My trusty sidekick, Galinka from Ukraine was still ensconced in Steelskirt. But here’s the deal, she worked for me too. Wait, I’m getting ahead of the story.
After hearing the grisly Grizzly details from the journalist, I couldn’t even look in the mirror. At least for a few minutes. I finally pulled it together, applied a new layer of Rouge A Levres Red Flame 69 lipstick, beefed up my spray tan, creased my bustier, zipped my waist high black boots purchased online from the only Italian fashion house, Bei Stivali, that made my size—11—in shoe couture, and looked long and hard at myself. This was a turning point. I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Too much was at stake. The future of Steelskirt, its restoration from Gothic Grotesquerie to a controlled, nation-state mayhem, was in my hands.
I quickly pulled out my smart phone which I kept hidden next to my Lamassacre 50 caliber Repeato Charger in the secret, inside pocket of my left boot, and sent a text over a secure network to Galinka. There was no looking back.
She shot me a message back within seconds. I knew I could count on her. Like me, she had a heart one part gold and one part bad. Back in Ukraine, we broke up a ring of drug lords that stretched from Eastern Europe to Eastern Iowa. After an exhaustive investigation, we located their cadre on the outskirts of Zvenyhorodka, took those motherfuckers, tied them to chairs in their warehouse, threw the explosives that we had previously hidden in our hair newly formed into a “bump-it”, and blew them and their den of felonious debauchery to kingdom come.
Galinka was in. She agreed to be a double agent collecting up to the minute intelligence from Steelskirt and waylaying it to me. I knew it was dangerous. Foolhardy even. But I didn’t expect the risk, no, the opportunity to come so soon.
Pine Fannon was heading a taskforce to infiltrate the Technorati Ariatti. They were a high-tech criminal organization that dealt in stolen art. Mostly Arte Povera. They took a perverse pride in the irony of stealing “poor art” and re-selling it for millions. The fact that the pieces subverted the artistic establishment with a sexed up, fuck you stance toward, yawn, Renaissance art fit their profile perfectly. They would plan a heist months, sometimes years in advance.
Steelskirt had insiders at all the prominent museums and galleries in Europe and the US. Here’s the thing about TA: they had long since co-opted Pine and Steelskirt. I suspect he felt a hypermasculinity associated with these guys. God knows he needed it. TA took metrosexual to new heights mixing it with a little blood and guts.
Before I could get to my Brazilian wax appointment at the Salon Écriture or even feed Captain and take him for a good, long walk I was speeding out the driveway in my Mercedes. Sheets, dog, sleek Cha Cha—all would have to wait.
According to Galinka, TA and Steelskirt were planning their biggest job to date, at, of all places the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. The problem was, they didn’t care who they took down to get the goods. Innocent docents and tourists alike were going to suffer. But this was nothing. TA wasn’t just after the art. That’s what Steelskirt was playing.
No, Italy’s Special Emissary of Culture was visiting. If they could eliminate him, chaos would reign in the art world. They were going to blast their way in to the CMC, grab some Pistoletto, kill the Emissary and be damned who got in the way.
Time to kick some T and A.