Matthew Brosche, Columnist • firstname.lastname@example.org
The battered camper was barely holding itself together by the time they pulled into the gas station. After Frank set the parking brake, the three sat in an immovable silence.
“Why couldn’t you just let me handle it?” Mariah said in the soft voice of a disappointed parent.
“I’m sorry, I just panicked. At least I got us out of there,” Frank replied.
Mariah looked over at the owner of the RV, who was staring up at a stain on the ceiling still recovering from his fall. “Yeah… how are you doing over there Nick?” Nick didn’t move.
“I’ve been better if I’m being honest,” Mariah chuckled with regret at the situation. “Sorry about this.” Anyone else in Nick’s situation would have rightly feared for their lives, but Nick surprisingly felt like he wasn’t in any real danger from the two.
“So, What’s with the painting?” Nick asked.
“You don’t need to know anything about that!” Frank said with his fingers beginning to twitch again.
“Relax, Frank,” Mariah said, “We dragged him into all this, he should at least know what’s going on.”
Frank sulked back into the driver’s seat as Mariah began her story. “ Frank and I used to work security at the Larson art gallery. It didn’t pay much, but it was enough for me to pay the bills and for Frank to support his kids. To be honest, I kinda liked the job, hours were long, but it was nice to be surrounded by all those beautiful paintings. You agree with me, right Frank?”
“It was fine,” Frank mumbled.
“His wife Jessie was the more artistic one of the couple. She always loved coming by and looking at the pictures and sculptures, I remember we would talk about our love of art whenever she came to visit Frank at work. He wouldn’t know what we were talking about, but he would just smile and nod, it was kinda adorable.” Mariah began to laugh, forgetting where she was.
“Can we not talk about her?” Frank said annoyed.
Mariah pulled back, “Right…sorry, Frank.”
She turned back to Nick. “Anyway, so we thought we had it pretty good. Things got even better when we found that the famous painting “Saturn Devouring His Children” was on tour at different museums and galleries across America, and the curator at the Larson gallery was able to convince the owners of the painting to show it at the gallery for a week. We knew that if a famous picture like that stood in the Larson, that would mean more visitors, and potentially a raise for us. But that’s when I overheard a phone call the curator was having.
He was planning on having us replaced with a private security company after the painting arrived. After all the time we had worked there, all the late nights and hours spent on our feet he was going throw us away just when things were getting good. We weren’t going to stand for that, so we came up with a plan.”