UNITED STATES—Giselle found herself on a date with Travis Knowles, who was almost as wide as he was tall. The very loud houndstooth design on his jacket could have been discerned from the nose-bleed seats to the end zone of the Colosseum. The very few hairs loyal to his head were painstakingly dyed dark red.

This was kind of a make-up date. The first time Travis, who fancied himself a gourmet, had made a wonderful meal of Greek salad and steak tartar that had been marinated all night. And then Giselle got an call from a guy in a leather jacket and she squealed, “Dessert! That sounds wonderful!”

To have lavished care and the meal and then be ditched for some guy half his age, Travis was butt hurt. But the weeks passed and the resentment over being abominably treated lessened. And he invited Giselle out to a sushi place.

“Would you like to have a drink?”

“I’ll have a Manhattan.”

Giselle didn’t know what a Manhattan was, but it sounded sophisticated. Travis asked for an appetizer, edamame. He was so sophisticated for someone from Wichita.

“May I have you credit card?” Travis hear the waiter say. His selective hearing had missed the key phrase, “Would you like to open a tab?”

“Nobody has ever asked me for my credit card before I’ve eaten, before I’ve even ordered,” Travis fumed.

He stood up to his full mental height of 5 foot and 9 inches, including elevator heels. “In any one of my checking accounts I’ve got enough to buy this raw-fish joint five times over.”

Giselle already had her heart set on some ahi tuna and calamari.

“Let me have my credit card back. I’ll let you know that I come from what would be considered a wealthy family. I have never been treated so disrespectfully.”

By now the other diners were turning their heads to listen to the rotund man with the blond Giselle (she had decided to be blond this week).

“We’re outta here,” said Travis. “Let’s go to the Italian place.”

Right away that conjured festive images of red and white checkered table cloths, chianti in baskets, good and dry. There was a line, this must be a good place. There was a waiting list and they got on it. With a hawk eye Travis watched as diners vacated the tables and the woman who was doing double duty as hostess was slow to bus the tables.

“She is absolutely incompetent.”

“Then she is highly skilled at being incompetent.”

Giselle observed. Fettucinne with salmon, that looked very good passing by on plates to other tables.

“They are taking their sweet time,” Travis said. “There is always a problem here when that manager is here. Terse he spoke up to the bearded, accented man wearing a cowboy hat, “Will you please step up it. I am Travis Knowles. And that name means something when you’re from Wichita, Kansas.”

He sniped about the lesbian couple who got seating preference over them. They hogged the whole side of a table where you could seat four people.

“They should have gotten a table for two.” That’s for us, thought Giselle. Finally Travis burst out:

“I’ve never been so disrespected in all my life. I’m walking,” he snapped at the unsmiling Italian manager.

“I’m not coming back,” he vowed. “Take a good look: the best customer you ever had juist walked out on you.” In the parking lot he then turned to Giselle, “What do you have in mind?”

“Something small, intimate, and fast…”

“Oh how’s that… Just hits the spot?”

“Would you be a dear and get some more barbecue sauce for my fish McNuggets.”

Graydon Miller is the author of the acclaimed short-story collection “The Havana Brotherhood” available on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2wMF1ax

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Hollywood humorist Grady grew up in the heart of Steinbeck Country on the Central California coast. More Bombeck than Steinbeck, Grady Miller has been compared to T.C. Boyle, Joel Stein, and Voltaire. He briefly attended Columbia University in New York and came to Los Angeles to study filmmaking, but discovered literature instead, in T.C. Boyle’s fiction writing workshop at USC. In addition to A Very Grady Christmas, he has written the humorous diet book, Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet and the popular humor collection, Late Bloomer (both on Amazon) and its follow-up, Later Bloomer: Tales from Darkest Hollywood. (https://amzn.to/3bGBLB8) His humor column, Miller Time, appears weekly in The Canyon News (www.canyon-news.com)