took my younger son Michael on a tour of
Wandering the familiar downtown, we came upon an gangly, animated man hawking Swiss Army knives. I had always wondered about the Swiss Army's reliance on such a small weapon. What if the Salvation Army got real ammunition?
street salesman and his wares seemed rooted to their spot, two permanent
With a sudden look of disgust at his client, the salesman exploded: "Oh, just take it!" and stormed off, leaving his knives. Wasn't it usually the disgruntled customer who leaves a counter full of merchandise? A mooring had broken, and the curious surface tension dance between buyer and seller was mysteriously removed.
The buyer shrugged, pocketed the knife and disappeared.
I was left with one of the abandoned knives in my hand and
watched dumbly as they both split. What should I do? I delicately held it up in my fingers so as
to highlight the purity of my intent. A
butter knife wouldn't melt in my hand. I
felt foolish, exposed. I watched the
vendor's back as he disappeared up the street, expecting him to turn around
I put the knife back on the stand and started to walk off with my child, scanning for the vanished vendor. I kept glancing back at the knives, longingly.
Two men appeared out of nowhere, folded the stand and packed the boxes into a van parked at the curb. I judiciously decided that this was a work-release program and these men were monitoring the vendor's progress. So he, not I, was being tested.
In which case, I could have kept the knife.
But their van said "New York Police Department" on it, so this was just a floating bunko hit in which a guy managed to keep a few feet ahead of the police.
child said how lucky we were that I hadn't kept the stolen property. I spat out my heartfelt agreement, and we
like the vendor ejected by the police from