"Did you see the article in the Times today?" Mark and I are sitting in the student lounge reading while we wait for our next class to start. "Which one? I read the financial section." "The one about the coat to wear to Davos?" "Where's Davos?" "Dude, who cares? The article is about a new Norwegian Wool coat all the big shots are wearing. It's stylish, Dude. We need to get ourselves one of those if we want to get ahead in this world." "If you want to get ahead, you better stop wasting time reading fashion articles and focus on Econ. That class is killing me, man. Did you check out chapter 9? I can't even understand the words, much less the equations." In our second year at Columbia, Mark and I are paying our way with scholarships, grants, and lots of loans. We cannot afford to fail a class. "We'll figure it. We always do, Mark reassures me. "Oh my god! It says the coat has become a favorite of financiers, television anchors, and movie stars. And can you believe this? Joe from Squawk Box wore it at the World Economic Forum. I remember seeing him; he looked great that day. I watched the whole show just to check him out every time he did a segment. He looked sharp." "Remember anything he said? Let me see that article." "It says a former Goldman Sachs banker bought two for his sons who live here in NY. Man, wish he was my dad." Mark hands me the paper. "Did you get to the section where it says it costs between $1,000 to $3,000, or did you skip that part?" "Come on, let's go check it out. I checked, and they have them at Bloomingdale's." "Mark, we've got to study. Focus. We don't have time for that." "I'll pay for the ride. Let's go. We can be back in an hour." Mark pulls out his phone and orders an Uber. We grab our coats and walk into the bitter Manhattan cold. Our ride is waiting for us when we reach the curb, and we hurry into the back seat. "Where are you going to get the money?" "Don't worry. You just put it out there in the universe, and the universe figures out how to get it to you." "Did they change Visa's name to Universe?" "Very funny. You have to have a dream, man." "I do, finishing school and getting a job to pay off my freaking loans." Mark looks out the window and nearly jumps out of the car. "Oh my God, that's Patrick Dempsey! He's wearing a Norwegian Wool coat. Oh my God! That's the color I want, a soft gray. It will go with everything." Mark points out the window. I crane my neck to check out the guy and don't see what's the big deal. Looks like he's wearing a regular coat. A few minutes later, we're at Third Avenue and 59th, jump out of the car, and run inside Bloomingdale's. As if guided by an internal GPS, Mark heads directly to the men's coat area, and there he sees the coat of today's dream. He stops, mesmerized. Nearly salivating, he tries to grab a coat off the rack, but it's tied with a security wire. Immediately, a frigid-looking clerk in suit and tie walks over to us. He looks like he should be working at a bank, not a clothing store. "May I help you?" he asks. He looks us up and down, trying to decide if we can afford to buy a coat and not wanting to waste his time. "Yeah, I'd like to try on this one," Mark says, pointing to a sleek, gray coat. He's a lot more excited than the clerk. The salesclerk removes the coat from the rack and expertly turns it to make sure we see the price tag before offering to help Mark into it. "These are made of one hundred percent cashmere and silk, filled with down for extra warmth, and completely waterproof," the clerk explains. Mark slides his right arm into the coat sleeve, then his left arm; he pulls down on the coat to adjust the fit, closes his eyes. I'm thinking, holy shit, the guy's having an orgasm. "Give us a minute," Mark tells the clerk. The clerk hesitates, deciding whether to stay with us and guard the expensive garment or walk toward a guy dressed like he's going to buy. He leaves us alone. "Here, try it on." "No, man, what for? I'm not going to buy it." "You've got to feel these pockets; they are extra wide and long inside and cover your wrists. It feels so good. Go ahead, try it." I refuse, and Mark continues to admire his image in the full-size mirror. I'll admit, he does look good. The clerk returns, ready to put the coat back on its hanger. "I'll take it," Mark says. I can't believe my ears, and neither can the sales dude, his eyes wide open. I can see he's calculating his commission in his head. "Man, you're crazy. How are you going to pay for it? It's nearly three thousand plus eight and a half percent sales tax!" I whisper. "Don't worry, money attracts money, and this coat is a giant money magnet." "You're out of your mind." "Come on, get one." "My puffy coat is fine. I don't need a coat." "I bet you I'll make my first million before you do." "Bet on, man!" We walk to the counter, and Mark whips out his Visa. I sink my hands further into my puffy coat pocket, fiddling with some loose change.
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