hammers . . . rows of precision equipment. And their supplies of brazing rod of various gauge,
sheet metal, pin backs, links, earring clipbacks. Well over half the two thousand dollars had been
spent; they had in their Edfrank bank account only two hundred and fifty dollars, now. But they
were set up legally; they even had their PSA permits. Nothing remained but to sell.
No retailer, Frink thought as he studied the displays, can give these a tougher inspection than we
have. They certainly looked good, these few select pieces, each painstakingly gone over for bad
welds, rough or sharp edges, spots of fire color . . . their quality control was excellent. The slightest
dullness or wire brush scratch had been enough reason to return a piece to the shop. We can't afford
to show any crude or unfinished work; one unnoticed black speck on a silver necklace — and we're
On their list, Robert Childan's store appeared first. But only Ed could go there; Childan would
certainly remember Frank Frink.
'You got to do most of the actual selling,' Ed said, but he was resigned to approaching Childan
himself; he had bought a good suit, new tie, white shirt, to make the right impression. Nonetheless,
he looked ill-at-ease. 'I know we're good,' he said for the millionth time. 'But — hell.'
Most of the pieces were abstract, whirls of wire, loops, designs which to some extent the molten
metals had taken on their own. Some had a spider-web delicacy, an airiness; others had a massive,
powerful, almost barbaric heaviness. There was an amazing range of shape, considering how few
pieces lay on the velvet trays; and yet one store, Frink realized, could buy everything we have laid
out here. We'll see each store once — if we fail. But if we succeed, if we get them to carry our line,
we'll be going back to refill orders the rest of our lives.
Together, the two of them loaded the velvet board trays into the wicker basket. We could get
back something on the metal, Frink said to himself, if worse comes to worst. And the tools and
equipment; we can dispose of them at a loss, but at least we'll get something.
This is the moment to consult the oracle. Ask, How will Ed make out on this first selling trip?
But he was too nervous to. It might give a bad omen, and he did not feel capable of facing it. In any
case, the die was cast: the pieces were made, the shop set up — whatever the I Ching might blab
out at this point.
It can't sell our jewelry for us . . . it can't give us luck.
'I'll tackle Childan's place first,' Ed said. 'We might as well get it over with. And then you can try
a couple. You're coming along, aren't you? In the truck. I'll park around the corner.'
As they got into their pickup truck with their wicker hamper, Frink thought, God knows how
good a salesman Ed is, or I am. Childan can be sold, but it's going to take a presentation, like they
If Juliana were here, he thought, she could stroll in there and do it without batting an eye; she's
pretty, she can talk to anybody on earth, and she's a woman. After all, this is women's jewelry. She
could wear it into the store. Shutting his eyes, he tried to imagine how she would look with one of
their bracelets on. Or one of their large silver necklaces. With her black hair and her pale skin,
doleful, probing eyes
wearing a gray jersey sweater, a little bit too tight, the silver resting against her bare flesh, metal
rising and falling as she breathed .
God, she was vivid in his mind, right now. Every piece they made, the strong, thin fingers picked
up, examined; tossing her head back, holding the piece high. Juliana sorting, always a witness to
what he had done.
Best for her, he decided, would be earrings. The bright dangly ones, especially the brass. With
her hair held back by a clip or cut short so that her neck and ears could be seen. And we could take
photos of her for advertising and display. He and Ed had discussed a catalog, so they could sell by
mail to stores in other parts of the world. She would look terrific . . . her skin is nice, very healthy,
no sagging or wrinkles, and a fine color. Would she do it, if I could locate her? No matter what she
thinks of me; nothing to do with our personal life. This would be a strictly business matter.
Hell, I wouldn't even take the pictures. We'd get a professional photographer to do it. That would
please her. Her vanity probably as great as always. She always liked people to look at her, admire
her; anybody. I guess most women are like that. They crave attention all the time. They're very
babyish that way.
He thought, Juliana could never stand being alone; she had to have me around all the time
complimenting her. Little kids are that way; they feel if their parents aren't watching what they do
then what they do isn't real. No doubt she's got some guy noticing her right now. Telling her how
pretty she is. Her legs. Her smooth, flat stomach .
'What's the matter?' Ed said, glancing at him. 'Losing your nerve?'
'No,' Frink said.
'I'm not just going to stand there,' Ed said. 'I've got a few ideas of my own. And I'll-tell you
something else: I'm not scared. I'm not intimidated just because it's a fancy place and I have to put
on this fancy suit. I admit I don't like to dress up. I admit I'm not comfortable. But that doesn't
matter a bit. I'm still going in there and really give it to that poop-head.'
Good for you, Frink thought.
'Hell, if you could go in there like you did,' Ed said, 'and give him that line about being a Jap
admiral's gentleman, I ought to be able to tell him the truth, that this is really good creative original
handmade jewelry, that — '
'Handwrought,' Frink said.
'Yeah. Hand wrought. I mean, I'll go in there and I won't come back out until I've given him a
run for his money. He ought to buy this. If he doesn't he's really nuts. I've looked around; there isn't
anything like ours for sale anywhere. God, when I think of him maybe looking at it and not buying
it — it makes me so goddam mad I could start swinging.'
'Make sure you tell him it's not plated,' Frink said. 'That copper means solid copper and brass
'You let me work out my own approach,' Ed said, 'I got some really good ideas.'
Frink thought, What I can do is this. I can take a couple of pieces — Ed'll never care — and box
them up and send them to Juliana. So she'll see what I'm doing. The postal authorities will trace
her; I'll send it registered to her last known address. What'll she say when she opens the box?
There'll have to be a note from me explaining that I made it myself; that I'm a partner in a little new
creative jewelry business. I'll fire her imagination, give her an account that'll make her want to
know more, that'll get her interested. I'll talk about the gems and the metals. The places we're
selling to, the fancy stores . . .
'Isn't it along here?' Ed said, slowing the truck. They were in heavy downtown traffic; buildings
blotted out the sky. 'I better park.'
'Another five blocks,' Frink said.
'Got one of those marijuana cigarettes?' Ed said. 'One would calm me right about now.'
Frink passed him his package of T'ien-lais, the 'Heavenly Music' brand he had learned to smoke
at W-M Corporation.
I know she's living with some guy, Frink said to himself. Sleeping with him. As if she was his
wife. I know Juliana. She couldn't survive any other way; I know how she gets around nightfall.
When it gets cold and dark and everybody's home sitting around the living room. She was never
made for a solitary life. Me neither, he realized.
Maybe the guy's a real nice guy. Some shy student she picked up. She'd be a good woman for
some young guy who had never had the courage to approach a woman before. She's not hard or
cynical. It would do him a lot of good. I hope to hell she's not with some older guy. That's what I
couldn't stand. Some experienced mean guy with a toothpick sticking out of the side of his mouth,
pushing her around.
He felt himself begin to breathe heavily. Image of some beefy hairy guy stepping down hard on
Juliana, making her life miserable . . . I know she'd finally wind up killing herself, he thought. It's
in the cards for her, if she doesn't find the right man — and that means a really gentle, sensitive,
kindly student type who would be able to appreciate all those thoughts she has.
I was too rough for her, he thought. And I'm not so bad; there are a hell of a lot of guys worse
than me. I could pretty well figure out what she was thinking, what she wanted, when she felt
lonely or bad or depressed. I spent a lot of time worrying and fussing over her. But it wasn't
enough. She deserved more. She deserves a lot, he thought.
'I'm parking,' Ed said. He had found a place and was backing the truck, peering over his
'Listen,' Frink said, 'Can I send a couple of pieces to my wife?'
'I didn't know you were married.' Intent on parking, Ed answered him reflexively. 'Sure, as long
as they're not silver.''
Ed shut off the truck motor.
'We're here,' he said. He puffed marijuana smoke, then stubbed the cigarette out on the
dashboard, dropped the remains to the cab floor. 'Wish me luck.'
'Luck,' Frank Frink said.
'Hey, look. There's one of those Jap waka poems on the back of this cigarette package.' Ed read
the poem aloud, over the traffic noises.
'Hearing a cuckoo cry,
I looked up in the direction
Whence the sound came:
What did I see?
Only the pale moon in the dawning sky.'
He handed the package of T'ien-lais back to Frink. 'Keeriiist!' he said, then slapped Frink on the
back, grinned, opened the truck door, picked up the wicker hamper and stepped from the truck. 'I'll
let you put the dime in the meter,' he said, starting off down the sidewalk.
In an instant he had disappeared among the other pedestrians.
Juliana, Frink thought. Are you as alone as I am? He got out of the truck and put a dime in the
Fear, he thought. This whole jewelry venture. What if it should fail? What if it should fail? That
was how the oracle put it. Wailing, tears, beating the pot.
Man faces the darkening shadows of his life. His passage to the grave. If she were here it would
not be so bad. Not bad at all.
I'm scared, he realized. Suppose Ed doesn't sell a thing. Suppose they laugh at us.
On a sheet on the floor of the front room of her apartment, Juliana lay holding Joe Cinnadella
against her. The room was warm and stuffy with midafternoon sunlight. Her body and the body of
the man in her arms were damp with perspiration. A drop, rolling down Joe's forehead, clung a
moment to his cheekbone, then fell to her throat.
'You're still dripping,' she murmured.
He said nothing. His breathing, long, slow, regular . . . like the ocean, she thought. We're nothing
but water inside.
'How was it?' she asked.
He mumbled that it had been okay.
I thought so, Juliana thought. I can tell. Now we both have to get up, pull ourselves together. Or
is that bad? Sign of subconscious disapproval?
'Are you getting up?' She gripped him tight with both her arms. 'Don't. Not yet.'
'Don't you have to get to the gym?'
I'm not going to the gym, Juliana said to herself. Don't you know that? We will go somewhere;
we won't stay here too much longer. But it will be a place we haven't been before. It's time.
She felt him start to draw himself backward and up onto his knees, felt her hands slide along his
damp, slippery back. Then she could hear him walking away, his bare feet against the floor. To the
bathroom, no doubt. For his shower.
It's over, she thought. Oh well. She sighed.
'I hear you,' Joe said from the bathroom. 'Groaning. Always downcast, aren't you? Worry, fear
and suspicion, about me and everything else in the world — ' He emerged, briefly, dripping with
soapy water, face beaming. 'How would you like to take a trip?'
Her pulse quickened. 'Where?'
'To some big city. How about north, to Denver? I'll take you out; buy you ticket to a show, good
restaurant, taxi, get you evening dress or what you need. Okay?'
She could hardly believe him, but she wanted to; she tried to.
'Will that Stude of yours make it?' Joe called.
'Sure,' she said.
'We'll both get some nice clothes,' he said. 'Enjoy ourselves, maybe for the first time in our lives.
Keep you from cracking up.'
'Where'll we get the money?'
Joe said, 'I have it. Look in my suitcase.' He shut the bathroom door; the racket of water shut out
any further words.
Opening the dresser, she got out his dented, stained little grip. Sure enough, in one corner she
found an envelope; it contained Reichsbank bills, high value and good anywhere. Then we can go,
she realized. Maybe he's not just stringing me along. I just wish I could get inside him and see
what's there, she thought as she counted the money. .
Beneath the envelope she found a huge, cylindrical fountain pen, or at least it appeared to be
that; it had a clip, anyhow. But it weighed so much. Gingerly, she lifted it out, unscrewed the cap.
Yes, it had a gold point. But .
'What is this?' she asked Joe, when he reappeared from the shower.
He took it from her, returned it to the grip. How carefully he handled it . . . she noticed that,
reflected on it, perplexed.
'More morbidity?' Joe said. He seemed lighthearted, more so than at any time since she had met
him; with a yell of enthusiasm, he clasped her around the waist, then hoisted her up into his arms,
rocking her, swinging her back and forth, peering down into her face, breathing his warm breath
over her, squeezing her until she bleated.
'No,' she said. 'I'm just — slow to change.' Still a little scared of you, she thought. So scared I
can't even say it, tell you about it.
'Out the window,' Joe cried, stalking across the room with her in his arms. 'Here we go.'
'Please,' she said.
'Kidding. Listen — we're going on a march, like the March on Rome. You remember that. The
Duce led them, my Uncle Carlo for example. Now we have a little march, less important, not noted
in the history books. Right?' Inclining his head, he kissed her on the mouth so hard that their teeth
clashed. 'How nice we both'll look, in our new clothes. And you can explain to me exactly how to
talk, deport myself; right? Teach me manners; right?'
'You talk okay,' Juliana said. 'Better than me, even.'
'No.' He became abruptly somber. 'I talk very bad. A real wop accent. Didn't you notice it when
you first met me in the cafe?'
'I guess so,' she said; it did not seem important to her.
'Only a woman knows the social conventions,' Joe said, carrying her back and dropping her to
bounce frighteningly on the bed. 'Without a woman we'd discuss racing cars and horses and tell
dirty jokes; no civilization.'
You're in a strange mood, Juliana thought. Restless and brooding, until you decide to move on;
then you become hopped up. Do you really want me? You can ditch me, leave me here; it's
happened before. I would ditch you, she thought, if I were going on.
'Is that your pay?' she asked as he dressed. 'You saved it up?' It was so much. Of course, there
was a good deal of money in the East. 'All the other truck drivers I've talked to never made so — '
'You say I'm a truck driver?' Joe broke in. 'Listen; I rode that rig not to drive but keep off
hijackers. Look like a truck driver, snoozing in the cab.' Flopping in a chair in the corner of the
room he lay back, pretending sleep, his mouth open, body limp. 'See?'
At first she did not see. And then she realized that in his hand was a knife, as thin as a kitchen
potato skewer. Good grief, she thought. Where had it come from? Out of his sleeve; out of the air
'That's why the Volkswagen people hired me. Service record. We protected ourselves against
Haselden, those commandos; he led them.' The black eyes glinted; he grinned sideways at Juliana.
'Guess who got the Colonel, there at the end. When we caught them on the Nile — him and four of
his Long Range Desert Group months after the Cairo campaign. They raided us for gasoline one
night. I was on sentry duty. Haselden sneaked up, rubbed with black all over his face and body,
even his hands; they had no wire that time, only grenades and submachine guns. All too noisy. He
tried to break my larynx. I got him.' From the chair, Joe sprang up at her, laughing. 'Let's pack. You
tell them at the gym you're taking a few days off; phone them.'
His account simply did not convince her. Perhaps he had not been in North Africa at all, had not
even fought in the war on the Axis side, had not even fought. What hijackers? she wondered. No
truck that she knew of had come through Canon City from the East Coast with an armed
professional ex-soldier as guard. Maybe he had not even lived in the U.S.A., had made everything
up from the start; a line to snare her, to get her interested, to appear romantic.
Maybe he's insane, she thought. Ironic . . . I may actually do what I've pretended many times to
have done: use my judo in self-defense. To save my — virginity? My life, she thought. But more
likely he is just some poor low-class wop laboring slob with delusions of glory; he wants to go on a
grand spree, spend all his money, live it up — and then go back to his monotonous existence. And
he needs a girl to do it.
'Okay,' she said. 'I'll call the gym.' As she went toward the hall she thought, He'll buy me
expensive clothes and then take me to some luxurious hotel. Every man yearns to have a really
well-dressed woman before he dies, even if he has to buy her the clothes himself. This binge is
probably Joe Cinnadella's lifelong ambition. And he is shrewd; I'll bet he's right in his analysis of
me — I have a neurotic fear of the masculine. Frank knew it, too. That's why he and I broke up;
that's why I still feel this anxiety now, this mistrust.
When she returned from the pay phone, she found Joe once more engrossed in the Grasshopper,
scowling as he read, unaware of everything else.
'Weren't you going to let me read that?' she asked.
'Maybe while I drive,' Joe said, without looking up.
'You're going to drive? But it's my car!'
He said nothing; he merely went on reading.
At the cash register, Robert Childan looked up to see a lean, tall, dark-haired man entering the
store. The man wore a slightly less-than-fashionable suit and carried a large wicker hamper.
Salesman. Yet he did not have the cheerful smile; instead, he had a grim, morose look on his
leathery face. More like a plumber or an electrician, Robert Childan thought.
When he had finished with his customer, Childan called to the man, 'Who do you represent?'
'Edfrank Jewelry,' the man mumbled back. He had set his hamper down on one of the counters.
'Never heard of them.' Childan sauntered over as the man unfastened the top of the hamper and
with much wasted motion opened it.
'Handwrought. Each unique. Each an original. Brass, copper, silver. Even hot-forged black iron.'
Childan glanced into the hamper. Metal on black velvet, peculiar. 'No thanks. Not in my line.'
'This represents American artistry. Contemporary.'
Shaking his head no, Childan walked back to the cash register.
For a time the man stood fooling with his velvet display boards and hamper. He was neither
taking the boards out nor putting them back; he seemed to have no idea what he was doing. His
arms folded, Childan watched, thinking about various problems of the day. At two he had an
appointment to show some early period cups. Then at three — another batch of items returning
from the Cal labs, home from their authenticity test. He had been having more and more pieces
examined, in the last couple of weeks. Ever since the nasty incident with the Colt .44.
'These are not plated,' the man with the wicker hamper said, holding up a cuff bracelet. 'Solid
Childan nodded without answering. The man would hang around for a while, shuffle his samples
about, but finally he would move on.
The telephone rang. Childan answered it. Customer inquiring about an ancient rocking chair,
very valuable, which Childan was having mended for him. It had not been finished, and Childan
had to tell a convincing story. Staring through the store window at the midday traffic, he soothed
and reassured. At last the customer, somewhat appeased, rang off.
No doubt about it, he thought as he hung up the phone. The Colt .44 affair had shaken him
considerably. He no longer viewed his stock with the same reverence. Bit of knowledge like that
goes a long way. Akin to primal childhood awakening; facts of life. Shows, he ruminated, the link
with ourearly years: not merely U.S. history involved, but our own personal. As if, he thought,
question might arise as to authenticity of our birth certificate. Or our impression of Dad.
Maybe I don't actually recall F.D.R. as example. Synthetic image distilled from hearing assorted
talk. Myth implanted subtly in tissue of brain. Like, he thought, myth of Hepplewhite. Myth of
Chippendale. Or rather more on lines of Abraham Lincoln ate here. Used this old silver knife, fork,
spoon. You can't see it, but the fact remains.
At the other counter, still fumbling with his displays and wicker hamper, the salesman said, 'We
can make pieces to order. Custom made. If any of your customers have their own ideas.' His voice
had a strangled quality; he cleared his throat, gazing at Childan and then down at a piece of jewelry
which he held. He did not know how to leave, evidently. Childan smiled and said nothing.
Not my responsibility. His, to get himself back out of here. Place saved or no.
Tough, such discomfort. But he doesn't have to be salesman. We all suffer in this life. Look at
me. Taking it all day from Japs such as Mr. Tagomi. By merest inflection manage to rub my nose in
it, make my life miserable.
And then an idea occurred to him. Fellow's obviously not experienced. Look at him. Maybe I can
get some stuff on consignment. Worth a try.
'Hey,' Childan said.
The man glanced up swiftly, fastened his gaze.
Advancing toward him, his arms still folded, Childan said, 'Looks like a quiet half hour, here. No
promises, but you can lay some of those things out. Clear back those racks of ties.' He pointed.
Nodding, the man began to clear himself a space on the top of the counter. He reopened his
hamper, once more fumbled with the velvet trays.
He'll lay everything out, Childan knew. Arrange it painstakingly for the next hour. Fuss and
adjust until he's got it all set up. Hoping. Praying. Watching me out of the corner of his eye every
second. To see if I'm taking any interest. Any at all.
'When you have it out,' Childan said, 'if I'm not too busy I'll take a look.'
The man worked feverishly, as if he had been stung.
Several customers entered the store then, and Childan greeted them. He turned his attention to
them and their wishes, and forgot the salesman laboring over his display. The salesman,
recognizing the situation, became stealthy in his movements; he made himself inconspicuous.
Childan sold a shaving mug, almost sold a hand-hooked rug, took a deposit on an afghan. Time
passed. At last the customers left. Once more the store was empty except for himself and the
The salesman had finished. His entire selection of jewelry lay arranged on the black velvet on the
surface of the counter.
Going leisurely over, Robert Childan lit a Land-O-Smiles and stood rocking back and forth on
his heels, humming beneath his breath. The salesman stood silently. Neither spoke.
At last Childan reached out and pointed at a pin. 'I like that.'
The salesman said in a rapid voice, 'That's a good one. You won't find any wire brush scratches.
All rouge-finished. And it won't tarnish. We have a plastic lacquer sprayed on them that'll last for
years. It's the best industrial lacquer available.'
Childan nodded slightly.
'What we've done here,' the salesman said, 'is to adapt tried and proven industrial techniques to
jewelry making. As far as I know, nobody has ever done it before. No molds. All metal to metal.
Welding and brazing.' He paused. 'The backs are hand-soldered.'
Childan picked up two bracelets. Then a pin. Then another pin. He held them for a moment, then
set them off to one side.
The salesman's face twitched. Hope.
Examining the price tag on a necklace, Childan said, 'Is this — '
'Retail. Your price is fifty percent of that. And i you buy say around a hundred dollars or so, we
give you an additional two percent.'
One by one Childan laid several more pieces aside. With each additional one, the salesman
became more agitated; he talked faster and faster, finally repeating himself, even saying
meaningless foolish things, all in an undertone and very urgently. He really thinks he's going to
sell, Childan knew. By his own expression he showed nothing; he went on with the game of
'That's an especially good one,' the salesman was rambling on, as Childan fished out a large
pendant and then ceased. 'I think you got our best. All our best.' The man laughed.
'You really have good taste.' His eyes darted. He was adding in his mind what Childan had
chosen. The total of the sale.
Childan said, 'Our policy, with untried merchandise, has to be consignment.'
For a few seconds the salesman did not understand. He stopped his talking, but he stared without
Childan smiled at him.
'Consignment,' the salesman echoed at last.
'Would you prefer not to leave it?' Childan said.
Stammering, the man finally said, 'You mean I leave it and you pay me later on when — '
'You get two-thirds of the proceeds. When the pieces sell. That way you make much more. You
have to wait, of course, but — ' Childan shrugged. 'It's up to you. I can give it some window
display, possibly. And if it moves, then possibly later on, in a month or so, with the next order —
well, we might see our way clear to buy some outright.'
The salesman had now spent well over an hour showing his wares, Childan realized. And he had
everything out. All his displays disarranged and dismantled. Another hour's work to get it back
ready to take somewhere else. There was silence. Neither man spoke.
'Those pieces you put to one side — ' the salesman said in a low voice. 'They're the ones you
'Yes. I'll let you leave them all.' Childan strolled over to his office in the rear of the store. 'I'll
write up a tag. So you'll have a record of what you've left with me.' As he came back with his tag
book he added, 'You understand that when merchandise is left on a consignment basis the store
doesn't assume liability in case of theft or damage.' He had a little mimeographed release for the
salesman to sign. The store would never have to account for the items left. When the unsold portion
was returned, if some could not be located — they must have been stolen, Childan declared to
himself. There's always theft going on in stores. Especially small items like jewelry.
There was no way that Robert Childan could lose. He did not have to pay for this man's jewelry;
he had no investment in this kind of inventory. If any of it sold he made a profit, and if it did not, he
simply returned it all — or as much as could be found — to the salesman at some vague later date.
Childan made out the tag, listing the items. He signed it and gave a copy to the salesman. 'You
can give me a call,' he said, 'in a month or so. To find out how it's been doing.'
Taking the jewelry which he wanted he went off to the back of the store, leaving the salesman to
gather up his remaining stuff.
I didn't think he'd go along with it, he thought. You never know. That's why it's always worth
When he next looked up, he saw that the salesman was ready to leave. He had his wicker hamper
under his arm and the counter was clear. The salesman was coming toward him, holding something
'Yes?' Childan said. He had been going over some correspondence.
'I want to leave our card.' The salesman put down an odd-looking little square of gray and red
paper on Childan's desk. 'Edfrank Custom Jewelry. It has our address and phone number. In case
you want to get in touch with us.'
Childan nodded, smiledsilently, and returned to his work.
When next he paused and looked up the store was empty. The salesman had gone.
Putting a nickel into the wall dispenser, Childan obtained a cup of hot instant tea which he sipped
I wonder if it will sell, he wondered. Very unlikely. But it is well made. And one never sees
anything like it. He examined one of the pins. Quite striking design. Certainly not amateurs.
I'll change the tags. Mark them up a lot higher. Push the handmade angle. And the uniqueness.
Custom originals. Small sculptures. Wear a work of art. Exclusive creation on your lapel or wrist.
And there was another notion circulating and growing in the back of Robert Childan's mind.
With these, there's no problem of authenticity. And that problem may someday wreck the historic
American artifacts industry. Not today or tomorrow — but after that, who knows.
Better not to have all irons in one fire. That visit by that Jewish crook; that might be the
harbinger. If I quietly build up a stock of nonhistoric objects, contemporary work with no
historicity either real or imagined, I might find I have the edge over the competition. And as long as
it isn't costing me anything .
Leaning back his chair so that it rested against the wall he sipped his tea and pondered.
The Moment changes. One must be ready to change with it. Or otherwise left high and dry.
The rule of survival, he thought. Keep eye peeled regarding situation around you. Learn its
demands. And — meet them. Be there at the right time doing the right thing.
Be yinnish. The Oriental knows. The smart black yinnish eyes.
Suddenly he had a good idea; it made him sit upright instantly. Two birds, one stone. Ah. He
hopped to his feet, excited. Carefully wrap best of jewelry pieces (removing tag, of course). Pin,
pendant, or bracelet., Something nice, anyhow. Then — since have to leave shop, close up at two as
it is — saunter over to Kasouras' apartment building. Mr. Kasouras, Paul, will be at work.
However, Mrs. Kasoura, Betty, will very likely be home.
Graft gift, this new original U.S. artwork. Compliments of myself personally, in order to obtain
high-place reaction. This is how a new line is introduced. Isn't it lovely? Whole selection back at
store; drop in, etc. This one for you, Betty.
He trembled. Just she and I, midday in the apartment. Husband off at work. All on up and up,
however; brilliant pretext.
Getting a small box plus wrapping paper and ribbon, Robert Childan began preparing a gift for
Mrs. Kasoura. Dark, attractive woman, slender in her silk Oriental dress, high heels, and so on. Or
maybe today blue cotton cooliestyle lounging pajamas, very light and comfortable and informal.
Ah, he thought.
Or is this too bold? Husband Paul becoming irked. Scenting out and reacting badly. Perhaps go
slower; take gift to him, to his office? Give much the same story, but to him. Then let him give gift
to her; no suspicion. And, Robert Childan thought, then I give Betty a call on the phone tomorrow
or next day to get her reaction.
Even more airtight!
When Frank Frink saw his business partner coming back up the sidewalk he could tell that it had
not gone well.
'What happened?' he said, taking the wicker hamper from Ed and putting it in the truck. 'Jesus
Christ, you were gone an hour and a half. It took him that long to say no?'
Ed said, 'He didn't say no.' He looked tired. He got into the truck and sat.
'What'd he say, then?' Opening the hamper, Frink saw that a good many of the pieces were gone.
Many of their best. 'He took a lot. What's the matter, then?'
'Consignment,' Ed said.
'You let him?' He could not believe it. 'We talked it over — '
'I don't know how come.'
'Christ,' Frink said.
'I'm sorry. He acted like he was going to buy it. He picked a lot out. I thought he was buying.'
They sat together silently in the truck for a long time.
It had been a terrible two weeks for Mr. Baynes. From his hotel room he had called the Trade
Mission every day at noon to ask if the old gentleman had put in an appearance. The answer had
been an unvarying no. Mr. Tagomi's voice had become colder and more formal each day. As Mr.
Baynes prepared to make his sixteenth call, he thought, Sooner or later they'll tell me that Mr.
Tagomi is out. That he isn't accepting any more calls from me. And that will be that.
What has happened? Where is Mr. Yatabe?
He had a fairly good idea. The death of Martin Bormann had caused immediate consternation in
Tokyo. Mr. Yatabe no doubt had been en route to San Francisco, a day or so offshore, when new
instructions had reached him. Return to the Home Islands for further consultation.
Bad luck, Mr. Baynes realized. Possibly even fatal.
But he had to remain where he was, in San Francisco. Still trying to arrange the meeting for
which he had come. Forty-five minutes by Lufthansa rocket from Berlin, and now this. A weird
time in which we are alive. We can travel anywhere we want, even to other planets. And for what?
To sit day after day, declining in morale and hope. Falling into an interminable ennui. And
meanwhile, the others are busy. They are not sitting helplessly waiting.
Mr. Baynes unfolded the midday edition of the Nippon Times and once more read the headlines.
DR. GOEBBELS NAMED REICHS CHANCELLOR
Surprise solution to leadership problem by Partei Committee. Radio speech viewed decisive. Berlin
crowds cheer. Statement expected. Göring may be named Police Chief over Heydrich.
He reread the entire article. And then he put the paper once more away, took the phone, and gave
the Trade Mission number.
'This is Mr. Baynes. May I have Mr. Tagomi?'
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested