Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Burt Beck Imbibes"

Burt Beck worried the too-tight collar of his tuxedo shirt.

“Sir?” A wandering waiter thrust a tray stacked with slim glasses at him.

“Oh. Thanks.” Burt took a glass, as did his date, who was named Meredith Mirabel Madison (but her friends called her Maddy). Burt waited until the waiter walked off to say, “So this is champagne.”

Meredith Mirabel Madison (whose friends called her Maddy) lifted a delicate arch of eyebrow at him. Burt was sure she was the prettiest girl in the county, if not the world. She was certainly the richest, thanks to her father’s invention of a certain waterproof widget used in all of Petros’ Plump Porkies production lines. The party was for her.

“It’s Piper Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage,” she told him. “Non-vintage, of course, which is something of a shame, but necessary when there are so many --” She waved dismissively at the room. “-- people.”

“Ah,” replied Burt.

She sipped from the flute. “Berries. Lots of bubbles, of course. Jam, which is charming, really.”

Burt took a dutiful drink.

“And what do you think of father’s selection?” asked Meredith Mirabel Madison (whom Burt did not call Maddy).

“Uh,” began Burt.

“Oh, there’s Martha. I simply must talk to her. I’ll be right back.”

Twenty-three minutes later, Burt went over to the bar.

“Sir?” asked the bartender.

“Beer,” replied Burt, who set down his still-full flute. “Thanks.”

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