publisher and an agent. But nothing’s signed, nothing definite,” I say. “I’m struggling with how to write it. Sometimes I think a novel is the way to go, other times a memoir. I just don’t know.”
“Writing a book is different than writing a blog,” Lana observes.
“And how,” I say with a twinge of guilt. I’m only twenty pages into my draft.
‘Well I’ve always been a bit psychic,” Lana says,” I sense you’ll do well with it.”
“That’s not very comforting,” I reply.
“Why not?” Lana says befuddled.
“A woman was sliced and diced in the tub you took a shower in every day for seven years. Don’t you think your Jedi powers would have picked up on the psychic gristle?”
“I didn’t think of it that way,” Lana admits laughing.
“Remind me never to let you help me pick out an apartment,” I jest.
Lana may not be psychic but she’s very sensitive and intelligent. She’ll make a good analyst.
“Well in any case – good luck,” Lana offers.
“Thanks,” I say. “Besides the book thing keep an eye out. Changes are coming to the blog.”
“Like what?” she asks. I tell her.
“Very cool.” Lana says.
The bill comes. It’s astronomical. Well, you have to treat yourself every once in a while.
We say our goodbyes. I go home. I’m a bit tipsy. The laptop stares at me. Should I work on the draft? Should I go to bed? Should I post? Hmmm. Let me lie down for a minute.
Just one minute…..
I wake up the next day still in my clothes.