“My spoon is greasy,” said Arnold. He held it up for me to see.

I took it from him, slipped it into his coffee mug, and stirred. “Not anymore.”

Arnold examined the sheen that now spiraled around the surface of his coffee, then looked at me. Was that consternation or superiority? With Arnold, one could never tell. I smiled, almost.

“I understand you’re angry with me,” said Arnold.

“Angry,” I interrupted, “is such a pedestrian word. Let’s try something else. Rancorous, perhaps. Incensed. Furious. No, I prefer rancorous. We’ll go with that one.”

“Let me make it up to you.”

“Please do. Accidentally discharge a gun into your mouth. Trip and fall onto a sword. There are so many delightful options. You choose.”

Arnold smiled, almost; placed his napkin on the table; and withdrew. I reached for his untouched dessert. There was no reason to let perfectly good crème brulee go to waste. Using the spoon from his coffee cup, I took a bite.

“This spoon isn’t greasy,” I said to no one in particular. “Not at all.”


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