Guy comes into town chewing a toothpick. It’s Sunday, so everyone is at services, and he goes in, sits on the last pew. He doesn’t join in the songs or prayers. He just stares forward and rolls the toothpick across his molars.
The priest comes by to welcome him. The new guy ignores him and chews his pick.
A couple of the socialites stop by to ask whose family he is with. The new guy ignores them and chews his pick.
The town belligerent comes up and asks why he’s so quiet. The new guy chews on that pick, and the town belligerent pokes him in the chest, and the new guy chews some more. So the town belligerent grabs him by the collar and thrusts him out of the church, out into the yard. He slaps the pick out of his mouth and asks what he’s got to say about that.
Well the new guy reaches into his coat, produces a new toothpick. He stares at the town belligerent, puts the pick in his mouth and bites down with his canines.
The town belligerent jumps on his chest and starts beating at the new guy’s nose, trying to pulp it. Some mildly superior Christians eventually seize him by the elbows and haul him out of the yard.
Only a kid from the choir approaches the new guy. He brings him a cup of water to dab the remains of his nose in if he wants. The new guy doesn’t use the water, though. Instead he reaches inside his coat and fetches two toothpicks. He chews upon one himself, and gives the other to the kid.
The kid holds the toothpick in front of his eyes, rolls it between his fingers, studies it. It’s grainy wood, nothing special to his eyes.
So he asks, “What is this?”
So the new guy answers, “It’s an example of how to give your characters distinction.”