Thursday, June 11, 2009


"God! You're JUST like my mother!" he howled, slapping my back vigorously. "No one getsd the last word... C'mon, guys, let me buy you a Calvados and an expresso."

Before I thought, I had blurted out, "I love Calvados!" (an idea forming) "But I've never had an expresso," wide-eyed.

"You've never had an expresso?" he asked in shock. Richie and Michelle looked at me; they knew very well that I had had many.

"They always look so ... dark and strong," I said demurely.

"Aw, you gotta try this," he said. "You drink the expresso and then you pour the Calvados in the still-warm cup and drink that."

"Ummm," I demurred, "It's getting kind of late..." looking at Michelle and Richie. Michelle looked like someone watching a train wreck in progress and Richie merely looked bemused. He's used to me.

"Aw, c'mon on" he cajoled, "You'll love it."

"Well ..." (another look at my companions) "just a little one." Richie declined the coffee and accepted the Calvados; Michelle both.

Enthusiastically, he signaled our waitress and ordered the drinks in rapid French. I did catch the words "and put it on my bill" which was a relief because I had fully expected that we would probably wind up paying his bill.

The waitress duly returned and doled out our drinks. The Calvados was served in short-stemmed ballon glasses, the tiny lethal coffees with two wrapped cubes of sugar and a square of chocolate.

I looked at my serving. "Do you put the Calvados in the coffee?" I asked.
"You can, but it's better to drink the coffee first and then put the Calvados in the cup.
"Is it okay to put sugar in the coffee?" I asked worriedly. "I like a little sugar in my coffee.
"Sure you can!" he said genially.
I unwrapped the cube, put it in and sipped. "It's still awfully strong, Would it be an insult to put the other one in?"
"God, no!" he crowed, waiting until I had done so. "How is it now?" anxiously.
"Quite good," I said with a surprised look on my face. He beamed. Conversation resumed, the expresso disappeared and we put our Calvados in the empty cups.

"How/s that?" he bellowed, "Pretty f***** good, huh?"

We agreed that it had been taste. The bill came - separate checks - and we prepared to depart. In leaving he saw a tableful of friends and insisted on introducing us to them.

"And this is my Mom!" he crowed to them all. I smiled grimly.

On the terrace, he shook hands with Richie and me and kissed Michelle warmly on both cheeks, murmuring in her ear. She smiled and we left.

To be ended tomorrow.

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