Before them, a serving man of inconstant humor and skill. What he served today should have been made of potato but had all the earmarks of swine, especially around the ears themselves, which had been soaked in swine butter, no doubt, after being plucked whole from their stalks (and none too early for the couple’s tastes either, now that they were resigned to them).
“You get what you pay for,” said the man to something the woman had said six or seven years before when she’d arrived home with the serving man and asked her husband to get him out of the car.
“You wouldn’t believe what a bargain he was,” she said then, and he’d refrained from passing judgment but now could no longer help himself.
She squinted at how he rotated the cob of corn between his teeth; she pricked her ears to the particular way he masticated the little kernels and felt certain she would never bring anything up from so long ago.
“Serving man,” she addressed the serving man, for she had never been able to remember his name, “it’s just extraordinary what you’ve done with those potatoes! Why, you’ve locked in the juices and thrown away the key!”
Removing the napkin from his knee, her husband wiped his chin.