We’re Christmas shopping, which is how come there’s no post today. Bernie wants to get something for Suzie. Something appropriate he tells me. “Sometimes I think I have trouble with the whole appropriate concept,” Bernie says. Bernie and I are alike in some ways.
“Maybe Mr. Singh has a nice bauble, a bracelet, or ring, or one of those neck things.” Mr. Singh the pawn shop dude? “Easy, big guy.”
Mr. Singh: From Thereby Hangs A Tail
“Bernie! Chet!” said Mr. Singh. “How is our beautiful timepiece today?”
Bernie handed over his grandfather’s watch. His grandfather once owned a big ranch where Mesquite Road and our whole neighborhood was now, but lost everything, possibly because of a drinking problem, although the drinking problem might have come from some other story Bernie had told me, a story about another relative. But not Bernie’s father. Bernie never talked about his father, who’d been dead for a long time. Bernie’s mother was still around. I’d met her once: a piece of work. She lived somewhere far away with a new husband, or an even newer one. She called Bernie Kiddo! What was up with that? But I still shouldn’t have done what I did, a story perhaps for another time.
Mr. Singh held the watch in both hands, admiring it. “Do you know that only a dozen of these were made?” he said. “How I would love to take this on Antiques Roadshow.” Mr. Singh had a strange way of talking, almost like music. I could listen to him all day. “Did you ever find out how it came into his possession?” he said.
“No,” said Bernie.
“Thereby hangs a tale, I’m sure,” said Mr. Singh.
A tail? Was Mr. Singh saying Bernie’s grandfather’s watch had a tail? Fun to listen to, Mr. Singh, but hard to understand. We left, a big wad of cash in Bernie’s pocket and a bite or two of curried goat kebab in my mouth. I like ethnic food. So does Bernie. There are picky eaters out there, but not us.
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