She snorted in derision. “Nice try, Hank,” she said, leaning on my name like we were kids on the playground and Hank was the dumbest name on the planet. “No, it’s a coin – a commemorative coin. I need to snatch the coin and replace it with a counterfeit.”
Now we were getting somewhere. She knew I could make the coin and make the switch.
“Do you have photos of this coin?” I asked.
“You’ll make the counterfeit?” she asked, a little too quickly for my tastes.
So I let a beat go by before saying, “Counterfeiting is against the law. Isn’t it?
Her eyes widened, then relaxed into a smile.
“I’m not a cop,” she said, trimly.
“I doubt Pete would have sent you if he made you as the law, or had any idea in that direction,” I said. “But Pete’s been fooled a time or two. Me, too.”
“Look, you can trust me.”
“Sure, I have your word for it and all.”
“Yes, I have photos, and better, I have the manufacturer’s specs.”
“That’d be great for someone who wants to make a copy.”
“So. Do we have a deal?” asked the trim woman.
“We might.” We laughed.
I shook hands with “Stella Maris” and figured this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Turns out, it wasn’t beautiful and friendship is the wrong word, but no doubt about it, that was the beginning.