The Thrill

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An enlightened Taoist might ponder the relative value of the destination versus the journey to reach it.

Submitted: May 13, 2015

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Submitted: May 13, 2015



His was such a humble ending. Only a few friends attended his funeral mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church. Even a fewer number watched his interment at the adjacent St. Roch Cemetery. Tyrone Butler, arguably the most important thief in human history, had returned to his roots, the old neighborhood where, during his youth, he had honed his skills as a cat burglar.

Tyrone was pulling a simple jewel heist in the Hamptons on Long Island, New York when he was tripped up by an unanticipated mechanical failure. While lowering himself from a third story window, his repelling clasp broke, and he plunged the last 20 feet. His injury was minor, only a sprained ankle, but it slowed him down just enough for him to be caught.

He wasn't arrested for his crime. He was neither tried in any court nor did he serve a single day in jail. No. His fate was far worse. He came to the attention of Robert Raymond Faithworthy-Jones, Grand Master of the Illuminati, the organization that secretly rules the world, and that led directly to Tyrone's untimely death.

In spite of her masculine name, R.R. was a woman. She had lived her life in clever disguise. Her androgynous appearance was conveniently accompanied by a deep, husky voice that was the result of her having smoked cigars since she was 14 years of age. She was far richer than any banking magnate and far more powerful than any head of state, nevertheless, her gender deception was an imperative. A hidebound society like the Illuminati would never admit to having a Grand Mistress.

R.R. Faithworthy-Jones was on a quest. She was determined to obtain lapis philosophorum, the fabled Philosopher's Stone. Following centuries of scholarly research, the Illuminati had determined its location. The only thing lacking in their plan was a thief with Tyrone Butler's unparalleled skills. With his capture by her agents, the great wheel of destiny was set into motion.

The Philosopher's Stone, as most people know, was capable of turning lead into gold. That, of course, presented a logical conundrum. As difficult as it may be to possess it, it was far more difficult to use it wisely. Were one to turn all the lead into gold, the law of supply and demand would lower the value of gold to the point that it would be virtually worthless, making lead the most precious metal. That usage, however, was not the Illuminati's goal. You see, the Philosopher's Stone was capable of rendering something of far more value. It could also be used to grant human immortality.

The stone was found by the Italian monk Ignatius Tortoricci during the late Middle Ages. True to his vow of poverty, he turned it over to the Pope lest the stone be the path to temptation. Fortunately, the Pope, who was far less pious than the priest, was ignorant of its powers. Thinking it to be merely a pretty bauble, he stowed it with the other jewels in his collection. When its true nature was discovered generations later, the wiser Pope of that more recent age secured its hiding place in a very thorough manner.

According to his crafty plan, Tyrone slipped away from a tour group in the Sistine Chapel and hid in a crypt until darkness. It was three days before he emerged again, literally, when his body floated up from the depths of the Tiber River. It was unknown what had happened in the interim, but the death was officially listed as an accident in the police reports. The toxicology analysis indicated that his blood alcohol level was in the fatal range. He was suspected of binge drinking while on a Roman holiday, a sad but not uncommon end to a life in the Eternal City.

Following the incident, chatter on the secret Catholic channels spiked a thousand percent over the normal traffic, alarming the security apparatchiks in several advanced countries. There was not a single word about the stone or anything concerning Tyrone's death. It was all about the family values the Pope was proposing for an imminent encyclical.

Foreign governments might have been mystified, but the Illuminati weren't fooled. Having spent centuries monitoring Catholic Speak, they could read between the lines. The Philosopher's Stone was missing, and the Catholic authorities, the few higher ups who knew of its existence and powers, were in a pure state of panic.

R.R. Faithworthy-Jones was secretly pleased. The new state of affairs was even better than holding the stone in her own bare hands. Although losing its whereabouts jeopardized her chance for immortality, she wasn't in it for the long life, she was in it for the thrill of the case.

Copyright © 2015 W.C. Bell; All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2017 Whiskey Charlie. All rights reserved.

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