Stealing Europe 1

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Ah, France. Home of the Whopper. And snail food. Actually, I can’t say I knew too much in any real depth before getting here. Like how the Louvre is more of a tourist trap than most people suspect.

It seemed like stopping in France would be a good idea at the time.There was some reasoning behind it…

Oh, yeah, I got back up with Carl. He’d been a bit lost without any new orders there. I’m not exactly a leader, and he’s not exactly management potential. I mean, the fronts we bought pretty much run themselves, but we neither he nor I know anything about any sort of corporate structure. So, at the moment, everyone reports to him and he reports to me.

And while I suck as a leader and pretty much just intended to use these various businesses as fronts or moneymakers for my evil schemes, I wouldn’t have had much direction for them. Until now.

Take a memo. New corporate direction: alien extermination. And maybe redesign the places.

First step, the coffee shops. Now that I’ve saved their hip individualistic charm, I’m going to throw out all unique aspects of them and turn them into a chain. They’ll now be Mastermind Cafe. Why merely get a jump on the day when you can go out ready to conquer the world? Plus, can still charge for the expensive stuff. Just pretend some of the ingredients aren’t strictly legal. Also, I could probably set up something to download people’s personal information through the free wifi. If someone even bothers to ask if it’s secure, my guys can proudly assure them that it’s completely impenetrable from the outside.

I’m thinking of calling the fast food places Evil Burger. I almost couldn’t resist the temptation to make the workers tell customers “Welcome to Evil Burger, home of the evil burger, can I take your order?” Perhaps instead of golden arches, I can have a malicious squint. Either way, it’s about time a restaurant filled the niche for hot dogs in a restaurant setting. It’ll probably make a few people angry when they realize Evil Burger doesn’t sell any burgers, but then that’s what makes it so evil.

I’ll figure something out with the electronics stores and auto mechanics. I’m actually really focused on the food thing. I could rob a Hephaestus site for whatever they’ve got, maybe mutate some customers. Or the CIA. They have those devices that activate superpowers in field agents. Plus, intelligence agencies hate to admit to anyone they’ve been robbed. You know spies, bunch of bitchy little girls.

This is an intriguing use of resources. Hmm…yes…drag a few unsuspecting battery buyers into a back room for cybernetic enhancements. Maybe sell robotic exoskeletons from the car places.

Yes, this is doable. Of course, alien invasions are like STDs: if you know when they’re coming, you know when you need to pull out a victory. Remember that for sex ed, kiddos. And most importantly, remember that sex is a skill. If you don’t practice it, your future spouse will probably have a lousy time in bed with you. Trust me. Unlike those people telling you abstinence always works, I don’t worship a god born from a woman who never had sex. Who are you going to believe, the guy responsible for most of the world’s abortions, or me?

So, right, I came to France because I need to steal a giant radio telescope. There’s this big one in Westphalia, Germany. I’m not a bad thief myself, but this thing is 100 meters in diameter. I can’t exactly slip it into my pockets and make a run for it. And believe me, I’d try it that way if I could. I need the best thieves in the world to help me on this one.

That route led to France. France is known for many things: wine, fighting in wars, and fine art. Everyone thinks the money’s in diamonds, and that’s not completely wrong, but there are a lot fewer works by Da Vinci than there are diamonds.

Everything I hear about the diamond game says that you either head to Belgium, or directly to the diamond mines in Africa. Places like the Congo, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, and so on. You go to Africa for quantity, but Belgium’s the center of the high-end gem trade.

Plus, y’all know I’ve been hired to steal things before, but people picked me for different targets. I’ve tended to go for industrial espionage or technology theft, which tends to involve information or smaller devices. If I stick my finger in the right hole, I can get anything I want from a computer. Maybe a van or a semi if the target’s big enough, but anything larger than that tends to be a permanent fixture of the building.

While those are handy skills, I just didn’t think they alone were up to the task of stealing an entire radio telescope.

While I disagree with the value of what they steal in comparison to my own targets, I have to admit that art thieves are highly skilled at getting extremely bulky objects out from under the noses of guards without alerting anyone. Paintings, vases, obelisks, murals, statues. In 2010, someone even managed to steal one of the pyramids. Khufu’s maybe…wait…nah, it was Menkaure’s. The furry pharaoh. The guy had at thing for the cow goddess and the cat goddess. The theft got everyone talking. It led to rumors that all sorts of monuments could get stolen, or that some of them had already been stolen.

The Interpol and the FBI had a field day investigating Las Vegas to determine if any of their replicas were real. Then there was the resulting juicy FBI prostitution scandal. Fun times for schadenfreude.

So I came to France because my few friendly contacts told me the best art thieves in the world operated from here. If I could get their attention, I could find the guy who managed to steal a giant tomb without being noticed by guards and tourists. Either that person would be among these thieves, or they’d know where to find them. It’s even possible some of the others around here can do the same thing.

Which is why I visited the Louvre and stood there staring at the Mona Lisa, or quite possibly a decoy Mona Lisa. I guess I just didn’t see the appeal. I’ll give the guy credit for his use of dull colors and making the pudgy fleshiness right, but the eyes aren’t right.

“Don’t you think it’s beautiful?” a tourist next to me asked. I couldn’t place the accent, but I’m ignorant of many accents. I somewhat guessed at his intentions by the way he slid his arm around my shoulder, though. He looked down at me curiously as his hand rested on metal plates rather than a jacketed shoulder.

“It’s no Hieronymus Bosch. Ooh, or even Giger. I wonder if any museums would ever include Giger,” I responded, and gave him a smile from the pretty young Romanian woman I’d scanned before leaving Bucharest.

He frowned, eyebrows mushing together in confusion.

I threw more at him. “H.R. Giger. Necronom. Erotomechanics. Remember the Alien movies?” He nodded at that one. “Guy had a thing for the sensual melding of organic and machine. Lots of detail, too, just like Bosch.”

“Just look at the subtle use of shading and the playful smile,” he tried to point out to me, attempting to salvage his chance at a one night stand.

“Those are very small and mundane details. It’s all a little…small for me.” The hologram glanced down at the man’s pants. He shifted and pulled them up. “Paintings like The Garden of Earthly Delights or Necronom IX evokes a feeling of being overwhelmed. Like you’re looking at something the mind can’t comprehend all at once. It reminds me of space.”

He blinked. “Do you like astronomy?”

I nodded. “I sometimes help people see stars. I’m here in Paris to acquire a new telescope, actually.”

“Excuse me,” said a larger woman from behind. “If you two aren’t too busy getting a room, would you mind getting out of the damn way? We can’t see the art!” She edged in with her purse, trying to separate myself and my attempted beau. I stepped to the side to let her drag herself and her equally-plump husband. “Look at it, Denny. Isn’t it amazing. Oooh, let me get a selfie with it. Denny, hold my phone.”

The husband bit his lip and took the phone away from the woman who didn’t understand the nature of a selfie. I peered over his shoulder as he took the photo.

“Is it good? Let me see!” The woman flapped her hands like a seal in her excitement.

“It looks fine,” I told her. “And it’s about to be a very valuable image, too.”

The man rolled his eyes while the woman crinkled up her face at me. I hopped the guard rail, immediately setting off alarms. More began wailing as I approached the LED-lit glass case on the wall. Then the whole fucking world just started screaming when I punched through the glass and yanked the Mona Lisa right off the wall.

What do y’all think are the odds that the thieves of Paris will take an interest in me now? This way is a whole lot easier than hunting one of them down and looking like I’m gunning for a member of the community.

Shutters tried to close on the room and I overheard the chatter of armed security deploying. I interrupted them by filling the radio channel with a song I felt fit the mood. They couldn’t coordinate very well over the sound of Jane’s Addiction singing “Been Caught Stealing.”

The security grate didn’t pose much of a challenge thanks to my Nasty Surprise. I tucked the painting under one arm while popping out the hidden miniature chainsaw under my left arm. A normal chainsaw wouldn’t have gotten though, but that’s part of what makes the Nasty Surprise so nasty and surprising. It definitely spooked the guard on the other side of the gate, who decided to take his lunch break when the situation appeared to involve a super.

They couldn’t lock down the Louvre’s entrance quickly enough, not that I gave them a chance. I looked like an evil Superman when I took off and smashed through the Louvre’s big glass pyramid. I landed outside and made a break for the nearby river, laughing as I ran. It was fun. I even heard some bystander call out “He’s in Seine!” as I jumped down to the waters below.

I landed on a very sturdy boat waiting for me. “Moai, let’s move it!”

With a nod, my pet rock accelerated our boat down the Seine.

I think that’ll get me a bit of attention. If not, it got me a nice mask to wear for my next robbery. If I steal the crown of Napoleon, should I change my name to King Gecko, or maybe Emperor Gecko?

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6 thoughts on “Stealing Europe 1

  1. Pingback: Time in a Bottle 8 | World Domination in Retrospect

  2. Pingback: Stealing Europe 2 | World Domination in Retrospect

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