The four top is polishing off their second round of martinis. Entrée’s already ordered they’re debating what wine to drink with dinner. I wait patiently.

One of the wives looks at me. “Waiter have you seen the movie Sideways?” she titters boozily.

Ah Sideways. “A movie about two old friends setting off on a wine-tasting road trip…only to veer dizzily sideways into a wry, comedic exploration of the crazy vicissitudes of love and friendship” Every Yuppie asks me if I’ve seen it. I haven’t. I’ll wait for the DVD.

“No Madam. I heard it was a great movie.” I reply.

“Don’t drink the merlot!” her husband crows. It seems Merlot is one of the inside jokes of the movie. Like I said I haven’t seen it.

“We’ll have the Pinot Noir,” the other husband says laughing pointing to the wine list. Ever since that damn movie made Noir the hot wine to drink our supply has been exhausted.

“I’m sorry sir but we have run out of that selection. May I help you pick something else?” I offer.

I guide the table to another choice, fetch it, pop it open and do the tasting ritual. They’re all happy. Then again they’re so sauced. I could’ve given them Thunderbird.

I go to the next table. They’re a young couple. I tell them the specials and review some wines by the glass we’re offering. One of them is a Merlot.

“Merlot?” the young Yuppie in Training exclaims, “Haven’t you seen Sideways?”

I groan inwardly. I tell her I haven’t.

“We’ll have two glasses of Pinot Noir,” she says pronouncing Noir “knorr.”

I explain, again, we’ve run out of that wine. I offer an alternative. Since they don’t know the difference between red and white they like what I give them.

I’m seated another four top. Two middle aged Yuppie couples. I hustle out their cocktails and tell them specials. The minute I mention Merlot one of the men wearing a tweed sports coat starts chuckling, “Merlot? Waiter haven’t you seen the film Sideways?”

Enough is enough.

I call upon the dark powers of the Force and summon my pepper mill into my hand. I thumb the ignition switch and, with a brilliant snap, a lightsaber blade springs to life. I spin, move the blade through a graceful humming scintillating arc and cleave the man’s head right off his neck.

His cranium lands on the table with a loud thud.

I pick up his head and hold it aloft for all to witness. Suddenly I am seven feet tall, encased in black armor, with a synthesized voice that sounds like James Earl Jones.

“Listen up people!” my metallic voice thunders, “I am Darth Vaiter, Dark Lord of the Kitsch. The next sorry ass person who mentions the movie Sideways or makes jokes about Merlot is gonna fucking get it! And for the last time – WE’RE OUT OF PINOT NOIR!”

The bistro is silent. The customers are in awe of my dreadful majesty.

“Any questions?”

The customers shrug and resume mastication.

I throw Tweed’s head down the aisle like a bowling ball. A busperson scoops it up, looks at it disinterestedly for a moment, then throws it in a linen basket.

Darth Vaiter closes down his lightsaber and turns back to the table. The wife is staring at her husband’s decapitated corpse. She’s smiling.

“What are you smiling about?” Vaiter rasps menacingly.

“Well Murray always was a bit of bore. Now that he’s dead I can use the insurance settlement to get that co-op I’ve always wanted on the West Side.” she chirps merrily.

“And people say I’m evil.” Vaiter hisses.

“You obviously don’t live in Manhattan Darth darling……………”

Tweed, his head magically restored to its proper place, points to the wine list and says, “We’ll take the Pinot Noir.”

I blink and clear the little violent sci-fi fantasy out of my head. I smile and say in mock exasperation, “Ever since that damn Sideways movie we’ve run out Pinot Noir.”

That elicits a big laugh. They order something else. They end up leaving a nice tip.

The night draws to an end. Nary a word about that frickin movie for three hours. A couple gets seated a minute before the kitchen closes. Damn. Since I’m the closer it’s my table. I’m gonna be here forever.

As I approach the woman picks up the wine list and looks at me mischievously, “Hey, have you seen the movie Sideways?”

John Williams score suddenly swells over the stereo system. My hand moves towards my pepper mill. A mechanical hissing noise fills the air.

Never underestimate the power of the Dark Side……………..

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