It’s four o’clock and the Bistro’s empty. I’m up front drinking espresso and sharing the newspaper with my coworkers Beth and Celine.

“So when we getting our first customer?” I ask Celine, our occasional weekend hostess.

“Not ’til six,” she replies, peeking over The Style section.

“Damn holiday weekend,” Beth mutters behind the Metro page.

“Lotta people out of town,” I say, “Gonna be a slow night.”

“Maybe we’ll get some walk-ins,” Beth says.

“I hope so.”

“Say,” Celine suddenly asks me, “Do you need a pen?”

“No,” I reply, tapping my breast pocket, “I’ve got plenty.”

“You can never have enough pens,” Celine says, a mischievous smile appearing on her face. Next to me I hear Beth stifle a laugh.

“What’s so funny?” I ask.

“Nothing,” Beth says innocently.

“You’ll want this pen,” Celine says.

“Why?” I say.

Celine pulls a pen out of her pocket and hands it to me. It’s a ballpoint.

And it’s shaped like a penis.

“Lovely,” I say, “And so pink.”

“It’s not pink,” Beth says, “Its flesh colored.”

“You girls’ve seen a few of these in your day,” I say waving the pen, “And they’re certainly not pink.”

Beth and Celine explode with laughter. Hearing the commotion Louis walks over, a big grin on his face.

“Ah, you’ve seen the pen,” he says.

“Yeah,” I reply, “Party favor from the bachelorette party last night?”


“How late did you end up staying?” I ask, “That party showed up just as I was leaving.”

“They kept me here forever,” Louis groans.

“They tip well at least?”

“They did.”

“I was at a bachelorette party once,” Celine chimes in, “And they served pasta that looked like a little penis and balls.”

“We could have that as our pasta special tonight,” Louis suggests.

“Could you imagine?” Beth says, “A customer looks into their dish and sees…..”

“Genitalia Alfredo?” I say.

“Gross!” Beth yelps.

“That’s one way of telling the customer they’re acting like dicks,” Louis snorts.

“We should put it on the menu permanently,” Beth says.

“It’s not very good pasta,” I say.

“You’ve had it?

“An old girlfriend cooked it for me as a gag,” I say.

“Why wasn’t it good?”

“It was sitting on an adult bookstore shelf for god knows how long,” I reply, “You do the math.”



“Well,” Celine says, “At another bachelor party I went to the girls had ice trays that made little penis ice cubes.”

“How many bachelorette parties have you been to Celine?” Beth says.

“Oh,” Celine says blushing, “Just a few.”

“I like that ice tray idea,” Louis says.

“When a customer’s a dick we can float one of those cubes on top of their drink,” I say.

“What, just one?” Louis asks, “Why not fill the glass?”

“Plausible deniability,” I reply.


“If a customer gets upset we can just say it’s just a randomly weird ice cube.”

“How many people are going to believe an ice cube randomly froze into a penis?”

“How many people see religious figures in grilled cheese sandwiches and buy them on EBay?”

“You have a point,” Louis says.

I hand the pen back to Louis. “Put this somewhere safe,” I say, “I don’t want it ‘accidentally’ ending up in a customer’s checkbook.”

Louis takes the pen and holds it up. “There’s only one problem with this pen,” he says.

“What’s that?” I ask.

“I thought it’d be bigger.”

“Why’d I know you were going to say that?”

The door chimes. Two early bird customers walk inside. We put away our newspapers and dirty minds and go to work.

But I’m going online to buy some of those ice cube trays for the Bistro tonight.

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