Halfway through his omelette, Tanim noticed Daren’s food remained untouched. This wasn’t unusual – toast had a frequent fate of going cold and stale on Daren’s plate – but the man usually at least poked at it a bit. Instead, he seemed to be staring at the table, a thoughtful expression subtly altering his otherwise impassive face. Going back to his food, Tanim asked in idle curiosity, “What are you thinking about?”

“Whether I could use this spoon to scoop out someone’s eye,” Daren reached forward and took up the spoon resting by Tanim’s coffee cup. He didn’t seem to notice the sudden jump of Tanim’s eyebrows, nor the forkful of egg that hovered frozen in the air halfway to the man’s mouth. Turning the spoon over in his hand, Daren added conversationally, “I think I could. You’d have to go in from the side, kind of angle down like an ice cream scoop. Though I guess it’d be easier with one of those grapefruit spoons, since they’re serrated on the edge. With a regular spoon like this you might have a little trouble with the optic nerve. Do you think it’d be soft enough to–”

“Just,” Tanim laid his hand over Daren’s with a sigh, “stop.” He reclaimed the spoon and set it back down on the table where it belonged. “This is why we don’t eat out more often.” With that he turned back to his omelette, very pointedly ignoring the startled looks of the other diners around them. Daren, immune to the stares of others, merely shrugged and took a bite of cooling toast. “You asked.” To their apparently paralyzed waitress, unfortunate enough to have overheard the entire conversation, he indicated his coffee and said, “I’ll have another cup.”

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