Harry brought Norris a golden knife. Norris had been Harry’s fence for twelve years, and they were, if not friends exactly, something close to it.
Norris told him how his kids were doing and when his wife was getting out of the state pen for women and how to hide things from the IRS and how a person actually had to buy a house.
Harry had figured he’d get a good price for that stolen knife. He’d got it when he went into someone’s house with a carpet cleaning crew—which he did mostly so he could steal things. Yes, he figured he’d get a good price because Norris loved gold: he had gold watches, six gold rings, a gold pendant, two gold chains, a gold painted car.
Norris surprised him by offering him a low price for the knife. “That’s solid gold, man. Fine workmanship, solid gold. I checked it in an antiques register. Solid fourteen karat. Sharp and in mint condition. I want three times that.”
Norris refused, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the knife. So Harry, still surprised, shrugged and put the knife back in the gym bag and said, “I’m outta here,” and he was even more surprised when Norris jerked the bag away, took out the knife, and stabbed him in the chest with it.
Norris stood over him with tears in his eyes. “I’m sorry, man. I’m sorry. I always liked you. I didn’t want to pay for that knife, though. It’s too good to pay for like that. It’s gold. It’s beautiful. But I had to have it. I wish you’d brought me ten silver spoons worth the same as you wanted. I would’ve bought them. But gold…and a knife perfect for killing, both. I could let the gold go, or the knife, but not both the gold and the knife.”
Harry whispered, “I understand, man. I do.”
Then he died, but he died understanding.
I mean, it made complete sense. Totally.