Kirsten Little and the heist of the Jade Necklace (short story and opportunity)
Here we go again. Another victim has signed up to be terminated. So I have obliged.
First things first--here is the sweet, sweet download link (epub, mobi, and pdf formats).
|The real Kirsten Little|
In an interesting turn of events, Kirsten chose "heist" for a genre. That's not one of my options I give when people sign up, but it sounded too fun not to try. She also asked to be the antagonist in the story. One of only two to make the antagonist request, as I recall. I've known Kirsten for a few years now, not sure how many, she's married to a very old friend of mine (and previous victim here). She's a music teacher, and so I tried to sprinkle a lot of music throughout the story. Almost every scene in the story is accented by a vinyl spinning in the background, a boombox playing, a radio, a tape cassette. And if you're wondering why not CDs or Spotify? Because this heist takes place in 1987.
But enough about all that. Let's get to reading. Hope you enjoy the story, and please sound off in the comments after you're done. I appreciate it. Now... let's read!
Kirsten Little and the heist of the Jade Necklace
Kirsten Little changed lanes on the freeway, her shoulder-length dark hair flapping in the wind behind her head. She had taken the top off her black Calloway Twin Turbo Corvette before leaving the hotel. She was blaring Whitney Houston on cassette tape. It was just the right weather for a fast drive to the hideout. Sun was setting and it was warm but not so hot she couldn’t wear a leather jacket. She put her sunglasses on when the sun lowered just below her car’s visor.
She had a lot fluttering through her mind. It was a big night for her and the Bonnie and Claudette gang. The night they had been planning for since Christmas.
The night they would steal the Jade Necklace from Princess Dianna.
She changed lanes.
Kirsten let herself in to the single-family house they’d been renting during the job. When she entered, she could hear a Rod Stewart vinyl spinning upstairs. That was Bonnie. She always had to have music playing. She found the other three women of the group in the kitchen. They had laid out three pant suits of varying colors. Red, yellow, and black.
Lula was already dressed in her service outfit. It was her job to slip a spiked glass of wine to Princess Diana. She would only be out for a bit, just long enough to allow them to swap out the Jade Necklace with the forgery they had made.
Claudette saw Kirsten and tossed her the yellow pant suit. “Here. Put this on.”
“How did I end up with the yellow?” Kirsten asked.
“You’re the one who said the color didn’t matter, remember?” Bonnie said as she walked by and picked up the black one.
They reviewed the plan after they all got into their disguises.
Princess Diana was attending a charitable event to raise both awareness and funds for research to find a cure of leprosy. She had offered the royal family’s Jade Necklace as an auction item. Bonnie, Claudette, and Kirsten had gotten themselves close to the princess through the contract of a local security firm. They would take up local security around Diana at the event. They would have to stay with her through the whole event. Lula would sneak in the spiked drink along with the fraudulent necklace. When she left, she would have the real Jade Necklace. She would abandon her service role and wait for them at the house, where they would return, and then pay a visit to their client.
Their client was none other than Prince Charles himself. He had been furious when he discovered Diana had offered the Jade Necklace for auction behind his and the royal family’s back. He had hired Bonnie and Claudette, notorious thieves, to make the switch. He wanted the real Jade Necklace back in the family vault. If they played it right, Diana would never know she was auctioning off a fake.
Satisfied they had everything in its place, they all left. Lula in a rental car alone. Bonnie and Claudette rode off together in a Porsche.
Kirsten slid into her Corvette. She watched her partners in crime drive around the corner, as she went over her own plans she had made. She would arrive back at the house before Bonnie and Claudette, kill Lula, and take the Jade Necklace for herself. She would hide her Corvette in the alley out back, Bonnie and Claudette always came in through the garage. It would be easy to pick them off one after the other as they entered the kitchen from the garage. She would hold her own auction in a few months on the black market and take in way more money than the royal family had offered for the necklace’s return.
She turned on the Corvette. She ejected the Whitney Houston tape and replaced it with Michael Jackson. She turned it up and sped off to the end of the street. She drifted around the corner, straight through the stop sign.
Kirsten, Bonnie, and Claudette entered through the backstage of the event with their security passes. Backstage they could hear a song by Starship blaring out to the audience in attendance. There was a low murmur of an audience during the pre-show warmup. They only had thirty minutes before they would be escorting Diana to the stage wings and losing any chance of getting the Jade Necklace. They had to act quick.
A nervous and fast-talking stage manager led them through the chaos of ballet dancers, jugglers, a comedian rehearsing a monologue, and even a tiger in a cage. He led them to a white dressing room door that said “Diana” on a golden star.
“We’re here,” he said as he knocked.
The door cracked open and a short and stout woman stuck her head out. “What now?”
“The security.” He said. “Is it safe to enter?”
The woman looked them over in their yellow, black, and red pant suits. “For them? Yeah.” She looked back to the stage manager, “For you? No.”
The stage manager just took off without another word. Kirsten could hear him yelling at a juggler about there being no knives around the princess.
The woman showed them into the crowded dressing room. A boombox near the door was playing Bryan Adams, one of Diana’s favorite musicians Kirsten had once read.
Diana was sitting with her back to them in front of a mirror. There was a makeup artist on one side of her, a hairstylist on the other side hosing her blonde hair with hairspray.
“Your highness,” the stout woman said, “Your security.”
She turned around in her chair. She stood up, a towering presence for a woman. She was wearing a white evening gown that would have seemed pretentious on anyone else. The dark lines of her mascara had just been applied. She blinked a moment. She looked at each one of them. She turned to Kirsten last.
“All women.” She said seemingly to everyone and no one at the same time. “I like it.”
About Diana’s neck was the very reason they had come to be her guardians for the evening. The Jade Necklace. Lights constantly bounced off it, causing a sparkling sensation. No one knew the exact age of the necklace. The British had confiscated it from an African tribe, it was presented to the royal family as a treasure of the colonization of Africa. It had remained in the royal family ever sense, only making a few appearances for special occasions. A wedding, a funeral.
Bonnie asked the other women to give them a minute with Diana to discuss some security details. They cleared the room, and it was during that short window they would be relying on Lula to get the spiked drink into them. And most importantly, that Diana would actually sip the wine.
A few minutes into their discussion about the boring details concerning their security itinerary, there was a knock at the door. Claudette opened it a crack. It was Lula. She handed a glass of wine and note over.
Claudette presented the items to Diana. “A note and glass from your husband.”
Diana glanced at the note, which wished her well with the event and offered the wine to calm her nerves before going on stage. Diana gently bit her lower lip, a show of nervousness. She turned around and sat back down at the mirror. She had the note in one hand and the glass of wine in the other. She dropped the note on the table. She picked up a bottle of Hermes 24 Faubourg perfume and sprayed it across her neck and the necklace. She looked up at Kirsten through the mirror and said, “Something to remember me by.”
Diana stared for a moment in the mirror in silence. The glass of wine just resting in her hand. If she didn’t take the bait and drink the wine, the plan was shot.
She sighed and took a sip.
They continued their boring discussion about their security precautions. They watched as Diana slowly took a few more sips until her eyelids became heavier and heavier. And then, finally, she lost her grip of the wine. Kirsten caught it without spilling on the white dress.
“That would have been a travesty,” Bonnie said.
Kirsten stood in front of Diana, snapped fingers in her face. Nothing. “Let’s do it.”
Claudette pulled the fake from her jacket, where Lula had placed it at the door.
Kirsten sat the glass down on the table. She reached around the back of Diana’s neck and unfastened the priceless necklace. She slid it off and handed it to Bonnie. Kirsten could smell the Hermes 24 Faubourg she had applied. She made a mental note of the scent. It might come in handy later.
Claudette handed over the fake to Kirsten. She fastened the fake on Diana’s neck.
Bonnie put the real Jade Necklace into her inner suit pocket. The three then crowded around Diana and tried to wake her up. When she finally came to, they commented on how she had dosed off, tired.
“That’s enough wine, I think,” Kirsten said and grabbed it from the table. She handed it to Bonnie.
Bonnie went to the door and opened it. She spotted Lula and called her over. She handed her the wine. “Get rid of this. The princess doesn’t need it.”
While Lula took the wine with one hand, she picked the Jade Necklace from the pocket and put it in her own. Bonnie thanked Lula and tipped her.
The rest of the evening had gone fine. Thankfully, they didn’t have to actually do any real security work, there were no crazed fans throwing themselves at Diana. The fake Jade Necklace auctioned off for a price that was way more than its worth. If the owner ever discovered he’d bought a forgery, it would be the disappoint of the century.
Outside the event center, Kirsten rushed to her Corvette. Once inside, she ejected the Michael Jackson and inserted a tape she’d made with nothing but one Billy Idol song on it. She had timed herself to it and knew she could be back to the house with only a few riffs to spare. Other songs were either too short or too long. The song kept her racing across the city, moving closer and closer to her destination, and inching to the end of the song. The beat kept her moving and shifting gears.
She spun left and drifted into the alley behind the house. She drove dangerously fast down the alley to the back of the house. She came to a stop and the song ended. All she could hear was the static of the tape that had nothing else on it. She turned off the car and got out. She knew Lula would have already been in there for hours, anticipating their arrival.
She jumped the fence and made her way to the backdoor. From the backyard she could hear a song by Chris de Burgh blaring. She came into the kitchen through the backdoor.
Kirsten found Lula in the living room dancing to the radio. She was wearing the Jade Necklace and sipping a Hi-C Ecto Cooler.
“We did it!” Lula shouted. She was young and had been so happy to be a part of a Bonnie and Claudette venture. She had been chosen by Bonnie and Claudette for her pickpocket skills.
“Let me see that thing,” Kirsten said. “I didn’t get a chance to really take it in.”
“Sure.” Lula said. She took it off and handed it over to Kirsten, and then quickly went back to dancing.
Kirsten pulled a pistol from her pant suit, a Walther PPK 7.65mm. She pulled a long suppressor from her pocket and screwed it onto the end of the barrel. Lula was dancing with her eyes closed and had no idea what was happening.
It took just one shot to the head. Lula fell to the floor. She was dead in an instant. She never knew what hit her. It was better that way, Kirsten figured. No need for disappointment.
Kirsten sniffed the necklace. There it was.
Hermes 24 Faubourg.
Kirsten waited at the edge of the kitchen and living room, on the other side of the kitchen table. They had spent many hours around that table—forging documents, discussing plans for the heist. But the final laid plans for Kirsten was to send a spray of bullets across the table.
She saw headlights wave across the ceiling of the living room, which meant Bonnie and Claudette had pulled into the driveway. She heard and felt the rumble of the garage door opening on the other side of the living room wall. She heard the car turn off. A moment later a car door shut, a few seconds later another one shut.
Her palms were sweating. Her pistol was aimed and ready on the door.
It felt like an eternity to her, but it was likely only a few seconds. But the silence was finally broken by the sound of breathing behind her. Before she could turn, she felt the cold barrel of a gun press against her head through her hair.
“Hand over the gun,” she heard Bonnie say, “Nice and slow.”
Bonnie had come in through a window in a back bedroom that she and Claudette had left unlocked for her. Claudette had pulled into the garage, alone, and waited for the okay from her partner, Bonnie. After taking Kirsten’s gun, they handcuffed her and sat her at one end of the table. They joined her.
“We had our suspicions early on,” Claudette explained to Kirsten. “So we kept tabs on you away from us. Over time it became clear that you were planning your own operation concerning the Jade Necklace.”
“Naturally, we couldn’t allow any interference.” Bonnie chimed in.
“You got me.” Kirsten said. “What happens now?”
Claudette checked her watch. “Our client should be here soon.”
“Prince Charles is coming here?” Kirsten asked.
Claudette just smiled and shook her head.
The doorbell rang.
Claudette went to retrieve their mystery guest. Kirsten wondered who would be coming around that corner to the living room and into their kitchen. Wondered what sort of weird double-cross Bonnie and Claudette had played on all of them.
Claudette returned with a tall woman behind her in a gray trench coat. Kirsten watched in horror as the woman stepped into the light of the kitchen, slowly revealing her identity. It was Princess Diana. The whole rouse was a rouse.
Without a word Diana walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. She looked around their food. Finally, she spoke. “Sorry I was running a little late. Had to lose a couple of paparazzi.” She opened the freezer and found a container of ice cream. She grabbed it. “Where are the spoons?” Claudette pointed to a drawer. Diana got a spoon and sat down at the table. She opened the ice cream and just dug in with the spoon. She took a bite and sighed. “Where are things at?”
“What is she doing here?” Kirsten asked.
“You haven’t told her yet?” Diana said.
“We were waiting for you,” Bonnie said.
“Exciting.” Diana said and took another bite of ice cream.
Bonnie and Claudette explained the whole thing to Kirsten, while Diana just ate ice cream. Princess Diana had come to them first and hired them to steal the real necklace. Her plan was to auction off a fake necklace, and then have Bonnie and Claudette spirit away the real Jade Necklace back to its rightful owner—a small tribe in Africa. But before they had even started making their plans, Prince Charles contacted them about stealing the real Jade Necklace and returning it to the royal family. They had figured accepting his offer and returning a forgery to him was the best solution.
“Here.” Diana finally spoke up. She pulled a third Jade Necklace from her coat jacket, a second forgery. She handed it to Claudette. “This is the one for Charles.” It was about that time she ran out of ice cream. She got up and discarded the container. She found a bag of chips on the counter, without asking she opened it and began eating.
Claudette turned to Diana and spoke to her, “What do you want us to do with her?”
Diana bit her bottom lip for a moment. “I’m not a destructive person. But considering what she did to the young girl in the living room, perhaps it’s best we take no chances.”
There was a silence in the house. The only noise was coming from Diana eating the chips. Kirsten was at the end of her rope. She thought she could betray the notorious Bonnie and Claudette and it had backfired greatly.
Diana stopped eating the chips and put them back on the counter. She walked over to Kirsten. She kneeled on one knee and came face-to-face with her. “It’s a shame. We could have been friends.”