As you can imagine, I’m a man of culture and fine taste. Gary Conklin sometimes leaves a little something to be desired, but ah, that’s the trouble with personas. They rarely capture your personal depth.
This week, though, my little visit to the center of culture netted me a nice little case. Things got messy, of course, but what good heist story doesn’t?
Swindlers at the Soiree
It was late in the evening, and I had just arrived at the Museum of Art in San Diego for a little bit of fun. As soon as I checked my coat, I was walking through the gallery, a flute of champagne in hand. Ah, to be an art dealer, to live this life nearly every night. Perhaps I should move from the legal to the artistic, in my next round of personas.
As I was pondering this, I noticed a nervous-looking gentleman in worker’s clothes, but something told me that he wasn’t on the guest list anyway. When he disappeared into a backroom, I followed.
Halting the Heist
It took a little lock-picking and a lot of excusing myself from attempted conversations, but soon, I was on the trail, following the stranger down a dark set of concrete stairs. They ended in a stairwell where, just around the corner, the man was talking to his buddies.
“I’m telling you guys, this might be the biggest payday yet, and I was on that job at the bank.”
“I dunno, looks like a bunch of squiggles to me.”
“You kidding me, Claude? You’re named after Monet, but you’ve got so little taste?”
“It’s shameful,” a third man said, shaking his head. “But, we better get these back to the boss, before we’re late. Nothing she hates more than lateness.”
The other two shuddered, then got back to packing up. For a moment, I thought I might have to rush them. Then, I noticed the spare uniform hanging on a peg.
I cleared my throat, joining the other three.
“Hey, what’s the big deal, bud?” The first man, the one I followed, narrowed his eyes.
“The boss sent me. Sounds like she didn’t trust you guys so much with the job.”
They looked at me with fear in their eyes, and for a moment, I thought about letting them leave the museum basement and lead me to her. Before we had all the paintings loaded, though, I thought better of it. I was already certain that she and I would meet again, and I didn’t want these priceless paintings to slip away.
I looked over our handiwork, hands on hips. “Alright, boys, looks like we have them all lined up. Playtime is over.”
The first man didn’t see me whirl on him until my first had already connected with his jaw. The second stood his ground, fists up. He landed a few good punches, I’ll admit. Of course, he wasn’t trained as an international spy, so he truly didn’t stand a chance, but I applaud him for the effort.
The last man scrambled up the stairs, trying to escape me. Halfway up, though, there was a crash—the wooden steps had given way, and he had tumbled through and landed a few feet down. He was certainly going to need to get his head checked in case of a concussion, in my professional opinion, though, I had a feeling that he would have a hard time finding a personal injury lawyer in San Diego for his case—he’d certainly lost the business of Gary Conklin.
By the time the police arrived after an anonymous tip, I was suited back up and blending into the crowds. Not, however, before I checked out the GPS attached to the truck. Now, I had a location in mind, something to do on my lunch break when I returned to life as a lawyer.
Next time, perhaps I’ll be properly on the trail of this enigmatic art thief.