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Return Of The Magi

December 26th, 2010

“Hello, I wish to return this watch chain wot my wife puchased in this here emporium not three days ago.”

“Oh, that’s a fine chain. Our ‘Executive’ model. Lovely links.”

“The links don’t enter into it.”

“Well, then. Is there anything wrong with it?”

“I’ll bloody well tell you what’s wrong with it, you berk!”

“Wait, why have you got a British accent? This is New York!”

“I was told it would be funnier that way. Now, I am here to tell you wot is wrong with this here watch chain wot I received as a Yuletide present!”

“So, what is wrong with it?”

“I don’t own a watch!”

“Oh. Then that’s not a very good present.”

“Tell me about it, mate.”

“Why did your wife buy it for you, then?”

“Well, I had a watch. Very nice one. Father give it to me, his father give it to him.”

“What happened to it?”

“I sold it.¬†Look, I barely had two farthings to rub together, didn’t I? I am employed at Abraham’s Equine Haberdashery, and I work on commission.”

“Tough break.”

“Anyway, me wife. Lots of hair.¬†Long, lustrous locks. Down past her knees. You could build a nest in it.”

“You built a nest?”

“Never you mind. The point is that she loves this hair, loves to put things in it. Since St. Crispin’s Day she’s been on about these combs she saw in that shop window. Pure tortoise shell, jewelled rims. Wouldn’t stop yakking about ’em.

Wot was I bleedin’ supposed to do? Not much call for horse hats these days. So, I sold me shiny, gold watch and bought the combs. For Christmas.”

“That was certainly very charitable of you.”

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you? So, I go back to me flat, and what do I find? Silly bint cut off her hair!”

“What the hell?”

“Exactly me thought! As it transpired, she also was short on funds. And she passes by a wiggery every day on her way to the orphan farm. So she sells her hair to buy a present…a chain for me bleedin’ watch!

“Well, that’s sorta ironical, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it’s bloody ironical! It’s Rod Bloody Serling!”

“Doesn’t sound so bad. She’ll grow more hair.”

“That’s wot she said. ‘My hair grows so fast, Jim.’ And maybe me father’s father’s watch will grow back as well!”

“But…it’s kinda sweet. You gave away your greatest treasures for love. Someone might write that of all who give gifts you two were the wisest.”

“Bugger that! I’ve got a bald wife, a bag of useless combs and a whimsically paradoxical watch chain!”

“Ah, okay. Do you have a gift receipt?”

“Gift receipt? Gift receipt! It’s 1905! There are no bloody gift receipts!

“I’m very sorry, sir. No returns without a valid receipt.”

It was three days before the police found the body of the jeweller. The coroner’s examination determined the cause of death to be strangulation. The weapon, a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaimed its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do.

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