Sunday, June 12, 2005

Pecaw's Gift / Chapter 39 Norbert's Jewelry

J. D. finished off another cup of coffee while sitting in his chair at the top of the stairs where he had a view of the sales floor. There were several ancient wooden desks stored on the second floor along with forty six years worth of tax forms stacked in rows of boxes. The gray boxes faded into the darkness as the dust blended the edges one to another. Norbert’s Jewelry Store had been J. D’s extra job for the past eight years. It had started as only a Christmas Season job, standing around in his uniform all day to add an air of dignity to the small jewelry establishment. It was toward the end of Main Street; looking more like a pawn shop than a fine jewelry store. Sal Norbert was exactly what one would have expected; pushy, loud and very very Yiddish. J. D. would smoke his cigars as he walked around the store talking to the salesmen; now he only chewed on them. Each year J. D. purchased a piece; a gold nugget neck chain, a watch or something for his wife. It was good business for the store to keep him on.

“I need to be getting along now Solly.” J.D. mumble as he eased himself out of the chair; reaching down for a half empty paper lunch sack that was on the floor at the edge of the desk.

“Did you see those new diamond stick pins that just came in. Come, I want to see which one you like the best.”, Sal tugged the air in J. D’s general direction. Sal half stepped and slid himself toward the display case. He knew that at least one would be sold before the night was done. “Oh yes!”, pausing to admire the sparkling points of light as they danced off the end of the golden shaft. “This one will look nice on that tie. Come now, let me see, Oh yes this is the one.” Sal talked on and on, never for a moment was there a doubt that the sale was already rung up. “Of course I can knock off, say , fifteen; no, make that a full twenty percent.”

J. D. smiled and grunted through his cigar as he made his tie more accessible. “Such a deal. . .”, sarcastically, “I’ll settle with you on Friday.” The glitter caught the light from the showroom as J.D. walked across the floor towards the front door. Stopping for a few seconds at the full length wall mirror to admire his newest acquisition, “Solly, I don’t think I ever take home any money from this place. It all ends up back in your safe.” There along the back wall of the office were three old vaults. They were turn of the century jewelry safes. The doors had ornate gold trim designs and inside were individual locked compartments for keeping items separated. J.D’s grumbled a nod of approval as Sal wrote up the sale.

“Did I tell you? . . . That diamond came from the same mine as the ones in those earrings that you bought your wife. How is she doing? When are you going to get her that matching necklace?” Patting J.D’s back as he stood next to him at the mirror. “Just like it was made just for that tie! You two will look so good with her wearing that beautiful necklace.”

“Not tonight Solly.” Shaking his head, but smiling at having been set up so well. “I need to see an old friend of mine at the hospital. I’ll be in around noon for lunch; your buying this time.”, reminding Sal of the profit margin on diamond stick pins. J.D. crumpled the edge of the sack tighter in his hands. The brown paper was worn soft from being used for the third day in a row. He still had an apple and a wedge of cheese to snack on later. J.D. locked the several bolts on the front door and walked to his car, talking to himself about having bought the trinket.

“Tomorrow then; and have a nice visit.” Sal dismissed him and walked to the front counter where he had been arranging the diamond rings. He reached to his shoulder and adjusted the elastic suspenders. His thin body made even slimmer as the long stripe of the band sliced down a crisp cotton dress shirt onto a pair of brown slacks.