You reach into your pocket and pull out the carton of cigarettes only to find it empty yet again. You turn the corner towards Joe's out of habit--he's out of the hospital now though you hear he'll be turning the business over to his nephew soon--when you see a huge sign on the museum across the street reading: "Coming soon! Crown Jewels and Royal Portraiture Through The Ages!"\n\nYou stop dead in your tracks and finger the empty carton still in your pocket. One last glance between the museum and Joe's has you chucking the box into the nearby bin and turning on your heel back towards your apartment. If this isn't a divine sign that you should quit, then you don't know what is.
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The second you turn around, though, all you see is a dark blur (A man, maybe? A woman? It's too hard to tell.). And even though you yell "Hey, get back here!" they don't turn around. \n\nAlthough, looking at how Joe turned out, you're not sure you would have wanted whoever-it-was to come back anyhow. \n\nYou hurry over to the counter and pick up Joe's shop [[phone to call the police|phone call with police a]].
You try to pry the armor apart with your hands, but it barely moves a centimeter. You bend down and try pushing the axe up, and that helps a little, but it keeps getting stuck on the arm plate.\n\nMaybe you need to try [[something else|armor]].
A bored voice comes on the line, "Squarepin Street Police Station, is this an emergency, a personal call, or a complaint?" \n\nYou keep glancing back at Joe, who is starting to stir a little more, but surely not enough to be alright. You start to panic a more and more with each glance. "Breaking and entering! And robbery! And attempted murder! On a Sunday!" \n\nThere's a pause, and you huff impatiently. \n\n"So yes, it's an emergency." \n\n"Okay, no need to get antsy, please hold." \n\n'It's a Small World After All' plays while you're on hold, which is entirely too long considering you threw about words like "murder". \n\nFinally the phone rings again, and you get [[emergency services|emergency services]].
Diarmuid is saying, "Just think about it, how perfect it'd be. You're so good at covering your tracks, and I'm sure it's difficult to find people willing to pay you what those gems are actually worth. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's getting attention and clients." \n\nKayneth rolls his eyes, and you notice that neither of them are aiming their guns anymore. The conversation has turned surprisingly civil, and you're not too sure what this means for you. Kayneth replies, "You're such a show-off. And a presumptive know-it-all. For your information, I do just fine in the gem market. I have plenty of clients." \n\n"Yeah, but you always want more,right? Enough is never enough. That's why we do it. Listen, let's pull off one job, and if it goes horribly, then fine. I'll give you a Fragonard." \n\n"I prefer Boucher, but I'll take it. I want the Da Vinci too. And then I want you stay out of the gem business." \n\n"You've got a deal." \n\nThen they turn and [[look at you|look at you]].
You really should have left your apartment earlier, it's almost eight, and the market usually closes early on Sundays. You walk a little quicker, hoping the shopkeep, Joe or something, has decided to be a little lazy with the clean up today and will let you in for just a minute. You probably should have also worn more sensible shoes because now it's pouring and your socks are soaked and squelching. A lot of your problems could have been solved with just a little foresight.\n\nYou reach the door and--finally, some good luck! Someone is still in the back, lounging in a chair the big lug. You bang on the door, but he doesn't move. Probably has his radio on. You turn the handle, just to see, and lo and behold wonderful, forgetful Joe has yet to lock the front doors. You mosey in and call out, \n\n"Hey Joe, I know you're closed, but I promise I'll be quick--can I get a pack of..." \n\nBut you quickly realize that something is wrong. Joe hasn't turned around yet, and he's slumping a little in his chair.\n\nDo you [[check on Joe|check on Joe]] or [[get the hell out of there|get the hell out of there]]?
You're walking down Charnel Road on your way to the corner market for a pack of cigarettes. It's an overcast day, and you feel a raindrop just as you realize you've accidentally grabbed the umbrella that has a hole in it. You've got about 10 pounds in your pocket, and maybe a couple shillings--nope, one's a button. Oh well, who needs a new umbrella when you've got a terrible headache and smoking seems like the only thing that will cure it. \n\nThen when you turn the corner, you're affronted by a small freckle-faced boy is screaming at the top of his lungs: \n\n"EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! CRAFTY BURGLER STEALS SOMETHIN' ELSE--NO MUSEUM IS SAFE! TWO POUNDS FOR A COPY!" \n\nSounds interesting, and a couple pounds isn't bad for a [[paper|paper]], but on the other hand you do really want those [[cigarettes|cornermarket]] before you're caught in an outright deluge...
Okay, so you've just seen a dead body, and you didn't pass out, so there's something positive, right?\n\nBut maybe he's not dead, maybe he's just unconscious. You probably should have checked, but you panicked. Something definitely happened to him. \n\nWhatever it is, you are not equipped to deal with it by yourself. But you can't just leave him there either...and of course now that you need a police officer there isn't a single one in sight, isn't that always the way. You find a phone booth and raise a shaky hand to the buttons when suddenly you see something out of the corner of your eye: it looks like someone in a dark suit sprinting past the double doors of the market. You shrink down in the booth, trying not to draw too much attention to yourself, just in case the murderer (OR don't know if he's dead, he's not dead, probably not dead, oh god please don't be dead) decides you've seen too much. \n\nYou brave a glance around the band posters taped to the bottom of the booth, but see nothing. Traffic is bustling, pedestrians are arguing, everything's just the way you left it. It might have been a person you saw run out but maybe it was just a trick of the light. You honestly can't tell. You definitely have to [[call the police|phone call with police b]] now, though.
You wander around between warehouses and shipyards for a while, enjoying the fresh air if nothing else. \n\nYou feel a drop of rain on your cheek, and look up at the sky. It looks like it's about to burst, so you walk over to the nearest building, a big grey storage building, and step inside to wait it out. \n\nThen everything goes [[black|black]]. \n\n
You dream of unimpressed, well-dressed detectives and mysterious amorphous blurs that dance out of your vision the second you try to focus on them. \n\nThen, for some reason, the blurs decide to scream at you over and over and over until you're clasping your hands firmly over your ears and then the screaming turns into a steadily pulsing, high pitched [[throb|clocks]]. \n\n
You step closer and hesitantly reach out to tap his [[shoulder|shoulder]].
It's only now that you realize this side of the warehouse is like a small workman's shop for the delivery trucks parked nearby. There are a few tools scattered about and some stray coffee cups, but since it's Saturday and freezing, you doubt any of the workers are going to wander in today and save you. \n\nBut you don't need saving. You are a capable individual who can fend for yourself. Or so says the mantra you keep repeating in your head.\n\nKeeping your eyes trained on the two men, you slowly stand up, crouching over so they won't see you over the boxes. You slip your hands over the back of the chair, and awkwardly step over them to get your arms around your front. Then you notice the shelf a few feet away and to your left. Here's your chance. \n\nWhen the yelling gets particularly loud, you feel safe enough to try and grab something off the nearest bench.Two things are within your reach. Which do you grab? \n\nThe [[small light bulb|light bulb]]? \n\nThe [[bottle of motor oil|motor oil]]?
You climb the stairs to your tiny apartment ("Why on earth did I choose the fifth floor?" you ask yourself for the hundredth time), and lean against the doorframe as you attempt to push your key into the lock. \n\nThe second you're inside, you flop down on your bed and heave a sigh, head still pounding. \n\nYou know what would help is a nice--\n\nNope. You forgot to buy the cigarettes. \n\nYou fall into a fitful [[sleep|sleep]].
You consider calling the nurse, but then he sits up a little. \n\n"I...didn't know that was you I gave it to. I thought it was him..." \n\n"It's alright, you were disoriented, perfectly understandable. I can relay the information to whomever you like." \n\nJoe reaches out and grips your arm firmly. "I didn't mean to get you involved, you have to understand that, I didn't know!" \n\nYou assure him you don't mind, and ask him what he means but he just tells you "Just promise me you wont go, okay?"\n\n"Go where?" \n\nThen the door opens and an impatient nurse tells you, "You're exciting the patient, and I'm afraid you need to leave. You can come back tomorrow from 10 till 5." \n\nAfter being pushed out of the room, you rack your brain for a place that Joe wouldn't want you to be. You don't even know the guy that well. \n\nBut you suppose you made a few leaps in deciphering the note. Now it seems like much more than just a personal reminder, and you start to think of the words and numbers in a [[different way|different way]].
"My name's Diarmuid, by the way. I see you admire my work enough to incapacitate my middle man and try to steal my paintings. You weren't good enough to get that safe combination out of him, though, were you? No worries, I've got it hidden safely away now. Anyhow, it's always nice to meet a fan, although you should know better than to try and steal from a thief."\n\nHis middle man? You realize he's talking about [[Joe|Joe]], who must have helped him stash the stolen paintings. Even worse, you now know that Kayneth is the one who hurt him badly enough to put him in the hospital, and still had time to arrive at the crime scene looking immaculate and perfectly calm not twenty minutes later. And now he has a gun. \n\nKayneth says in a dangerously quiet voice, "He's been giving the newspapers false reports, saying it was a "shadowy figure" stealing both the paintings and my gems. He had to pay for associating me with an incompetent, flamboyant lout like you who is trying to take credit for my hard work. What you do doesn't require any skill. It's just a few clumsy slices to the canvas, thus completely decreasing the value. Not to mention the horrid mess it makes, all those flecks of paint everywhere. Then you have the audacity to replace these masterpieces with your cheap imitations. You probably think you're being funny or clever leaving your paintings and those stupid notes, but it's just insulting. You would never understand the art of stealing a precious gem, guarded by bulletproof cases and motion sensors, not leaving a single fingerprint. And if your filthy nails are anything to go by, I doubt you care much about the neatness. You don't deserve to sell those paintings."\n\nThe man called Diarmuid laughs. "Well the press sure loves me, they think my notes are cute. And like someone like you would understand anything about stealing and dealing paintings. It's not so cut and dry, like it is with gems. You can always cut up a stolen gem and pass it off as legal, but with an authentic painting you have to find the right client who's willing to overlook the fact that you stole it. It's not easy to do. Lots of crooked cops around trying to trip you up, you know." \n\nThey continue to argue in the center of the room about the pure art form that is high-end theft, the poor quality of Diarmuid's replicas, and who's stolen the best loot. \n\nYou try to tune them out and figure out how you're going to get out of this mess while they're distracted and you're partially hidden behind a stack of boxes. You look around and realize you are sitting close to a [[workman's bench|corner]]. \n\n
You turn the map sideways, trying to find District F. \n\nYou finally find it when you flip it upside down and are surprised to realize it's near the docks. It looks like there are a few packing companies and some big warehouses. What could be there that could be so important? \n\nThe bus arrives and you amble down to the closest bus stop, 3 blocks away from your destination. You begin to [[walk|kidnapping]].
They make you sit in the back of the ambulance parked in front of the museum, even though you swear you're fine. \n\nYou have a precious minute of silence to make up your mind about what you're going to do. \n\nThere's no doubting these are dangerous men, capable of findng you if you [[rat them out|optiontwo]]. However, you might be rewarded with some peace if you [[don't confess|optionone]] to knowing anything.
1200 might not mean 12:00. It might be an address. As for the "F" after it, it might stand for a company name, an apartment letter, or...\n\nA building district. The old quarter of the town is still cut into 6 districts, all referred to on maps by different letters.\n\nNow you're getting somewhere. Something's going to happen in a building on the 1200 block of district F. \n\nThe date is the only part that still doesn't make sense. \n\nJune 24, 14. You assumed it was referring to the year 2014 at first, but maybe not. \n\n06-24-14\n\nCould be some kind of code, or a lock combination. Whatever it is, you think 1200 F will answer your questions. You go back to the apartment, and once again experience the unpleasant sensation that a stranger has traipsed around amongst your things. You lock the door and pull the handle 5 times just to make sure. You pull out the city map you keep in your desk, and head for the [[bus stop|bus stop]].
\n\n<html><IMG SRC=""></html>\n\n<<set $foundPaper = true>>\n\n[[back|shoulder]]
You give them the location of the stolen paintings along with the safe code you got from Joe.\n\nYou give them a description of both theives, and they sit you down with a sketch artist. \n\nThey give you a sandwich and a cup of water and tell you that your bravery has been appreciated.\n\nThe sandwich bread is stale and the water tastes funny, and you think that what you could really go for is a cigarette, but of course you haven't had one of those since before this whole business began. \n\nYou go home, exhausted and hungry, and fall asleep the second your head hits the [[pillow|pillow]].
It's just a tree branch hitting the window outside which looks to be painted shut. You listen for [[voices or footsteps|noisethree]]....
The nurse lets you in, but tells you not to keep him too long because he needs his rest. \n\nYou feel rather stupid when you see the flowers and balloons by his bedside. You should have brought him something. \n\n"Hey there, Joe. How are you doing?"\n\nJoe turns to look at you for a moment before realization hits. "Oh, you're the one who found me. They told me your name but I couldn't put your face to it. Listen, thanks kid." \n\nYou him it's no big deal, it's what anyone would have done. Then you add, "So, when I came in and found you, you gave me something. Do you remember? A little slip of paper? Was it something important, like an appointment you needed to remember because if it was, don't worry I remember everything it said," you finish in a rush. "My apartment was broken into, and it sort of got lost in the chaos." \n\nJoe goes very [[pale|pale]].
They send an ambulance for Joe, and they send over a couple of police cars as well. \n\nYou talk about what you've seen (you're a bit spotty on who went running out, of even if you saw anyone at all--it was a little dark), and a detective named [[Worthington, Worthinghash, something|Kayneth Worthingham]] takes your statement. After asking you dozens of questions about the blur (How tall were they? Were they carrying anything? What kind of shoes did they have on? Are you sure it was grey, you don't seem to have much of an eye for color--he says this while looking depreciatively at your mismatched socks), the detective tells you this area has seen a big increase in crime lately, and not to worry too much about it. \n\nThen, before you turn to leave, he adds, "Oh, and did the victim say anything to you? Give you anything? We'll need to take it in for evidence." \n\nYou reach into your pocket to retrieve the piece of paper Joe shoved into your hand, but this detective is already looking at you with undisguised disdain as if he thinks you're a very stupid child who cannot understand simple concepts and should be answering his questions more quickly, so you decide not to waste his time. It didn't make any sense anyway, it was just some random notes from his date book. \n\n"He just, uhm, told me I should call the police. That he was hurt." \n\nHis eyes are trained on your pocket as if he suspects you know more than you're letting on, but he thanks you for your time, and you head [[home|home]] with a pounding headache.
<html><IMG SRC=""></html>\n\nWell it looks like they got away with it after all. And now they're in London, which is far enough away to make you feel a little safer. You'll still definitely be changing your phone number. And maybe your locks one more time. [[Just in case|quitsmoking]].
You say in a rush, "It didn't make sense because it was a really far off date, next June. So, I thought maybe it was a code instead of a date, like a combination." \n\nKayneth lowers his gun a little and looks pleased. \n\nYou're about to elaborate further when suddenly you hear a loud sound, like a gunshot, hit a piece of metal in the far corner of the warehouse. Kayneth spins around and aims the gun at to his left, only to find that one is also being trained on him. \n\nA tall man standing in the doorway begins to stroll casually over towards the two of you, gun raised and finger poised on the trigger. His [[clothes|clothes]] and demeanor bear a stark contrast to Kayneth's orderly appearence and uptight attitude. He appears to be [[whistling|youwonder]]. \n\n
You realize that a black bag is being shoved over your head, and you're being manhandled through a doorway.\n\nYou grab on to the walls, the door, whatever you can find but you can't see anything and soon enough there's nothing left to hold on to. \n\nIt's getting harder and harder to breathe, and even though you're kicking and screaming, your assailant doesn't seem phased and there's no one around to hear.\n\nThen you're being tossed through the air, and you prepare yourself for the cold, hard embrace of the river, but instead you find your face being pushed into a plush, soft surface. \n\nYour hands are cuffed behind your back and you hear a [[car start|car]]. \n
Joseph Franklin became the owner of his corner market, "Joes' Grocery," twenty-seven years ago after his father died and bequeathed it to him. Business was good for a very long time. Joe had his regulars, and then newcomers would come in all the time to buy this or that. He earned a comfortable living until the bigger, better "Super Sellers" opened up two blocks over. Suddenly customers complained about his high prices, his lack of service, and the fact that he didn't hand out free samples like they do over at Sellers. \n\nHe tried a few different strategies to get business going again, but they never quite cut it. If he lowered his prices, Sellers lowered theirs even more. If he hired his nephew, Reiner, to help on the weekends, the customers complained about the lack of self-check-out stations. He seriously considered closing the shop and living off his savings until one day when a handsome, if somewhat dishevelled, young man came into his shop and asked him if he'd like to go into business with him. \n\nDiarmuid only told Joe that he was an artist who dealt with very wealthy clients who required a certain level of security for their purchases. He's looking for a nice, safe place in the city to store the paintings until his clients are ready to pick them up. Joe mentions that his store isn't very safe, but he's got a small warehouse out in district 12 by the docks, but of course Diarmuid already knew that. \n\nHe offered Joe a 5% cut of the profits, which seemed a bit unfair until Joe took a look at the five figures Diarmuid scribbled down and slid across the counter to him. He didn't even wait for Joe to accept, just smiled brilliantly and thanked him for his business. \n\nAfter a while, Joe started to suspect that the deal was too good to be true, especially when the paintings came to him the day after each robbery took place. When he asked Diarmuid about it, he wrote down another handsome figure and asked if this would be enough to secure his cooperation, and perhaps a little help with the police and press. \n\nJoe felt like he was getting in over his head, but money was so tight. He kept his promise and told the police each time they asked about an art or jewel theft that he saw a shadowy figure leaving the building.
Kayneth Worthingham, the disgruntled policeman, carefully removes his gloves and says in a delicate tone. "So he's got a new runner, does he? Tell me, how did the two of you get acquainted?" \n\nYou're extremely confused, but you think it would be best not to anger him, since you know he's already prone to impatience. And impatience paired with the fact that he may be concealing a weapon makes for a very dangerous combination. \n\n"I don't know who you're talking about. I was just taking a walk." \n\nHe looks at you like you are an irritating insect he would quite like to squash, and then perhaps wipe away with the neatly embroidered handkerchief he is now using to polish a sleek revolver.\n\n"This isn't a game, and if you waste any more of my time, I will begin to lose my patience. I already know you and Joseph screwed me over and are hiding the paintings for that insipid hack. Just tell me where they are, so I can put them in a more deserving place. He doesn't deserve them!" \n\nYou weren't aware that police interrogations were so dangerous, and you're pretty sure they aren't usually held in abandoned warehouses by the river without a security camera in sight. Although, it's becoming pretty clear that this man is not a normal policeman. Your eyes are trained on the revolver as you give him your cautious response. \n\n"I do know Joe, but I only see him when I go to the market. I came down here because he gave me this address and a date a few days back." \n\nThe detective pauses in polishing his gun to look at you with interest. He leans closer and says "And what exactly was the date?" \n\nIt's probably best not to lie to a unhinged man with a [[gun|tell him]].
Van Goghing Going Gone
You've managed to keep your little lightbulb in your hand this whole time, because the thieves were too distracted to notice your clenched fist. \n\nYou quickly undo your handcuffs and wait by the bathroom door listening for any [[noises|noise]]...
<<if $foundPaper>>\nYou hear nothing, so you go inside, expecting to find that every corner of your apartment has been turned upside down. But, actually everything looks relatively normal, aside from the few over-turned throw pillows and the open dresser drawers. \n\nYou start going through your things, trying to figure out what's been stolen. They left your computer, your TV, even the cash you had in your underwear drawer (which has been unceremoniously rifled through). What's missing, what's missing...\n\nYou're looking in your closet, trying to decide if you've always had 3 sets of bed linens or if one's been taken, when you suddenly and rather irrationally think of the piece of paper you shoved in your pocket at the crime scene. It makes no sense for any decent thief to steal a stupid piece of paper and not your electronics, unless they've cornered a very specific market for clients who collect useless pieces of parchment. Still you can't forget the guilt you felt after not telling that detective about what was written on it. It might seem meaningless to you, but maybe it's very meaningful to Joe. \n\nYou realize you're being completely ridiculous, but then again your apartment has been ransacked and your underwear drawer rifled through, which seem like very reasonable reasons for behaving ridiculously. You frantically dig through your closet to find the jacket you were wearing that day and shove your hand into the right side pocket, only to realize that the paper isn't there. You check the left pocket, then the breast pocket, then toss it over your shoulder in favor of searching the floor of your closet. Nothing. \n\nWhat did it say? A date, June 29th? July, maybe? No, definitely June. June 29th, 14 (2014?) and 1200 F (12 pm probably, and maybe the F stands for Friday?) and "don't be late". Well it was important to Joe for some reason, important enough to entrust to you, and now you've gone and lost it. What if it was the date of his daugher's wedding? Or a doctor's appointment? It could have been his grocery list, for all it matters, the fact remains that he gave it to you, and now you've lost it. You need to talk to him. \n\nYou put your wretched, paper-less coat on and head out to visit Joe in the [[hospital|hospital]], and hope you haven't done anything too terrible. \n\n<<else>>\nYou hear nothing, so you go inside, expecting to find that every corner of your apartment has been turned upside down. But, actually everything looks relatively normal, aside from the few over-turned throw pillows. \n\nYou start going through your things, trying to figure out what's been stolen. They left your computer, your TV, even the cash you had in your underwear drawer (which has been unceremoniously rifled through). What's missing, what's missing...\n\nRetrace your steps and make sure you've turned over every leaf, so to speak. \n<<endif>>
He shoves you into a wall and you can see the harsh red glare of the sensor lights glinting off the barrel of his gun. \n\nHe looks over his shoulder, presumably for Diarmuid. \n\n"Can't be helped, hostages are too messy." \n\nThen suddenly his gun is pushed up against your cheek.\n\nYou've had a good run. \n\nHe cocks the gun and you [[close your eyes|bang]]...
Kayneth and Diarmuid are nowhere to be seen. The officers seem just as confused, but they grab your arm and pull you out the front door and tell you to stay in the [["safety zone"|safetyzone]].
You wake up the next morning and turn on the news. \n\n"The top story all morning has been the capture of the elusive Cat Burglar and his assistant, Kayneth Worthington, former police detective in charge of the art theft cases. Although Worthington denied any kind of association with the Cat Burglar, the evidence, including eyewitness testimonies, have sealed his fate. \n\nPolice claim they suspected Worthington all along, and when asked why they put him in charge of the very cases of crimes they suspectd he was committing, Chief Butterman simply stated, "That's highly confidential information, and I really wish you'd stop asking about it." \n\nYou wonder what Kayneth's face must have looked like when they referred to him as "Diarmuid's assistant" and how many years they get. You hope it's quite a while, because otherwise you've made quite a mistake. You may have slipped through their fingers the first time, but next time you might not get so lucky. You're so exhausted, you could sleep for a week. You flop back onto the bed, close your eyes, and light a cigarette.
The funny thing about death is that you can still feel how empty your stomach is.\n\nYou also realize that you can't feel any pain in your head, which doesn't make any sense because you've been [[shot|openeyes]]. \n\n\n\n
<html><IMG SRC=""></html>\n\nHmm, interesting. You had heard about those thefts, something about how the woman replaces the art with her own replicas, and leaves a note. What was she called? The cat? Something like that. Now for those [[cigarettes|cornermarket]].
You don't know why they've bothered to blind you this time, you already know they're planning to go to the museum. You agree with Diarmuid, that it would probably be in their best interest to dump you somewhere, but then again they don't seem too knowledgeable about standard kidnapping protocol--which is lucky for you.\n\nThey push you back through the door, going over the details of the impromptu robbery and apparently not noticing when they accidentally run you into the doorframe. Twice.\n\nYou feel a chill in the air and hear the chirp of crickets. It must be well past sunset. \n\nThen you're back in the car. They didn't even put your seatbelt on this time, but you guess that now they've decided to do away with you, they care a little less about your safety in a moving vehicle.\n\nThe car stops after twenty-five minutes and your heart sinks as you listen closely for the sounds of passing pedestrians, and hear nothing. They must have pulled around to a back entrance.\n\nThe manhandling process is repeated, but due to the new addition of a cold gun pressed against your back, you decide to [[go quietly|museum]].
Detective Kayneth Worthingham joined the city's police force 2 years ago, when he transfered in from Chesterfield, a town a little ways north from here. His accomodations are impressive, even if his attitude leaves a little to be desired. His uniform is immaculate as is his refined accent, and he strikes you as a Duke having a go at playing cops and robbers for the day. His fair hair is slicked back so that not a single hair dares fall out of place, and instead of the police issue jacket, he's wearing a navy blue waist coat that coordinates perfectly with his periwinkle pocket square. You see the gold chain of a pocket watch coming from his pocket as well. This is obviously a man who enjoys things being in their proper place. \n\nWhen he kicks the door to test just how "broken in" it is, you see that his shoes are perfectly polished. Hardly seems like a field agent who roams the streets looking for hardened criminals.
A bored voice comes on the line, "Squarepin Street Police Station, is this an emergency, a personal call, or a complaint?" \n\nYou keep glancing back at the shop, but there's still no sign of movement. Your panic levels are rising swiftly along with your guilt about not checking on him. You practically yell into the phone, "Breaking and entering! And robbery! And attempted murder! On a Sunday!" \n\nThere's a pause, and you huff impatiently. \n\n"So yes, it's an emergency." \n\n"Okay, no need to get antsy, please hold." \n\n'It's a Small World After All' plays while you're on hold, which is entirely too long considering you threw about words like "murder". \n\nFinally the phone rings again, and you get emergency services. \n\nYou repeat the same convoluted story to the second operator and hope for the [[best|emergency services b]].
You hear a light beeping. \n\nThe sounds alternate between a high and low volume. That might be some kind of motion sensor. If you can spring it, then maybe the police will before the thieves catch up with you. You then hear a sudden [['thud'|noisetwo]], so you poke your head out of the bathroom door.
They send an ambulance for Joe, and they send over a couple of police cars as well. \n\nYou talk about what you've seen (you're a bit spotty on who went running out, of even if you saw anyone at all--it was a little dark), and a detective named [[Worthington, Worthinghash, something|Kayneth Worthingham]] takes your statement. After asking you dozens of questions about the blur (How tall were they? Were they carrying anything? What kind of shoes did they have on? Are you sure it was grey, you don't seem to have much of an eye for color--he says this while looking depreciatively at your mismatched socks), the detective tells you this area has seen a big increase in crime lately, and not to worry too much about it. \n\nThen, before you turn to leave, he adds, "Oh, and did the victim say anything to you? Give you anything? We'll need to take it in for evidence." \n\nYou look down at your feet, and feel the silly need to not disappoint this severe man with tales of your cowardice. \n\n"Well, I just happened upon him then called you. Didn't really have much time to get anything out of him, you know?" \n\nThe detective looks at you as if he's trying to decide if you're lying, and you try your best to look like a contributing member of society who would in no way ever leave an ailing man to his impending doom for approximately seven minutes while you sorted yourself out in a phone booth. \n\nHe hands you his card and tells you, rather than asks, to call him if you remember anything significant. \n\nYou head [[home|home]] with a pounding headache. It starts to rain.
<html><IMG SRC =""></html>\n\nAgain with the art thief, why is everyone so obsessed with them? It seems like they're trying to make some kind of statement, but you can't figure out what it is. That they're better than Da Vinci? It's not likely that even they believe that one, but you never know with art thieves, you guess. \n\n[[Back to breakfast|bakery]].
And hear nothing but beeping and the steady thump of the windblown tree. \n\nYou frantically look around for a phone or an alarm, but there's absolutely nothing on the walls beside paintings and nothing on the ground besides a [[rusted suit of armor|armor]] and a ficus. You rip off one of the branches, thinking maybe you can use it as a weapon. It may not do much damage, but at least you can catch someone by surprise if they come running around the corner. It'll buy you enough time to run, maybe. \n\nBut then you look a little further down adn see that one of the paintings has a glass case. You wonder if it has an [[alarm sensor|slimjim]]...
<<if $foundArmor>>\nYou wedge the branch between the armplate and the axe handle, alternating between stabbing and wiggling. All the pieces are rusted together, so it's barely budging. \n\nYou're making so much noise that you're sure you're going to be caught any minute now. Finally, something comes loose and you yank the axe up and out, sending the rest of the armor to the floor in a loud, messy clatter that resounds throughout the hall. If they hadn't heard you before, they certainly have now. You run towards the painting's glass case and heave the axe over your shoulder to gain momentum, but it's so heavy that it pulls you back and you land on the floor in a heap. \n\nTime is running out so you get up and try swinging the axe like a baseball bat instead. That seems to work. You make a direct hit on the glass this time, but it doesn't shatter. \n\nYou begin to panic even more. With each whack to the glass, it only shakes. You keep glancing over your shoulder, sure that you hear the sound of voices headed your way. \n\nYou land one more whack to the glass and it finally gives way, a crack forming and spreading as you hit it now. \n\nYou feel relieved because at any moment the alarm will sound and the police will arrive (well the police who aren't doubling as deranged art thieves). Maybe just a few more hits...[[any minute now|silent alarm]]...\n\n<<else>>\nYou inspect the glass, but don't see any emergency buttons to push. You pound on it a couple times with your fist, but nothing happens. You need something heavier. \n\n<<endif>>
You hear a small intake of breath and quickly retract your hand. \n\n"Hey, are you alright?" \n\nJoe's stirring, but he's got a huge shiner over his left eye and it looks like he's got a busted lip too. \n\nWhen he sees you, his eyes widen and he tries to say something, but instead he coughs violently and doubles over. You put a hand on his back and try desperately to remember basic health care from your seventh grade health class, when you feel a hand gripping your shirt. Joe continues to cough but shoves a small torn [[piece of paper|piece of paper]] into your hand.\n\nYou're about to ask what happened when suddenly you hear a clatter from the front of the store. \n\n\nThen you see [[it|grey blur]].
You wish you had brought your coat, because now it's starting to snow. You pick up the pace a little and jog along the road to your apartment. \n\nYou glance up at your apartment window out of habit and notice that something is off. Your blinds look broken from here, but you know that they were fine before you left. You stop, count the windows, just in case it's not yours.\n\nBut of course it is, you've lived here long enough to know your windows. You immediately think of Mr. Bennet across the hall and his nosy, fat cat, always sneaking in and trying to pilfer your bacon and scratch up your curtains. \n\nYou barge up the stairs with a mind to knock on Mr. Bennet's door and demand he replace your blinds, when you notice that your apartment door is standing ajar. You know for a fact you locked that door. \n\nWhich means that someone else has been in your home, quite uninvited, which is way worse than any cat problem. You stand there for a minute or two completely still, trying to hear any movement coming from inside the [[apartment|ransacked apartment]]...\n
You open your eyes, expecting maybe some nice peaceful clouds or whatever happens in the great beyond, but you see nothing but chaos. \n\nPolicemen and red sniper lights and blinking red and blue lights. \n\nIt isn't Kayneth who was shooting, but another policemen down the hall! You must have triggered the alarm after all! \n\nKayneth jumps back and you see a uniformed policeman aiming a gun directly at him, shouting "Freeze, Worthington!" \n\nHis eyes dart between the five policemen with their weapons aimed at his chest and head, and he drops his gun to the floor. Two officers immediately move in and pin him to the ground to cuff his hands behind his back. \n\nYou hear rapid footsteps coming from the other end of the hall, and you turn and see Diarmuid, but it's too late to shout to the officers. The second you spot him, he shoots--but not at you or the policemen. He empties his rounds on the ceiling, and suddenly parts of it are falling on you and everyone. You can't see anything through the white haze of dust and celing bits raining down, and soon everyone's coughing and rubbing their eyes. Once the dust clears, you realize something's [[wrong|kaynethsgone]].
You wonder miserably if this is yet another insane person who thinks you're involved in this mess and is here to bust your kneecaps, but the man doesn't seem to notice you at all. He says in a cheery voice, "Nice to finally meet you, Mr. Worthingham! Or can I call you Kayneth? I really admire your work, that Egyptian thing? Helix or something? Really great job on that one, you didn't even leave a fingerprint! I'm planning on taking a few pointers from you for my first jewel heist. I thought I'd try it out for a while. See if it suits me." \n\nKayneth's frown deepens considerably. What seems like praise to you must sound like some kind of supreme insult to him. \n\nHe starts to move closer to the cheerful man. "Jewel theft is not something you 'try out' you petulant twerp, it takes skill, something which you clearly lack, if those finger paintings you leave behind at the scenes of your crimes are any indication." \n\nThe man just laughs, which only serves to irk Kayneth further. The comment about the finger paintings brings to mind that newspaper article you read a this morning, about the burglar who leaves replicas behind at the crime scenes. So, great. Another criminal. \n\nYou watch as the man takes a careless step closer, still chuckling, clearly more amused than insulted at Kayneth's criticism. \n\nHe begins to walk in slow circles around Kayneth, forcing the detective to turn in tight little circles as well in order to keep his gun on him. Finally, the tall man smiles, amused, and starts to [[talk|chuckling]].
It seems like you drive for ten minutes, but when you're rudely removed from the backseat, you can still hear the gulls and the river water crashing against the banks. \n\nYou're shoved through another door, and into a hard chair. The figure loops your cuffed hands around the back, which you nervously realize makes escape slightly more improbable. \n\nHe finally removes the sack on your head, and even though it takes your eyes a few seconds to adjust to the bright lights, there's no mistaking that pefectly styled hair and stylish coat. \n\nYou didn't see [[this coming|warehouse]]. \n\n
They pull you into a bathroom on the first floor of the musuem and handcuff you to one of the sinks, putting the bag into your mouth to keep you from calling for help.\n\nThey argue outside the bathroom about which direction the Van Gogh exhibit is in, but Diarmuid wins out in the end you hear their footsteps headed left down the hallway. \n\nYou wait for a minute or two, just to make sure they aren't coming back, and you [[get to work|get to work]].
A loud bang erupts next to your ear, then you can only hear a dreadful, ringing [[silence|enter police]].
You worry that they might have noticed when you broke the lightbulb, but both seem surprised to see you're still here. \n\nYou hear Diarmuid say, "Why did you take a hostage? Isn't that a little over dramatic? I thought you were a 'high-end thief', not some petty thug. And besides, if you'd done some research, you would've found out that I have no connection to this person." \n\nKayneth snaps, "I don't usually resort to violence and kidnapping, but I had to find out where you put those paintings, you imbicile. Anyway, murders are far too messy. We're taking them with us." \n\nDiarmuid's looking at you like he'd rather just toss you into the river and be done with it. "But it'll complicate things." \n\n"Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you liked an audience." \n\n"Fine, but afterwards we're doing something with them. Witnesses are bad for business." \n\nThis statement sends a fearful chill down your spine, and before too long, the bag is back over your head and you're once again enveloped in [[darkness|cartwo]].
What are you going to take now? \n\nThe [[small bottle of motor oil|motor oil]]? \n\nThe [[small light bulb|light bulb]]?
<<set $foundArmor = true>>\nYou look over the suit of armor, trying to break apart some of its pieces to use a a battering ram. \n\nThe axe looks promising, but it's wedged tightly between its arms. \n\nYou try using the light bulb wire to break away some of the rust, but it snaps and falls to the floor. \n\nYour panic levels are about to reach their peak. You could try using your [[hands|hands]] or the [[ficus branch|slimjim]], but those are your only two options.
You order a cheese danish and a coffee, and pick up the [[paper|papertwo]] someone's left on your table to read while you wait. \n\nAfter you've had your breakfast, you leave the paper on the table, and head [[home|oh no]]. Can't put off getting some work done forever, and it's already 7:45.
SCREECH SCREECH SCREECH SCREECH \n\nYou finally wake up and glance over at your alarm clock, which you now realize is making the horrible noise. \n\n<html><IMG SRC=""></html>\n\nJust five more [[minutes|minutes]]. \n\n\n\n
...except nothing happens. It's terribly quiet now that you're not hitting the glass anymore. \n\nThe silence makes your ears ring and it's impossible to discern your own erratic heartbeat from any possibly approaching footsteps. \n\nYou start to feel a little faint, probably a combination of fear and lack of food, so you sit down for a few seconds and collect yourself. \n\nWhen you finally gather some strength, you raise the axe to hit it just one more time in case it wasn't cracked enough before to raise the alarm, when suddenly you hear a shout coming from your right. \n\n"Don't you dare break that! Don't you realize that's an original Botticelli?!" \n\nIt's Kayneth, and he's coming towards you at an alarming pace. You try to outrun him, but he catches up with you in a matter of [[seconds|seconds]].
Both thieves found your home after just one day of seeing your face. There's no limit to what they can do and where they can find you. If your testimony puts them in jail, how long will they be there? Fifteen years? Maybe ten with good behavior? Why put yourself through that nightmare? \n\nA short police officer with dark circles under her eyes comes over to take your statement. She can barely write straight, and it occurs to you that she might be too exhausted to pick up on it if you lie to her. \n\nYou reach up and rub your head and wince a little for effect. \n\n"Well, right before you came in, I hit my head pretty hard on the wall, so I'm afraid I don't remember too much of what they said. I was just standing on the steps of the museum when they dragged me in and kept me as a hostage. I could try to describe them to you." \n\nThe officer finishes writing, yawns, and waves another officer with a sketchbook over to you. You give her completely inaccurate descriptions. They were both shorter than you. One had red hair, fairly stout, wide-set eyes. The other had dyed purple hair and scrawny legs and wore a yellow suit. \n\nYou're finally allowed to go home, where you immediately flop into bed and [[fall asleep|paperthree]].
Kaylee Wilsher
<<if $foundMotorOil>>\nThe lightbulb is so tiny that you can conceal it easily in one hand. The thieves sound like they're finally starting to reach some kind of agreement on what to do (one that, hopefully, doesn't involve your untimely demise), so you quickly smash the lightbulb against the chair back just as one of them sneezes. You see the small springy wire is still attached to the base of the bulb, and you get an idea. \n\nYou quickly push the wire into the handcuff's keyhole until they spring open, and you put them back on behind your back, keeping the base and wire firmly gripped in one hand. It probably won't end well for you if they realize you're trying to escape. Better feign cooperation and submission for now. \n\nThe yelling has ceased and you strain to hear [[what they're discussing|discussing]]. \n\n\n\n<<else>>\nYou pick up the small lightbulb carefully between your fingers. If you could only use your hands properly, you could smash it and do something useful with the remains. \n\n[[Back|choices]]\n<<endif>>
You sigh and stare at the clock, willing it to stop making that awful noise.\n\nSCREECH SCREECH SCREECH \n\n<html><IMG SRC=""></html>\n\nSCREECH SCREECH SCREECH\n\n<html><IMG SRC=""></html>\n\nSCREECH SCREECH SCREECH \n\n<html><IMG SRC=""></html>\n\nSCREECH SCREECH SCREECH \n\n<html><IMG SRC=""></html>\n\nYou sigh and push your alarm clock to the floor, where it continues to shriek dissapointedly at you. Finally you yank the plug out of the wall and rub your eyes. \n\nYou realize you're ravenous, but you know all you have in your pantry is a pack of noodles that's missing its flavoring packet. You pull on some clothes and decide to go to the [[bakery|bakery]] for breakfast. \n\n
<<set $foundMotorOil = true>>\nThe bottle is unexpectedly heavy, and you just barely manage to get it over to your lap without dropping it.\n\nYou check again to make sure the two men are still arguing, and you bring your knees up to your chest. You place the bottle between them, holding it there and try to unscrew the lid, but it's too difficult with your hands cuffed together.\n\nYou decide to try and unscrew it with your teeth, and you sincerely hope you don't keel over from having the cap of a motor oil bottle in your mouth. You don't suspect that the men who work here are particularly safety conscious enough to wash their hands very often (if the set of oil rags on top of a turned over blow torch on the floor is any indication).\n\n[[Back|choices]]
You spend the next couple of weeks changing the locks on your door and constantly looking over your shoulder, hoping that the thieves are at least thankful enough for your discretion that they don't still consider you a 'messy witness'.\n\nIt's not until two Saturdays after the incident that you finally feel an ounce of relief. \n\nYou decide to go out for a walk because it's actually sunny for once, and you haven't gotten out much since that night. You pick up the [[morning paper|thirdpaper]] from the news stand and you see something that surprises you.
The newcomer is at least 5'9" and looks to be in his 20's. He's wearing a white shirt that is only half tucked in and misbuttoned, and you can see the bright yellow mustard stain from where you're sitting. It seems he hasn't bothered with an undershirt. His dark blue pants are noticebly wrinkled, with a hole in one knee and smears of paint in vibrant, clashing hues cover almost every inch of fabric. They match the bright paint under his grimy fingernails. \n\nHe also sports a bright red waist coat, which stands out brilliantly against the greys and blacks of the warehouse walls, and makes you wonder why this guy is trying so hard to be noticed, seeing as how he's hiding from the law. \n