Table 26 finishes their meal and signals for the check.

“I’ll pay for dinner,” the man says, taking the checkbook out of my hand.

“No, ” his date protests, “Let’s split it.”

“I’ve got it.”

“Listen,” the woman says, opening her purse, “I’m paying my half.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” the man replies, “I invited you out. I’m paying.”

You’re being ridiculous,” the woman says, slurring her words.

“What’s your problem?” the man says, “I’m taking you out to dinner.”

“I want to pay.”

“It’s on me.”

“Well you’re not getting any,” the woman says boozily.

“What?” the man stammers.

“You’re not having sex with me.”

My presence tableside, at this point, is strictly ornamental. But I’m enjoying myself. It’s like watching a tennis match.

“Who said anything about having sex?” the man says.

The woman skewers her date with a withering glance.

“Oh Jeez…..” the man groans. He’s quite intoxicated himself.

“Shall I take that sir?” I ask, gesturing towards the check.

“Yeah,” the man says handing me the bill holder. “I’m paying.”

“Very good sir.”

As I walk away from the table the woman says, “I wouldn’t respect you if I slept with you.”

“Honey,” the man answers, “If I slept with you I’d lose respect for myself.””

I run the check. When I return the woman’s gone. Too bad. Things were just getting interesting.

“Thank you sir,” I say, laying the check down on the table.

“Can you believe that woman?” the man asks.

I look at the man as if I didn’t hear him. It’s a little trick I use to misdirect drunks.

“Forget it,” the man grumbles.

Romeo signs the bill and goes outside looking for Juliet. I look inside the checkbook. The tip is bad. I’m not surprised. The busgirls quickly reset the table. A young couple’s seated before the chairs get cold. Romance gets a chance to start over again.

I can’t wait.

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