I am a statue. A real, complete statue, and I have been a statue for about 6 years now. Currently I am on display in a museum. That has not always been the case.
I haven’t always been a statue, or wanted to be a statue for all my life, but fate made me be a statue and I am in peace with it, even though I know I will never be able to return back to being human. I will be a statue for the rest of eternity and, this may sound strange, in a weird way, it was my own choice. But now you wonder why, I’m sure. I know you think I am crazy, wanting to be a statue. But it was a choice, the choice from just two options and to me, this option, being an inanimate object on display, felt like the better option at the time. But let me start my story. Let me explain to you how I became the way that I am today.
It all began about 7 years ago, when I started to work as a newbie for this special police unit. I became a member of team of trained experts on cultural robbery. We monitored museums, galleries, auctions, but also suspected thieves, art dealers—you know, the whole deal.
I was working in the field with my supervisor and at some point we found out a high-profile group of art thieves were scanning a large museum, the name of which I am not allowed to mention.
At that time we were working with a group of inventors. They were always working on ways for us to monitor museums without doing damage to the artwork and without having the usual proliferation of obvious cameras spread around the building. The goal was to be as inconspicuous as possible, and not just through the well-known infra-red monitoring, but also with new technology.
In this case, it was a transform gun. The settings could be adjusted to any kind of inanimate material, suitable for the display. Also, the settings for some body alterations were possible; for instance, giving the body more muscle definition. The duration, of course, was another option.
The beauty of the thing was that it made you really realistic. The statue you’d become was real. A true work of art, so the robbers wouldn’t notice you being human at all, while you could still hear and see everything. Even feel. I functioned as a test subject one time, having myself be turned into a statue for a day, and people were touching me all over when I was on display. It actually turned me on. The team members said I would have to be naked to be realistic and have more defined muscles, to which I couldn’t object. I loved standing out in a crowd.
So after being transformed a few times on ordinary stake outs, this was the real deal. We had received word the gang of robbers were planning a new gig in this large museum and I was to let myself be installed in front of a couple of the paintings that were most likely on the list for the robbers to steal. The only thing was that the museum director demanded that I be there for at least a week, so the change in displays wouldn’t be getting too much attention from people who visited the museum more often.
This was normal procedure, because at some point it became too much to be changed back every day for a week or even a month. So in this case I would get onto a pedestal in a solid position in which I had good sight of the paintings and then the gun was aimed at me and fired. I would be a statue for the entire week from that moment on. And I saw everything. I saw the group of robbers coming in the museum undercover, casing the museum’s layout, displays, and security. We had profiles on every person and they came in individually or with another random person—sometimes even family members who had no idea they were functioning as distraction. But every time I could see their eyes going over the ceilings, over the doors, noticing where the cameras were, which alarm systems were detected. They were thorough. Each night, when the museum was closed, my partner came to me and gave me back only my ability to speak. I could tell him what I saw and we could strategize, and then he turned me back into a statue.
Then, at the end of that week, I turned back at night and jumped off my pedestal. Still naked I rushed toward the offices, and then… I bumped into a person. I tripped, fell down, jumped up again and looked for a quick moment into the eyes of one of the robbers…. and his phone.
Shit, I thought, something must have gone wrong. My partner had already told me they expected the robbery to be on Monday, not today, Friday. And where was my partner? Why wasn’t he here when I changed back?
I couldn’t think about it then, because I needed to get out of there. So I ran away from the man, who had already taken my picture, and got into the nearest office, slamming the door closed behind me.
I managed to open one of the windows, even though it made the alarm go off, and jumped out and into the bushes. I ran away, taking cover as much as I could. After all, I was still as naked as I was the day I was born. Finally, I managed to get a hold of a phone so I could send my partner a text and he picked me up not long after that.
We discussed everything. We needed to handle quick and this is what we did. We decided to activate our team and to arrest the people who were making their plans. With the plans alone we would have enough evidence, so no time to waste. We went with our team to the hide-out of the robbers and when we got there, it started to become ugly right away. We were shot at and we immediately opened our own fire in return. Two of our team members were hit within the first minute. They died on the spot, but we weren’t the only ones having casualties. The group of robbers was big and they had their own ranking. The guys shooting at us were the lowest ones, the protectors of the higher people in rank, and some of them were killed on the spot by our bullets.
In a distance I saw the guy I bumped into in the museum. He showed his phone to some other people and at some point, they were looking at me. The leader, who we all recognized from our research photos, made it clear to me with a few concise gestures that I was done if he got his hands on me. I gulped, but before I could register that well enough, a sharp pain hit me in the shoulder. I felt bones crushing as my body slammed backwards, hitting the floor. A guy with a gun came towards me. This was it, I thought. I’m going to die here, but then a large shadow moved over me. It was my partner. He jumped in front of me, just before the bullet was fired to kill me. Instead it entered his stomach, while he pulled his own trigger and killed the shooter together with two others. I then lost consciousness. I don’t remember anything after that.
Hours later, I woke up in the hospital. My partner was sitting on a chair next to my bed. He noticed I had woken up and asked me how I felt. My shoulder hurt like hell and I couldn’t move my hand. My right hand. I couldn’t move it anymore. It was damaged. I would never be able to hold a gun anymore, let alone shoot it. My career on the team was over.
My partner tried to calm me down. He then told me the wound he had was superficial. His bulletproof vest caught the bullet and he was unharmed, but he wanted me to get out of bed right away. I looked at him questioningly. He still needed me for the research, so he took me to the museum right away.
The director was there to open the door for us and we ran into the museum. My partner had explained to me on the way that we had to do this one last time. He regretted having me involved in such an early stage of my career, because things would be too dangerous for me from now on. We dealt with a worldwide network of art thieves, illegal dealers, and even the mafia. He told me I would have to be part of a witness protection program and not be able work in this field ever again—it would be too dangerous. My picture had gone viral within the first hour after the shooting, but he needed me. He knew the robbers would return and the statue had to be in its place to make sure these guys got caught. He needed me this last night, because the robbers still had not figured out the statue was really just a human being transformed into an inanimate object. I agreed and looked at the director, who ushered me to my pedestal. I looked at him. “Do I really look that real?” I asked him. The man smiled. “You are perfect as a statue. We sure would have loved a statue like you permanently in our collection.”
I got undressed and looked to my partner, and then again at the director.
“I want to do the settings this time.” I said. My partner refused, but I pulled the gun out of his hands and flicked the switch of the timer from a week to a day to 10 years and then to permanent.
I looked up and gave the gun to my partner who looked at me angrily. He didn’t want me to change the settings, but then, as he looked at the gun, he looked back at me. And then to the director.
“Are you absolutely sure you want this?” he asked. The director understood what I had done.
“Yes,” I said. “I can’t live in a witness protection program, always having to be afraid. Always having to watch over my shoulder, never knowing who would get me. Only you and the director know that I am the statue. No one else knows. Let me be the statue once and for all. Let me join the collection.”
The director and my partner looked at each other, speechless. But a sound from the back of the museum was heard. They had to hurry. The director put his hand on my shoulder. “I will make sure you will have a secure spot here. Welcome, my statue.” he said. Then he nodded yes to my partner. “
Good luck, kiddo,” my partner said. “You look amazing and I will visit you often.”
Then as I stood up on my pedestal, he fired at me, and I could feel my body change again. My muscles became much more defined. My pose became more rigid and I could hear my muscle, my bones, my organs, everything started to turn into the dark grey marble I was before. But this time, I would never change back again. I would be on display here forever.
The director removed the sign which read ‘temporary display’ and put it aside.
Then, as my transformation was complete, they admired me for a second and ran away. But before they turned around the corner shots were fired. The director flew backwards, hitting my partner, who was shot in the head right after that. Both men landed on top of each other, crushing the transform gun to pieces. And I could do nothing but watch them being killed in front of my eyes. The only people who knew I was a statue were dead. The only device able to return me to human, was now broken. There was no turning back. I was a statue forever.
I didn’t have much time to think about this. Right after that, one of the biggest art robberies of all times took place before my eyes. I was stuck into a crate and taken away with the rest of the art. I ended up in warehouses, being on display, being sold and then being stolen again, eventually ending up—ironically—in the collection of the kingpin who made the ‘you’re dead’ signal to me. I stayed in a large hall with many statues for almost four years.
Then the man was killed by the FBI and his treasures were returned to all the museums they belonged to. With me, they had a problem. No one really knew where I belonged, until the director’s secretary came and mentioned that I had been a temporary display in their museum and belonged back there. She didn’t know I was human.
I never saw any of my other team members back, but I guess my family was told I was killed in the first shooting. I knew how that worked. From now on, I was just a museum piece again. Highly guarded and according to the stories I heard from the people who were giving tour guides, very valuable as well. I was polished every now and then and remained a statue until today and I will for the rest of time. I will never be human again. I am and will always be a statue.