“Jesus Arlene,” I say, “You’re getting bigger by the second.”

Arlene is eight and a half month pregnant. Still waiting tables, she looks like she’s about to pop.

“I swear I’m bigger than I was yesterday,” she moans.

“Any day now,” I say.

“My due date’s November first,” she says rubbing her swollen belly, “And it can’t come soon enough.”

“Why don’t you stop working?” I ask.

“Why?” she replies, “So I can sit around and be bored all day?”

“True,” I admit.

“Besides the doctor said it was good to stay active,” Arlene says.

“Well look on the bright side,” I say, “Now you can balance that fifth tray on your stomach.”

Arlene laughs.

“Put that kid to work early!” I say.

“Yeah,” Arlene says looking downward, “Earn your keep around here.”

“Has anyone started a betting pool?” I ask.

“For when the baby’s gonna be born?” Arlene replies.


“No, “Arlene says, “Maybe you should start one.”

“It’s gonna be this Wednesday,” I say confidently.

“This Wednesday!” Arlene exclaims, “That’s early.”

“A woman’s first baby is often born early,” I reply. “Besides, if I’m right I’m gonna be the friggin Nostradamus of the Bistro.”

“I have to work this Wednesday!” Arlene says.

“I’ll bring my catcher’s mitt,” I tease.

“Could you imagine if I had the baby here?” Arlene says.

“We’ve got plenty of towels and hot water,” I say. “Latex gloves and disinfectant too.”

“What would the customers think?” Arlene chuckles.

A vivid image of Arlene birthing her baby on table ten develops in my mind’s eye. …….

“Push Arlene! Push!” I say encouragingly.

I’M PUSHING YOU BASTARD!” Arlene screams.

“Just a little more!” I say, “I can see the head.”

“God,” Arlene wails, “No one had better be taking pictures!”

“Hold that flashlight still Fluvio!” I snap.

“I think I gonna get sick,” Fluvio groans.

“Girls, hold her legs up higher,” I say to the busgirls.


“Can’t always pick the time and place darling,” I say.

Suddenly Arlene’s husband shows up with a bouquet of flowers.


Arlene’s husband just shrugs.

“Just a little more Arlene!” I cry.

Suddenly a customer walks over to Arlene and asks, “Hey, what’s the risotto today?”

“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!” Arlene screams. ………….

“Maybe you should have this kid in the hospital,” I say.

“I think you’re right,” Arlene replies.

Suddenly Arlene jumps.

“She’s kicking!” she says.


“Want to feel?”

I reach out and place my hand on her abdomen. And there, amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy restaurant kitchen, I experience a small moment of transcendence.

“Wow,” I manage to say.

“She’s a real kicker,” Arlene says proudly.

“You ain’t kidding.”

I place a kiss on Arlene’s forehead.

“You’re going to be a great mother,” I say.

“Thank you,’ she whispers.

“You’re welcome.”

I go back to work — my day infinitely brighter.

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