When I left work last night we had a hundred reservations on the books. When I checked in late this morning we were down to thirty. Goddamn snow.
“So whatcha gonna do?” I ask Fluvio, the owner.
“Close,” he replies glumly.
I sigh – losing a Saturday night is a major hit in the wallet for both of us.
“Well it’s better to close than stay open for a couple of tables,” I offer.
“I guess,” he exhales. “I called the reservations we had left and told them we were closing. Some of them were pissed.”
“So we’re gonna risk death so some Yuppie can have his pappardelle chingale? Screw them.” I retort.
Some of our kitchen staff commutes from New Jersey. I wouldn’t want to drive tonight.
“Yeah screw ‘em.” Fluvio agrees.
“Look on the bright side,” I say, “You can stay home and play in the snow with your kid.”
His voice brightens. “Yeah that’s true.” His son is three.
“Ok we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Perhaps Sunday will be a banner day.”
“I hope so,” Fluvio says hanging up.
Wonderful. I finally have a Saturday night off but I’m trapped in my apartment.
I walk down to the convenience store to get supplies. The place is mobbed. You would think Armageddon is around the corner. According to the weatherman on TV – it is. I snatch the last loaf of bread and buy a small bottle of bourbon. If I’m gonna be holed up I might as well enjoy myself.
By the time I get home several inches has fallen. My landlord is ill so I shovel the walk. Covered in snow I walk back in the house and put a pot of coffee on. I shower, change into some comfortable clothes and select an old favorite off the bookshelf. I pour myself some coffee, add bourbon, flip on some jazz, and settle into my easy chair for some serious reading. Ray Charles sings “Baby it’s Cold Outside.” I smile.
Hours pass. The snow blows outside. My dog is sleeping on my lap and I’m near the end of my book. Two “coffees” later I’m feeling no pain. Suddenly my dog jumps off my lap and starts barking. He’s looks at the ceiling and growls.
Now some dogs can sniff out C-4 explosive in the labyrinthine fuselage of a plane. Others can find cocaine in a pile of luggage or a lost child in the woods. My dog’s particular expertise?
He can smell booty.
My dog knows when anyone is getting their groove on in the apartments next to mine. The couple upstairs are newlyweds. They’re trapped like me. They have nothing to do so they do what comes naturally. It’s the second time today.
I lower the radio and sure enough I can hear the creaking of bed springs. Having lived below them for a couple of years I know the routine pretty well. Slow, fast, slow, fast, frenetic, bang, crash, silence. The girl is rather operatic.
The dog barks louder. I click the radio back on and turn it up. The dog calms down. Then above the radio I hear the tremendous climax and I’m not talking about the drum set. I lift up my cup and offer a toast to the happy couple.
“At least someone is getting laid around here,” I say to my dog. He looks at me rather oddly.
I finish my book and zone out with the TV. The weatherman delights in telling us how miserable it is outside. I think about the homeless people in my neighborhood. I hope they got a place to bunk for the night. I think about my warm apartment and the food and bourbon in my belly. The wind howls outside for added emphasis.
Around midnight, feeling a little foggy, I go to bed. My little dog sleeps next to me. I can feel his heart beating. He whimpers slightly. I know he’s chasing something in his dreams. I start to drift off.
Then I hear a bang, a laugh, and the familiar creak of bedsprings. The dog wakes up and starts barking. I gotta hand it to those kids – they have stamina.
It’s going to be a long winter’s night.