While perusing the Antiquitätenmesse in Vienna in October, we came upon a stand prominently located in the foyer of the Palais Ferstel. The vitrines were filled with a vast assortment of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts. In fact so many, in such good condition, that I had to think there was something not quite right. And then, as if the Baby Jesus had answered my prayers, I overheard the voice of tall Englishman behind me, addressing a dark haired man with a mustache.
Englishman: Oh Hi, I was hoping to find you here.
Mustache: Oh Hello again, are you buying paintings again this year?
Englishman: No, I just came here to see you.
Mustache: (audibly uncomfortable) Oh I’m very pleased.
Englishman: You see I wanted to bring something up with you. You remember that terracotta statuette of Venus I bought from you. Well I had an archaeologist I know round to my house for dinner, and I showed it to her. She said it couldn’t possibly be authentic.
Mustache: No, it’s not possible…
Englishman: She said she’s held hundreds of these, and that the weight of this one wasn’t right…
Mustache: But it’s fine. It’s fine. We can have Herr bblbblb [inaudible] examine it.
Englishman: Now you said you got it through Switzerland, is that right?
Mustache: Uh…yes. Yes. It’s fine. It’s no problem. We can have Herr bbllbbllstein [inaudible] look at it.
Englishman: Well, you see this is very upsetting…
Mustache: Yes. It’s no problem. Did you get our invitation card?
Englishman: No. I bought a ticket this year. I only came because I wanted to talk with you.
Mustache: Oh no. They didn’t send out the invitation to you? I’m sorry. Please come see me in my shop on Monday. I see you then…
Hmmmm. I wonder what the chances of his shop being open on Monday were?