Tuesday, December 29, 2009

120: Heist, pt. 2

From the moment Mick brought up the idea, Dell had been kicking himself.  This "opportunity" had far more risk than what Dell normally accepted in a job and it forced him to confront facts about his own life that he'd long since buried and forgotten.  Not to mention ones he'd never really understood.

The premise was easy.  A small collection of art in a small museum tour making its way through small museums across Europe.  Small, small, small.  Easy. 

And plain as day, right there in the brochure, a small statue with murky provenance which Dell had seen before, in his own home growing up.  He family had always surrounded themselves with art, but the collection was ever changing.  Dell had told himself that his parents simply liked variety, but it was many years later that he'd realized he was only fooling himself and he had inadvertently followed in his father's footsteps. 

It was stupid luck, is what it was.  He, computer components, his father, artwork, found themselves face-to-face in the darkened office overlooking the warehouse, both after the manifests that would guide them to the right shipping crate.  He hadn't seen his father in years, but that night as they crouched behind the flimsy metal desk listening to see if anyone else would be joining the party, he was forced to confront the fact that he and his father were both in the business of "asset relocation."  He wanted to punch his father square in the jaw, but realized that would put his own plans in jeopardy.  They'd parted without speaking that night, the rift still wide between them.

While artwork wasn't really Dell's thing, this particular statue had caught his attention, just as it had done so many years before.  The very thought of it now turned his stomach.  In high school, Dell had become friends with another boy, Charlie.  Charlie's family, too, had a large collection of art and from time-to-time over dinner Charlie's father would tell stories of the artists who had painted them.  Charlie's father wasn't a collector of classics.  He had made his money in mini-marts and couldn't tell a Triesch from a Torvald, but he would always say that every artist had a story and that he enjoyed the beauty of the art, no matter the value.  And one night over dinner, Charlie's father brought out a photo.  Charlie's mother had said "Oh, now, George, he doesn't want to hear this sad story.  Please just put it away."  But George had persisted, showing Dell the photo of the small statue that had been stolen from their home a decade earlier, one of the few pieces of art George owned that had any value.  The police had been no help, what could George possibly know about art?  And the cop had said "It's not like it's a Pih-cay-so" or anything and gave George a form to fill out.  And of course, it was the day after the theft that it occured to George that he ought to invest in insurance and a security system.

Dell didn't speak to his father much after that and within a few months had left home.

So Mick and his friends may have been wanting a quick score for some simple cash, for Dell, it was all about the little statue and he could care less about the rest.   He had Googled Charlie and discovered that he was an investment banker, still in Indianapolis, and a recent news article showed him standing near his smiling parents at the opening of a new art gallery in town.

Mick's plan had been good enough - the art would be temporarily housed at a university.  It was safer than a shipping warehouse and no one would really think to look there.  Security would be minimal, a few off-duty policia picking up a little extra money.  It was standard procedure that this tour had used in a number of other cities.  It was fool-proof.

Until Mick wound up as one of the security guards on duty at the planned time of the heist.  And that fool on the motorcycle who had stopped behind him with his lights flashing and was now approaching the SUV.