As if a new-born

Tempted as he was, Franz was no thief. He knew no-one would see, he was the only one there, but he’d never stolen anything and at 72, he wasn’t going to start.

The diamond glistened, taunted. It would have made a lovely necklace for Doris but she was no longer around to wear it.

He knew with the door already open there’d be no alarm. He could just hold it, he’d gloves on so there’d be no fingerprints, hold it for a minute or two, look for imperfections he knew wouldn’t exist.

He opened the door further, watched for any sign of life, electronic or otherwise, but no lights flashed, no alarm or shouting. He reached inside, leather glove touching gem, and picked it up, out of its red velvet caress and held it as if a new-born, just for a few seconds, then placed it back.

Hovering his hand to one side of the stone, he rested the tip of his index finger into the fleshy mound of his thumb and flicked the diamond off its perch as if it were a Subbuteo figure, and watched it drop on to the velvet floor of the bullet-proof glass case. Again he waited for a reaction, someone to witness his mischievousness, but there never was.

He picked the locations carefully, entered at the weakest point, entering but never breaking. Meticulous research, years of experience, at least a dozen visits beforehand, mill amongst the hundreds of patrons. To the guards, the staff, he was just a little old man walking stiffly with a smart black cane. No-one would notice him pressing down on the handle, taking photographs of his possible routes, items of interest.

He’d come to the Van Lief Museum for a Winkel painting, turn it round, just for fun, prove to yet another ‘great institution’ that their security was a joke, but then he’d seen the open door to the diamond and that had been an added bonus. Would it be enough? He wasn’t sure, so on his way out went to the Winkel and didn’t turn it round, but tilted it slightly so the river painted on it would ripple, the people on the boat feel the shift, and as he closed the window behind him, he smiled and went out into the night.


Photography courtesy of

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