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Issue 87 - A hoodwinker's guide

Whisky Magazine Issue 87
April 2010


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A hoodwinker's guide

Jefferson Chase looks at a decadent debut.

Someone recently asked me what sort of books I liked, and I answered that I particularly enjoyed stuff with lots of sex, drugs, profanity and lines like “I need this to be platinum by tomorrow.” I said that because I had just finished Clancy Martin's marvelously decadent debut How To Sell, which is about sex, drugs, profanity and the high-end gem trade.

The hero of the story, Bobby Clark, leaves his home in Canada at age sixteen after his girlfriend dumps him. He ends up in Dallas-Fort Worth, where his older brother Jim sets him up with a job as a gofer in a discount top-end jewellery shop.

It isn't long before Bobby moves up: “Son. Let me see that watch, there, con. That big daddy. The gold one.” I was Windexing the Rolex case…I had done the trash, the ashtrays, and the vacuuming but I was behind on the showcases because Jim had sold one hundred and eighty thousand over the weekend, so he slept in.

In this scene, Bobby pretends to be a salesman and his career is under way.

It doesn't take him long, either, to master the tricks of the trade, which include selling bracelets and watches one does not yet actually possess and keeping the clients well-lubricated.

He makes some of his bigger sales to an egregiously wealthy yokel named Joe Link with help from a female colleague, nicknamed the Polack, with whom he's also having an affair: He had a Jack and Coke in his hand. He was a tanned old Texas rancher who had made a fortune, young, in the Gulf, by building and le...

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