Day 2: The Curator Arrives

It was his practice when in a hotel room to booby trap his door.  He knew that card key locks were easily hacked.  He knew full well of software available for the Arduino processor board that when plugged into the tiny DC power port hidden just under the doorknob of most hotel rooms with similar card key systems would open nearly any hotel room door.  It was an easy matter of reading the 24-bit string from the lock and then pinging it back, in effect spoofing and triggering it to unlock.  It worked most of the time, like clockwork, so he always brought with him a tension bar to slow down anyone who attempted entry to a room he was staying in using this method.  But on this morning he awoke in his room with the barrel of a ceramic Glock pressed against his left eye.

“You slept with your sliding glass door unlocked…you should know better,” said the South Korean.

“I figured I was safe on the fourth floor,” he answered, drool from the night still crusted to his lips.  The South Korean laughed, slipped the gun back into his jacket, took a peach from the fruit plate, and then sat down on the couch.

“You dummy.  I’m in the room next to you.  I just climbed over, saw you asleep, and let myself in.  You’re lucky there’s honor among thieves,” said the South Korean as he ate the peach.  “Let’s go downstairs and get some coffee.  It’s already ten o’clock.”

The Canadian had recently quit coffee, because on the Toronto job he had been under such tremendous stress that he thought he was going to have a heart attack.  He decided to go cold turkey, and lost a weekend to withdrawals so severe that he could have been coming off of heroin.  The pounding in his head had eventually subsided, and he was free of caffeine — however this seemed like a good time to start coffee again.

“Espresso, doppio,” he asked the waiter, and within minutes that brown bear oil was in his system again.  Another weekend would eventually be lost, but not on this trip.  He needed the boost to overcome his jet lag.

Slowly the other Jury members collected at the hotel patio.  They were scheduled to meet the Curator, who had arrived early that morning.  He was aware of the Curator’s reputation.  Though not in the Thieve’s Guild, he was well known as a leading member of the Assassin’s Guild.  The two guilds had long had a truce and non-competition agreement between them — a policy of mutual respect.  As it turned out, he was Swiss-German, and spoke with a lively accent too rapid for the Woman From Paris to always understand.  He was known as the Curator because he “took care” of people and situations, which was the Latin root of the word.  He was an artist in his own right, and had an appreciation and respect for the business of the other Jury members.  During these ten days he would be one of them, and perhaps if they found themselves in accord he would be one of them forever.

Over the next several espressos (except for the Woman From Paris, who always drank tea) they discussed how their business had changed since the collapse of the world economy.  It was much more difficult these days to pull a heist when Wall Street had just performed the largest crime against humanity since the great pyramids had been constructed.  The massive transfer of wealth had meant that the little jobs the Canadian specialized in that mostly went under-the-radar were suddenly few and far between.  This is why mutual recognition amongst thieves at this time in history was important.

They also discussed how the gradual rise in global Fascism had changed their business.  Capitalists were easy to steal from — they were thieves themselves and somehow expected the behavior as a natural part of the ecosystem.  Fascists on the other hand aren’t thieves, but brute force murderers.

Eventually, they were visited by The Programmer, a Parisian whose job it was to collect together the options the Jury would choose from.  He knew everyone, and was everyone’s friend, but he was also a notorious control freak.  He laid down the ground rules, and instructed the Jury to find an accord when choosing the Best.  He also gave strict instructions of how to behave around the thieves who were in competition for the Prize.  The Canadian had known him for years, and when he had offered the Canadian the honor of serving on the Jury it had been a vote of confidence.  The Canadian wouldn’t fail him.  There was too much respect for that.

For the rest of the day they studied a heist by The Mexican and also one by a relatively young American thief known as The New Yorker.

That night they collected to study one of the famous heists pulled off by the Jury President, the Thailander, which had been orchestrated on the border of Thailand and Laos.  It had been a relatively short job, and was elegantly simple in its design.  Despite the fact that the take had been relatively small, one could tell that an artist’s hand had controlled its execution, and it was individual in a way that made the Canadian deeply admire the Thailander’s subtlety.  He always did things his own way, and had won the recognition of his peers.  This was inspirational to the Canadian — that not every heist needed to pull in the big bucks.  A true thief pulled a heist because it was in their soul to do so.  The Canadian, seeing how at peace the Thailander was, resolved to not shackle himself to the big scores.  He wanted to return to the art of his profession, and to do that he would adapt his approach on future jobs.

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About The Canadian

One of five members of an International Jury serving in Locarno, Switzerland.
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