No, not even a hint about stealing it or making a replica. If he hadn’t sent those letters to the museum and the papers, I don’t think anyone would have known the difference.

 

No, I don’t know why. Only he knows that, and he’s obviously not talking.

 

Not since our last “date.” Over a year ago.

 

Sure, for us guards, it was big news when he showed up again. The prodigal son returneth. Like the rest, I went to look. I’m sure he saw me, but he must have suspected I wasn’t too happy with him.

 

Yeah, it hurt. A little.

 

Nothing romantic, at least, not from my end. But I guess I thought we were becoming friends. And maybe I was getting used to the routine. But then he just disappeared. Men.

 

His second streak lasted only six weeks or so. Then a couple of weeks later, the letters appeared and then the cops find With Hidden Noise and Keller’s diaries in his apartment.

 

Yeah, I read the excerpts in the papers. I’m glad he liked me and enjoyed our times together,

but . . .

 

No, I’m not surprised about that. I’m sure the missing pages in the diaries outlined his plan. And obviously, he’d devised a foolproof way of stealing from the museum, but that wasn’t his point, and maybe he thought that those plans would detract from what he thought was his real accomplishment: the replication of With Hidden Noise. Also, he seemed rather fond of the museum; perhaps he didn’t want to give other less scrupulous people any ideas about how to go about robbing the place.

 

Well, we’ll never know for sure, but I suspect it happened during that week when vandals set off smoke bombs in the restrooms.

 

Right, maybe “vandal” might be more accurate, if Keller was the one responsible. But again, we’ll probably never know unless Keller resurfaces some day, or decides to write a tell-all book. Both of which I doubt will ever happen.

 

Of course, I have an opinion. But not the standard one, that he somehow felt guilty or something. I mean, if that were the case, how come he didn’t stick around to be punished? Why’s he still on the lam?

All right. Two things strike me as interesting. First, when Keller came back to the museum he didn’t stare at With Hidden Noise like he used to. Instead, he would try to act nonchalant, which must have been difficult since he couldn’t help knowing that all the guards were sort of lingering in the general vicinity. But, anyway, if anyone began looking at the replica, Keller would watch them looking, and as intently as he had ever looked at the original.

 

Very obvious. He would just stare until the person moved on, then he’d try to resume being nonchalant, waiting for the next viewer.

 

The second thing is a story he told me, about a computer expert working in the payroll office of some huge company. It seems this guy figured out that when the computer calculated taxes and deductions, it would at first be extremely precise, six or eight places past the decimal point and then it was programmed to round up or down, according to some formula. So, this guy realized that when the computer rounded down it was essentially throwing away some fraction of a penny. So he reprogrammed the computer to save those fractions and deposit them in an account he set up. Given how large the company was, with thousands of paychecks being cut every week, it didn’t take long before those fractions of pennies added up and became a healthy hunk of change. The real beauty of it was that no one missed the money because no one was aware the fractions even existed in the first place. And no one would have ever known, except that the man eventually turned himself in.

 

I don’t know if it’s true. Sounds like an urban legend to me. Keller didn’t know either. He only brought it up because he had been arguing with a co-worker over what the story meant. The co-worker believed that the man turned himself in because he felt guilty about stealing. But Keller argued that the man had nothing to feel guilty about. The computer had been throwing money away and the guy simply found a way to pick it up. Finders keepers. Keller’s explanation was that by reprogramming the computer the man became an artist, an accountant-artist. But because no one knew about his elegant programming or saw his account accumulate more and more cash, he was an artist without an audience, his masterpiece was hidden. That man was proud, Keller said. He wanted bragging rights, he wanted people to know what he had done.

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WithHiddenNoise

Mr. & Mrs. Hide: A NovelTable of Forms: Experimental Poetry.The Story That Teaches You How To Write It.Mars Needs Lunch.Steal Stuff From Work.Story of the Sparrow, by Raymond Federman.Drawn Inward: Palindrome Poetry.Joey Zoey.Letter to Lamont.Lost Citizen.Riddle & Bind, by Nick Montfort.2002: A Palindrome Story in 2002 Words.Fourier Series, by Joshua Corey.here/gone: art by Karen Green.

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