SoCS — The Frame

506CEE64-AFD4-4F5E-A104-8B79C45172F6For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has given us the word “frame,” and instructed us to “use it as a noun or a verb or any way you like.”

A man with a heavyset frame walked into my shop. He came up to counter and unfurled a canvas on which was a clearly old, but beautiful painting. “Do you have a suitable frame for this painting?” he asked.

“Of course I do,” I responded. “This, after all, a frame shop. What did you have in mind?”

“Something fancy to reflect the era of the painting,” the man said.

“I think I have the perfect frame for you,” I said. I went to the back of my shop and came out a moment holding a large, gold-leaf, ornate, baroque-style frame.

“Yes, that will do,” the man said. “But when you mount this painting in the frame, I want you to put this other painting on top of it,” and the man unfurled a second painting.

I gave him a quizzical look and started to ask him why he wanted two paintings in the frame, especially since the one he wanted me to put on top seemed to be of far less quality than the one that would be hidden behind it. But before I could ask, he held up his hand and said, “No questions. You’ll be paid accordingly.” Then he asked me how long it would take for me to frame the paintings.

I considered my existing workload and framed in my mind how many hours the job would take. “Give me a week,” I said. He agreed and said he’d be back in seven days.

One week later two men walked into my shop. One man introduced himself as a police detective and the other as an insurance investigator. They asked me if a man with a heavyset frame had come into my frame shop a week earlier and had asked me to frame a painting for him. I affirmed what they asked. They explained that the man was an art thief and that the painting was stolen. I told them there were two paintings that he wanted me to frame, but they were interested in only the one that was to be hidden, which they said was extremely valuable.

A few minutes later, the man with the heavyset frame came into my shop to pick up the paintings I had framed. But as I brought the frame to the front of the store and handed it to him, the detective and the insurance investigator confronted the large man. The detective handcuffed him while the insurance investigator grabbed the frame with the paintings mounted in it. The large man was livid and shouted, “I’ve been framed!”

As the three men left my shop, I smiled. I did frame two paintings. The one in front was the worthless one, and the one underneath was actually a decent knockoff of the valuable one. The original painting that the art thief had given me to frame was still in the back of my shop, waiting to be picked up by the guy I had sold it to on the dark web. He’d agreed to my price of half a million, which would be enough to allow me to retire in style on a small Caribbean island.

Wrongly Accused

00D8BC20-CF5B-4D27-80D1-5478FE636335I, Fandango Fivedotoh, have been wrongly accused of the murder of Lady D by Inspector Li. As I will explain in this deposition before Police Captain Rory, all of the evidence of my alleged act is speculative and circumstantial and I am being framed for a heinous crime that I did not commit.

Lady D, the victim, was putting on a big fashion show at the Mount Vixen Ski Resort, where I happen to be skiing naked, as I am won’t to do, on a few occasions since arriving here with my wife, who is doing a stand up comedy show at the resort. As a strong proponent of naturism, and as someone who spends most of his time in the altogether, I do not follow the fashion industry and have no interest in fashion shows. In fact, I had never even heard of, much less ever seen, Lady D. What possible reason could I have to murder her?

Inspector Li claims that my wife, Britchy, had been victimized by Spacey, who was charged but never prosecuted. And while it’s true that Spacey did victimize her, that was many years ago and she is so over it. But Inspector Li claims that I “went off the deep end” when I heard Lady D on Poddy’s podcast bragging Spacey up. The inspector alleges that I decided, upon hearing that podcast, to serve up justice cold.

The inspector then claims that I had seen Ms. KK out on the biathlon range and knew she had a rifle. While Ms. KK was in the lounge, I allegedly slipped her key card out of her purse and took her rifle from her room. My plan, the inspector further alleges, with no evidence whatsoever, by the way,  was to “take out” one of the pro-Spaceys in town. The morning, after I heard the podcast, Inspector Li claims that is when I decided to target Lady D. And so I supposedly slipped into town and climbed the tower in Town Square and waited for my opportunity to shoot and kill someone I’d never heard of.

First of all, I never listen to podcasts. And why would I choose to listen to a podcast with someone who is a fashion aficionado when, as a naturist, I have zero interest in fashion?

Second, where is the physical evidence? Has the rifle allegedly used in the shooting been found so that it can be checked for fingerprints? No, it has not.

Third, the resort’s lodge has security cameras all over the place, including the lounge and the sleeping floors. Show me any tapes where I can be seen stealing a key card from Ms. KK’s handbag or entering into her room. There are no such tapes.

And fourth, I have airtight alibis, having been seen by many on the slope the night before and relaxing in the hot tub when this crime took place.

There is no physical evidence whatsoever that would justify my arrest. No murder weapon, no fingerprints, no video tapes, nothing. Not even a motive, since neither my wife nor I care about Spacey. Nor do I listen to podcasts, give a shit about fashion, or know who Lady D was.

The fact is, Captain Rory, that you put a lot of pressure on Inspector Li make an arrest and to close this case. Who better than a naked skier and the husband of a stand up comic known for her raunchy jokes? We are strangers and we are scapegoats. I am being set up to take the fall for a crime I did not commit. You have no basis to hold me and I demand that you release me immediately.

I rest my case.