The gallery was quiet. The curator had gone home after learning that nothing more could be done about the break-in until the next day. The shadows from the dimmed lights appeared to dance on the floor and walls. A cop car drove by at a snail’s pace, shining the floodlight through the front windows.
He held back in the gloom of the corner where the second corridor veered to the right. After the floodlight left, he headed to the hall of Picasso. He sat on a bench in the middle of the hall and admired his handy work with Melancoly Woman.
“These people are so narrow in their perception of life. I’m just trying to open up their minds a little,” he said to the photo of the great artist. “What’s so remarkable is that none of them know how I’m getting in here when the place is closed.” He giggled as if he was sharing a joke with the photo.
Bernard, forty-seven years old, had been a homeless soul for over twenty-five years. His parents had stopped looking for him before his thirtieth birthday. It didn’t seem to be of any importance to Bernard. He could be seen talking to someone imaginary named Pablo. He’d chatter away about the different galleries throughout the city. Bernard visited Pablo’s work in the various galleries on a regular basis, blubbering to the air around him about the painting being the work of his fictitious friend.
Tonight’s chore was to turn the painting, The Old Guitarist upside down. He took off the dirty corduroy jacket and the green sweater under it. He folded his outer clothing, laid them neatly on the bench, rubbed his palms against his shirt, and walked over to his intended canvas.
Once he was done with his task, he put the sweater and jacket back on and strolled down the main hall to the door that lead to the basement.
The next morning the forensic team knocked at the door. Ms. Strong gave them her professional smile as she greeted them. They wasted no time in getting to the Picasso hall. Ms. Strong tagged behind them.
As the team set up, she looked around haphazardly. It was during the second look around when she yelled in horror. The Old Guitarist, hanging on the wall opposite of the Melancoly Woman, was topsy-turvy.
“Who is doing this? Where were you guys last night? Drinking beers someplace when you should have been here?” There wasn’t any doubt that she was furious.
“Ma’am, we had patrol cars circling the building all night.”
“How about having an officer inside? Sounds like a great idea to me.” The plain-clothed men frowned as Ms. Strong set her tone at the sarcastic level.
The taller of the three men pushed buttons on his cell phone as he walked to the outer hall. The other two started brushing for prints, basically ignoring the woman in her plight.
I think one more post will wrap up this story. Four parts isn’t bad, is it?