Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Bargaining Chip (3 word Wednesday - ambush, hideous, meddle)

Raul lowers himself into the exhibit room, dimly lit with only floor lighting and small sconces to highlight the artwork on the wall. Even the most quiet of steps seem to echo in the marble grandeur of the museum. Retrieving and equipping red sunglasses from a fanny pack worn off center, Raul cannot help but think how his wife told him that he looks like Bono with them on. The dim room changes to a harsh red vision, several alarm tripping infrared lasers appear along the floor and blocking the passageways to rooms beyond. He abstains from breathing to listen, no sign the museum guard has picked up on his break in. He pans his line of vision clockwise around the large room, until his eyes rest upon a glass case approximately thirty feet away. Adrenaline surges, and he can hear his own heart beat; before him was the goal, the object he had been sent here to retrieve. Sneering back at him through the glass case across the room was an Incan figurine, appearing from this distance as a crude carved stone, no taller than eight inches.

Raul smirks, though he has never attempted a museum break in, he beams with confidence as he cautiously maneuvers around the lasers. It is child’s play to meddle in a museum after hours, especially after his successes in a string of recent bank robberies. Though those thefts were more “freelance”, a South American crime ring quickly picked up on his potential and decided to make him their unwilling partner when they kidnapped his daughter Chloe. Raul has specific instructions to enter this second-rate museum, snatch a specific relic, of what significance he knows not, and use it as a bargaining chip for Chloe’s release. His fully legal daytime visit into the museum had allowed him to locate and observe the relic. This midnight visit was for more than observation, and was far less than legal.

Raul positions the glass cutting blade gently on the side of the case. The idol is clearly visible, though still abstract due to its crudeness. Was this statuette a work of art in the Inca days? Was it a spiritual model, or possibly honoring a fallen warrior? Raul is not impressed, the homage to an Incan icon is poorly represented, this statue is more hideous than flattering. It looks like a sculpted version of something Chloe may have drawn in kindergarten last year. Raul motions to catch the circular section of glass now cut away from the case, but it had fallen inward, creating a subtle clinking sound. Raul scans the room again with paused breathing. Clear. He continues, taking out a black handkerchief from his fanny pack. He covers his right hand in the cloth and slides his hand into the case. His touch meets the relic indirectly, and with a steadfast arm he frees the ugly statuette of its glass prison. The relic is soon consumed in the handkerchief, and the handkerchief consumed in the fanny pack.

Now to retrace his steps. He pivots towards the cord of his grapnel, dangling motionless near a five foot stone slab displaying an excerpt of hieroglyphics. Freedom is within twenty feet of him. How great it will be to see Chloe. He can only hope the crime lords plan to make good on the discussed transaction. His irregular strides evade the lasers flawlessly, and soon the cord is within reach. Raul secures a firm grip on the cord with his left hand, assures with his right hand that the fanny pack is closed, and raises a leg to commence the climb. Raul hears two rapid steps, and before he can address them, a billy club descends upon his shoulder. The sudden ambush knocks Raul to the floor; he gets to one knee in a scurried recovery, but the sound of the club is augmented tenfold when it meets his ear. Raul collapses to his left side, the museum guard folds his arms in victory over the fallen thief.