Lady dropped a black glove on the stairs on her way out. She won't be back for hours, and anyway, it doesn't matter. Bell snatched it before she was all the way into her posh taxi. Bell's my errand boy, and he's an idiot, but he knows how to snatch things. Folks don't see him. They don't see anybody, really, big city like this.
Great, I said. That's two left gloves tonight. Better come up with some right ones; folks' hands gonna get cold.
Yes boss, he says. Probably some right-handed guy trying to unlock his door right now, except I'm sitting here listening to you go on about cold right hands instead of out looking for it.
I motioned him back out into the night. Folks coming home from dinners out about now. You be there. Market don't run without nothing to sell.
As a matter of fact, I did have a right glove. Almost exactly matched this one too, if you didn't mind a little more wear on one cuff than the other, one glove a little less shiny, that sort of thing. Winter was just around the corner though; couldn't keep them for myself when there was money to be made and stuff to be traded.
Bell came back after midnight with three broken umbrellas, two working umbrellas, a jar of perfectly good mayonnaise, a length of satin cord, four right gloves and one more left one, and, a find he saved for last, presumably to impress me, a garnet must have fallen out of somebody's earring. Too small for a ring, he said, unless Mister was poor. We laughed about that: some poor girl crying over a lost garnet the size of a caraway seed.
That'll get us some bacon tomorrow, won't it? Bell would tradejust about anything for bacon.
Yes, and half a dozen eggs, plus some fuel for the gas fire, I said. Winter's coming, people need gloves.
And garnets, Bell said.