And now, the exciting conclusion.....
Thank god I caught them by surprise. I don’t think Sarge had pulled his gun for at least ten years, so he was still fumbling with it when I hit the window. To anyone who has never jumped through a window and then crashed into a little wrought iron balcony of a fire escape, let me just say….AaaahOwwwww! That shit hurts! I thought I broke my spleen. I had no time for self pity though, and I rolled over the railing and dropped three stories to the garden below. Fortunately, there had been lots of snow that week and I landed on a bush, but it still hurt like a motherlover. I managed to get to my feet and stumbled towards the garage. Just as I got to the door, the light over it exploded. That’s odd, I thought. Then it occurred to me that I was running from guys with guns. I ducked into the garage and ran through to the other side and burst out onto snow covered Chestnut Street.
I had a head start, but I’m not the fastest gazelle in the herd. “Like molasses in January” was the phrase my old baseball teammates used to use. Plus, I was limping from the fall. By the time I made it to Charles Street, Sarge and Strangeman were right behind me. Yelling “help” seemed to be failing admirably so I hobbled into the only place I had any friends; the wine shop. When I burst through the door, he might not have known the details, but Dino picked up pretty quickly that I was in trouble, so when Sarge came barreling in right behind me he was greeted by a thunderous right to the jaw. That punch made a horrific noise. Something between a bat hitting a ball and an industrial garbage disposal. Dino always said; if you’re a former boxer and you’ve broken your hand many times, you better make the first punch count. And he most certainly did. Sarge was lying on the ground dreaming about lollipops and bribes, while Dino was holding his shattered hand. That’s when Strangeman walked through the door pointing his gun alternately at Dino and myself. Well, this is going to be it for me. I just felt bad for roping Dino into this mess. Then I heard one of the most beautiful sounds on the planet. The heavy chic-Chunk of a twelve gauge shotgun. Nicholas was standing behind the counter, pointing the big steel diuretic at Strangeman’s head. The standoff was shorter than Warwick Davis. Strangeman dropped his gun and it bounced off Sarge’s comatose head. Ten to fifteen in Walpole Prison is bad, but dead is forever. The store cat Bordeaux, who didn’t seem to be bothered by any of this, came over to me where I had collapsed, and sniffed my hand where it was cut. Ahhh, what is a liquor store without a cat, and a shotgun behind the counter!
I’m sure you’ve read all about the aftermath in the papers. It was a pretty big deal out here. Needless to say, the Hobfields didn’t get too far in their Range Rover (they probably stopped to pack before fleeing), and for all I know, they are sharing a four-person suite at Walpole with Sarge and Strangeman (who turned out to be a former cop, and the other man in the museum that fateful night in 1990).
The paintings have been returned to their rightful places with a bit of collateral damage, and I got to be the guest of honor at the ceremony. The reward money all went to clear up a little discrepancy I had with the IRS from a few years back, but I got a great new job at a little wine shop on Beacon Hill. You should come visit us sometime; I’ve got some great deals on a few cheap South American whites I’d love to show you…….