NEIMAN-MARCUS, the Texas-based department store which has a reputation of catering to oil and cattle millionaires, has just opened in Washington, D.C.

This is no accident, according to Feinbaum, a friend of many years.

"Mr. Neiman and Mr. Marcus know where the money is these days."

"But the people who work for the government in Washington just don't appear to be the types that Neiman-marcus would cater to."

"Neiman and Marcus weren't thinking about government employees when they decided to open here. They were thinking about all the people who work around the government. Washington dispenses $450 billion a year. There are a lot of guys in this town who work for a piece of that pie."

"Such as?"

"lawyers for one. There are enough lawyers in Washington to support 10 Neiman-Marcus's - or I should say lawyers' wives.

"Then there are lobbyists. They're always looking for something different to buy a friend in Congress or the Senate. I read somewhere that Neiman and Marcus are pushing a jogging suit lined with ermine for 10 grand. You give a ermine jogging suit to somebody and they'll never forget you."

"I'd love one for myself," I admitted.

"Then you have all the foreign embassies in this town. I hear South Korea opened up 100 charge accounts before the store was even built.

"And don't forget the wives of doctors. They'll go to Neiman-Marcus at the drop of a fur hat."

"I forgot the doctors' wives."

"This town is also loaded with real estate moguls who construct the buildings the government keeps ordering to house all the new departments that keep cropping up.

"These real estate moguls work long hours and their wives get very unhappy sitting around doing nothing. Some of them are very mad at their husbands for spending so much time away from home. But the wives can get even by going to Neiman-Marcus and buying out the place."

"Only Neiman and Marcus would have thought of the wives of real estate moguls," I said.

"And let's not forget the girlfriends of the guys in this town. As you know, political power is one of the greatest aphrodisiacs. But no one can live by sex alone. A nice piece of jewelry can really keep a Washington romance from going stale."

"Neiman-Marcus should use that in their ads."

"And finally you have to remember that every head of state eventually comes to Washington. They can't go back to their countries empty-handed. One visit to Washington's Neiman-Marcus store by the King of Saudi Arabia is equal to an entire Christmas season in Dallas."

"You forgot the wives of the military-industrial complex," I said.

"Now you're talking about megabucks," Feinbaum said. "They make Texas oil money look like rotten potatoes."

"Well I guess Neiman and Marcus knew what they were doing when they opened a branch in the nation's capital."

"You can bet your sweet life on that. When you have a city responsible for $450 billion, some of it has got to rub off on the lingerie department of a fancy specialty store."