The Heist

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Two men are talking together at the back of a small, local art gallery. Interestingly, they are not looking at each other. Let’s listen in.

***

“What do you think, Stan? Worth our while, or not?”

“It’s only been open for a couple of hours, Lex. I haven’t seen many pictures moving yet.”

“Word on the street was that there are a few paintings here that could be worth big money.”

“Which ones?”

“I don’t know, do I? I ain’t no art critic.”

“So, how are we supposed to know which ones to nick?”

“Stanley Aiden Conway—”

“Don’t use my full name in public! People will hear.”

“So, what if they do? We ain’t done nothing yet so no harm’s done.”

“But if we do do something, they’ll know.”

“Calm down, Stan. If, and I mean if, we find something of value here, we won’t make our move until much later, by which time it’ll be different people in here, won’t it? And they won’t have heard me call you Stanley Aiden Conway—”

“Shut up, Lex! The helpers’ll be the same. And if any of the people here are artists or their mates or relations they’ll probably be here all day, too.”

“Fair point. So, Stan.”

“What?”

“Forgot what I was going to say, now. Oh yeah!  You asked how we’re supposed to know which ones to nick.”

“And?”

“And we don’t.”

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t nick any paintings.”

“Why not?”

“Simply because we don’t have the means to dispose of them.”

“You mean we can’t fence ’em.”

“Precisely.”

“So, remind me. What’s the point in being here?”

“You aren’t thinking, are you, Stan?”

“Go on, then. Enlighten me.”

“People come here to look at paintings, right?”

“Right.”

“And if they see one they really like, what do they do?”

“I dunno. Buy it?”

“Precisely, mon petit bijou, they buy it.”

“Don’t call me that. You know I don’t like it.”

“That’s why I call you it. Anyway, they buy it and, at the end of the day, we lift the cash. Genius, n’est-ce pas?”

“I get that, but why all the French all of a sudden? It’s just showing off.”

“It is indeed showing off, mon frère. And do you know why I show off?”

“Because you can?”

“Because I can. Can you?”

“Not in French, bImon ‘e’ vIchaw’chugh, vaj bImonta’.”

“What the hell was that supposed to be?”

“Klingon.”

“What did you say?”

“If I speak to you in Klingon, you won’t understand a word.”

“Now who’s showing off?”

“And do you know why I’m showing off, Lex?”

“Yeah, whatever. Do you get the plan?”

“I do, except for one possible minor snag.”

“That being?”

“What if they pay by cheque or by card? We don’t have any contacts for that and the nearest you’ve been to the dark web was screaming when there was a spider in your bath.”

“Be that as it may, old son… Ey up! Who are those two?”

“That tall man and that short woman?”

“No, that piebald stallion and the flying pig! Of course that tall man and that short woman. Quick. Follow my lead. Act nonchalant…”

***

At the other end of the gallery, a tall man is speaking to a short woman.

“These two?” he asks.

“Yes. They’ve been hanging around since we opened. They looked at one of my pieces for a long time then moved to the back. And the strangest thing? They haven’t had a glass of wine or a piece of cake all day.”

“Why is that strange?”

“That’s what most people come in for.”

“Not to buy art?”

“Not so many, sadly. And another thing. I overheard them talking earlier. I think they’re planning a heist.”

“A heist? You’ve been watching too many American cop shows, Madam. What else did you hear?”

“Well, the one with the green shirt, pale trousers and pigeon toes is called Lex and the other one, the one who actually looks shifty, his name is Stanley Aiden Conway.”

” Stanley Aiden Conway, you say?”

“I do.”

“Hang on a sec…”

The tall man raises his hand and speaks to his cuff (well, it takes all kinds). He turns to the short woman. “Stay here,” he says and approaches Stan and Lex.

“Are you Stanley Aiden Conway?” he asks.

“Who’s asking?”

“Detective Sergeant Greenhalgh, City Police.”

“Greenhalgh – is that how you spell it?”

“No, but I never was any good at spelling. Failed the first year at Hogwarts which is how I ended up in this job. Anyway, I assume you are Stanley’s brother Alexander Oliver Conway.”

“So, what if I am?”

“I have reason to believe that the pair of you are engaging or attempting to engage in what I call a criminal endeavour, namely the theft of works of art. Am I right, or am I wrong?”

“You are wrong, Sergeant.”

“Oh?”

“Shut up, Stan!”

“We were planning to wait until some punter bought one of these things then we’d relieve them of the cash.”

“I said shut up, Stan!”

“Too late, Alex—”

“It’s Lex, not Alex.”

“Either way, I have your confession on tape.”

“Ah, but we ain’t done naff all yet, have we? So, what are you going to arrest us for, eh? Eh? Eh?”

“I hadn’t thought of arresting you; I was just going to write you up. However, since you insist—”

“We haven’t insisted on anything.”

“Well, I do insist, and I have the powers to make it stick. So. How does conspiracy to commit a felony sound?”

“Good luck pinning that on us, Copper!”

“Oh, grow up, Stanley. You’ve got to learn when to give up.”

“Stanley Aiden Conway, Alexander Oliver Conway: I am arresting you on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a felony. You know the rest, don’t you?”

“Nope. Let’s hear you say it and woe betide you if you don’t get it right.”

“That’s it. Tell him, Lex.”

“You do not have to say anything. But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

“That’ll do. Okay. Ahem. It’s a fair cop, Guvnor, you got us banged to rights.”

“Do you know, no-one has ever said that to me before. Properly made my day, it has. Now, be off with you, both of you, and I don’t want to see your ugly mugs on my patch again!”

As the two men ran off, the Detective Sergeant turned to the short woman and said, “That should put the value of your paintings up a notch. It was worth putting that word out, wasn’t it? Now, about that wine…”


This was written in response to Kreative Kue 330 published on this site.

 

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