dim lighting, crowd buzz, a long line of the rich, the celebrated,
the congenitally impatient. everyone in this queue holds a
reservation at least an hour overdue. tourists can't even make the
line. pan ahead to...
... the burnished dining room, the tables of power, the elegant
service. covertly, many eyes are drawn to the one table receiving
by far the most lavish service of all. captains hover, presenting
delicacies, pouring wines, murmuring obsequiously to a guest whose
person they screen from our view. we can see, however...
... the honored guest's companion. ignored, bemused, across the
table. this is digger downes, 36, darkly attractive. kind eyes,
an intellectual's mouth, saville row's most unobtrusive and
conservative chalk-stripe suit. he is gay, but you wouldn't guess
it. loyal and wise and generous, and you might. he watches with a
quiet twinkle, as the captains now step back, revealing to us...
... their most unlikely icon. julianne potter, almost 28, wears
her favorite bulky sweater over a bunch of other stuff she pulled
together in fifteen seconds. she is unkempt, quick, volatile,
scattered, and beneath it all, perhaps because of it all, an
original beauty. dark liquid eyes, a cynical mouth, slender
expressive fingers, which point to...
a variation on our squid ink
risotto. trace of moselle, to
sweeten the stock.
don't kill us on this one, it's
a long shot.
places the moist lump of black rice before her. she takes a
surprisingly small amount, rolls it over her tongue. makes dead
flat eye contact with digger. and nods, it's actually quite nice.
the captain breathes with relief. she turns her dark eyes to him.
i'm writing it up as inventive and
confident. which it is. off the
record, i'll need an extra boat of
the ink. or a salt shaker.
is it ever embarrassing, having
your bum kissed in public?
if your ass isn't chapped, you
are not a good-writer of note.
is it sad to be an editor, and bask
only in reflected insincerity?
see the pull of a book like
twenty chefs, is not who i
put in. it's who i leave out.
which is everyone you couldn't
plus some guys whose food i don't
this fellow from newsday ever
i'll buzz my machine. inventive
and confident, yeh?
is newsday a real interview, or
just some cute guy you're setting
me up w...
... i don't send you men, anymore.
you don't know what to do with them.
god, it must be, what, months, huh?
i can't wait to talk to you. i'm
in chicago at the ritz carlton...
call me four in the morning,
whatever, we gotta talk.
who called? the man of the
no, no, the opposite. that's
my best friend, michael o'neal.
he sounds desperate to talk.
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