Виталий Е. Ермолин, студент холодных вод (seminarist) wrote,
Виталий Е. Ермолин, студент холодных вод

A cocaine smuggling and selling "stunt"

was successfully carried out by an old fruit-vendor, now dead, who was agent for a clever gang of cocaine-smugglers. The old man was well known round the streets of Soho. He was about in all weathers with a large basket of walnuts which he sold in the streets. His customers consisted of small boys and of mysterious parties in evening dress whose passion for nuts appeared to be extraordinary. The nuts were four a penny, except to certain customers ; and, when any of the latter happened along, one of the nuts given them always came from the same corner of the basket. The money given to him was placed inside his quickly doubled palm.

All his nuts, except a few special nuts reserved for those whose generous payment made them worthy customers (the old man knew them intimately), were good nuts, excellent nuts, and could have been investigated by all the police force of London. The chosen few had been cut open, a tiny packet of the deadly powder substituted for the kernel, and stuck up again. The " clients " went on to their party or their dance laughing at the fun and cracking walnuts with youthful disregard of the conventions as they went. The old man bought his cocaine in the docks, from lascars who had secreted it in its crude state between their toes, in the lining of their coats, hi hollow pencils, unlit pipes, fake cigarettes, or rolled up in their shirt-tails.

Tales of Bohemia, Taverns and the Underworld. Stories and Sketches of People Famous, Infamous, and Obscure. By Stanley Scott, Author of "The Human Side of Crook and Convict Life". London: Hurst & Blackett, Ltd. (year?)
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