The plane was almost accelerating to takeoff. Dane noticed the back window pane was slightly cracked, raising his alarm. He slowly, and silently crept up to the back of the airplane, and then just as the plane took off, he grabbed onto the windowsill and pulled himself up.
“Where is the painting?”Dane shouted in a gravelly voice as he aimed his revolver at the art curator. The art curator nervously blinked as he replied, “I don’t quite follow sir”. “Let me repeat myself, WHERE IS THE PAINTING!”. The curator responded “Behind the Black Box”. As Dane walked over to the black box, he suddenly felt a sharp stinging sensation at the lower base of his neck, and he slowly lost consciousness.
When he came to, Dane was securely tied up in the boot of the plane. And sitting next to him was the museum director, Mr.Paylo. Dane was surprised to see Mr.Paylo with him.
Dane blearily said, “Ugh How long was I out?”
Mr.Paylo responded “About 5 hours”. Dane said “What was I hit with, it felt like some kind of snake bite”. Mr.Paylo responded, “You were hit with a dart that has traces of curare. Curare is a fast acting nerve agent that acts on acetylcholinesterase enzyme inhibitors, essentially stopping movement right at the Neuromuscular junction.
Dane replied, “Wow, what an evil and twisted idea. Truly Wicked! Who could have come up with such a malignant idea such as this one?
Mr.Paylo replied, “The curator’s brother is a professional herpetologist. When the curator was young he would spend summers at his brother’s estate. The 2 of them never really got along, so the curator would spend all his time in his brother’s glass library in the estate, familiarizing himself with the world of snake poisons, and untraceable murders. There is so much to the curator that you have no idea”.
Dane said, “But he seemed like such a nice guy”. Mr. Paylo replied, “Yes, but looks can be deceiving”.
Dane said “Mr.Paylo, I thought you were the one responsible for this”. Mr.Paylo said, “I’m afraid not. You see, I was the one who originally painted the painting. I was a young boy in an orphanage in Vienna. My mom was a shopkeeper while my Dad was a professional construction site deconstructor. Although times were hard, my parents fostered in me a deep love of creativity. They taught me their crafts, and I would often spend long hours at their workplaces, slowly absorbing information like a sponge.
I eventually developed a lifelong passion for the arts. I joined my school’s painting club. In highschool, I got a job as a PA for the museum. This turned out to be a huge lucky break for me. I got the chance to deliver coffee to the Director, the man who once wielded the same position, influence, and power that I do now. I was very diligent and passionate, and he took a liking to me.
I slowly rose up the ranks. I began learning more about art as well as management, and every chance I would get I would converse with the director.
One day I finally became a director, just like I always dreamed. I modernized the facility, I spread the art out such that shopping, dining, even walking in the museum was like being inside of a work of art.
I met the curator when he was a grad student. I took him under my wing and taught him everything I knew, because I recognized myself in his image. But he turned out to be rude and greedy, not interested in art for the sake of art, but for money and power. I was wary of him, and when he stole the art piece, I knew everyone would suspect me, so I confronted him, told him I would tell everything, and the next thing I knew I was locked in airplane jail.
In the time it took for Dane and the director to complete their conversation, the curator, who was also an accomplished pilot, finished all of his pre-flight checks, and started the engine. The plane began to accelerate along the runway. Dane and the director were nervous. They knew that in about 30 seconds they would be off the ground, so the time to act was now. Dane said “Don’t worry sir I have a plan”. He unfurled his titanium grappling hook, and with the power of 10 pneumatic pistons, shot it directly in the ground underneath causing the airplane to jerk backwards. The director and Dane flew backwards, hitting the wall of the plane in a heap, but the curator took the precaution of buckling himself in, so he was fine. The curator, sensing something was wrong, and knowing about Dane’s remarkable prowess as an Art Bounty Hunter, cautiously unbuckled his seatbelt and got to his feet. The curator then slowly approached the back of the plane, with fear in his eyes and a gun in his hand. As he aimed the gun at Dane, Dane threw the pocket knife he had hiding in his shoe that he used to cut him and the director loose in the time it took the curator to realize something was wrong. The knife careened through the air like a bird of prey and hit the window just behind the curator. “You missed” the curator mockingly said, after letting out a deep breath he was holding in. “Now it’s my turn”. “Wait for it” Dane said, as the knife embedded itself in the concrete runway. The curator fearfully turned around to look at the window, and Dane used the distraction to execute a perfect sweep, knocking the evil curator out once and for all, and solving the mystery.
Dane looked at the director and smiled saying, “This has been one hell of a day”. When Dane walked home he thought about the delicious egg and chicken sandwich he would have for dinner.