The waiter ushered Harvey to a table.
“I’ll be dining alone this evening,” Harvey lamented. “Nancy couldn’t be here.”
“Sorry about that,” the server replied respectfully.
Yes, Harvey reminisced, dining with Nancy would have been splendid. She was pretty, personable, and fun. Besides that, she wasn’t a picky eater. What more could a guy ask for in a female dinner companion? If it hadn’t been for that scoundrel Thurgood, they might well be dining at Chez Paul this very evening.
“Let’s see if we can make it up to you,” the waiter encouraged.
“Well,” Harvey offered. “Since Nancy can’t be here, if you want to round up three others and send them over to my table, we’ll make it a foursome and I can promise them a rollicking time with great conversation and no strings attached.”
Suspecting that Harvey was being facetious, the waiter ignored his comment, tidied up his place setting, and poured him a glass of water.
“Coffee now, or after your meal?” the attendant inquired.
“Oh, now is fine,” Harvey replied.
The waiter filled his cup and the coffee was piping hot and strong, just as he liked it.
As with most men, if asked to define his favorite entrees, Harvey could click off three or four mouthwatering options. He loved to eat and carried the extra girth to prove it.
On this particular evening, he chose to go with an old standby: pot roast with brown gravy, mashed potatoes, Waldorf salad, and homemade chocolate pie for dessert. No bread, he decided, just the good stuff, strictly down-home.
“Would you like your salad first, or with the main course?” the waiter asked.
“Oh, all at once is fine,” Harvey said with a sigh.
Before long, the waiter returned with his meal.
“I hope you like it,” the server said earnestly. “The kitchen put some extra effort into it. Oh, and just to make sure I got it right, you’re having chocolate meringue pie for dessert?”
“Affirmative,” Harvey replied, sticking his fork into the Waldorf salad. It was delicious and reminded him of Sunday dinners at his grandma’s house. The pot roast was tender and the carrot and celery slices that were cooked with it melted in his mouth. He pressed his spoon down in the mashed potatoes, creating a small crater in the middle like he did when he was a little boy, and filled it up with gravy. Methodically, he worked his way through the succulent meal, savoring every bite.
The waiter refilled his water glass, poured more coffee, and cleared the table. Then he brought Harvey the slice of chocolate meringue pie.
“Of all the desserts, and god knows, I love ‘em all,” Harvey beamed, “chocolate pie is still king.”
He took his time with the pie, and closed his eyes before consuming the last delectable bite.
“It was a pleasure,” the waiter said.
“Likewise,” Harvey replied wistfully, wiping his mouth with a napkin.
Footsteps echoed in the hallway. Harvey looked up and saw a visitor approaching.
“It’s time, my son,” Father O’Leary said, as he entered Harvey’s cell.