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Ever since Toby began wearing his oversized hat people began to notice they were ending dinner parties with less cutlery than was initially laid out.
Toby’s friends began to switch all alcoholic beverages at their parties with non-alcoholic substitutes, in an effort to determine whether Toby’s unsteadiness at the end of their evenings was indeed a result of being drunk, as he insisted, or rather the product of being top-heavy with cutlery, as they predicted.
“Maybe an electromagnet, attached to a doorframe at the next party,” they murmured afterwards, mulling how best to reveal the secret life of Toby’s hat.
Toby’s friends conspired to ensure that the heater “broke-down” during their latest party certain that Toby’s ensuing shivering would cause such a racket in his hat as to force him into an embarrassing confession.
Only in Scrine would I find myself waiting expectantly for the next installment of a hat story.
In hindsight it would seem obvious when they were unable to shake a confession out of him, but none of Toby’s friends noticed that they were also losing linen napkins at a similar rate to cutlery because the ratio of napkins to cutlery remained the same.
Despite other oversights, none of Toby’s friends failed to notice that all of his parties were laid out with plastic plates and cutlery, adding fuel to the idea that he kept all of his own, and everyone else’s, cutlery in a temperature-controlled vault.
As he continued to avoid detection, Toby’s friends began to muse in that guilty “I’m-obviously-just-kidding-(right?)-but-it-would-be-funny-if” way, on the potential irony involved if Toby accidentally locked himself in his cutlery vault with all that silverware and nothing to eat.
The meeting of Toby’s friends to determine how best to ferret out and infiltrate his secret vault was hastily adjourned amid a good deal of sniggering when the only response to the motion involving the watching of either Mission Impossible or Ocean’s 11 for ideas on how this would be done was “I don’t have either of them but I do have Free Willy.”
Though their senses had been tuned to the ironic for many weeks, and in spite of the mysterious sounds of tunking, tinking and tanging that greeted their entrance, Toby’s friends walked into the art gallery with nary a clue of what was to come.
Toby was full of anticipation as he mischievously finished painting the greeting banner in the gallery to read “Sure, it’s art, but can you eat with it?”
Toby’s friends stood, agape, at the monstrosity that he had created - a giant fork made entirely from purloined cutlery - and although their irritation was palpable, Toby was visibly pleased so certain was he that all benefactors, willing and unwilling alike, felt that way about the pieces they supported until the artist explained his vision.
They stood in the gallery for a shocked moment that seemed to stretch into an eternity, until a lone voice whispered, “I think I see my great-grandmother’s cake server up there.”
There was nothing more to say, thought Toby’s friends, and, with a resigned air, they began to make their way to the gallery’s open bar, when someone overheard a word - a ghost of a thread of a whisper of a word - a word which, when shared, put a new spring into their step: “residuals”.
Toby was unsure what had turned the mood in the room for the better but certainly did not consider for a moment that his muttered reminder to revictual his car before the long journey to the soup kitchen - where he intended to donate his fork in order to raise awareness of the good work they did there - had anything to do with it.
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