Title: The Guys on HotWomenofCrime.Net Are Never Going to Believe This
Notes: You know, while watching 'The First David Job', you really have to wonder why he went to all the trouble of putting a leather armchair in the back of that armoured van just to wait for
Summary: Jim Sterling. Insurance investigator. Magnificent bastard. Fanboy.
"You know, I don't think we've ever been properly introduced. Hello, Parker, I'm Jim Sterling.
"You know, I don't think we've ever been formally introduced.
"Hello there, Parker, the name's Sterling. Jim Sterling. And I don't think we've ever been formally introduced.
"You know, I don't think we've ever been properly introduced. Hello, Parker - can I call you Parker? I'm Jim Sterling, by the way, but you can call me anything you like."
The first one. Definitely the first one, Sterling thought.
He leaned forward over the sink, inspecting himself carefully in the mirror. He lifted a finger to smooth down an eyebrow, then flicked a speck of lint from his collar. Clearing his throat, he tried again:
"Hello, Parker. Can I call you Parker? You know, I've followed your career closely for years now - no pun intended," he grinned charmingly, "and I must say, you're an impressive -"
"Uh, Mr Sterling?" There was a tentative knock on the door that separated his private bathroom from his office.
"Yes, what?" He flung the door open and faced down the idiot underling who was interrupting him. "Talk."
"Uh, Mr Blackpoole is preparing to leave for the meeting at the airport."
"Course he is. You'd better get down there and make sure everything's in order, and ready to go. I have the utmost bloody faith in you." He swung the door shut on the man's vacant expression, lifting his eyes to the ceiling.
The things he had to deal with.
Turning back to the mirror, he unhurriedly straightened his tie, and checked there was nothing stuck in his teeth. Then he gave himself the look - the look - one more time, just to make sure he had it down. Eyebrow slightly raised, faint smirk indicating a general superiority of vision and ability, whilst conveying an air of nonchalance. Excellent.
Because yes, Parker was the best. But so was he, damn it.
First, he saw Blackpoole and Maggie off in the town car, headed for the airport where Nathan Ford and his team of merry malcontents were going to sell them back their own statue.
Then he turned to address his people, who were gathered waiting to put the next stage of the plan into play.
"Right," he said, "we've been over this, so how about we try not to screw it up?" He looked at them. "Well? Now would be good."
They scattered, most of them to the car which would follow along behind, a little extra insurance; the remaining two waiting to lock him in the back of the armoured van. Sterling turned to climb in, and stopped. It was completely empty.
"Don't these things usually have... benches or something?" he demanded. More vacant expressions. They had to be catching. One of these days someone was going to start drooling, and Sterling wasn't even going to be surprised. "We do all realise I have to be in here twiddling my thumbs until we get to the place, get the statue, drive off and wait till Parker hits the van to get the statue back, yes?"
The pair of them glanced at each other, then looked around at the secure parking facility. One of them shrugged. "We could maybe find you a crate to sit on?"
"A crate, he says. That's great. You do that." He watched the man scurry off. "No! Back here. Back here!" He snapped his fingers until the man returned. "Better idea, go up to my office, take Tweedle-Dee here with you, and bring down my chair. The one behind my desk. It's black and looks like a bloody chair, you can't miss it."
The two lackeys exchanged a rather more significant look with each other, but Sterling only barely registered it, too busy picturing it.
Yes, the chair would be perfect. It was all going to be perfect.
"You know, I don't think we've ever been properly introduced," he began.
The smirk. The chair. Parker, slowly turning to face him.
It was all falling into place.
The problem with his plan occurred to him as he finished delivering his carefully prepared line, and Parker remained crouched there at the doors watching him, silent and wary.
The problem was this, he had no idea what to say next.
It was just - it was Parker. He'd actually caught Parker. And he wasn't even in any immediate danger of blowing up. This was something that not even Nathan Bloody Golden Boy Ford had ever managed.
It was just all so overwhelming. He wanted to savour the moment.
And then come up with something really clever to say.
Parker, on the other hand, decided to speak first. She said, "Something smells like ham in here."
Just keep smirking, he told himself as he tried not to shift uncomfortably in place.
Next, she said, "Why does an armoured van have a chair in it?"
He felt a bead of sweat slide down his neck.
She just kept staring at him.
But on cue, the van had veered off the highway and was even now slowing to a halt. Then the doors were being thrown open and Parker was being dragged out by a bunch of large men in identical suits who were being paid a lot of money to not let go of her.
Sterling sat in his chair in the empty van a few seconds longer, and considered how successful that had been.
Any idiot would have known to block the signal from the earpiece Parker was undoubtedly going to be wearing when she hit the van. Once she got inside, none of her team mates would have been able to hear her.
The plus side of this, Sterling reflected later, was that no one, no one at all, had heard the exchange, such as it was, between himself and the thief.
In other words there was no physical evidence.
Which meant that when he got online that night, and logged on to the hotwomenofcrime.net forums, he could say whatever he wanted.
I... am so sorry about that.