Fern chuckled as she produced the object from her duffel bag. The good judge smiled as she explained, "Claude, I thought I'd never get this job done; why, I had to wait while the guy . . . "
Claude Frollo shushed her whilst glancing about his study, even though he and Fern were the only people in the room, but there was always that chance . . .
"Uh, Claude, are you OK? You seem skittish and everything."
His Grace sighed with relief, but was still somewhat nervous about the outcome of this scheme. It has to work! Tell me I did the right thing!
At last he addressed Fern. "Consider a generous token of appreciation, my dear Fern. As always, you have come through for me."
Fern heartily laughed, her big body shook like Jell-O. "Oh, all I want is the satisfaction of seeing this thing put away, safe and sound."
To that, Claude Frollo replied, "Well, perhaps I could make a generous donation to l'Academie -- Your school has turned out the most gifted young persons. And I especially thank you for recommending young Francois Patou -- Now that he has a more capable instructor, his future is secure." Then the Minister of Justice had something else to say to this unusual New World woman who had the distinction for being one of Frollo's more successful spies.
"My dear Fern, please accept my apologies. Do understand that I never outright accused your brother of theft, but after you told me about his 'freeloading' ways, his taste for radical politics, and his general lack of ambition, well . . . "
Fern looked at him with twinkling eyes and said, "Apology accepted, sir. I know you've been beside yourself ever since Etienne entrusted you with that box, but believe me, Iggy may be a lot of things but he isn't a thief. He may be a pain sometimes, but he knows right from wrong -- I know in my heart that Iggy would never do something so stupid."
Frollo was pleased that Fern understood his earlier apprehensions, but he was somewhat
intrigued by the strange little man who called himself "Iggy." Ever since he and his 14th FSM
espied him from the Palais colonnade, there was something about Iggy that Claude thought so
After all, a haircut, different clothes . . . yes, I believe Daniel has what it takes . . . Unlike that brother of mine!
Claude Frollo then asked of "Daniel's whereabouts." Fern replied, "I took him back to the 20th with me, handed him the classified section, and told him he had to find a job and a place to stay. No way I'll have him underfoot all the time -- Dwayne would've thrown the bum out anyway."
She paused while Claude Frollo chuckled good-humoredly at the thought of Dwayne Grigsby booting Iggy out of the house. His Grace then asked about Iggy's job hunt, to which Fern responded, "Right now, he's staying with an old friend. If thing's go well, Iggy's starting his new job at WalMart."
As I climbed the many steps to the belltower, nothing, and I mean nothing, prepared me for the
scene that greeted me once I found Quasi. It seemed that someone -- well, TWO someones ---
had returned to Paris, and Quasi decided to throw a little party.
Well, HE talked Quasi into it . . .
I heard voices coming from the upper floors -- three voices to be exact. Now I recognized Quasi's voice, and I knew the other man's, but the third I couldn't make out until I got closer and listened carefully.
What?! I thought Fern took him back to our time! He's supposed to be looking for a job!
Sure enough, the third man's voice was rather rough-edged, as near a younger Wolfman Jack as anything else.
What's going on up there? Isn't that where Quasi keeps those huge cauldrons? Do I smell . . . pizza?! Do I hear singing? Yeah, all three of them singing . . . Let me listen . . . HAHA! This is TOO funny!
Me gotta go now
yeah yeah yeah
The scene that greeted me as I entered that upper chamber, where Quasimodo kept the
humongous pots -- One pot's for lead and the other's for water.
Well, I don't think all of medieval Paris has EVER encountered a scene like this!
"Quasi, it's me, Nisha! I know you're not alone 'cause I can hear you guys all the way down here!"
That third voice called out in, "Come on up, Nisha! Join the party! I'm sure Quasi-bear and ol' blond Jethro won't mind."
When I reached that room, I almost fainted! But there they were: Quasimodo, Phoebus, and Iggy
-- Yes, IGGY! -- stripped down to their tights and sitting in a monstrous cauldron filled with hot
water. Pizza boxes and beer bottles littered the floor and Iggy had that boombox from which the
mellow sounds of the 1960's and 70's wafted.
That's Fern's boombox! The very 'music machine', as Claude calls it, designed by Jacki and Tony so we could enjoy recorded music whenever we're in the 15th. Only a few of us know about that wondrous machine -- Claude promised he wouldn't breathe word one. Wait a minute! How did Iggy find his way back to the 15th Century?!
Phoebus addressed me after he took a healthy gulp of beer "Hello, Nisha! Pardon us for not rising but Iggy talked Quasi into doing this. Here," he added, pointing to the flat box on the floor, "have some of this fabulous . . . what is it called? Oh yes, 'pizza' . . . Sounds Italian . . . mm . . . " Phoebus took another bite of cheesy, pepperoni-laden pizza.
"The name sounds Italian but," the ex-Captain said as he took another huge bite, grease dripping
down his chin, "I was in southern Italy during the wars and I don't think I tasted anything quite
Quasi then explained that Iggy saw the cauldron then wondered if it could be turned into a makeshift hot tub. "I thought it was strange at first, you know, just sitting in a pot of hot water. But this is great!"
Quasimodo's expression suddenly changed when he asked a favor of me. "Please don't tell my
master, Nisha. He'll never understand and I'll never hear the end of it."
Of course I promised Quasi I'd never say a thing to Claude. Even though Claude and I vowed never to keep secrets from each other, Quasi was a special friend and I knew perfectly well how Claude would react if he ever came up here.
At this time all I could say was, "I won't tell Claude Frollo a thing, Quasi, as long as you guys clean up this mess and . . . Hey!"
Then I realized that Iggy was supposed to be back in the 20th Century looking for a job.
Iggy picked up on this then answered my unasked question. "Nisha, if you're wondering how I found my way back here, it's because big Bubba here let me use his little Way-Back Machine! I sneaked back here after I told Fern I was staying with Roosevelt --- Hey that reminds me!"
Iggy reached over the side of the pot and retrieved something from his duffel bag. He handed over a piece of paper to Quasimodo who in turn handed it to me. When I read what was on that paper, I finally realized why Iggy came home and asked his sister for a loan.
"Your band, Hornets Nest, is playing at my reunion. I remember you guys played at my Homecoming Dance, during my junior year."
Iggy smiled and said, "Yeah, and you almost got crowned Homecoming Queen . . . I thought you got cheated out of that. But anyway, that's why I need bread, and fast. I found this old Fender . . . "
Phoebus interrupted, "Iggy, did you say 'bread'? Can't you get bread back in the 20th Century?"
The rest of us laughed when Quasi corrected the ex-soldier. "Uh, Phoebus? He meant he needed money. 'Bread' is slang for money, just like 'crib' stands for home. Get it?"
Phoebus looked rather blank and said, 'I think I get it." But I don't think he got it as he continued to stuff his face with pizza and beer.
Hmm . . . these guys look so relaxed, so 'with it' . . . Well, maybe Quasi and Iggy, but I don't
know about Phoebus. Soaking in a hot tub . . . I haven't done that since that summer at Mark's
cabin, with Claude. I guess Iggy's waiting for me to shimmy out of this long denim dress and into
that tub . . . Oh No! There's only one man I strip for . . . Too bad . . . Hey! I got an idea!
But let me have some pizza first . . . That looks good, and I am kind of hungry. Iggy did something right . . . Hmm . . . maybe he can go back to the 20th Century and get some burgers or some ribs . . .
I sat on a stone stoop, helped myself to pizza and beer, and once again cautioned Iggy to keep
himself -- and my medieval friends -- out of trouble.
"Iggy, you have to go back to your time; you can't stay here because I don't want you to get into trouble with Claude Frollo."
Upon hearing Claude's name again, Iggy then told me about seeing a photo of Fern, Claude, and
me -- a photo taken during my first Christmas at the Palais. He also remembered seeing a note,
written in Claude's own handwriting, addressed to Fern.
"So, your Claude Frollo is a judge, eh?"
Iggy glanced at Quasimodo when he added, "And he's your foster-father?"
Then he turned to Phoebus. "And you used to work for him?"
Both men nodded; then Iggy asked me, "And what is Judge Frollo to you and Fern?"
I could only tell Iggy so much, but I guess my response was good enough. "Claude Frollo, Fern, and I are very good friends. Fern met him during her first time trip here. Didn't she tell you all about Jacki and Tony and time machines . . . ?"
Iggy finally acknowledged all this, then adding, "Well, you can bet I'll stay out of His Honor's way. The last time I faced a judge was because my neighbors didn't like what I grew in my window boxes." Iggy chuckled when he at last added, "And it wasn't tomatoes."
I went back downstairs while the "Three Stooges" finished their party, got dressed, and then
joined me outside. Iggy was dressed in an odd mixture of 1960's radical chic and 15th Century
An oversized brown tunic hung on his short body like a potato sack. The matching tights had seen better days, but those shoes! Iggy insisted on wearing those grimy Birkenstocks, and he topped off the outfit with an old feather-trimmed cap. Outside of the sandals, the only things remotely 60's was the strand of 'love-beads' suspended from around his neck and the 'I'm OK-You're OK' button pinned to his cap. Of course, Iggy defended his bizarre fashion statement with, "Well, I gotta have something from home."
OK, so Iggy's here . . . Maybe I won't tell Fern . . . Maybe I won't tell Claude . . . If I can get Phoebus and Quasi to keep Iggy occupied . . .
"Hey, Junior!", Iggy said to Quasimodo, "What do you dudes do for fun in this town?"
The bellringer was hesitant, but not because he was nervous about the outside world. Indeed, Quasi had been out and about Paris many times, ever since that horrible conspiracy against Claude. Folks seldom gave a hard time, but I knew that Quasi was thinking about his responsibilities at the cathedral. He started to answer, "Well, I really shouldn't do this but . . . "
Phoebus interrupted Quasi and said to Iggy, "You know, there's this great tavern I know; maybe we can stop by and split a keg. Is that all right with you?"
Iggy grinned while I sent up a silent prayer. Oh please, please don't let Claude find out . . . He may not understand . . . And if he finds out that I'm keeping Iggy under wraps, well . . . This is one lady who won't be chained up in his private torture chamber . . .
"Let's divide!" shouted Phoebus.
"Uh, Phoebus? That's 'let's split'." This was Quasi, again correcting Phoebus.
As I kept a safe distance from this trio, I couldn't help but laugh at the ex-soldier's attempts to "get cool".
"Right Out!", proclaimed the ex-Captain.
The Bell-ringer and the flower child looked at him in bewilderment, then Quasimodo sighed and said, "That's 'Right On'."
Once again, poor Phoebus tried to grasp it all. "Oh right, sure . . . Yeah."
Now I knew that Quasi had been out before; folks seldom give him a hard time. But, knowing that he was in the company of Iggy and Phoebus, I had to keep an especially close eye on them.
Now who'd had known that Iggy would make a pass at one of Claude Frollo's many ladies. I bet he was glad I was there or else Iggy would've been in deep trouble. Then he HAD to use this black Percheron stallion, which was hitched not too far from the tavern.
It WAS knockdown funny!
Iggy had brought along his new Ovation guitar. Man, he -- make that WE -- almost blew the roof off that tavern! Old Victor, the tavern keeper, was mighty grateful that Iggy took it upon himself to entertain the crowd. To this day, Victor still gushes how, "That funny little man brought in more money in one night than I see in an entire month!" Of course it amazed everyone that Quasimodo had so much talent -- THAT was too far-out! Then we got the crowd to join in.
But, things got carried away, and someone had made an unexpected appearance. Then, like my Uncle Herb would say, "Stand back! 'Cause the grits done hit the pan!"
A 'throw down' in a tavern . . . A servant's carelessness proves costly . . . The Minister of Justice discovers the truth behind Theodora's box . . . A theft…and a frame-up
Go To Part 6(I)
©Copyright FrolloFreak FSM #14, 1998.