Author: John Teets
The gentle rumble of truck engines filled the museum backlot, accompanied by the soft crunch of gravel beneath tires, and the occasional rustling of pale, haphazard fields of grass in the wind. The warehouses and loading bays painted a dull light gray to match the driveway gravel and the back wall of the museum, a stark contrast to the rest of its bright and inviting presentation. The warehouses were piled high with creations of art and culture, being preserved and admired by the resident roaches, cobwebs, and mothballs. Now, over two dozen workers moved about, filling their convoy with unmarked, tightly secured crates. For all the noise they made, they spoke not a word.
Anthony’s fingers tapped his chin as if it were a piano with a goatee. He narrowed his eyes at the whole scene. The workers all passed nervous glances at the museum’s backdoor at one point or another. One of them, a scrawny woman, nearly dropped a handheld crate.
Dresner also caught the woman’s slip up and shot her a glare as she scurried for the nearest truck. Miles’ expression turned neutral as he turned to Anthony, holding out a suitcase. “A pleasure working with you as usual, Mr. Dunfrey. Thank you for the intel,” he said, eyeing the man’s digits dancing on his chin. “Beethoven?”
Anthony shook his head, his fingers never losing their stride as his other hand reached for the suitcase. “Liszt.”
Dresner raised his eyebrows in shock. “Really? Well, look at you, Mr. Cultured. Didn’t expect you to know a pianist except for Beethoven.” Dresner struggled with the suitcase, as Anthony’s hand grasped blindly for it. “Might do you some good to pay attention to the other hand, though.”
“Hm?” Anthony said, looking over. “Oh, sorry.” He grabbed the suitcase handle and plopped it down beside himself. “I’m just surprised your first guess was Beethoven,” Anthony said, smiling. “You’re German, aren’t all the greatest pianists from your people or something?”
“Ah, there’s the culturally insensitive conman bastard I know.” The German American smiled wide, turning toward his truck. “Unless there’s anything else, auf wiedersehen.”
“I do have one other question, Miles,” said Anthony, pulling his hand away from the suitcase and holding it up. “What’re these?”
Miles Dresner turned pale. Between Anthony’s index and middle fingers, there was his badge. Hanging from his pinky was his gun. Though shaped like any other handgun, the barrel was open-air, and inside all sorts of odd metal components orbited about the barrel. Veins of lavender light pulsed across its silvery form.
Anthony smiled a full toothed smile. “Might’ve done you some good to pay attention to the other hand.” He took a second look at his recent steals. “This doesn’t look like any government department I know, and this-“He said, lifting the gun higher for emphasis. “Doesn’t look like anything I know. And judging by the bullets you’re sweating; these are things I’m not supposed to know.” Anthony held the gun and badge out for Miles.
Miles grabbed them, speaking as he pocketed them. “What do you want?”
“I want in, Miles,” Anthony said, motioning to the backlot. “Over two dozen G-men, carting away crates on an unmarked truck convoy for what? Some Rembrandts? This reeks of something bigger, so I want a bigger piece of this pie.”
Miles screwed his eyes, pursed his lips, and exhaled loudly. “Get in.”
Anthony skipped on his way to the passenger’s seat.