The thing was massive, she said. I saw the ring it was set in as I walked through the train carriage. The misty jewel with gaudy gold was sitting on small weighing scales – chrome with an electric display and buttons providing measurements in ways only the pickiest and meanest drug dealer would care for. She was grey – grey hair, grey face – talking loudly into a phone on the lurching Matlock train, repeating the words over and over again: “It’s massive.”
Her partner – same sallow bloodless skin – wore a dirty baseball cap. He kept picking the ring from the scales and eyeing it through a jeweler’s eyepiece which looked like it’d come out of a Christmas cracker. If the pair of them had been in the diamond business long they hid it well, or had been so unsuccessful that a last desperate lead had taken them out to here on a half hunch. The two carriage train clanked, cold, grabbing at the treeless scenery and clawing towards the city. The ring was passed back and forwards and the volume of her voice rose and rose. “Huge find!”
I watched her hawkish features sneer with the kind of rapture only a treasure hunter can feel when they’ve duped some poor local hick out of an inheritance. True passion and pleasure. The sweet taste of the steal. Nose bent over and cutting across her thin lips like a razorback. Eyes moving laser-fast from the diamond to him, to the other passengers.
I googled ‘Black Diamond’ on my phone, wondering if the value of one could make the couple a street robbery risk, if not by me then someone else within earshot. I expected a long list of pirate treasures, crowns, and stories about sweating men in African slave mines. I was wrong. The first page of results were for pornography. Sweat, but not much in the way of riches; not by the look of the women and men on the screen anyhow. Fake sex. Fake love. Low returns on something polished up to look like it was worth the appearance at first glance.
I left the train at Derby and missed my connection by two seconds; shouted at by a platform guard to ‘Get away from the tracks at once!’ I cursed the UK train network and stood back watching laughing faces pull away towards Sheffield. Windy platform. Cold. Standing and standing, unsure if I’d make it on time, but certain the sandwich I was eating wasn’t worth the £3 I’d paid for it. I was going to see my Woman. Knowledge is power. I was rich indeed.