IT'S HARD to explain how it was that I, nine and a half months pregnant, and my man got busted breaking into the city dump at night. We needed a new bed frame. My sleep deprived brain was smeared by blood-red clouds of unbridled rage. We needed a new bed frame immediately.

So we drove to the dump. The dump, a magical place anytime, seems especially wondrous when you have it all to yourself; piles of forsaken items, blurred by yellow light, beckon with their bent promises of treasure. The vision of dump trucks and backhoes, still as statues, bestows a melancholy beauty on this scene of deep solitude.

Past late-night pilgrimages had never been tainted by a sense of wrongdoing, nor had there been a night watchman; there was simply a side door in the fencing around the dump, which I tried and opened. There was most certainly a bed frame in that heap of metal, and my man was not to be put off by the new padlock on the dump's side door--not tonight.

I'll cut to the quick and just tell you that everything has changed over there at the city dump. A night watchman descended from nowhere and dragged my lover, the father of my nearly born child, off to some shack to be interrogated and subjected to the Jerry Springer Show for over an hour while they waited for the cops. I walked away, avoiding eye contact, blending in: a pregnant girl out for an evening stroll, just happening past the dump, la-dee-dah. This was the first in a series of betrayals.

When I reached the car, I got in, started it up, and drove off. While my man valiantly pleaded with the perplexed watchman to use the phone to call his very pregnant girlfriend, I slowly circled the dump, window down, furious and squinting. Then the two cop cars arrived.

The baby started kicking. Like one whistles for a lost dog, or says "Here, kittykittykitty!" for a runaway cat, I found myself mumbling--hissing, in fact--my lover's name at the bushes, fence, front gate. Two hours passed. I began to fantasize about going into labor, explaining, between contractions, to the midwives and relatives assembled that the father of my child was in jail for attempting to burgle the dump. It was then that I remembered the Pacific Inn Pub, right down the street from the dump.

The good old Pacific Inn, I muttered as I swung open its once-ornate door, ambled past the trusty jukebox, and slid my belly under the counter, suddenly knowing that everything was okay. There was an old lady in the corner sticking her tongue out repeatedly. Nobody looked at me, and I liked that. Everyone seemed familiar, but didn't talk about it. People stared at the game on TV, or gazed at their cigarettes. The sympathetic bartender served me some of the best fish and chips around ($6.25), lovingly hand-beer-battered, not too greasy. Very calming food. My lover, wandering the streets after being released from near imprisonment, momentarily ceased to exist.

After cleaning my plate, I called him from the pay phone, but he didn't answer. I gave up after one drive-by of the dump and headed back home to wait by the phone, glimpsing a desperate and dramatic life with one of those boyfriends who might come home or who could be in jail. Later I heard that right after I left the P.I., he came in asking after a pregnant lady, and sat down to wait with a Lemon Pepper Chicken Sandwich and Fries ($5.75), zesty and moist.

I returned to the P.I., alone again, avoided the dump entirely, and ordered the Old Fashioned Patty Melt and Fries ($5.99) on a recommendation from my dad, a patty melt expert. He declared the P.I.'s the "best in the world" due to the fact that "they've got good grease there." I would have to agree with both proclamations, although I was disappointed in a subtle change in the fries.

A final note: My dad requested that I add an addendum to his statement about grease, acknowledging the fact that he is now on Lipitor, a medication to lower cholesterol. And that he always goes to the dump during the day.

Pacific Inn Pub

3501 Stone Way N, 547-2967. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat-Sun noon-2 am. $

Price Scale (per entrée)

$ = $10 and under; $$ = $10-$20; $$$ = $20 and up.