Eddie Martin’s hands were trembling as he clutched the cylindrical container resting on his lap.
“What do ya got for me, Eddie?” asked Jacob Richards from behind his ornate mahogany desk. His fingers rapping rhythmically on its surface.
Standing, Eddie slid out a rolled-up canvas from the container and unfurled it on top of the desk.
Richards hunched over to grab a closer look at the painting. “Magnificent,” he said. “This is the real deal. A genuine Vermeer.” Shifting his focus from the painting back to Eddie, he said, “And where are the rest, my boy? The list I gave you was quite thorough.”
Clearing his throat, Eddie said, “In the van with Rey.” He rolled the Vermeer back up and returned it to its container, leaving it behind on Richards’ desk, and sitting back down. “We got everything you wanted. Even that damned Eagle statue.”
“It’s a finial,” said Richards, straightening up and lacing his fingers on the desktop.
“Right, a finial.”
“Good, good,” said Richards with a grin, sinking back into his chair.
“Now, about the payment, I—”
Richards held up a hand, silencing Eddie. “All in good time, Eddie. All in good time,” said Richards. “Ya did it, finished the job. Why not relax for a moment and bask in your success for a change? Tell me, how did ya pull it off?”
Smiling, Eddie said, “Rey and I dressed as cops. The cheap security just let us right in. Was easy enough to tie them up and grab the loot after that.”
Richards laughed, clapping his hands and said, “Oh that’s just wonderfully simple. I love it. You boys have never steered me wrong.”
There was a sudden crash that echoed from the streets below. Eddie turned to look out the window to his left. Birds that were perched on the opposite building were now flying away in a panic.
“A bit jumpy, are we?” said Richards, chuckling. “I got some construction going on below. Building repairs and such.”
“I didn’t see any crew working when I came in.”
“Perhaps they were on a break,” said Richards, shrugging his shoulders.
The phone rang. Frowning, Richards picked up the handset and said, “Is it done?” There was a momentary silence before he said, “Understood.” Hanging up the phone with a loud click, Richards smiled again at Eddie. “Are you sure I can’t convince you boys to stay?”
Tensing up, Eddie shook his head and said, “No, I think it’s about time my brother and I moved on. Settle down someplace new and get a fresh start. It’s getting a bit too hot for us here, especially after this job. Five hundred million in stolen art is no joke.”
Nodding his head, Richards pulled out a cigar from his desk drawer and lit it. Dragging hard on it before blowing out a large cloud of acrid smoke. “Sad to see you go, Eddie, but I can understand your decision. Where will you go?”
“Thinking we might head down towards Mexico for a while and see where things go from there.”
“That’s a good plan. I’m sure Rey would have loved that.”
A loud crack rang through the office. Eddie gasped for air as if he had been punched in the chest. The force of the gunshot tipping the chair back and knocking him onto the ground. Hot blood began to pool around his twitching body.
“Such a shame ya had to go, my boy. Such a damn shame,” Richards said, shaking his head. He picked up the phone once again and said, “It’s done. The rest of the goods are in the van. Get a cleaner to my office immediately.” The phone clicked as Richards hung up.