A Hidden Warrior in the Park

Dear Diary:

I took an early evening walk around Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side in mid-November and ran into a guy I recognized but did not know well. We started talking. He was walking a friend’s Jack Russell terrier. As we talked, the terrier passed the time sniffing around the bottom of a city trash can, as most dogs enjoy doing.

Eventually, the conversation got to the point of asking each other what we did for a living. He told me that he bought old art and then tried to resell it. Just as he said that, the Jack Russell tugged the leash, and our attention went to the dog and the trash can.

He noticed something on top of the can, put his hand in and withdrew a small statue of an American Indian ready for battle, with his war face on and his bow and arrow drawn.

“This is what I do,” he said. “I find stuff like this.”

We were both amazed.

He handed it to me; it was heavy. “I think it’s bronze,” I said. “This is really nice — you should take it.”

“It’s kind of weird,” he said; “it’s probably junk.”

I said, “I think it’s cool; if you don’t want it, I’ll take it.”

Well, he said. “Maybe I can get 50 bucks for it at the junk shop on 88th and First, the place with no sign.”

“I think it’s worth more,” I said, “but good luck with it.”

The next morning I got an e-mail thanking me for encouraging him to take “The Indian,” because he had sold it for $400. He said he owed me a dinner.

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