WAITER: Welcome to Luigi’s. My name’s Justin and I’ll be your waiter.
TONY: Do I look like I give a f–k?
WAITER: Uh, no sir.
Waiter hands Tony a menu.
WAITER: Could I start you out with a cocktail? Maybe a glass of wine?
TONY: How ’bout something Italian and red.
WAITER: I understand the Vignamaggio Classico Riserva is excellent.
TONY: “You understand?” What the f–k’s that supposed to mean?
WAITER: I just meant…
TONY: Yeah, yeah.
WAITER: So… would you like to try the Vigna— ?
WAITER: A bottle or a glass?
TONY: Both. And I’ll have the Veal Parm … with a side of Bucatini.
Tony hands back the menu. After a few minutes the waiter brings the wine, opens it, and makes a show of presenting Tony a sample. Tony rolls his eyes and motions to please fill his glass without ceremony.
Ten minutes later, Tony’s main course is presented by a buxom female server, with whom he briefly flirts before she disappears back into the kitchen. Tony has just set his napkin and begun to sprinkle some cheese onto his pasta when the waiter reappears out of nowhere.
WAITER: So how’s your food tasting?
TONY: How’s my food what?
TONY: How the f–k should I know?
The waiter looks confused. Tony slices off a chunk of the veal and holds it up.
TONY: My guess is this little guy stopped tasting the day he hit the slaughterhouse.
WAITER: What I meant was…
TONY: What was your name again?
TONY: If you meant something else, why didn’t you just f–kin’ say it in the first place.
The waiter considers this, gazes at the floor, nods.
WAITER: Sir, are you enjoying your meal?
TONY: You ever let me start eating, maybe we’ll find out.
The waiter raises his eyes to see Tony flashing him a smile.
TONY: Your boss makes you say that s–t, right?
The Waiter nods.
TONY: Any chance he’s around… your boss?
The Waiter nods again and departs. A minute later he returns with his boss, an unctious man wearing yellow trousers .
BOSS: What seems to be the…?
TONY: Justin here tells me you’re promoting him to head waiter tomorrow.
The Boss sizes up Justin, sputters, looks back at Tony.
BOSS: I can’t imagine why he’d…
TONY: He also told me, besides the raise you’re gonna give him, he’s gonna have final say on the kinda patter your waiters have with your customers. You know, bulls–t like “How’s your food tasting.”
BOSS: I’m sorry, sir. But there’s been some kind of misunderstanding…
TONY: The only one of us who’s misunderstanding is you. And before you go doing something stupid, or even think about not promoting Justin here, you might wanna ask around about me.
BOSS: Oh yeah, and just who the hell are you?
TONY: Anthony Soprano.
The Boss gulps and turns pale.
BOSS: Tony Soprano?
His mouth fixed in a sardonic grin, Tony regards the Boss with an icy glare.
BOSS: Mr. Soprano, I’m so very sorry. Had I known…
TONY: Yeah, well now you know. And if you don’t mind, my food’s gettin’ cold.
BOSS: Of course. If there’s anything I can —
Tony nods toward the kitchen. The Boss takes the hint and squirms away.
WAITER: Mr. Soprano. I don’t know what to…
Tony holds up a hand as a smile returns to his face.
© 2016 Ron Dulaney