"Have we had chance to peruse the menu?" Jeff asked.
Saved by the waiter. I said, "We haven't, Jeff, but don't go anywhere. We'll just take a sec. Cordy, what do you think? The usual? Something more adventurous?"
Corduroy didn't hesitate. "The Almond- and Beet-Encrusted Turkey for me please, Jeff."
I hid my raised eyebrows with the menu. "I'll have the same, Jeff. Thanks." I didn't need to look at Jeff to know he was wondering what had happened to make Cordy deviate from his usual order of mac and cheese.
As I handed Jeff my menu, Cordy yawned again, this time in Jeff's direction. Whatever Jeff saw made him turn tail and scuttle off like I had never seen him scuttle before.
Cordy downed another glass of wine and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. "What did you want to tell me?" he asked.
Oh, crap, I wasn't ready. Why had I even said that to him? I slid down lower on my seat. Cordy was staring at me with a puzzled look on his face.
"Are you okay?" he asked. Oh, now the brotherly concern comes out. After a few drinks.
"Yeah, yeah," I muttered. I took a deep breath and pushed myself up straight using the edge of the table. The side of my palm caught the cutlery laid out on a red cloth napkin and knocked my fork to the floor under the table.
"Just a sec." I ducked down under the table and scrabbled about for the fork. In the dark, I saw a glint of metal near Cordy's foot and reached towards it. It rippled. I snatched my hand back. Metal flashed, then swayed left and right like seaweed in a current. I squeezed my eyes shut then opened them slowly. The metal seaweed had disappeared and my fork lay against Cordy's shoe.
I sat up just in time to see Cordy down another glass of wine.
"Did you get it?" he said.
"No, it's on your shoe. Can you grab it?" I asked.
"Sure," and he reached his long left arm down beneath the table, bending over just far enough that his chin rested on the tabletop. Without moving his torso, he swung his arm back up and flopped it on the table, fork in his fist.
"You shouldn't use this, you know, it's been on the floor," he said, sitting up.
"It's fine. Five second rule, right?" I joked.
"That was more than five seconds. I'll get Jeff to get you another one." He placed the fork on the table in front of him and raised his hand. I reached over and grabbed the fork.
"Look, it's fine, I'll just wipe it with my napkin..." I trailed off when I saw the fear in his eyes. He kept glancing from me to the fork, from the fork to me. "Seriously bro, a few germs won't kill me."
He gulped then gave a grin that didn't reach his eyes.
I put the fork back on top of my napkin, watching his eyes the whole time. He stared at the fork as though willing it to levitate and fly away.
"What's up with the fork, dude?" I said.
He jumped, still staring at it. I looked. The tines were being encased by copper, at a molasses pace.