Blimp filtered out the rhetoric, and sighed. How many times had he heard this sermon from Dr. Randy Orifice? Not that the said object was an antique or made of glass. It wasn’t even a proper bottle with a stopper, just a still-life oil painting by Picasso.
And the origin was unknown, according to Randy. Was he really born in 1908? He looked old enough, now. Wispy white hair and a drooping moustache; wearing a shabby sweater and thick brown army trousers, which gave some credibility to the mixed ensemble at the State Museum, Moscow.
Alexis was late.
Blimp shivered and sought warmth in his buttoned overcoat, big enough to conceal an AK47. Not that he had a gun, merely a non-descript umbrella at his side – with a lethal tip.
Blimp turned his attention back to the painting, ugly as it was. How a bloody bottle could be worth millions was beyond his comprehension. His cut was ample compensation, though, and he could dream of sunning himself on a Caribbean beach instead of being snowed-in outside.
Once a week, the museum permitted Randy to unleash the painting and sit it alongside him, while he patronised the tourists – for a fee. American dollars were in demand, and the risk of loss or damage was small.
Blimp had rehearsed his movements for a month, and he could feel cold sweat dripping down his spine while Randy continued his tale. It would finish soon and the audience would drift away. Blimp swivelled in his seat and looked around.
Where was Alexis?
The window of opportunity was small. Seventeen seconds while the guard was silenced, and confusion was at its greatest.
Randy caught his eye, shook his head, disappointed.
It wouldn’t happen that day.