“Before long, the figure had grabbed the Mona Lisa, not forgetting to put on black gloves (that certainly didn’t stand out compared to the rest of his dark outfit) and then swiftly exited the room. Unfortunately, the thief had forgotten to deactivate the alarms that initiated when someone left the building; as soon as he set his gloved hands on the handle of the doors, a deafening alarm screeched throughout the museum.”
4:09 a.m.— Paris, France
Alfred’s head drooped onto his neck as his eyelids slowly closed. His red alarm clock (which he always kept beside him while he was on watch) read the digits: 4:02 a.m. Soon he was snoring, not bothering to notice that in one of his security camera screens a slender figure had just pressed a clear piece of plastic the size of a credit card against the button, deactivating the many lasers that surrounded one of the Louvre’s most prized possessions: the Mona Lisa.
Quickly, the figure, clad in all black, skillfully weaved his way through the many traps that laid near the legendary painting, waiting for any predator who dared to try to take it, as if the figure knew exactly where they were. In barely five minutes, the person had careened through the exactly 156 traps that were concealed under the polished, gray floors.
Before long, the figure had grabbed the Mona Lisa, not forgetting to put on black gloves (that certainly didn’t stand out compared to the rest of his dark outfit) and then swiftly exited the room. Unfortunately, the thief had forgotten to deactivate the alarms that initiated when someone left the building; as soon as he set his gloved hands on the handle of the doors, a deafening alarm screeched throughout the museum. Obviously, the loud alarm could probably not be tolerated by most people, and especially not by Alfred who just happened to be a very light sleeper. (A significant reason why the museum had hired him, for he would wake up to the sound of very small things, or in this case, unbearably loud things.)
And sure enough, Alfred woke up the second the alarm started blaring through the museum, and scrambled to his feet as he glanced at the security camera video screen. On it he saw the same figure running as rapidly as a cheetah, making his way out of the building, or as it would be called later in the day, the crime scene.
5:47 a.m.— Paris, France
Many men and women rushed around the room frantically, and it seemed like there were a number of secret agents with bedhead and bathrobes. After all, it was only about 4 a.m. in the BIA agent’s home country, Britain.
One red faced man in a blue, teddy bear bathrobe came up to Richard Brown and sighed, “Did you hear that there were two accidents in Paris in just one night? Someone blew up the Eiffel Tower!”
Richard grimaced and nodded, “Of course I have! I wasn’t born yesterday.” He paused and scanned the documents he was holding. “The funny thing is, the two incidents happened just minutes away from each other. 4:07 and 4:09 a.m. It’s like they were connected!”
The man rolled his eyes. “Last time I checked, people can’t be at two places at once. The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower are practically two miles away from each other.”
Richard walked away, full of contempt. He had always hated that man with the teddy bear bathrobe, due to the fact that he always thought he was better than others and was incredibly lazy. But Richard pushed those thoughts aside and called his fellow agents to attention.
“Hello everybody.” He stumbled through his words, the nerves creeping up onto him, “Since James and Julian, the ex-directors of the British Intelligence Agency, retired a few days ago, I am the new director.”
Few people among the many who surrounded Richard clapped. While James and Julian hadn’t been the most popular directors at the BIA, they were well-liked in comparison to Richard, who was always more interested in working than socializing with his co-workers.
“Since James and Julian had already assigned people to missions in certain categories, those same agents will be doing the assignments that had been previously given to them.”
Richard started to read off the list of names that said who was to investigate the Mona Lisa and Eiffel tower incidents. He was surprised to find that James and Julian had assigned the worst agents to those missions, but Richard did not protest. He knew the rest of the agents would want to do whatever James and Julian had said to do for their opinions were valued highly in the BIA.
5:56 a.m.— Lemongene, France
The Lemongene Airport.
Two figures dressed in black sat in the waiting area of the Lemongene Airport for Flight 134. They didn’t do or say much except whisper about their missions to each other and glance around suspiciously at the people nearby them.
“How’d your mission go?” The person on the right asked the person next to him gruffly, after shooting an apprehensive look towards a 2-year-old that had been wobbling over to them.
“Fine. I blew up the Eiffel tower, so, it went very well,” The other man replied with a smirk, “What about your mission? How did stealing the Mona Lisa go?”
“Fine, thanks,” the first man replied cooly, “If all goes well, D.U.M.B.* will give us a pay raise with those gold bars we stole from Fort Knox!”
*D.U.M.B is one of the best criminal agencies in the world. It is also known as: Dark Undercover Masked Badguys.
6:30 a.m.— Lemongene, France
“Attention all passengers,” the stewardess came up to the microphone at the desk for boarding, “We will now be boarding rows 18 through 9 on Flight 134.”
“That’s us,” said the second man dressed in all black as he stood up
abruptly. Since they were in first class, the two men boarded the plane first, but not before giving hostile scowls at the passengers waiting patiently behind them. They were able to get a very secluded spot on the plane, and spent the time leading up to liftoff murmuring softly to each other.
Before long, the plane had soared into the air, leaving the grey storm clouds that hovered over Europe behind.
2:41 p.m.—Jamaica, New York
The plane started its descent, and it emerged from the depths of a foggy cloud, soon revealing the radiant lights of the city below.
“Greetings, passengers,” a flight attendant in a crisp, blue uniform at
the nose of the plane said amicably, “We have just begun our descent to the
John F. Kennedy International Airport. Please turn off all cellular devices and buckle your seat belts. Thank you.”
Both figures clothed in black instantaneously woke with a start after the flight attendant finished her announcement and as they saw the land below them getting closer and closer they grinned.
“Looks like our job is done,” the man in the window seat noted.
The man raised his eyebrows and gave a his partner a curt nod, “Don’t speak too soon, we still have to get to D.U.M.B. headquarters and deliver the painting. You do realize the airport is going to have an abundant number of security guards and police, right?”
“Of course I do! We weren’t trained at D.U.M.B. for 18 years for nothing. Well, at least I hope we weren’t!” The man replied as he clapped his comrade on the shoulder, he then leaned towards the other man and subtly whispered, “We’re the world’s most wanted criminals for a reason, you know.”
3:11 p.m.— Cambridge, England
Richard Brown slowly sipped his steaming hot mug of coffee as he sat in his office. He shuffled through the documents on his desk— they were all stamped with red print that read “CONFIDENTIAL,” and most included the long lists of assignments that the BIA had gone out to complete.
A few minutes later, Richard heard a knock on his door.
“Mr. Brown, we have urgent news for you!” His secretary said to him in a hurried tone.
Richard briskly stood up, “Come in, Ms. Jones. What is it?”
Promptly, Ms. Jones rushed inside Richard’s office, clutching an iPad to her chest, “There’s something in The London Times that could be related to to the Mona Lisa incident!”
Richard took the iPad and nodded to his secretary, “Thank you Ms. Jones, please get back to work.” She hurried out of the room as Richard scanned the article that was pulled up on the screen. The headline read, “Two Figures Seen Leaving JFK Airport Holding Frame Shaped Bag.” Richard frowned as he continued to read the article. Apparently, the police did not want to make any accusations towards anybody because they didn’t have any evidence to make their claim valid, yet in Richard’s perspective, he thought the police should have at least held them at the airport to question them. The article also included a grainy picture, which was obviously from a security camera, depicting two slender individuals in black attire rushing through the doors of the airport.
Frustrated with the Americans as well as himself, Richard slammed the iPad onto his desk. The men described in the article and shown in the photograph seemed so distinct and familiar to him, but he couldn’t put his finger on who they actually were.
As a result of Richard slamming the iPad on his desk, many of the files that were once cluttered on the desk had tumbled to the carpeted floor. One of which being the identification files for the two ex-directors of the BIA, Julian and James.
Richard bent down to observe the files on the floor and sighed, as he tried to regain his calmness.
“It is essential that I find out who those people are,” he said to himself grimly.
He gazed around at his office, hoping that, by some miracle, it would give him an idea about who those two figures were. He paced around the office deep in thought until he was interrupted by several heavily armed people bursting through the windows of his office, with the logo D.U.M.B. clearly visible on their helmets.
3:17 p.m.— Dumbo, Brooklyn
James and Julian knocked on the door of their boss’ office.
“Bet you one Crown Jewel that it’ll take five or more knocks for boss to open the door,” Julian said with a smirk.
“Deal,” James replied, confident that his boss wouldn’t take too long to open the door for his best agents who carried probably the most important news that he would ever hear.
And sure enough, after just two knocks, the boss opened the door, Julian stared daggers at James who strode into the room gloriously.
“Sit,” their boss demanded curtly.
James and Julian immediately sat down on two, metal chairs that were also used for interrogations. Though they were a multi-million dollar criminal company, D.U.M.B didn’t like to spend money rashly.
“How did it go?” the boss queried. He sat in a blood red armchair as he stroked his dark black handlebar mustache which matched his slicked back hairstyle that he was well known for throughout the criminal world.
“Wonderfully,” James and Julian replied in unison. They had been on enough missions to know that this was the only answer that the boss needed in order to be satisfied.
“So nobody saw you? Nobody knew it was you?” The boss didn’t usually bombard the duo of criminals with questions, but it was to be expected— this was the mission he had planned for a very long time.
James rolled his eyes, “Please, boss. We are masterminds. We were the youngest co-heads of the British Intelligence Agency, and we were also double-agenting for D.U.M.B. at the same time. If we weren’t such good friends, we’d be offended. Fifty-seven missions we’ve been on for you and you continue to ask us that question. We’re your top two criminals, I would hope we wouldn’t be recognized.”
As if on cue, a frazzled man burst into the room.
“Boss! They were recognized!” he shouted, his eyes filled with fear as he noticed exactly who the boss was talking to at that moment.
“You were noticed!” he shouted, even louder than before, as he pointed his stout fingers at James and Julian.
“What?” the boss yelled at the top of his lungs, as he proceeded to walk towards James and Julian, “SOMEONE RECOGNIZED YOU?”
“Wait, what?” Julian whirled around to face the man who had delivered the news, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He crossed his arms and stared angrily at the man.
“Yeah. If anybody had recognized us, wouldn’t they have followed us back here, to New York?” James retorted, looking proud of himself for coming up with that stroke of genius.
“They wouldn’t have if they were in Britain and they had recognized you once you were already on the plane back to New York!” The frazzled man retaliated, “You know who our mole said recognized you? Your former co-worker, Richard Brown of the BIA.”
James and Julian looked stricken and all the color drained out of their already pale faces.
“That’s impossible.” James said as he bit his lip, although he knew fully well that it was completely possible.
Their boss marched towards James and Julian, his face filled with contempt for the two men.
“YOU DO NOT LIE TO ALFONSO DA VINCI!” He slammed his clenched fist on his desk, “DO YOU REALIZE HOW LONG I’VE BEEN PLANNING FOR THIS? I MUST AVENGE MY GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER!”
Julian gulped and refused to look into his boss’s cold eyes as he felt his heart thumping like a loud drum inside of his body, “We realize that this was important to you Boss.. We tried our best..”
“WELL YOUR BEST IS OBVIOUSLY NOT ENOUGH! You underestimated Richard.” His boss snapped back, “I must get vengeance for how the French stole the Mona Lisa from my ancestor, LEONARDO DA VINCI!”
“But sir..” James hated to interrupt his boss’s temper tantrum, but he couldn’t resist, “We did avenge him.. We took the Mona Lisa AND blew up the Eiffel tower!”
“Well you two obviously weren’t clever enough to make sure nobody found out about you, didn’t you?” their boss replied, his icy voice was so cold, James swore the temperature went down a degree or two, “Take them to the dungeon!” he commanded the two guards that had appeared at the door.
“NOW!” he demanded, noticing how the guards weren’t making much haste to get to James and Julian.
7:41 p.m.— Dumbo, Brooklyn
Richard struggled in the itchy sack he was being dragged along in. His mouth was taped closed with duct tape, so his screams barely traveled out of his mouth.
He had the feeling that they had reached the lair of the criminals, for the men dragging him were slowing down their pace.
“MMMMMHN NAYAKDSSSS!” Richard yelled, and although his screams weren’t very articulate, the guards got the message that he had one too many bruises from the rough way they were handling their prisoner.
Five minutes and a whole lot of black-and-blues later, the guards stopped dragging Richard and came to a curt stop.
“No way he can blab to the whole world about the mission in here!” Richard heard one of the guards snicker to the other, “Boss spent, what? Two or three million dollars on this security system? Almost as much as that security system at the place where James and Julian stole the Mona Lisa!”
And of course, that’s not exactly what you want to hear when you’re about to be locked into the prison that this mysterious “Boss” had spent two to three million dollars on.
But, there was no way Richard could stop the events that followed from happening. So of course, he was shoved into a dimly lit cell where he tumbled onto the bare, cold floor.
Suddenly, a familiar voice interrupted Richard’s thoughts as he laid on the floor, his chest rapidly filling with despair, “Nice seeing you here, Richard.”
Spinning around briskly, Richard was frightened to see his two ex-coworkers, James and Julian, grinning at him evilly.
Clumsily, Richard barely managed to pick himself up and stumble towards the thick bars of the dungeon, the deadly click of a lock echoing through his mind as everything went completely black…