Didn't It Blow Your Mind, Claude Frollo?

Part 13

"There's a Change A-Coming"

It is now September, and Danisha has arrived in 1480s Paris the day of the King's surprise reception. While waiting for Claude to come up to her room, Nisha reflects on events since she hurled that phony box into Deeton's Swamp, and learned the true history of the box. Read on...

Now, what shall I play first? Fascinating Rhythm or S'Wonderful? Maple Leaf Rag or Ain't Misbehavin'?

I sat in the quiet of my private chambers in the Palais, waiting for Claude to return. In the meantime, I sifted through some sheet music I'd hastily gathered before I made the time trip. My smile came quickly when I realized I was about to serenade the King with music from my parents' youth! No matter...
Anyway, it had been such an eventful summer that I was grateful to indulge in something posh, something polished and sophisticated. And I felt that Claude was in the mood for something different, especially since he finally got a taste of that good old 1970's funk and disco at my high school reunion. Not that he didn't mind the music of my youth, on the contrary. I mean, when Claude Frollo walked into that hotel ballroom, then took me out on the dance floor, he displayed a side of himself that...

++++++++

Of course the reunion had already capped off a most eventful summer. Francois Patou, cleared of theft charges, had married Jeannette. The genuine box had finally turned up (Claude and Fern locked this one away themselves-- with NO assistance), and Iggy returned to a slightly changed life in the 20th Century.
Oh yes, all this was prefaced by one of the strangest executions ever witnessed by medieval Parisians. No, I don't mean the hanging itself, but. . .The sendoff!

On the morning following Iggy's report on the box, five hapless thieves were taken to the town square gallows. These were: Rene Robinette and his son Yves; Gerard; Lt. LeSabre; and another boy named Alexandre, though I forget his last name. You know, those were the sameboys who had taunted Francois with their sordid tales of booze and brothel binges. I supposed they tried to paint Francois as not quite the shining young man he truly is -- Their attempts to do just that failed miserably.
Anyway, all were found guilty (Claude 'made' them plead guilty) of theft and condemned to death. I, being somewhat squeamish, almost sat out this event. But Iggy talked me into it.
"Besides," reasoned Iggy, "I think we owe these fellows a nice sendoff."
So, he got us -- Phoebus, Quasi, Fern, Jeannette, Francois, and me -- to serenade the condemned criminals before they met their fate. That morning, we all gathered in the square as the prison carts wheeled past us. All five of those guys grimaced all the way to the gallows. It was Iggy who called out to Robinette, "Hey, Ren! Sure is a nice day for a hangin'!"
Claude Frollo stood nearby and endeavored to keep his mouth from twitching into a smile. But his expression didn't remain in its usual stern, austerity for long. For as soon as those guys were lined up on the platform, and the nooses placed around their necks, Iggy nudged us to "Get ready to do our thing."
Just before Claude gave the hangman the signal, Iggy called out, "Hey, Your Honor! Don't you think these boys deserve a nice little farewell, from us?" Claude Frollo raised an eyebrow, his eyes scanning the crowd. A thin smirk appeared and he replied, "Daniel, I can think of no better way for these men to leave this world."
And with that, Iggy launched into a short, and funny, tirade. "You know, guys, you could've left well enough alone. But you didn't. I mean, you could've inspected that box when you took it. Why, any fool could see that it was a fake. But Nooooo! Nooooo! You had to do your jive turkey 'gonna-get-even-with-The-Judge' business. And you know what? You ain't got diddly and you still gonna hang."
At once, the crowd whooped and howled at Iggy's dead-on 'John Belusi-SNL' impression. Even Claude couldn't resist breaking up over this performance. Then Iggy got us to do the 'farewell song'. "OK, guys, I just wanna leave y'all with a little something."
Iggy briefly cast his eyes heavenward, saying, "Lord, if you can ring up Mr. Croce, please give him our apologies." And with that, we launched into our brief musical sendoff:

You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask of the old Lone Ranger...

At once, Francois, Jeannette, and Quasi recited in unison: "And you don't mess around with Claude Frollo!"
Dear Claude got a mighty big laugh out of that impromptu performance, but he got a few last digs of his own. Walking up to the unfortunate men, Claude Frollo gave them an earful of the worst kind. Then, just before he gave the 'high sign', he dealt both Robinette and Gerard many resounding blows, saying, "That's for insulting and threatening my lady!"

Thanks, Claude; you've always been there to defend me. Oh yeah...I had to leave right after that, 'cause after Claude had his big laugh, and his revenge, he gave the 'high sign'...I still get squeamish at public executions.

++++++++

We've only just begun to live White lace and promises...

It was a simple little ceremony: Just a few friends...and someone else we had yet to meet. Later on this mystery guest...

Full of smiles and hopes for the future, Francois and Jeannette Patou emerged from Notre Dame to face a cheering crowd. Jeannette was lovely in her simple cream-colored linen dress and lace veil. Francois was resplendent in a deep blue velvet doublet, matching tights, and shoes. You know, I think 'Frank' appeared a few pounds slimmer.
Fern and I hosted the reception at our Paris home. It was a small gathering with the happy couple, Claude, Fern, Iggy, and me enjoying a pleasant repast of cake and -- get this -- wine coolers. (This was Iggy's idea -- the man's so '70s)
"Wine diluted with carbonated water?", asked Claude Frollo upon first sip. "No self-respecting Frenchman would do such a thing!"
He smiled thinly when Iggy mentioned, "Hey, slick, it's a California-type thing." Then Claude grew puzzled again when he asked Iggy, "Daniel, this term...'slick'...?" Everyone started breaking up when Iggy explained, "Oh man, that's a word for a good-lookin' Establishment-type dude. But the dude's cool, like you, slick."
Claude Frollo's face underwent the strangest changes of expression; then, at last, he broke down in rip-roaring laughter. "Daniel McMullen, I have a feeling we will see more of you." And we did see more of Iggy in the months and years to come. But wait! Let me tell you about that 'other' wedding guest.

Remember when Claude recounted the story behind Francois's family? Remember how Madame Patou had taken in a boarder, fell in love with him, then had his child? Madame Patou died in childbirth; the baby died hours after birth. The child's father, an Emile Lanvin, had left Paris before Madame Patou was into her fifth month. He had suffered the loss of his own wife and had only come to Paris because he felt he needed a change of scenery.
Well, this time, as if called, Emile arrived in town just in time to witness the marriage of Francois and Jeannette. It was later that afternoon when Emile came by the house and offered Francois a very plum position within the Lanvin family business.
"After all,", said Emile, "I had intended to return to Paris and marry your mother. But I had an ailing father for whom to care."
Of course, that meant that Francois would be leaving Paris -- and Claude Frollo's proud, watchful eye. Claude beamed at this boy, "Go, my boy, and seek your fortune in Marseilles. Who knows? Your descendants may very well make their marks in France, perhaps in other countries."
It was I who cautioned the Patous on "Keep the family promise alive. Make sure each generation passes down your story, and let not one stranger steal your descendants' birthright." The new Madame Patou didn't quite get the picture, but Francois did, for he remembered that little history lesson behind the gold box.

So, history's been preserved. It will be up to these two, and their descendants, to see that...Hey! What about Iggy?

Yeah, what about Iggy? When the forty-something flower child finally went home to the 20th Century...Oh boy!

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For the times (and the lives), they are a changin'
When Fern took Iggy back to the 20th Century, it was truly an eyeopener for the middle aged flower child. As Fern related to to Claude and me, Iggy, exhausted from his adventures, collapsed in a heap moments after he entered Fern's home. When he awoke the next morning, a tall, glamorous, dark-haired, forty-something woman was serving him breakfast in bed. This was Cissy Emswiller, Iggy's long lost love.
I know this sounds strange, so "Back to the Future-ish", but when Claude Frollo told Iggy that there would be "a few alterations..."
But dear Iggy, his life completely altered because he decided to take his sister's car for a little joyride, wasn't the least bit upset. After all, he reasoned, he was reunited with the woman he'd never stopped loving. And he discovered his name had been cleared long ago, but Iggy didn't know all this.
"Well I'll be...So that's what you all were saying about 'a few minor alterations'!" Iggy McMullen returned to the 20th Century a changed man with a changed life. Well, not all that changed...More on that later.

Of course you're all wondering, "How did all this happen?" Allow me to explain. You see; when Fern and Dwayne took a little trip to 1948 San Francisco, they pulled a switcheroo on ol' Marv Emswiller. Everything, from the time Constantine originally received that box, to the time that Marvin had spirited it away from England, truly happened. All of Iggy's research rang true, but there were a few minor exceptions.

Lili had the box engraved all right, but, three hundred years after Francois and Jeannette married, these words appeared, just below the "Semper Fidelis", on the inside lid: "In Memory of Francois and Jeannette Patou. Keep this box in the family." And that's what was on the inside lid when Marvin spirited the box away from 1945 England.
Everything that Fern said about Marvin and Olivia panned out as usual, EXCEPT, the sale of a gold box. As it happened, Iggy had done all that research on the gold box, and he organized that protest against Marvin's company. BUT, in 1973, when it came time for Iggy to present his finished project, Marvin decided to sell the box earlier than planned. It also panned out that Iggy got expelled from college after Marvin pulled some strings. That protest against Emswiller Chemical, organized by Iggy, was the last straw. No way, thought Marvin, was this half-pint hippie going to ruin the sale of a lifetime. So, enter this oil-rich sheik who promises to pay millions for the box. Marvin has the box brought out of mothballs...

You know; sometimes tampering with history can produce the strangest effects...

Fern had taken another time trip to 1973, this time letting Kyle pose as one of the armored trunk guards. When Kyle handed the box to Marvin, who, in turn, handed it to this sheik...
This man was not very pleased at being tricked and swindled. So, in an act of vengeance...
The week following this botched deal, Marvin Emswiller's private jet mysteriously vanished somewhere over the South Pacific. All search and recovery efforts had been unsuccessful. Marvin, in reality, took off for some tiny South Pacific island; he decided to go into hiding rather than face the angry sheik. He would surface again, only to face charges of corruption, embezzlement, and fraud. But more on that later.

Of course, with Marvin temporarily out of the picture, that meant the box finally ended up with its true and rightful heir. You see; when Fern and Dwayne pulled the switch, the genuine box was returned to Olivia Emswiller, with an ample explanation supplied by Fern. Olivia had the treasured box locked in ANOTHER, undisclosed location. However, with the real box safely tucked away where Marvin couldn't get to it, there was still the matter of Iggy's expulsion.
The flower child had since moved back to Indiana, a broken and dejected young man. He would bury his misfortunes in music, beer, and pot before taking off in 1976. That was the year the band broke up, and Iggy decided to hit the road and spend the rest of his life drifting from place to place. But there were people out there who tirelessly helped to clear his name and give back his lost dignity.
It was Cissy who continued Iggy's research, and, eventually presented the findings to the university. She was also instrumental in bringing her own father to justice. During the late spring of 1985, when Cissy completed Iggy's initial research and publicly presented her findings, she publicly recounted how Marvin had stolen the box only to sell it to the highest bidder. Soon, Marvin Emswiller became the subject of every government investigation. From Washington to Sacramento, there was this sudden interest in Marvin's shading dealings. It was John Peabody, the man whom Cissy was supposed to marry (remember that things had been 'slightly' altered!), who confessed that Marvin was alive and well.
After all those years, dear old Marv was still in hiding on some island estate in Micronesia. It didn't take long for the press to catch up with Marvin, and it didn't take long for the government to find him, either.
Throughout the trial and the publicity, Olivia remained completely unruffled; she even testified against her ex-husband.

So, after a life of wheeling and dealing, Marvin Emswiller was sentenced to twenty years in prison. Although he was paroled early, he immediately returned to his island home. It was later reported that Marvin, while seeking business opportunities in Borneo, mysteriously vanished somewhere in the rain forest, never to be seen nor heard from again. ("And good riddance!", exclaimed Claude Frollo when this news reached his ears, "Now our Daniel may at last fulfill his life's purpose.")

As promised, when Iggy returned to the 20th Century, he was reunited with his long lost love. He also received a letter of apology from the university AND his long-overdue degree. That meant that all those years Iggy spent running from himself were over. Fern told me that later on, Iggy and Cissy decided to get married and move back to Indy ("I know it's kinda square sometimes, but it's a great place to raise a family!", reasoned Iggy).
That also meant that he could at last get his life back on track. Both he and Cissy received two very special wedding gifts: A hefty -- in the seven figure range -- check from Fern, and his-and-her pager/time travelers specially designed by Jacki Darcey-Terrell.
Iggy felt that since he and Cissy were now a couple, "And we're students of history", they could take time trips and witness history firsthand. Cissy was skeptical about time travel but when she heard all about Iggy's adventures in 15th Century France, she had only this to say, "Iggy and I will have a slight advantage over everyone else -- We will be the ultimate partcipant-observers!"
The McMullens would take these trips, then return to 20th Century schools and present unique historic programs. Cissy said after one such presentation to a group of fourth graders, "The kids said that we made it sound like we were 'really there'. I mean, we had drawings, tape recordings -- you name it; we had it. But we couldn't really tell them that we went back in time."
So, Iggy and Cissy, the time traveling historians. We would encounter them many times, and Claude Frollo was one fortunate individual to actually get a glimpse into his past, and his future.

Yes, like Claude said, everything and everyone was affected by giving history a slight nudge. But what about the band?

Oh yes, the band is still around. Once Iggy moved his new bride back to Indy, it was HIS idea to permanently revive the band, "Just for fun." Once again, Hornets Nest continued to wow audiences at art festivals, high school reunions, oldies' shows, and the State Fair. Just like in the old days, the band was an outlet for all that stress. Only now, it was a much needed outlet from the everyday stress of kids, mortgages, and carpools.
Oh yeah...Iggy and Cissy decided to adopt a couple of kids, who were promptly named Lili Jeannette and Francois ('Frank") Emile. Yes, Cissy kept the family promise alive...That box is still locked away somewhere in California, waiting for its next, and rightful owners...

Oops! Did I mention that Hornets Nest played reunions? Well, that's another facet of Daniel Ignatius McMullen that Claude Frollo had yet to fully experience. It was truly an evening to remember...Claude Frollo became very much the center of attention..

COMING UP:
Nisha's old classmates get an eyeful! Hornets Nest rocks! The King receives two special gifts: The box and, the most beautiful music...

To the conclusion!

Copyright FrolloFreak FSM #14, 1998


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