Everyone hates co-owner’s wife and Stenny’s manager Mary Ann, but she is Champagne Mike’s official enemy, as a result of her adding a 15% administrative surcharge to the monthly bar tabs he was accustomed to running. Because of this new policy—which Mike thinks of as both onerous and usurious—he no longer runs tabs but has kept Mary Ann lodged firmly as #1 on his most-hated list. Until tonight.
It’s unfortunate, really, because Mike’s switch to another antagonist is caused by a very literal misunderstanding.
Deaf Donny arrives on this Monday in March, alone as usual. His longtime girlfriend, Dina, dislikes our Joanna for what she sees as her prickliness, and never makes an appearance at Stenny’s for fear of running into her.
Donny sits on the stool next to Mike. Mike is drinking what has become his usual—a split of Pommery POP—and is savoring tonight’s special appetizer, a large portobello mushroom topped with lump crabmeat.
As we know, and as his nickname indicates, Deaf Donny is deaf, or nearly so. He rarely correctly understands any words spoken to him, and now is no exception.
Mike sees Donny look at his plate, and says “Sublime in its simplicity.” What Donny hears is So how are you today?
“Not so great,” Donny says.
Mike is a tad, but only a tad, miffed that Donny doesn’t share his appreciation for the portobello and crab concoction. “You don’t like crab? Too rich for you?” This time Donny hears Why are you crabby? And who’s Rich?
“That’s not really a fair representation. And Rich has nothing to do with it.”
Mike’s annoyance is growing and is diminishing his pleasure in the deliciousness of the appetizer. “What then? Not a fan of portobellos?” But Donny hears What then? Be a sport. Don’t bellyache.
“Wow, that’s a little rough,” Donny says.
Mike is now fully aggrieved. “How so?” This Donny understands.
“I don’t want to get into it with you, Mike,” Donny says. “It’s just that sometimes you can be a little, or a lot, judgmental.”
Mike of course still thinks this conversation is about mushrooms and crabmeat, but he takes great exception to Donny’s tone, and quotes his favorite Irish dramatist, Oscar Wilde: “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
Donny doesn’t understand a word of this. Instead of trying to respond, he says, “What you’re eating looks really good. Can I have a bite?”
Mike thinks Donny is playing him for a fool, and that’s how Donny supplanted Mary Ann in Mike’s dis-affection.