Martha Sue sat at the supper table watching Wayne – hunched over with one arm curved out to the side, like he was afraid somebody might steal his plate. In that position, he used his fork more like a shovel to scoop up food and load it into his mouth.
After a while, she turned her attention to the fork in her hand and examined it carefully. “What kinda fork you recon this is, Wayne?” she asked.
Wayne stopped shoveling and studied his fork. He turned it all around and looked it over well. “Old,” he said, and scooped up another load.
“No, I mean what’s it for?”
“It’s to eat with, woman! And, you best get to it before your supper gets cold.” Wayne reached for another biscuit.
“I know that. But, Maydene was by this afternoon and got me to thinkin’.” Wayne rolled his eyes, and kept shoveling. “She said her friend down at the café is studying etiquette.”
Wayne shook his head. “Never heard of it.”
“Maydene said it’s about how to do regular stuff, but make it look fancy. She told me you’re supposed to use different forks to eat different things. I never heard such. But…well…I’m just wondering if, maybe, we need more forks.”
Wayne stared at Martha Sue thoughtfully, and sucked his teeth. Then, after giving his fork another careful examination, he stabbed a fat, speckled butterbean and held fork and bean out in Martha’s direction. “Bean fork,” he announced, then shoved the bean into his mouth.
Next, he stabbed a chunk of roast, and held it out to Martha Sue. “Meat fork.”
He proceeded to stab, and display each food on his plate, followed by the same statement, before making the display disappear into his mouth.
Martha Sue watched his demonstration in silence.
After he’d gobbled the display biscuit, Wayne looked his fork over once more. He nodded, and looked at Martha Sue. “One fork,” he said. “Works for me!”