ME. Hey, you know, I’m sorry. I wish I didn’t hafta but I gotta.
HER. Do you know for how long?
ME. Til things pick up. Maybe round the holidays. I dunno.
HER. But you’ll still need me Saturdays and Sundays.
ME. Yeah. Oh yeah. You’re still on Saturdays and Sundays. We definitely need you weekends. It’s just Thursdays. We’re not getting the people in.
HER. And you think it’ll stay that way?
ME. I have no idea anymore. Neither does Jim. We’re both … but until things improve, if they ever do …
HER. Do you need anyone on the other nights?
ME. We don’t, no. We have to trim hours wherever we can as it is.
HER. I can do other things. I’ve tended bar, I’ve waited tables.
ME. Hey. Listen. We like you and everything. You’re a thousand times better than the guy who came before you.
ME. Now that guy was not a good guy, he was a bad guy. We’re glad to have you. It’s just we can’t afford to keep you on, Thursday nights. We gotta bare bones it. Jason, Julie, Nando and Rudy.
HER. No more Antonio?
ME. No more Antonio.
HER. What about George.
ME. He’s done at five now. And this sounds like I’m … blowing smoke up your ass or whatever, but … we’ll keep you in mind. If we ever need anyone to pick up a shift. You know the menu, you know the people, you know the drill. We won’t hafta break you in. The other night, I had find someone for Reggie. So …
HER. It’s hard not to take this personally.
ME. I know. It isn’t personal.
HER. It’s hard not to think it is.
ME. I know.
HER. Everyone else keeps their hours on Thursday but me. I lose mine.
ME. George loses four, but … yes. We’re trimming wherever we can.
HER. It’s hard not to take that personally. I’m the first to go.
ME. I wish I had better news.
HER. What about busing tables or washing dishes.
ME. I can’t take any more hours away from those guys. As it is, I’m pushing my luck.
HER. I’ve been kinda counting on this place to help make ends meet.
ME. I know.
HER. Groceries and utilities and … (Her husband) just went back to school, you know? And …
ME. I know. He’s … pharmacy, right? Wants to be a pharmacist?
HER. This is lousy timing.
ME. I know. I know it is. The only thing I can tell you is I hope it isn’t permanent. I hope we can give you Thursdays back once things pick up. The holidays? After Thanksgiving? Can you hold on til then?
HER. I’ll need to look for something else to make up the hours. That guy who owns the bookstore? Think he might be looking?
ME. No idea.
HER. He might be. I think I saw a sign.
ME. Next time he comes in? I will sing your praises like your praises have never been sung before. There’s the market down the street? They’ll be open soon. Jim knows the guy, so …
HER. They’ve been about to open since the Spring. The windows have been papered up like that since March.
ME. I know. But there was just a van out back the other day. Unloading stuff. So …
HER. I can check (faux Irish hunka shit around the corner that doesn’t even know how to pour a proper pint of Guinness). They sometimes have a few hours here and there. You know of anyplace else?
ME. I’ll keep an ear to the ground.
HER. I can make do on Saturdays and Sundays for … a month, maybe. But …
ME. If I hear of anything or if we ever need anyone to fill in, you will be the absolute first to know.
(She stares out the window, and I hate myself. Jimmy says it’s not us, it’s what the situation makes us do from time to time. Still. I hate myself and it’s barely lunch.)
HER. This sucks. This really sucks. I wasn't expecting this.
ME. Hey. Are you hungry? You want something to eat? Have something to eat. Tell Nando what you wanna eat.
HER. I think I’m just gonna go.
ME. You sure? Cause …
HER. I’ll see you Saturday.
ME. Yeah, okay. Make it five, though.
HER. Not five-thirty?
ME. No. Five.
HER. That’s a pity half-hour if ever there was one.