The collectors


The collectors

Looks can be deceiving. Her mother, Simone, never failed to drill it in to Donna and her sister Felicity’s psyche when she told them how she had met Dan, her husband and their Dad at an art gallery and had taken him to be the janitor. He was so unassuming that very few had an idea about his brilliance and that he was already a millionaire at 25. His business acumen became legendary in the later years and by the time their beautiful and sophisticated mother married him at 30, he was almost a billionaire.

Yes, Donna nodded her head in assent to her mother’s mantra as she added the final touches to the painting. Years of training, dedication and a steady hand, made her work picture perfect. The blue background and the storm swept tree looked majestic, yet bowed down with deep sorrow. She smiled .An apt cover for the Van Gogh which had been at the receiving end of her expert manipulations this time. She stood up, stretching her lithe and supple limbs.

Time for a break and she also needed to make that call.

“Hello Darling!”

“Hi, there! Missed you.”

“Me too. Finished my painting.”

“Wonderful. Will come down tonight to have a look then and we can have dinner somewhere?”

“That would be lovely. See you at 8 then?”

“Okay, see you.”

Richard, her fiance, was a Professor of Art history and she had met him at a party. His extensive knowledge on the subject had fascinated her and he was smitten by the strong woman hidden behind that fragile lissomeness. Her father’s art collection made their meetings more interesting and they started dating. After two years, they got engaged and now plans were on for a Christmas wedding.

“This is brilliant work, my love,” Richard beamed; his warm brown eyes looked almost dark in excitement.

“Thank you Richie. I will hang it in Dad’s room .I think it will cheer his spirit,” Donna smiled mischievously.

“So, what’s the next plan?”

“Next week, the Rockweller’s are throwing a party. Their collection will be on view. I have already seen it twice and I have my heart set on their Monet.”

“I believe they also have that Picasso we have heard so much about?”

“Yes, you heard right but remember “restraint” is the key to success.”

“You are the Boss, Ma petite,” said Richard, drawing Donna into his warm embrace.

She snuggled into his arms and responded,”We are a team-a formidable one.”

The Rockweller’s Art Deco party was a huge success and they basked in the pride which every art collector worth his salt lives for. They had no idea that every night from then on, their mansion would be under surveillance. Two hooded figures, dressed in black, followed their every move. One such night, when the Rockwellers had gone out and the servants had retired to their quarters, the two figures entered the mansion. The burglar alarms and the CCTV cameras had already been compromised-these two were no amateurs and neither was this their first-or last-such heist.

Next morning, as soon as the newshounds got a whiff, the heist made headlines. But no amount of detection could reveal even the slightest hint as to who the Art thieves could be or how many were there. The agencies involved including the Interpol and FBI knew that the stolen work would probably resurface some 3 to 5 years later in some part of Europe but by then it would be impossible to prove that it was stolen because of the different laws in the two continents.

 Six months down the road, enjoying a quiet dinner, Richard and Donna were chalking out plans for their Honeymoon.

“Mom thinks we should go to Italy.”

“Ha! Ha! Now how did she read my mind?”

“While we are away, our last two year’s fruits of labour will be auctioned off.”

“Your Mom has her uses, eh?”

“Definitely! Thankfully, she never cottoned onto what Dad’s real profession was.”

“I really respect your Dad. That man sure knew how to build a reliable and foolproof network.”

“True. Wish you two had had more time together. He would have been proud to see you as his official son-in-law.”

“I do hope our kids will inherit your sense of adventure and his discerning eye for real art, money and…”

“Yes, yes along with your brains, charm and my mom’s practicality”, giggled Donna, looking at Richard coquettishly.

 Richard burst out laughing.



This was written for Speakeasy’s weekly writing challenge.The challenge was to(a) write  a piece of fiction or poetry in 750 words or less(mine is 748 words,including the title),(b) the FIRST line of our submission must be: “Looks can be deceiving.” and (c)make some sort of reference to the media prompt- a painting called Avond (Evening): The Red Tree by Dutch artist, Piet Mondrian.If you are interested in participating,please click on the link here


26 thoughts on “The collectors

  1. Great story, Atreyee! That’s one heck of a family business 🙂 I don’t have the heart of a thief… even as I read this, I couldn’t help but think, “it’s all great until you get busted!”

    • Glad you caught that Michael-I hoped that the playfulness will come through :-)Thank you so much for coming by to read and for the wonderful comment-you made my day 😀

  2. Hello, Atreyee! Great build-up in this story. I started to catch on about halfway through, but slowly. When I went back and reread, I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it coming. I love being fooled like that!

    • Thank you Christine :-)Those of us who read a lot and have a wicked bent of mind-like me & you(lol) tend to cotton on to such shenanigans-unlike the mother in my story ;)Happy that you enjoyed the “unveiling” of the family secret 😀

  3. He really was down to earth if Donna’s Mom thought he was a janitor, when she first saw him. A really interesting story of Art thieves and a man who was a millionaire at age twenty-five.I enjoyed reading your story.

    • Ha!ha!So true-very unassuming-thus a nice cover to hide his real “business”-no one would even think of suspecting him and of course he had brains to hide his tracks-for all those years 😀 Thank you dear Ranu for your love and support-highly appreciated:-)

    • Ha!ha!Yes,it definitely is a one of a kind family ;-)Thank you Shailaja for coming by to read-happy that you liked my take:-) Loved your piece,you always write well 😀

    • Bingo Renada!Yes ,they found the perfect foil in each other-for now-who know what future has in store? ;-)Thanks a lot for stopping by to read and comment

    • Ha!ha!Thank you Suzanne-glad you caught the humour-I was not sure if the dialogues worked:-) Have been feeling a little under the weather as Summer is onus and heat means headaches for me-so am slowly catching up with the responses-then off to read some more till lunch.Will try to catch up later -at night again-just now i feel brain dead,lol!

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