Even with the sun rising, Gregson played the piano like music could bridge the gap between his creative imagination and the albatross around his neck. It was from the Coleridge poem. A great burden and a curse. Days past like this. Gregson locked himself inside, letting his beard grow. All pizza delivery carriers knew him by name. To burn off the brain fog, Gregson juiced himself with stake out coffee. It made the mind desperate; desperate to solve crime. And then the phone rang.
“Yeah, this is Gregson.”
“Gregson, it’s Murphy. What have you been up to the last couple of weeks?”
“Bothered by a bird; it’s a burden.”
“You got to let go of that and join me at the museum this evening.”
“Oh really? Those special forces guys know what they’re doing. There’s no reason that you need me.”
“That’s not true, Gregson. You see things differently. Just humor me for one night. The Jewels are going back to the Tower of London this evening.”
“Okay, but I need coffee and doughnuts and I want the one with the raspberry filling.”
“Way ahead of you partner; they’re in the car.
Gregson felt sinful, eating a glazed doughnut with sticky fingers inside the leather Porsche interior, but sugar was one of the few things that could hijack his brain.
“Is it really necessary to drive so fast,” Gregson asked.
“More often than you’d think,” Murphy said. “We’re nearly there.” They tore around city corners in downtown Chess-field like they were a one-man car chase and parked in the loading dock of the museum.
The building was old, but a masterpiece of modern security. Gregson felt like he couldn’t take a leak without being violated by a security camera.
“So, what’s the plan?” Gregson asked.
“We got a stake out going on the third floor. That’s where the jewels are. To be honest, the guys are a bit too relaxed. Most of them shouldn’t be allowed inside a museum; they’re better off playing in the sandbox or bleeding somebody quiet-like at midnight.”
“Gotcha,” Gregson said. “We just keep our eyes open.”
The patrons were milling about. It was getting close to closing time. Then Gregson noticed something peculiar. An old woman was walking like a young woman.
“Pick up that fraud,” Gregson said into his radio. Two special forces guys moved in and grabbed her.
“Take your meat hooks off me!” She screamed.
“She must be wearing a wig and makeup,” Gregson shouted.
“Nope, she’s the real deal!”
“Why do you walk funny?” Gregson asked.
“I just had both knees replaced.”
“Oh, I’m getting too old for this job.”
“This is ageism, and I’m going to sue you boys.”
Then the security alarms went off. “To the roof!”
Gregson charged up the last flight of stairs and pulled his silver revolver from his pocket. There was the woman. She was halfway across the cable that held the lights up for closing night. “Catch me if you can, old dog.” She scampered across. Gregson pointed his gun, but he couldn’t shoot. He paused for a moment, held his breath, and then walked into thin air. He might’ve made it.
The cable broke and Gregson held on, like an overweight Tarzan, swinging into the opposite building.