Episode 2: The Seventh Year

Posted: Sunday, July 8, 2007 by -f-l-o- in Labels:

È una bella giornata, no?” The lady on the other queue said to Zip. They were on their way entering Nationalmuseum and she was standing three feet away to his right.
“Oh… You’re not Italian?” She asked in a thick accent. Zip chuckled.
“No.. no. I’m a… I’m not Italian”. Do not reveal anything, Zip told himself. He was on his sixth trips to the museum for the past six months. KingKong, Raoul and himself have been taking turn ‘visiting’ the museum every few weeks, making it less obvious than entering in big group.

“Ok. I was just saying, it’s a beautiful day.” She continued and smile. Zip nodded in agreement. It was a lovely autumn indeed.
“My name is Elle, by the way. And this is my friend, Maria.”
“Hello.” Zip replied in half smile to both Elle and Maria before looking back straight front.

“Ok, he’s not as friendly as I expected” Elle whispered to Maria in Italian.
“I told you not to go for it. He looks like a snob,” Maria said.
“It’s worth a try”
“Now you have made him think that he is Brad Pitt”
“Maria! You think he won’t know we are talking about him right now?”
“What? By referring him as Brad Pitt?”

Zip almost chuckled. He was looking at Elle’s reflection on the mirror surface nearby. Maybe I should be friendly for once during working hours, Zip thought. After all, Elle’s long locks and brown eyes seemed irresistible even under the thick white jacket and her cute hat.

“So what brought you ladies to Stockholm?” Zip asked. Both Elle and Maria looked surprised.
“Holiday with my aunt. She is married to a Swedish.” Elle answered.
“I see. And your aunt is originally from…”
She smiled before answering, “Argentina.”
“Hmm… since your aunt is from Argentina, that makes you an Argentinean too, am I right?” Zip joked. She laughed.
“Yes. But I’ve been living in Rome for a few years. And yourself?”
“What about me?”
“Your name, why you’re here and where you’re from…”

This is why you shouldn’t have been friendly, Zip. Figuring that the conversation could take a while, and he was initially not there to meet up a beautiful lady, Zip offered to meet up with Elle and Maria after the museum closing hour at the entrance. Before going on separate ways when entering the museum, he introduced himself to them as John, then headed towards three of the most wanted paintings in the world.


Maria did not join them for coffee but Zip could not care less. He was enjoying Elle’s company that evening and it had led to dinner. KingKong was pissed when Zip had to postpone their meeting that night after his museum visit. He didn’t lie to KingKong about meeting Elle because he knew what he was doing and he had reassured KingKong, “Don’t worry. I will be very careful.”

It has been seven years since they first met. To Elle, Zip is still John, a decent 32 year old businessman who travels around the world for work. She knew ‘John’ is being very private about his work, so she never asked much. She respects him and still loves him as much. But she had no idea that he steals jewelries and arts for living. She also had no idea that three months after she first met Zip, the three paintings in Nationalmuseum were not stolen by three men as widely reported. Zip, Raoul and KingKong were responsible in exchanging the original three paintings with the fake ones, the night before the reported crime and sold them for more than their worth price to an art collector in Lisbon.

A fat $45 million cash for two Renoir’s and a Rembrandt’s.

Tonight was supposed to be the night for him to tell it all. To tell her about his real name, his real identity. To tell Elle that he understood everything she said on their first meeting, that he speaks not just Italian and Spanish but also Swedish, French, Portugese, Chinese and five other languages of the world.

Zip wanted it to be special and chose today's date in mind since 2007 is the seventh year since their first meeting in Stockholm. He had a diamond ring ready, her favorite restaurant booked and two VVIP seats awaiting in Estadia da Luz. However, KingKong called him for an urgent Code Red meeting and their earlier conversation on the phone that afternoon was very short and vague.

“Not today. Marc promised that there is no job at least until end of this week.”
“This is not Marc’s order.”
“Then whose is it?”


Zip's cell phone suddenly vibrates. He had just got out of Sheraton building through the west entrance. His mind has now been brought back to the present day, and yet he still had very little clue about what happened less than an hour ago between him, KingKong and the diamond necklace. He hoped that it was KingKong calling for explanation. But it was not.

“Zip, where are you?”
“I’m on my way back. What’s up?”
“Is Kong with you?”
“Uhm… he was but...”
“Good. Come alone. I’ll tell you in a while.”