All jewelers are bastards; they run after capital all day. They run after gold dust and forest green wax models. They chase and hunt, they root for loot, they sprinkle diamond milk onto rice krispy gold ingots. And in many ways, they get high on their own supply; they disburse bracelets, necklaces, all linked with chispitas de hielo, like some tiny bridge gone slack, some scintillating centipede getting it's stomach rubbed.
Bastards because they need to get their price of labor in there and probably a finder's fee or handler's tax, a mordida that says I was at this deal when it was jumping from one testicle to another. There's an if you-hurry-me-fee and a fee for if you tell me the wrong size or talle and I have to recast. Bastards with no price fix scruples, no threshold for graft, no subtle finagle. They have the product, handle the manufacture (even if they have to send it out) and give you a price that involves labor, parts, splendor, and awe.
But the annals are reserved for those especially unscrupulous puss-sacks that prowled the Seybold when Cocaine was king. I remember the jewelers all lined up outside the cafecito window in one enormous huddle of guayaberas, Tommy Bahama hats, and cigar cologne. All nationalities, all religious affiliations, huddling outside in the ninety-three degree afternoon sauna, sharpening their gouging knives and rubbing their sausage-link fingers together. The cafecito window is where the deals were sprung, where affiliations were launched, and where treachery reared it's fuck-ugly mug.
Werner was a Brazilian jeweler; his specialty was diamond-setting. He was a Black Belt but very delicate with setting diamonds. He was also extremely racist, but all the other jewelers liked him like that because going out on a limb like that gave them an opening, a weapon they might use on you in later transactions. His grandparents had been German, so the handlebar moustache Werner wore only needed liederhosen to compliment it; he was just below tall, bald, and passed for White. He could split a papaya in half with his katana while getting the pose right.
The smart jewelers had more work than they could possibly finish, so they outsourced a great deal of the work they did on their jewelry, but it's like this in most industries, que no? However, some of the jewelers outsourcing labor didn't want other jewelers to know for various reasons. So, work around the Seybold always had this spy code of reticence. If you pulled away from the cafecito window earlier than usual, the other jewelers already knew whose job you were rushing off to fulfill. You can imagine that some of the jewelers amassed outside the cafecito window were not really jewelers but fences.
There was one fence, Humbertico, that actually bought a used Crown Vic from the police because he wanted everyone to know who he was in cahoots with. Humbertico always wore Oakleys and had his hat backward; he looked like a man in his mid-forties that had been sequestered by his fraternity and kept in a dungeon for 15 years. Humbertico could get you whatever you needed, except drugs, drugs were someone else's dominion, but he did a swift trade in stolen laptops, video cameras, and televisions. He wasn't a jeweler, but they had given his honorary status because Humbertico was stupid busy come Christmas, and he could get you that thing your wife most needed in her life to shut the fuck up and let you be a scoundrel again.
A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.