The Medievalist and the Mobster

The billionaire had wanted to fill his gaudy home with valuable things, and he didn’t much care what they were, and he cared even less how they were acquired. Katherine was a Medievalist with student loans who was happy to take a hefty check to be the “Curator” of the billionaire’s “gallery”.

The black market fossils from Mongolia arrived in black crates, and she carefully unpacked and framed them, getting little plaques made to detail where the finds had been stolen from and carefully documenting everything for her anonymous tips to Interpol’s Art Crimes division. There were occasionally actual medieval pieces – a few illustrated manuscript pages and a wig that was almost certainly falsely said to have been worn by Chaucer – but generally Katherine was pleasantly outside her academic comfort zone, and she enjoyed learning about the various channels through which stolen artworks could be funneled into private hands.

Everything might have gone swimmingly until Interpol kicked down the door, except that Katherine made the mistake of falling very very slightly in love with Joseph, the man who smuggled pieces out of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Joseph was trouble, she could tell by the way he held stolen pieces of the V-2 rocket the US had stolen from the German government, but her slight little love, more not there than there, refused to go away.

They got coffee one day, and she tried to warn him. “They’ll catch you,” she said.

Joseph laughed. “I’ve stolen a Saturn 5 rocket, and I’m going to leave this planet. You should come with me,” he said.

Katherine thought about it.

She said “Okay.”

And when the police came, they were a planet away.

Written on February 4th at the Memorial Art Gallery during the Valentine #Schmalentine event for my own much beloved schmalentine.