Day 5

I rather like this one. I like the idea of a gang of international art thieves using names from popular children’s fables as their code names. About 590 words.

Fabled Thieves

Jack and Jill adjusted the brightness on the monitor, and still he could only see a vague outline of fellow operative within the museum two blocks away. Little Miss Moppet hung on a pair of wires, suspended in pitch black space fifteen meters above a small display case on the floor. Within the display case, something glittered red, reflecting the tiny light in Little Miss Moppet’s goggles.

Red Riding Hood leaned over to glance at the monitor. “So, yeah, every time I try to do an Orson Welles impression, it ends up sounding like Kirk Douglas.”

“I can do a decent Chris Walken,” Jack and Jill murmured. He watched Little Miss Moppet drop a few more feet. Another monitor, this one tapped into the museum’s security system, still showed all clear, with no register of any sounds or motion.

Red Riding Hood cleared his throat. “’Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.’”

Jack and Jill frowned. “That sounds like Brain doing a bad Kirk Douglas.”

“Yeah, well let’s hear your Walken.”

“I can only do it when I have a cold.”

Little Miss Moppet dropped the rest of the space in one swift move. Jack and Jill’s eyes darted to the security monitor, but it registered nothing.

“That was damn skippy,” Red Riding Hood said.

Little Miss Moppet carefully balanced against the display case. She pulled a small cylinder from her belt and placed it atop the clear display box.

“What’s in there? I can’t see it.”

“Slippers. Dorothy’s slippers.”

“We’re doing all this for some old lady’s shoes?”

Jack and Jill sighed. “It’s the Ruby slippers created by the House of Winston for the 50th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. They’re made of actual red rubys. Those ‘old lady’s shoes’ are worth millions.”

Little Miss Moppet gently rotated the cylinder. The security system picked up a tiny scratch, but not enough to set off an alarm. Jack and Jill wiped his brow. Red Riding Hood finally shut up and hugged his police radio close to his ear.

Little Miss Moppet slowly withdrew the cylinder and slipped it back into her belt, leaving a four-inch-diameter hole in the top of the display case. She pulled her glove off with her teeth, then eased her bare hand into the display case.

“Does that case have a…” Red Riding Hood whispered, trailing off as Little Miss Moppet scooped the shoes off the felt stand within the display case. Both men froze, watching the monitors. Even Little Miss Moppet stilled for a moment, as if expecting the alarms to trigger. For several long moments, nobody moved. Then Red Riding Hood let out a slow breath of relief.

Little Miss Moppet carefully withdrew the shoes, one at a time, through the hole. She pushed off the display case and righted herself.

Suddenly, the audio receivers within the museum spiked. Tap, tap, tap.

“There’s no place like home!” Little Miss Moppet cried. She clicked the heels together in her hands. Tap, tap, tap. Jack and Jill and Red Riding Hood froze, eyes locked in horror on the museum security console as it flashed red.

“There’s no place like home!” Tap, tap, tap.

“What the fuck!” Red Riding Hood screamed. “What the fuck!” Even from their secure location, well away from the museum, they could hear the museum alarm. Jack and Jill’s eyes shifted back to the camera monitor just as the lights flared, flooding the exhibit floor with damning illumination. But the wires hung empty.

Little Miss Moppet had vanished.