Deception

deception-skullI don an inconspicuous outfit, khakis and a white oxford shirt. Passing through the security gates of the museum, I smile courteously and retrieve a map. I don’t need one. I know exactly where I’m going. I’ve gone over this plan in my mind numerous times. Timing and attention are critical for success.

Left, two rights, up a staircase, around the corner into the atrium, and through the northwest corridor. It had become my mantra. I whisper it quietly now as I meticulously follow the directions. I glance at my watch. Right on time, perfect. There were more direct routes, but this one had been chosen for a reason. The museum’s placement of cameras left gaps in coverage that I could exploit.

Sitting on the platform, the skull was left unguarded, even though it shouldn’t have been. It was the oldest known cranium found to date, estimated to be a descendant of the famed Lucy. I ease up to the velvet divider separating her from me. Millions of years separated our existence on Earth. I wonder if she’d ever conceived something so mischievous in her lifetime?

One last scan before I spring into action. The stairway located on the eastern wall is my escape route. Ready, set, go. Deliberately, but not hastily, I hop the divider, grab the skull, and begin sprinting towards the door. Dodging left, then right, with the prize safely tucked away, I’m a running back, avoiding linebackers looking to tackle me.

“Stop!” the security guard shouts, and I know who his words are intended for. The museum alarm system is enabled, just as I push open the stairwell door. Still on schedule.

Skipping steps three at a time, I traverse the two stories with ease. Reaching the ground floor, I push open the exit door. The alarm is already going off. No harm in triggering another one. Placing the skull on the floor, I dart out of the darkened stairwell and into the sunlight. The backpack is waiting for me there.

I pick it up and make my way to the pub around the corner. I emerge from its restroom a new man, dressed in shorts, t-shirt, and sunglasses. I blend in with every other tourist as I sling the backpack over my shoulder.

The guards will be flummoxed when they discover the skull, still safely inside the walls of the museum. I’m sure it won’t make any sense to them. No matter. By the time they discover the handful of missing gold doubloons, the ones my partner has pilfered amid the chaos, we will have already collected our millions on the black market.

“Hey, stop,” comes the officer’s voice from behind me. Something isn’t quite right. Our plan has been compromised. It’s in this moment, however, that I realize it never was our plan. It was his plan. The plan for deception, as it turns out, was twofold. For the security guards, yes. But his first point of deception was yours truly. Damn, mission accomplished.

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11 thoughts on “Deception

  1. Writing to Freedom September 9, 2015 / 10:37 am

    Very clever story Dave. All the misdirection has my head spinning and I enjoyed the ride. 🙂

    • davecenker September 9, 2015 / 3:25 pm

      Thanks Brad, always trying to expand my horizons and dabble in some different types of writing, multiple twists and all! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment 😉

      • Writing to Freedom September 9, 2015 / 3:42 pm

        My pleasure. I really enjoy your stories and am amazed that you can create a mini adventure in such a short piece.

  2. Don September 9, 2015 / 11:23 am

    So clever Dave. I love the way you begin stories like these. You begin so innocently, just a visit to the museum, but you soon realize there’s nothing innocent about it. That’s clever construction and it pulls you in and a eventually yourself breathlessly running with the guy. A joy to read.

    • davecenker September 9, 2015 / 3:27 pm

      Thanks Don, I appreciate your kind words. I’m always looking to surprise my readers in different ways with each story 🙂 Happy to hear you enjoyed it, thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

  3. Mari Biella September 10, 2015 / 5:20 am

    I enjoyed that, Dave. Very cleverly done – I truly didn’t see it coming!

    • davecenker September 10, 2015 / 8:25 am

      Thanks Mari, happy to hear that you enjoyed it and that I was able to inject a small unexpected twist in the development of this short story line 🙂

    • davecenker September 11, 2015 / 8:43 am

      Thank you Pamela, then I guess *my* own mission was accomplished 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, have an enjoyable weekend!

  4. heraldmarty September 11, 2015 / 7:37 pm

    Oh I like it, a LOT Dave! I love a good mystery anyway, especially one that keeps me guessing and I can imagine all sorts of directions this story could take. 🙂

    • davecenker September 12, 2015 / 11:11 am

      Thanks Marty, I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed it. I’m loving writing in a whole bunch of different genres lately – mystery, romance, thriller. It’s like opening up a present every time I sit down to a blank page 🙂 Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read and comment. Have a great weekend!

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