Now that he had the diamonds---there were an even 100---Bas had no idea what to do with them. How do you sell diamonds?  It would be easy to go to a jewelry store, of course.

But when his mother had died, he had taken her small diamond ring to a jeweler and the man had asked for his passport, before paying him, and recorded the information. And it hadn't been much money. Since he had removed the diamonds from the picture frame, he had visited a couple of jewelry stores, looking at the diamonds, on display, trying to assess some range of value. What he had seen were diamonds the size of pinheads, anyway not much bigger than a pin's head it seemed to Bas. He saw that two diamonds that appeared to be the same size had two completely different prices. He had asked about this and was told that each had a different grading: one was "D" flawless and the other something else. He couldn't remember. Then there was something about the "coloration". He had not seen any color. They both looked like glass to him. Then there was something about "clarity." The only thing he was able to follow was "carat" and "cut." That made sense; how big they were and how many different angles.

There were important diamond houses in Amsterdam, lots of them, but, again, they would ask for identification and probably want to know where he had gotten them. What kind of story could he make up?

He knew he was a simple person with a simple mind, but he was smart enough to know that he didn't know much. He mulled it over in his foolish mind for days. He had talked to Gerard, but Gerard wasn't even as smart as he was. He had finally decided on asking Mendocino, his favorite whore---the one that looked like a movie star under the red lights of her window---if she knew of anyone? She had said she would ask around. She said she was sure she could help. He liked her, she was a smart person. She treated him nicely. Not like some of the others who were crude and had him in-and-out of their room in less than ten minutes. Mendocino always gave him thirty minutes even though he had his manly business over within five. In the remaining time, she talked to him about how much she loved Ireland and wanted to go home and would when she had enough money. She said Ireland was a very poor country. He always gave her a big tip. 

The last meeting had been days ago. On Saturday, Gerard had invited him over to his house to watch the World Cup game between Poland and France for third place. He wasn't much interested. But, he had really needed a night out. After the game, they went to a cafe and, later, when the cafe closed, he tried to get Gerard to go with him to the Wallen; but ended up going alone. He wanted to ask Mendocino if she had found out anything. All he had had on his mind was diamonds. He saw them in his dreams---when he could sleep. Even his sleeping had been interrupted, with tossing-and-turning, as he worried over his new found wealth. If he could even call it that. He had no guilders in hand. So there was no real "money." Nothing he could spend. 

Her "window" was on the Sint Annendwarsstrat, just meters from the Oude Kerk, the first grand church built in Amsterdam. He thought it strange that the church was surrounded by the little rooms not much wider than the glass door windows behind which the whores sat. Mendocino short alley was named after a "saint." Now that was funny. Maybe it wasn't. Mendocino said she was a good Catholic and prayed to the Virgin Mary every day. A whore praying to a virgin? That reminded him of something he had read on a cafe's toilet wall: Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity. His English wasn't so good, but he understood the meaning of the message. A hopeless situation. He didn't say anything to Mendocino about it.  Her drape was pulled across the window. He could see no light showing through the corners. She wasn't there. How strange, it being Saturday night an all. He was disappointed.

He thought of going home, but he was horny. He looked across the way from Mendocino's window and saw a blond with long hair and tits as big as melons. When he looked up to see what her face looked like, she had a big smile on her face. Maybe she knew where Mendocino was. He went to the door and she opened it part way. She said to him, "Looking for a good time?"  He said he was looking for Mendocino. The whore said she could do everything Mendocino could do and better and she already had her hand on his pants and was rubbing his thing and he was getting hard. Why not?  Mendocino wasn't around. He went inside and she pulled the drape. He paid her the 50 guilders she asked for. He undressed and she laid on the mattress which was designed for one person; a double bed wouldn't fit in the space.  Didn't matter, it wasn't for sleeping. He was done in five minutes.

Before getting up to put his clothes back on he asked the whore, again, where Mendocino was. Instead of answering, she asked, "Wasn't I good enough for you, big boy?" He told her she had been fine. But, he said, he had to see her about another matter. What kind of other matter? Asked the whore.  He thought about that for a moment and decided there was no hurt in mentioning the diamonds; after all, she might know someone. So he told her that Mendocino was helping him sell some diamonds he had. The look he got back was like she was seeing him for the first time. "You have diamonds to sell? How many?" He told her, a lotta diamonds. She asked how many was a lot? "100!" He had answered. Then he felt her hand on his thing. He was getting hard. They did it, again! Wait 'til he told Gerard. When it was all over, she said, "I like you! You make me feel good!" He told her that he like her, too. She made him feel really good. She then said, "I have a good friend who knows a lot about diamonds. Maybe he could help you." He agreed that maybe her friend could help. She asked for his telephone number and name. He went to his pants and found a slip of paper and a stub of a pencil and wrote it all done in big block letters. He told her that it was his shop's telephone number. He didn't have one at his flat. Didn't need it; besides they were too expensive. She said the shop's number was okay. Her friend would call him there. His name was Bert. 

On Sunday, Bas and Gerard went to the Leidseplein where a screen, the size of one at a cinema, had been erected, to watch the final World Cup match. He wasn't any more interested in the game than the one the day before. However, it pleased him that Italy won because they had beaten the despised West Germans who had defeated Holland in the '74 final; and had been responsible for his father's death. Those last two points made you wonder whose side God was on. Either way, served the German's right!    




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