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." He stared at her-it was almost a leer-as if nothing that she could offer him would be as toothsome a morsel as herself.Shadow felt deeply uncomfortable: it was like watching an old wolf stalking a fawn too young to know that if it did not run, and run now, it would wind up in a distant glade with its bones picked clean by the ravens.The girl blushed once more and told them that dessert was apple pie à la mode-"That's with a scoop of vanilla ice cream"-Christmas cake à la mode, or a red-and-green whipped pudding.Wednesday stared into her eyes and told her that he would try the Christmas cake à la mode.Shadow passed."Now, as grifts go," said Wednesday, "the fiddle game goes back three hundred years or more.And if you pick your chicken correctly you could still play it anywhere in America tomorrow.""I thought you said that your favorite grift was no longer practical," said Shadow."I did indeed.However, that is not my favorite.No, my favorite was one they called the Bishop Game.It had everything: excitement, subterfuge, portability, surprise.Perhaps, I think from time to time, perhaps with a little modification, it might." he thought for a moment, then shook his head."No.Its time has passed.It is, let us say, 1920, in a city of medium to large size-Chicago, perhaps,-or New York, or Philadelphia.We are in a jeweler's emporium.A man dressed as a clergyman-and not just any clergyman, but a bishop, in his purple-enters and picks out a necklace-a gorgeous and glorious confection of diamonds and pearls, and pays for it with a dozen of the crispest hundred-dollar bills."There's a smudge of green ink on the topmost bill and the store owner, apologetically but firmly, sends the stack of bills to the bank on the corner to be checked.Soon enough, the store clerk returns with the bills.The bank says they are none of them counterfeit.The owner apologizes again, and the bishop is most gracious, he well understands the problem, there are such lawless and ungodly types in the world today, such immorality and lewdness abroad in the world and shameless women, and now that the underworld has crawled out of the gutter and come to live on the screens of the picture palaces, what more could anyone expect? And the necklace is placed in its case, and the store owner does his best not to ponder why a bishop of the church would be purchasing a twelve-hundred-dollar diamond necklace, nor why he would be paying good cash money for it."The bishop bids him a hearty farewell, and walks out on the street, only for a heavy hand to descend on his shoulder.'Why Soapy, yez spalpeen, up to your old tricks, are you?' and a broad beat cop with an honest Irish face walks the bishop back into the jewelry store." 'Beggin' your pardon, but has this man just bought anything from you?' asks the cop.'Certainly not,' says the bishop.'Tell him I have not.' 'Indeed he has,' says the jeweler.'He bought a pearl and diamond necklace from me-paid for it in cash as well.' 'Would you have the bills available, sir?' asks the cop."So the jeweler takes the twelve hundred-dollar bills from the cash register and hands them to the cop, who holds them up to the light and shakes his head in wonder.'Oh, Soapy, Soapy,' he says, 'these are the finest that you've made yet! You're a craftsman, that you are!'"A self-satisfied smile spreads across the bishop's face.'You can't prove nothing,' says the bishop.'And the bank said that they were on the level.It's the real green stuff.' 'I'm sure they did,' agrees the cop on the beat, 'but I doubt that the bank had been warned that Soapy Sylvester was in town, nor of the quality of the hundred-dollar bills he'd been passing in Denver and in St.Louis.' And with that he reaches into the bishop's pocket and pulls out the necklace."Twelve hundred dollars' worth of diamonds and pearls in exchange for fifty cents' worth of paper and ink,' says the policeman, who is obviously a philosopher at heart.'And passing yourself off as a man of the church.You should be ashamed,' he says, as he claps the handcuffs on the bishop, who is obviously no bishop, and he marches him away, but not before he gives the jeweler a receipt for both the necklace and the twelve hundred counterfeit dollars.It's evidence, after all.""Was it really counterfeit?" asked Shadow."Of course not! Fresh banknotes, straight from the bank, only with a thumbprint and a smudge of green ink on a couple of them to make them a little more interesting."Shadow sipped his coffee.It was worse than prison coffee."So the cop was obviously no cop.And the necklace?""Evidence," said Wednesday.He unscrewed the top from the salt shaker, poured a little heap of salt on the table."But the jeweler gets a receipt, and assurance that he'll get the necklace straight back as soon as Soapy comes to trial [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]