The love duet between Butterfly and Pinkerton echoed through the empty museum. Austin waited for the climactic chords to fade.
"Walt, I got a problem," he waited for the radio to click. "The wax statue in Twenty-Five just slumped over. I was dusting it when it slumped." Austin's fiddled nervously with a nail that he removed from the nape of the statue's neck.
"Wax? You mean Western Man?" Walt asked over the radio.
"Yeah, the naked one with the muscles and tendons showing," answered Austin.
"It's silicone dummy, not wax. What do you want me to do? The curator will be here in a couple hours, let Her Nibs handle it." Walt sighed loud enough for the radio to transmit.
"No, I'm going home. I'm too old to listen to you get reamed over a twenty year old statue. Be glad Deng Xiaoping isn't alive to ask about his gift anymore."
"Silicone, huh?" Austin went back over to the statue and took a closer look. The detailing on Western Man was exquisite, every muscle ripple, every tendon taut and life-like. Even slumped over at the waist, it was magnificent.
The emotive strains of Puccini's masterpiece echoed in Austin's head. In a low baritone he sang, "Vieni, vieni," over and over as he walked around the model.
Gavin D'Arcangelo, art thief extraordinaire, watched a tiny drop of sweat fall from the tip of his nose. His thighs were cramped and it was a hundred degrees inside the prosthetic skin. He'd never get the vase if that freaking rent-a-cop didn't get the heck out of here. Where is he now? What's he do-- W-Whoa there!
Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Anonymous