Part 1- The Story
And then, out of nowhere, the getaway driver turns to the girls in the back of his car and shouts in fluent Italian-American: “So which one of you dumb broads is going to tell me what the fuck is going on?”
The red-haired one is the first to crack. Draping her faux fur coat across her stockinged knees, she settles herself in to tell a story. The brunette takes this as her cue to spark up a Havana and establish suggestive eye contact with the driver’s rear window. If nothings else, she has interpreted recent events as the universe’s way of telling her to switch tobacco brands. And just as well, thinks Gladys, as the burning end of Agnes’s cigar provides the last remaining light source in a murky night sky. The driver cranes his neck in anticipation and Gladys clears her throat to talk.
“It was an art heist. Basically. It was art heist gone wrong.”
At this point Agnes chips in, predicating her raspy interjection with the fact that she used to lecture part time for The Open University’s Art History Department,
“So, art: what’s the big idea, huh? Hollywood likes to portray art heists as seductive: daring, hot felons plotting out masterful acts. Art Heists are supposed to be sexy, right? But I think people are fooled by the glamour of it all. Cos, to tell you the truth, I don’t think it’s a glamorous crime at all.”
“Right. You try and tell me that using your bare hands to plunge a blocked drain in the Sculpture Room restrooms is glamourous. Cos, I’m telling you honey, it sure as hell ain’t”
“Too right. Ain’t nothing glamorous about frantically plaster-casting the homo-erotic musings of old dead dudes either- least of all to the sound of the Louvre’s Alexa-operated-home-security-system warning you that you’ve only got 10 seconds left to get out of their swamp...”
“Exactly. Aint nothing glamorous about being chased out of the Surrealist Room by a life-size hologram of Booner, Dorothea Tanning’s viciously named pet guard dog. Even if you are naked and the deft paint-strokes of Booner’s mottled brown fur perfectly compliment the chestnut hues in your own pre-Raphaelite locks……..”
“Enough, Gladys, let’s not get carried away with ourselves now- Your nudity did not exactly help de-escalate the situation, did it?”
At this point the driver’s interest in the art heist is most certainly piqued. Pausing to contemplate the mental image of the two naked vagabonds, he wants to know which pedigree of dog Booner pertained to?, whom was responsible for his being named <<BOONER>> ?and why?, why on earth?, they thought they would ever get away with the whole <art heist>thing in the first place?. In the ensuing conversation about dog breeds, it quickly transpires that Gladys harbours a secret phobia of the canine world; whilst Agnes, her companion, maintains a true affinity to all of dog-kind. With her smoker’s cough and husky’s laugh, she is practically barking at them from the back seat.
Figure 1----Booner catches Gladys in the Louvre
Hound-like as ever in her Dalmation print duster, she lights a new cigar with the embers of the old one, her red nails shining like beacons in the dark.
“Alls I’m saying is this: we would have gotten away with it had we found ourselves in better circumstances. Maybe even come away with some bounty, a couple of Magrittes’ perhaps, or even just an upside down urinal masquerading as real art. But instead all we have to show for it is the CCTV footage of Gladys’s bare arse. Such a shame, really, when you think about it”
Thinking about it, really thinking about it, the get-away driver had to agree. It was a shame. But if it had turned out any other way, and the two dumb broads had gotten away with the stolen art, then he would be out of a job. He was a get-away driver, after all, and his livelihood relied on crimes going wrong, people getting caught by dogs, dumb broads having to flee the law at high speed. It had to be this way. Fate and free will at the Louvre. Obviously, there was no other way it could have gone. And in that very instant of self-awareness, the getaway driver experienced such a moment of Siddhartha-like existential clarity, that he seemed to transcend his very own state of being. He smiled, because this was the life he chose, the road less travelled, the scene that he was now part of, the world that he was privy to. Things could have been worse, he thought as he admired the two hot felons decorating the backseat of his car. Could have been a whole lot worse, he decided, finally making peace with same old question that had been bothering get-away drivers for millennia:
“What wouldn’t you do for art?”