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Courier Duty

Courier Duty

By: Cora Buhlert | Other books by Cora Buhlert
Published By: Pegasus Pulp

Word Count: 3200

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Palm DOC/iSolo, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket (.mobi), Rocket, Epub

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About the book

Courier duty is not really one of spy extraordinaire Carrie Ragnarok's top ten assignments. Ferrying an object from point A to point B – that's stressful, but not very exciting. Not even if the object in question is Shape No. 8, a hideously ugly and extremely expensive sculpture by obscure Bulgarian artist Vassily Bagdanorowsky worth 2.8 millions dollars. But an unexpected mugging can spice up even the dullest courier job…

An excerpt from the book

Hi folks! My name is Caroline Ragnarok. But for obvious reasons (you don’t really want a knot in your tongue, do you?) you can call me Carrie.

I’m a spy. That means I get to do all sorts of interesting things. Such as saving the world from whacked-out psychos hell-bent on destroying it, protecting American heiresses from shotgun weddings to East-European potentates, reacquiring the stolen blueprints for a doomsday device, dealing with killer viruses that have infected Alaskan resort towns, investigating immaculate conceptions connected to UFO-sightings in the New Mexico desert and the like.

However, my job is not always that interesting. There’s also the boring bits. Such as my personal favourite: courier duty. Which means taking something from one place to another and protecting it with my life — if necessary — should somebody try to steal it. Which — most of the time — nobody does. Who would even want to steal buff Manila envelopes or battered briefcases? And mostly that’s the sort of thing I am supposed to deliver.

This time, however, the object I am to escort is a bit more interesting. It is a work of art on its way to the biggest ever exhibition of twentieth and twenty-first century art in Berlin. Shape No. 8 by Bulgarian artist Vassily Bagdanorowsky (and here I thought my name was unpronounceable). Valued at 2.8 million dollars.

According to Dewar’s Art Dictionary on DVD — All of Art from Cave Paintings to Cyber Sculpture, Bagdanorowsky is the most famous artist of an obscure school known as Minimalist Brutalist Barbarism. His oeuvre is characterized by a simplicity of form and sparse use of colour in connection with full utilization of the natural structures and effects of the organic material. Whatever that is supposed to mean. Bagdanorowsky’s most important work is a series of thirteen sculptures imaginatively entitled Shapes No. 1 to No. 14. Apparently Bagdanorowsky was superstitious.

And now it is my job to pick up No. 8 of that series at its owner’s — multimillionaire Benton B. Hutchison — apartment on Park Avenue in one of those lovely Art Deco buildings facing Central Park.

Once I’ve got the sculpture I’ll take it in an armoured limousine (courtesy of my bosses) to JFK airport. Then the Concorde to Paris, some other plane to Berlin and finally yet another car (don’t know whether armoured or not) to the museum. In short, an easy job. Exhausting though. Traveling six time zones here and back and all that in the course of a single day.

Benton B. Hutchison is your typical eccentric millionaire. Case in point, he opens the door himself instead of having a servant do it for him. At least I suppose that the grey-haired man in a slightly worn red robe who opens the door is Benton B. Hutchison. I can’t be sure, for nobody has seen Mr. Hutchison in the past twenty years. Now excluding me of course.

“Mr. Hutchison? Good morning. I’m Carrie Ragnarok.”

“Ah, you’re the security person. Come in, come in.”

I step inside and watch Mr. Hutchison lock and bolt the door with about seven different locks and chains. So he’s not only an eccentric, he’s also paranoid.

His apartment is fascinating, though. The place must be huge. I can see only part of it, and that part is bigger than three ordinary flats. And the part I can see looks more like an art gallery than a home. There are large abstract paintings on every wall and in the middle of the room there is an enormous rusty sculpture. Apart from the artwork there are no furnishings whatsoever. I can’t help but wonder what the rest of the flat is like. Does Mr. Hutchison sleep on Dalí’s Mae West sofa and piss into Man Ray’s ready-made pissoir?