Note Book

Advise and suggest “Jewelry’s a hard thing for a guy to buy,” observes Phyllis, lighting a cigarette. “Everyone’s in a hurry. Everyone wants a bargain. And they all get taken.” Phyllis drops the match in an ashtray and exhales. Albert, seated on the stool on the opposite side of the jewelry case, shifts slightly and reaches for the paper plate of Christmas cookies. Mr. Bill, in a brown Globe uniform, sighs and crosses his arms. “I tell you big story, short time,” Albert says. A year ago, Albert rapped on Phyllis’s door. Phyllis – “Phil” – buzzed him in. The 60-something Lebanese immigrant explained he’d just bought a 14 karat gold neckchain for $69 from Caldor. Would Phyllis appraise it? Phyllis deposited the item on her scale and declared it hollow. She then opened the wall case behind the counter and put a slew of gold neckchains in Albert’s hands.

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