Why Does Every Museum Have Egypt Stuff?
If you were standing somewhere in the empty streets, and you looked up, you’d see high, dark buildings, frowning down at you indifferently. But if you looked in th right direction, you’d see a swath of light cutting up through the red clouds. If you followed it down, you’d find a glass dome, like a huge lightbulb shining out into space, looking for nothing. Or what was left of it.
What was left of the dome, I mean. Not what was left of nothing.
Careful where you step, sir.
I ignore him. “Anything up there, Max?”
Naw Sly, jus summore broken glass, but I dun tink we need any more o dat.
“Ok, can you tell me what happened here?”
Well, I was doing my rounds with my flashlight, and I started hearing things. Just echoes, but I couldn’t tell where they were coming from. This old building is like that–someone makes a noise anywhere inside, and wherever you are it sounds like it’s coming from right behind you.
There’s a loud thunk right behind me. “Max, be more careful with your flashlight, would ya?”
“Skip the effects, Fritz Lang, you’re creepin out my mouse. Just get to the bit with stealing.”
Yes sir, sorry sir. I came around the corner, and there were these three guys hauling bits of stuff out the dome with a rope. They freeze when they see me, and then they go up the rope and vanish.
“I see. Why was the rope tied to this big ol’ statue here?”
I guess they were gonna steal it, but it was too big for em? And then they just left it when they dropped the rope.
I look around carefully. There’s more glass on the floor than could have come from the dome. Some of it’s from the exhibit cases. Someone sure wasn’t worried about neatness. “So they did get away with some things?”
I think so, sir.
“I’d assume they pulled them up with a rope, like they were looking to do with that big old cat?”
That’s what it looked like was happening.
I turn and look him in the eyes. “Then I’ve got two questions. How did they climb up the same rope, and why isn’t anything missing?” There’s a soft crunching sound as he suddenly shifts his weight on a small fragment of glass. “All the cases are smashed, but everything that was in them is on the floor. But that just makes sense, as they had no way to get it out. If they climbed up this rope, then why isn’t it tied to anything up on the roof?”
He makes a sound like he swallowed one of the bits of glass. Are- are you trying to imply- that I? But why would I do this? Why would I smash the window and all these cases, if there’s nothing missing?
“I said there was nothing missing from these cases,” while I’m scooping Max’s flashlight off the ground, and then before he can make a move I hit the lightswitch. The beam into the clouds vanishes. I play the flashlight over the debris on the floor. It sparkles and flashes, like ice breaking up on a river in early spring. But then the beam hits one corner of the room, and there’s this burst of rainbows in a sort of halo.
“Pretty clever, I have to admit,” I announce to the darkness, “stage a robbery, not so you can steal the stuff yourself, but just to have an excuse to litter the floor with broken glass. Because who’s gonna notice a diamond in all this?”
I lift the flashlight just in time, he’s charging. But he skids to a halt when the light hits him right in the eyes.
Don’t think you can get out of here! He snarls, trying to blink his eyes back into operation, I can hear every step you take!
He’s right. There’s already glass crunching under my shoes. Doesn’t matter, though.
“Yeah,” I say as I club him from behind with the flashlight, “but they’ll all sound like they’re right behind you.”
Sly? Sly?! You ok down dere?
“All clear, Max.” I hit the lights. Now that I know where to look, the diamond is obvious. “Thanks for the flashlight. Came in handy.”
Kin I have it back, den? It’s gettin decidedly creepy up here!
“Sure.” Once backup gets here, our work’ll be done anyway. I take a last look around the room. The former guard is all scratched up from the glass. Funny, breaking all this, just for the sake of the one bit of glass he can’t break.