Sentimental Value

A short story.

The plan to transfer the heist out of the country was simple. Put the diamonds in the bike she’d used to travel around Europe. No one would think anything of it. The frame had a pump, and they’d check that. It had bits of metal welded together, and they’d check the solidity. Of course, they would. And she’d have to wash it before it went onto the plane and again when it came off. That was the way of the world. Can’t carry the risk of dirt or grime from one country to another.

All taken care of in the simple plan. Nothing in the tyres, nothing in the frame, nothing in the pedals or handles. What she’d done was change the cogs, because that was an item relatable to wear and tear, and it would be expected that it wasn’t an original part.

This part was original, though, and a prototype for future transfers of funds.

The outer cog was the only covering for the inner sanctum where she glued the individual diamonds to the smooth metal disk, before covering the hidden compartment with a plated metal covering. It looked like the usual gear cog.

If it looked like a cog, sounded like a cog, and worked like a cog, it was a cog. A good device for small items to travel across borders.

What she hadn’t expected, or planned for, was the person who took the bike for the cleaning process to steal it. He said he’d left it by the shed where all items went, and gone in to fill in the paperwork. When he’d come out, it was gone.

They’d put her in touch with an insurance agent, and she had to stay calm, as if it were only an old bike with sentimental value, but she ensured her view out the window took in the shed, the young man working the door, and the car park for employees.

And she followed him when he got into a car with another employee; followed him when the car stopped and he got the bike out of the boot. She waited until he refitted the back wheel and hooked the chain over the gear cog.

He tried riding it, but couldn’t get the gears right. Two turns of the pedals and he gave up and walked beside it. Whistling!

The streets were dark, a black and white evening with more shadows than illumination. She followed him until he turned off the main streets and onto the side path that led to a small park with shrubbery and ornamental lamp lighting that didn’t reach the ground.

The thief in black strode across the road, and into the night void. She crouched, scuttled into the bushes, pounced as he came around the first bend, grabbed the bike and swung her leg over – into his chest – and took off.

He grabbed, fell, yelled.

One gear meant she had to put all her effort into pedalling, but no bloody two-bit crook was going to get her treasure, sentimental or not.

She rode off into the night, middle digit stretched to the sky.

But the simple plan was shot, and she’d have to find a new strategy for the next job.

12 thoughts on “Sentimental Value

  1. A true story – as part of the UK’s atomic energy program, they used many exotic (and expensive) chemicals. One guy stole mercury (I guess it must have been Hg) every day by pouring it into the hollow frame of his bike.
    He was only caught when… on leaving, he could normally wheel the bike past the guards and as long as it remained balanced, it was fine and the tyres could take the weight. One day, it got out of balance and toppled over. The theft was discovered when nobody was able to lift the bike upright again!

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