Mr. Singh: From Thereby Hangs A Tail
Last night we watched this movie called The Pawnbroker. It didn’t remind me of Mr. Singh at all. Also I didn’t understand it one bit, and afterward Bernie seemed depressed. So here’s Mr. Singh.
“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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