Thinking about it now, I should’ve had a more extensive plan for this. Anything would’ve been better than break into a high security building with just a pocket knife on you and hope you don’t get caught.
Too late now though since I have the really expensive painting rolled up in my backpack and I’m being chased by seventy nine armed guards. Yes, seventy nine. In my opinion, that seems a little steep considering what they’re guarding but I suppose art is worth a lot for no reason.
I’ve made a living off of stealing it so really I should know.
I slam through another door and lock it behind me, hoping that all seventy nine of the guards forgot their key card, before sprinting up the stairs to the roof. Objectively, I want to get closer to the ground so I can escape the building and then the grounds, however that would be impossible as the lobby is filled with investors who have private security protecting them so I’m backed into a corner here.
The only way out is up.
The only issue with this is I’ve somehow got to get from the roof of a twelve storey building to the floor with just a pocket knife on me. I would normally have all sorts of gear to help me out but this was a very impulsive steal considering I didn’t even know it was in the country until twenty minutes ago so I really had no other choice.
I am used to running long distances, if I stayed in school I’m sure I could’ve been cross country champion, but going up stairs with just a Redbull in your system is not fun. I can feel the men’s boots on the stairs behind me and I can’t turn around to look.
It feels like a fucking nightmare where you’re running in place because they’re gaining on me quick.
Finally, I reach the roof door and heave in the fresh air like a fish out of water. I don’t have time to savour it as I dash towards the edge of the roof and consider the ideas. Jumping straight off would be sure death, I couldn’t make the jump to the next building and I don’t have my cables to get me down.
Within seconds I’m forced to make a decision that could lead to my escape or my death and I make it. I take my belt from my trousers and launch myself off the building. I manage to throw my belt over the power line and grab it with my other hand to use it like a zipwire.
Thankfully, I don’t get fried by the electricity coursing through it as my feet aren’t touching the ground but the next building is coming up fast and I have no way to slow my descent. I have to let go before my feet touch the building to avoid getting electrocuted - learned that in year five science - and I’ve also gotta absorb enough of the downward action to avoid shattering my leg bones.
Neither option sounds appealing.
I’m going to have to give myself a stern talking to about making sure I make plans before I do stupid shit like this. The security here reminds me of Fort Knox so I should at least be proud that I managed to break in with just a pocket knife and sheer idiocy.
I close my eyes, send a quick prayer to whichever God is looking out for me and release my grip on the belt. I land on the concrete and roll, winding myself in the process. I lay there for all of two seconds to regain my non-existent strength before opening the roof door and using their stairs to get out.
I pull the hood of my jacket up when I reach the streets, noticing the guards becoming almost rabid as they search for me. I did steal a painting worth almost four hundred million euros and I can easily assume that they’re all about to lose their jobs because of me.
When I’m a few blocks away, I pull my hood back down and avoid doing a crazy happy dance.
I need to borrow someone’s phone to call the client that requested this painting and charge him extra as I got it to him three months earlier than I said. It was supposed to be in the city later than it was but it was brought to be valued and checked for counterfeit, I found out about it seconds after they dubbed it real and gave it a rather large price tag.
It’s an authentic Gaugin so I’m not even surprised.
I swipe one of the passer-by’s phones and immediately dial Casim. He’s a Middle Eastern businessman who owns more land than a Saudi Arabian Prince. I haven’t had many encounters with him but he’s pleasant to talk to when he’s not shouting down the phone to one of his idiot employees about idiotic things. He was going to buy the painting himself but the seller downright refused so he hired me to do it for him.
I bet the seller regrets it now.
With all of my clients, I get the full price of the painting and whatever I had to use to find and steal it so Casim will owe me almost four hundred and thirty million just for damages. As I only used a pocket knife I can’t even charge for equipment, I’m just grateful that I’m not losing money on this sale.
I’m going to need a full body massage after that assault and he’ll be footing the bill.
“Who is this? How did you get this number?” Casim rumbles down the phone, obviously about to put it through the wall to avoid getting caught by the cops. Even though he makes a lot of money legitimately, he does operate on the other side of the tracks - as proved by his communications with me - so he will always have a private phone that no one should know the number to.
“It’s Adelaide.” I reply blandly, avoiding a bustling woman with a double stroller who keeps taking people out at the ankles.
“Oh, I was not expecting a call from you for another three months.” His tone changes immediately, becoming lighter and more friendly.
“I acquired the object earlier than expected, how would you like it?” I really hope I don’t have to ship this thing, the postal service around here - here being Verona, Italy - is relatively spotty and I can’t risk something of this price going missing.
“I will send someone to pick it up, where are you?”
“Verona.” I duck under a stoop and start up one of the thin alleys to reach my small apartment on the outskirts of the town itself.
“He will meet you on the Piazza delle Erbe, I will send you a picture of him beforehand and I will give you half of the payment upon receipt of the item. I will send half now.” I agree with the terms and tell him I’ll call him tomorrow with more information before I snap the phone in half and toss the pieces.
I am still on the most wanted list, been on there for almost ten years and I’m only twenty-three. Let’s just say I’ve never been one to get along with authority and I’ve made that clear.
I unlock the rattling door to my apartment, leaning my entire body weight behind it to make sure it’s shut properly.
The apartment itself is pretty small, I didn’t even spring for a bedroom because I like having all the exits in one room. The bed is also the couch and the kitchen is also the lounge but it works for me as I hardly ever visit this city and when I do it’s never for long. This trip was only supposed to be until tomorrow, I was gonna hop a train to Napoli where I have another little studio close to the museum.
The trip has now been extended to tomorrow night so I find my travel suitcase to grab another outfit for tomorrow and some pyjamas for tonight. Once I’ve showered and brushed my teeth, I change into some cotton shorts and one of my dad’s old shirts before curling into bed with a soft sigh.