That painting seems familiar; is what the tall lady, in the grey polyester pant suit and matching handbag, sounding like Natasha from Russia, told the short dude hiding under a large-brim felt fedora, topping-off the classic black-trench-coat innuendo; who agreed, and said through a  French accent; that this piece’s palette reminded him of Paris.., in the spring.

They didn’t seem to know each other; more like expecting someone.

“You’ve been?” She asked.



“Paris, France?”


“No.., Never.” He responded like in code.., some spy vs. spy exchange.., very suspicious.

Then it appeared that the tall woman, with the Russian accent, handed the short man; with the French accent and never been to Paris, France; what looked like, perhaps, a small box, red, maybe.., which he quickly stashed out of sight; deep inside a coat pocket; before they together vanished down the ignored passage leading through
The Ancient Legends of Abandoned Memory..,

And then;

Moments later, and what seemed should be of some immediate concern, the two were again spotted; blending with the blended – incognito - on the escalator heading up to the second level where one could find the guarded prime-time premier, Crystal Palace of Misfit Gods, from The Lost City of Empires. This valued collection is, of course, heavily insured by Lloyd’s of London and in its last week on display before being moved to a private venue in San Francisco.

Security is high; oxycodone-carbonated caffeine, no doubt; if something goes down.., everybody’s screwed.
“Did you hear that?” Alerting Rose.

“Hear what?” Rose replied.

“Those two people, what they were saying..,”

“What two people.”

“The woman in the grey pant suit and the man in the black overcoat.”


“The two that were just here.., that just walked off.”

“What about them.”

“Very suspicious types.., they were standing about five feet from you.., dude was wearing a hat; where were you?”

“I was looking at the paintings. I was thinking, this painting.., seems familiar..,”

“Remind you of Paris.., in the spring?”

“Yeah.., now that you mention it.., and I’ve never even been. You?”

“No.., Never.”



© 2017 by Stephen Ian McNaught