It had been one year exactly since Gerald
Heathrow first visited the antique shop in a blue silk suit and
brown loafers without socks. Usually the rich dressed the worst.
Most of the time they weren't all that smart either. And if I was
really lucky, they would be entirely too trusting too. To what I
thought was my good fortune, Gerald had been all three.
He asked for an estimate on a Kleinz lantern
from the early 1600's. It was a nice piece, Shastin, solid brass,
never repaired, with only two pressure dings on its belly.
I quoted him a price of $9,000 and offered
him the same, cash on the spot, if he wanted to let go of it. He
politely declined, proudly saying it would compliment his growing
collection. That was my cue. After we spoke at length of antiquities
and he left, I photocopied the estimate and later that night made
an entry in my black book with the date and the following notes:
silk suit, sock less loafers, Gerald, growing collection, idiot.
You see, if you waited a year before you
robbed a client, chances were their affiliations with your company
wouldn't be scrutinized since police detectives usually only questioned
more recent acquaintances - going back a full year was just too
much to ask. In fact, there had been only a few instances where
a sharp Detective actually backtracked all the way to the store
where I worked. But as nerve-wracking as those times had been and
as much as I had sweated bullets every time a cop car parked at
the meters alongside our front window, their investigation never
went beyond a few simple questions with a suit-and-tie police officer
scribbling in a black notebook. Neither I nor my assistant Sandra
had a criminal record either, which helped deter further snooping
by the police.
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