Zara protested, “What do you mean, you can’t buy them? I’m no diamond expert, but even though they are a little rough and not as nicely polished as they should be, I can tell they are of a great value! They should bring a small fortune! Okay, a large fortune! What is the big deal?”
The elderly gentleman looked over his spectacles and in a very paternal way stated, “Young lady, without a bill of sale or authenticated provenance, these are tainted diamonds. Here in the New York Diamond District we do not support the trafficking of …”
Zara finished his statement. “Yeah, I heard it before, blood diamonds! I keep hearing that from every one of you little old squirrely men trying to get my diamonds on the cheap! I’m from Russia, not Sierra Leone, for God’s sake! My diamonds are from Russia! These are family heirlooms, and great grandmother passed them down. There was no provenance or bill of sale. Why would there be? Where can I go to deal with someone who knows the value of diamonds, since you obviously don’t?”
The diamond merchant let the insult roll off of him as he responded, “Madam, two Presidents have issued executive orders forbidding trafficking in blood or conflict diamonds in this country, which, without the proper documentation, these are classified as such. You can go to your local fence who will not know what to do with these potentially nice stones or go to another country where ethics are not so scrupulously observed.
“I recognize their value. However I cannot deal with you for them as it will cost me my business and my freedom. I treasure both, having come from a Nazi concentration camp where human rights meant nothing. In this country, they do. Therefore, I am not inclined to subsidize regimes without honor. I understand that there are underground people in South Africa that could remove them from the setting and essentially change all their characteristics. Enjoy your travels. Good day, madam.”
Zara was furious. She recognized she was wasting her time as she packed up her hard won booty that couldn’t be brokered through the normal channels and stormed to the door. As a parting gesture of animosity, the shop keeper didn’t release the door lock as she went to leave. The result was her piling into the glass door and unexpectedly bumping her nose up against it.
The shopkeeper smiled and innocently apologized, “Oops! Gracious me! Should have unlocked the door sooner. As my grandson would say, my bad!” The shopkeeper chuckled loud enough for Zara to hear until the door closed and the sounds of the city intervened.
Out on the street Zara surveyed the district and realized that she was going to hear the same story from each of them. She knew the ones who wouldn’t tell her, who would try to take her diamonds for a song so they could be re-cut for a profit she would never see.
“Just great,” she thought. “Here I am with five million Euros in stolen diamonds, but I’m still starving! I didn’t count on not being able to sell the damn things! Okay, well, it’s time for plan B. Now that I think of it, I don’t have a plan B.
“Self, we need to conserve what little cash we have so we can better plan our next move. As much as I hate to admit it, I need to con some dense male into taking me in so I have a safe place to rest. I guess I should use the helpless but proud female routine number three to get a place to stay. Now all I need is a mark to …”
Zara didn’t get a chance to finish her thought as she collided with what might be her best option. As she watched, this attractive male admired her lines and eyed her from head to toe from his juxtaposition on the ground.
Feinting a little disorientation from the human collision, Zara groused, “My, people come and go so quickly here! If you’re hurt, let me help you up, sir. Of course, I will do that as soon as I see where I have landed. I didn’t think I would run, quite literally, into such a powerful male in my travels. Are you what they call, in professional football, a linebacker?”
The flattery worked its charm, and the dashing male paused to offer all means of assistance to the fallen lady. She smiled at him and straightened her garments in a very provocative manner that he couldn’t help but appreciate.
Once she was back on steady legs, he offered, “Madam, a thousand pardons and endless apologies for my coarse actions. May a gentleman offer a lady such as yourself some refreshment to help ease your fallen condition? I have been accused of being ill-mannered but not without compassion for someone suffering from my poor conduct. May I know your name so that I may properly apologize?”
Zara smiled at her potential new mark with his polished manners and very expensive clothing. Perhaps he had some useful connections that would be worth cultivating. She wanted to cloak her name under one of her many aliases for the time being. As the head of the United States branch of the Dteam, she had ten aliases that she could switch among. For the time being she was trying to stay under the radar of her Russian boss, so she decided on the newest one as she accepted, “Oh, kind sir, I am grateful to meet one so generous in manner, strength, and looks! I was warned that New Yorkers had no compassion for other travelers, so I am pleased to see there are exceptions! My name is Daria Plovia, kind sir. And you are?”
The male inclined his head slightly and offered, “My name is Arthur Buswald. All my friends call me Buzz.”
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