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The Forger and The Friend
"It was after midnight at the Art Museum. Several priceless artifacts were stolen. Form of Entry: unknown, Witnesses: none, Suspects: rare art collectors" I read off the report with disgust, "There is nothing for me to work with here!"
"Ma'am! We just got some more information on the case." my older brother, Troy, says as he comes in.
"What is it? Come in" When we are at work, he and everyone else must call me Detective, Detective Bareilles, or ma'am.
"They were making a run through the museum and they found the body of the security night guard."
I know this is an odd time to mention this, but you must be wondering. I had said he was my older brother. I'm the youngest of five and he is the third oldest. I started at this work a lot earlier then him so that's why he must call me ma'am or Detective Bareilles. They all must call me that because I'm their boss and I am the best of the best. I know it sounds conceited, but it's true. Really, it is true.
"Now I'm sure you have gathered other information and possibly some evidence?" I say with an accusing tone.
"Well, no ma'am. They just called and told me what they found." Troy replies sheepishly.
"Tell them I'm on my way and that they better have something for me to work with"
"Yes ma'am!" he rushes out of the room to make the call.
I sigh with disgust, frustration, and sadness. Disgust for my employees and how they are slow and incompetent, 86% of the time, (Yes, I calculated it). I sigh with frustration for how little time I have and stress. It's stressful being the best of the best and being a woman. Men laugh at women detectives until they see me. Every now and then someone will comment how they think I'm terrible and all that crap. They're just jealous. And then I sigh with sadness for my dad who died in this line of work, my love life that is next to non-existent, and again for the little time I have to dwell in the fun things in life.
The sun had been glaring down all day until I stepped out. When I walked out, thunder cracked and rain began to descend.
"Of course" I thought.
When I got into the car it began to really pour. "Even better" I growled. I'd forgotten my umbrella inside. When I dashed in to retrieve it from behind my door... it was gone. I shook my head and ran back to my car, and... There it was. Now, I was just a little bit freaked out, but not for long because in my profession you can't be.
When I arrived at the museum, there were two other cars I recognized and a news van. Then I saw a shady black Lexus in the way back of the parking lot. It had tinted windows and I thought I'd seen it there before.
"Ma'am are you coming in?" Troy asks.
"Yes, I'm coming." I reply shooing him inside. I quickly memorize the license plate number in case I needed it later. I had the feeling I would.
Inside, Troy and the owner of the museum, Carol were standing by some paintings I had never really cared for.
"What do you have for me?" I order. We go upstairs and while showing me security tapes Troy says
'Well, we've discovered that several of the paintings from the Indian exhibit are missing. It seems that the security guard was coming by the Japanese exhibit when he heard footsteps or something. We see him run to the next flight of stairs then the cameras show no more. It's as if someone changed the tapes out." my brother reports.
"My keys were missing yesterday and most of today. Then when I came back to meet Troy here, the keys were on my desk. I was a little bit afraid because I didn't know how they got there" Carol explains.
"Hmmm, I see" This is when we hear tires squeal and a door slowly close. I rush outside and see the end of the black Lexus speeding down the street.
"Dang it!" I mutter to myself.
When I get back inside, Carol is alone chatting away on her cell, smiling like a school-girl. I take the phone and say "I'm sorry, but Carol needs to get back to work", and close it while handing it back to her. Looking at me with a look of shock and disgust she says,
"What the hell was that for?"
"Where is Troy and the news cast?" I reply ignoring her question.
"I don't know! The news cast went home and Troy went off mumbling about cameras or something. What was that for?"
I walk off thinking "Good, Troy. One step ahead as always"
Troy was flipping through camera tapes when I came in.
"Good job. I was just thinking that we should check these" I tell him.
"Thanks, but don't thank me yet. The tapes don't show anyone in the halls. I looked at the times and it seems as if someone fixed them to freeze for five minutes. The camera set by the dumpster did catch this though."
I looked at the camera's frozen picture. What I see looks like my son's best friend. Although I wasn't sure it was him because the clothes were too dressy for him. I started thinking about whose sons wore dressy clothes and knew my son and his group of friends.
Carol. It hit me in an instant. She had a son who had lived in Italy for some time, and then he came back to the States with an Italian accent. I always thought he was trouble. I ran to where I last left Carol. She was gone, but she had left a note.
The note read:
Here is my number:
It is so you may contact me with any information you come up with.
I put the number in my cell and gave the note to Troy, who was still messing with the cameras.
"Leave those and let's get back to the office. I have a call or two to make before tonight." I tell him.
Tonight, Carol was having an exhibit opening and tour of the museum. The museum board was attending and Troy and I were supposed to attend too. My son and Carol's son were taking their girlfriends to make it into a double date. I later called Carol who didn't answer and left a message saying to get back with me as soon as possible.
"Hey mom!" my son, Kyle shouts.
"Hey Kyle! You ready-" I hear the slamming of his door. I don't finish, obviously. When I get up to his room, music is blaring so loudly I can barely hear my own thoughts.
"Kyle Bareilles, turn that down!" I bang on his door. Five minutes more of banging and he slowly creaks open his door.
"Turn that crap down! I mean: Kyle, will you please turn down your music? And are you getting ready for tonight?"
"Yes, mother. I will turn my music down. And yes, I am getting ready for tonight.
I curl my lip because he knows I really don't like to be called "mother".
At the exhibit opening I caught Carol and explained what Troy and I had discovered this afternoon. She actually started to look nervous and her eye twitched a little too. She was saved from the questions I was going to ask by Mr. Quirk, the head of the museum board. I've never cared for him too much. He was just too charming and well, "quirky". I step back and study how she acted around him. Then I went to find Troy. I discovered him watching the security cameras.
"What? Someone has to watch them since the old goose is gone." he says in a defending tone.
"Did I say anything? No, I didn't. You're awfully jumpy. Don't make me put you on the suspects list." I say half teasing.
"Sorry. I was just thinking how much that boy looked like Kyle's friend, Cameron. The clothes, they-"
"They were too nice, I know. They're not Cameron or Kyle's style." I interrupt, "What about Carol's son? Doesn't he like wearing nice clothes?"
"You're right. Hmmm, Could he? No, I don't think so..."
"Tell me what you are detecting."
"All right. Lily, don't you think or did the thought even cross your mind that Cameron and Carol's son could be working together? Maybe they thought that if freezing the cameras didn't work, they wouldn't be recognized by wearing different clothes?"
"It sadly did, yes. What purpose-"
The alarm goes off, interrupting me. I get on the microphone and ask everyone to please exit the building and for Carol to please report to the lobby downstairs. Troy starts working on rewinding the tapes because we were talking and didn't watch the cameras. I met Carol downstairs, so that we may patrol the museum.
"What is going on Detective? I demand to know!" the little woman screeches.
"Calm down, Carol. Troy is running through the tapes. We are going to patrol the museum and see if we see anything out of order." I reply calmly.
"Why? I'm sure everything is fine"
"Now, come on Carol." We start up the stairs.
"Detective, I don't think so. I really should go make an announcement." I pull her back and up the rest of the stairs.
"Lily! Carol! Come I have something important to show you!" Troy shouts.
Carol starts mumbling about something or another and wringing her hands. I lead her to the security room and push her "gently" into a chair.
"Carol, Lily, the evidence is too wrong to be right. What I mean is that, Carol you are busted."
"What! What the hell are you talking about young man? I have done nothing wrong!"
"Sit down." Troy growls.
"Now, Troy." I calm him, "The evidence is crucial." I didn't even really know, but I had the best idea. I was right; stealing a glance at the screens. Yep, I was so right and I didn't like it.
"Carol, we know your son studies art, right?"
"And he's close with Cameron Rubel, yes?"
"Yes, he is but-"
"Stop, miss. Cameron studies technology and how things tick. Your son loves art and tried once to become an artist, but did not succeed. Cameron doesn't wear dressy clothes, but Trevor does. In the picture we caught this afternoon, we saw a young man wearing dressy clothes, but who also has a big resemblance to Cameron. I also saw a shady, black Lexus. Cameron doesn't own one, but does Trevor?"
"Yes. I don't see what you are getting at. I need to go and make an announcement."
I push her back into the chair.
"Stay." I continue, " These frozen videos show that a young man, actually two young men are here. And not to enjoy the hor' dourves. One young man is in a shady, black Lexus. The exact one I saw this afternoon. The other young man is your son, switching the painting with a fake. Your son forged these paintings, Carol. What do you have to say? Anything?"
"Nothing, absolutely nothing."
"Mhmm. The police have custody of your son and Cameron too. They're outside waiting for my commands to take them away. Depending on the judge, they may serve some time, serve community service, or just get away with a very hefty fine. Most likely they'll spend some time locked up."
That was it. I hit the spot.
"All right! I made them do it. I just wanted a little bit of publicity for the museum, that's all. Take me in, I don't care anymore."
"I knew it!" Troy shouts happily.
"Troy. Concentrate." I order.
I cuff Carol and repeat the rights and all that junk. Hey, it's my job.
Carol, Trevor, and Cameron ended up serving one hundred hours of community service, and paying a small $5,000 fee. Trevor and Cameron served two years time and Carol served five years. The museum got more publicity then it had in the past ten years total. My son learned that he needs to use better judgment when deciding who to be friends with.
As for me, I'm dating and my employees are getting faster at their job. I have more time to do things I like to do. Oh, about that umbrella, I had just left it some where that I forgot about.
Report: Names mentioned in this report are false as for protection of the person or persons. Not all details shown for some are too gruesome and for fear that this would be too long.