The request seemed simple enough. It was to look as if a painting were hung against the wall. The painting was of no consequence, and designed so that the eye would slide off of it. It was to occupy space and not provoke.
The painting would mask the fact that while the wall appeared to be flat, it wasn’t. It had a gentle outward bow.
It was to appear the wall was smooth and unbroken. It wasn’t.
The gentle bow and nondescript painting combined to mask a cunningly hidden portal; a means for escape if the person was adept at falling backwards at an angle while being pursued.
That person would look as if they dissapeared, but in reality only slid behind the curve into a space between the wall and into a thin, parallel passage.
This feature was to be build into a well known hallway in a single night, then removed within a week. No small feat for a crew, but this task was to be done by one skilled workman who could be counted on for their discretion. This requirement narrowed the field considerably, and so the call went discretely forth, was discretely answered, the portal was installed and removed without incident or note…
…except for the fact of who went missing during it’s existence.
…and that a very small number of people knew of the “hide.”
That was the rather bland name for the proposal, and the memo line on the check with a shocking number of zeros on it that the builder was terrified of cashing.
(…an idea for a short story that woke me at 2:30 am.)