AUTHOR: linda TITLE: A change of scenery DATE: 9:10:00 PM ----- BODY:
"THAT'S THE BIGGEST GRAPEFRUIT I'VE EVER SEEN."

The blond lady seated at the counter shrilled over the sharp sizzle of something savory on the exposed grill, overwhelming the pleasant hum of the tiny
restaurant's suppertime.

The chef paused and grinned at her politely, rotating his tall frame around by his shaved eraser-top head. "No, actually it's a pomelo."

"OH, A POMELO? I DIDN'T KNOW THERE WAS SUCH A THING. I THOUGHT IT WAS SOMETHING YOU GUYS MADE UP. IS IT SWEET? WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?"

Our conversation in the gathering laze of a sunny day over an early Friday evening dinner, is now totally derailed. She'd alighted from a cab in front of our sidewalk table just moments earlier, dressed with a determined look on her face, in a cotton purple dress trimmed with frill.

"SO HOW'S YOUR GIRLFRIEND? YOU KNOW I SAW HER COME IN, THE TIME BEFORE LAST I WAS HERE. SHE WAS CARRYING SHOPPING BAGS. SHE MUST LIKE TO SHOP! DOES SHE? YOU KNOW, I'M GOING SHOPPING TOMORROW."

The chef turned back to his craft. The dramatic amulet-adorned waiter floated over like a savior with our check.

"IS THAT MY DINNER? SURE LOOKS LIKE IT! I RECOGNIZED IT BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE BEEF. THERE ISN'T ANY GARLIC IN IT, IS THERE? BECAUSE I CAN'T EAT GARLIC. IT'S LIKE 20 KNIVES TO MY STOMACH FOR THREE HOURS."

A sun-hat sat on the chair next to her, her smart black wedge heals crossed neatly at the ankle on the bottom rung of the bar stool. The bottle-blond of her outdated bob betrayed the eccentricity of a Boomer-era be-bop. She clutched her chardonnay (French; dry) with manicured nails and a twinge of desperation.

As soon as we escaped from the seventeen-seat lime and maroon box, he turns to me.
"I have just one word: CATS."
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