Tuesday 2 October 2018

Short Story 27 : Boring Without Crime.


Colloquially known as ‘Bonnie and Clyde syndrome,’ the condition is defined by sexologist John Money as a 'paraphilia in which an individual derives sexual arousal and pleasure from having a partner who is known to have committed an outrage or crime.' This force is evident in some of the criminal couples themselves, but it also points to the public's fascination with their stories.
‘One of the reasons that people are so interested in crime, true and imagined, is it's something they're thinking about. It's something that they want to solve,’ says author Walter Mosley. ‘They want to know: Could that happen to me? And they want to know: How can I make it so it doesn't happen to me?’
Closer to home, the theme reminds us of the Bollywood blockbuster ‘Bunty aur Babli’ starring Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee. Although the premise may have been done and dusted in fiction, it is nevertheless a challenge to attempt a new story every time. This is the challenge I have attempted to take on in this story, with my own twists of course.


Boring without Crime.

‘But darling, you need crime. It is in your blood, it is your essence, my dear’, she continued to paint her nails with the colour-less polish. The sickly sweet odour assaulted his nostrils.
She could say the most incredulous things without batting an eyelid or missing a beat. Maybe that’s what he found irresistible in her in the first place. Her killer figure was only as added bonus and she knew it.
‘You’ve got to do this, darling. We have got to do this,’ she closed the vial of enamel and replaced it in her vanity case, careful not to smudge her nails. ‘Seventeen million dollars. Imagine what we could do with all that money…’ The greed in her eyes glittered more than her nails.
He still said nothing. He was a man of few words and she knew that. She was used to his stoic silences, she knew he was listening anyways. What she didn’t know was that he listening to the stuff she didn’t say as well.
‘You know, you are an amazing guy, my dream man,’ she slipped her hand into his large ones. ‘You know, it is your genius mind that I find most enticing. You must never quit crime, that would be such a waste of your talent.’ She placed a kiss on his jaw, he moved slightly to capture her crimson lips. A minute later, she drew away a little to gaze into his eyes and ran her fingers over his hair. ‘Without crime, you would be so, so bored’. She stood up and turned away to pick up the half empty bottle of champagne.
’And boring.’ She murmured under her breath, as she poured him a tall glass of the glistening liquid.
Hours later, she lay in bed listening to his soft snores. That had been easy, she congratulated herself, with a smile. She knew he would come around sooner or later, he could never resist her charm, could he?


A week later, a handsome couple emerged from a gleaming Limousine at the entrance of the ‘Regina Gallery of Art’. The valet bowed and saluted, as the man handed him the keys to his vehicle with the typical nonchalance of the highly affluent.
‘Mr and Mrs. Mckenzie?’ The curator shook hands with both of them, as he escorted them into the inner chambers of his office.
‘Is it ready?’ Lydia’s full mouth curved into an engaging smile.
‘Yes, ma’am, of course it is,’ The curator gestured to the plush leather couches, as he unlocked a huge safe on the wall behind him.
He removed the contents, wordlessly unwrapped the package that had been waiting for them and stood back to allow his guests to examine his proud possession.
‘Why is the owner selling this?’ Simon spoke for the first time.
‘His family has come upon hard times, Mr.McKenzie. He would never have dreamed of selling this, otherwise. This has been in his possession for three generations now.’
‘Alright, we’ll take it,’ Simon retrieved his cheque book and handed it to Lydia.
‘My hand writing is better, you see,’ she smiled, as way of explanation.
Two minutes later, the curator examined the cheque for the amount of one hundred thousand dollars written out in her neat handwriting.
I shall have it packed for you, please wait for a few minutes…’
Lydia picked up the tiny antique vase carefully and ran her fingers over the delicate figurines etched into the ceramic.
Just then, the air was shattered by the shrill sound of the alarm going off. The curator froze, transfixed by shock and then, dashed out of the room without a word.
Simon and Lydia waited for not more than two seconds before they got to work.


Four hours later, the detective reported his findings to the investigating officer.
They rigged the alarm to go off at exactly the time when the curator was with them, sir. They knew that the inner chamber has no cameras, to protect the identity of their more scandalous clientele.
It was easy for them to break open the display case of the real treasure in the next room, without attracting too much attention in the chaos that ensued. All they had to do was put the emerald into the vase they had just purchased, rush back into the inner chamber and behave normally,’ he finished.
‘I packed the damn vase myself, without realizing that it had the emerald inside it!’ The curator wiped his tears, unabashedly. ‘I didn’t suspect a thing! After all, they had just paid for the ceramic antique, they were seated exactly where they had been when I left them.’
How long did it take for you to return to the inner chamber? The policeman asked.
‘Less than three minutes. I received a call from security that the it was a false alarm and returned to the chamber at once.’ His voice shook with the shock of a new realization. ‘Seventeen million dollars!’ he exclaimed as an answer the cop’s unasked question. That emerald belonged to the queen of Ludhiana, from the princely state of Punjab in India…’ He broke down then as the shock of another new implication hit him ‘I will lose my job here…I surely will…’ The policeman handed the distraught curator a tissue from his pocket, before he began to take fresh notes.


The decomposed body was found after three days. The newspapers screamed the headlines gleefully. The body of the woman that was found in the Dalton river was identified to be that of one Lydia Norman, who was involved in the daring crime of the stolen emerald from the Regina Gallery of Art, last week. Sources say that it is possible that her partner, known only as one Mr. McKenzie must have dumped her body in the river after a possible misunderstanding with his partner in crime…


He missed her. It wasn’t surprising; he would miss her until he found someone else to take her place. Someone who wasn’t greedy as she was, or as boring as she was; someone who wouldn’t find HIM boring, without crime. She’d known he was a good listener, what she hadn’t known was that he listened too well, especially to the stuff he wasn’t supposed to.
Simon poured himself another glass of champagne and settled down on the chaise lounge to watch the frenzy of TV channels, reporting the sensational news of Lydia’s death.


🎨 : Along Came A Spider, by Jack Vetriano

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