Harry walked into the dining room with a stack of plates and linen napkins. He set them on the table and looked at Myrtle who seemed a little exasperated as she poked through the silverware chest.
“I can only find nine olive forks.” She said, clearly puzzled. “There should be ten here.
“Like this.” She held up one of the small forks with only three tines that she had been polishing with a silver cloth.
“I know what an olive fork is dear.” Harry announced, “But why do we need them?”
“Goodness sakes Harry, all the kids are coming for dinner. I bought green olives with pimento stuffing and I thought the grand-kids might like to play with them. Don’t you remember sticking olives on your fingers? Or are you too old to remember that far back?” she smoothed down a loose lock of her hair.
He smiled at her, “Do you remember when we were first married and I bought you that mother of pearl comb for your hair?”
Myrtle laughed, “No I don’t. I remember how beautiful it was in the shop window, and how I hinted shamelessly about how much I wanted it for a Christmas present. I don’t seem to remember you getting it for me though.”
“Yeah, I was pretty thick headed in those days. I wasn’t very good at taking a hint.”
“In those days?” Myrtle rolled her eyes. “Help me find the fork dear. We need it and I’ve searched everywhere.” She held up the fork in her hand and posed like an orator, then teased, “We must look high and low. We must search every nook and cranny. We must leave no stone unturned.”
“OK show me what you have,” Harry said.
She poked through the silverware using the small utensil she held in her hand. As she found olive forks she pulled them from the chest and lined them up on the table. Sure enough when she stopped there were only nine.
“That’s all of them,” she said as she poked around in the chest a bit more.
“When was the last time we used them?” he asked.
“Hmm,” Myrtle thought, “I think it was when your brother was here. What was that, about three months ago?”
“Do you think he stole one?” she gaped, “Why on earth would he do that?”
“Wait a minute…” Harry said, “I think I might know where it is. Did you search the sideboard?”
“Did you look under the table?”
“Check the pockets of your apron?”
“Don’t be an idiot, Harry.”
“Alright, dear, empty your pockets and set everything you’ve got with you on the table. We need to take inventory.”
She did as asked and even set down her reading glasses, which she had been wearing on top of her head. Next to her glasses she put the polishing cloth and the small olive fork she had been holding in her hand. It gleamed like a mirror.
“OK now what?” she asked.
“How many forks are you supposed to have?” he asked.
“Ten,” she repeated.
“Count ‘em,” Harry said as he pushed the one she had been holding in line with the others.
“Oh my, thank you dear.” She gave him a peck on the cheek. “Sorry about what I was thinking about your brother.”