Just a quick tidy . . . an easy task, for His Grace is such a neat man . . . His desk is so orderly. Now, finish the grates and dust the plant stand. This is so beautiful . . . don't forget underneath . . . What's this tiny lever? Oh well, just dust around it . . . Oops!
Somehow, her dustcloth had snagged on that lever. In effort to untangle the cloth, she accidentally tripped the lever. At that moment a secret compartment on the backside of the plant stand popped open, revealing a heavy iron key contained therein.
"What is this?", muttered the maid as she removed the key from its hiding place. Suddenly, she
heard a sharp-edged voice calling to her.
"What are you doing?! Meddling in His Grace's private property!" This was Gerard, the same senior footman who had berated her earlier. He glared hard at her as he said warningly, "My girl, it's a good thing Judge Frollo didn't come in and catch you. He'd surely have your head! Now, return whatever you found to its proper place and begone!"
The maid whimpered her apologies, returned the key to its hiding place, then gathered her
cleaning supplies and made a hasty exit. Gerard remained in the room long enough to examine
the plant stand; he actually turned the lever and popped open that secret compartment. He smiled,
then made his way down the corridor to where a guard stood watch.
Gerard approached this soldier and whispered to him, "Thank little Jeannette for her carelessness, for now I know where Frollo has hidden that key."
To this, the lieutenant replied, "Good. Our man will be quite pleased with this news. When do we make our move?"
Gerard glanced about to see if Frollo, or any of His Grace's minions, was about, then said, "Tonight. For I know that His Grace will be out for the evening, visiting with one of his ladies. -- I overheard him say this to that fat New World spy."
Lt. LeSabre then said, "Please take care around that one, Gerard. She's as sharp as a knife; she rarely misses a thing." Then the soldier added that Frollo and his New World spy were presently somewhere within the Palais, but he wasn't sure of the exact location. All he knew was that, "Madame Grigsby is to depart this afternoon, that I know."
Gerard then said, "Hmm . . . With her out the way, we can finally make our move. Now, do you still remember the precise location?" The lieutenant nodded.
"Very well," said Gerard sporting a wide smile.
"Fern, this plan must be kept in the utmost secrecy, or else."
Ferns laughed and said assuredly, "Claude, don't fret so much. You know I can keep a secret;
besides, if anyone falls for this trap . . . Well, shame on them!"
To this, the Minister of Justice smiled, then finally asked his New World spy, "I had hoped that you would, at least, stay for supper. Nisha has been kind enough to invite me to your charming Paris house to savor her delicious cooking."
Fern Grigsby returned the smile, explaining, "No Claude, I'll let you two be alone. I have to get back to the 20th Century and help Kyle and Shelli work on their house. That was Nisha's old Blue Ridge Road house, remember?"
Frollo understood this then asked Fern about her brother.
"I suppose you are anxious for news of Daniel's first day on the job. My dear Fern, your brother has so much potential; I can feel it. He really shouldn't throw away his valuable talents by drifting from one thing to another. Jehan has done just that; well, you see what a shambles Jehan has made of his life."
To this Fern said, "Claude, I know Iggy is bright and talented. Why, didn't I tell you he almost got his master's degree before he got kicked out of school?"
Claude sadly acknowledged this as he recalled Fern's story of Daniel Ignatius McMullen, a
brilliant young man who had been labeled a genius in first grade -- He got skipped several grades
and graduated high school early.
He then won a full scholarship to UC Berkeley. It was at Berkeley that Iggy got involved, not only with his rigorous academics, but with the radical liberalism that was so characteristic at the time. Frollo sighed in frustration as Fern told him how Iggy got expelled for organizing a sit-in at a chemical plant -- a company whose very conservative CEO was a close friend of then-Governor Reagan. A few pulled strings, an overwhelmingly generous donation to Reagan's 1976 presidential bid . . .
Well . . . Money talks.
"Iggy had it all: a successful music career, a promising future, loving . . . ," Fern stopped herself
as she and Frollo strolled down the long corridor leading to his private chambers.
Claude Frollo put his hand on Fern's shoulder and gently said, "Fern, do not blame yourself for Daniel's failings. He just may very well discover that he cannot forever run from his problems. Maybe this little job will be the catalyst."
Fern was grateful that this man was so understanding. "Thanks, Claude. But you know, I think
I'll leave Iggy alone for a while, let him settle into routine and all. And he has this band reunion
thing coming up and . . . Hey!"
She glanced at her watch, adding, "I better get goin'! I promised Dwayne I'd be home before six!"
And with that, she and Frollo said their goodbyes. Then, depressing the red button on her time traveler, Fern vanished in a sea of white light.
A good woman . . . M. Dwayne Grigsby is fortunate to have someone so devoted, so loving . . . But that brother! Daniel is . . . different . . . but there's something I find extremely intriguing. There's so much more than what Danisha calls '60's radical chic'.
Oh well . . . No matter.
Ah, speaking of good women! I must get ready, for my lovely 14th lady is preparing the most
delicious meal . . . and, perhaps, a delicious after-dinner treat.
Now, let's see . . . What 'delicious' outfit should I wear? Too warm for leather . . . Hmm . . . black denim jeans . . . That should please her . . . So what if they fit too tightly . . . I LOVE them tight.
A sexy, wicked smile spread over the Minister of Justice's face as he examined his reflection in the mirror. Claude Frollo studied his slim body encased in skintight black denim and thought, Hmm . . . And Danisha loves whenever I wear ANYTHING tight!
Actually, I like the place for the atmosphere: It's quintessentially late-medieval with its odd and
colorful assortment of characters. And there's the owner, Victor Jouet, one of the nicest, and
funniest men in all of Paris.
You see, Victor's place, La Belle d'Avignon, was named after his mother, Sarah Jouet. Claude told me that Madame Jouet was one of the most beautiful women in her hometown, hence the name of the tavern. She moved to Paris after her husband died; Victor carried on his father's tradition and established one of the most popular taverns in Paris.
But the tavern fell on hard times due to increased competition and a fickle clientele. And that was too bad, because Victor was one of my first friends when I first came to medieval Paris. He let people know that I was "Minister Frollo's New World friend -- Treat her right."
Thanks, Vic . . . I can always count on you!
Little did I know that this would be one of Victors better nights, for an obscure visitor from the New World would put on the loudest, most rocking, blow-the-roof-off-the-place performance. And he would be joined by a bell-ringer, an ex-soldier-turned-caretaker, and "Minister Frollo's New World friend."
Of course, I was glad to come along for the ride because Iggy almost got himself in hot water with Claude. Glad I -- or Christine -- didn't tell him what Iggy did. God, was THAT hilarious!
Phoebus, Iggy, and Quasi stood outside La Belle d'Avignon while I kept a bright lookout for Claude, a soldier, or anyone who would spot Iggy. Lord, please don't let Claude find out that Iggy's here . . . It could mean MY head!
The ex-Captain pulled out a handful of gold coins and suggested to Iggy that, "We really can't
stay long as Quasimodo has to be back at Notre Dame to ring evening Mass."
Iggy understood this, thumbed the neck of the jumbo Ovation (why are the bottoms rounded?) guitar, then said, "OK, whatever. Even if it's for a couple of hours -- Let the good times roll!"
The trio laughed then started to enter the tavern when Iggy spotted a lovely lady strolling down the street. I watched her, too, and instantly recognized her. What happened next was priceless!
She was pretty with a wealth of chestnut colored hair and bright blue eyes. She was slightly taller than I -- five-foot-six, and of medium weight. OK, so I'm a shade heavier than her . . . But Claude likes his women of all sizes and colors. The man is truly Rainbow!
This was Christine, Claude Frollo's 19th FSM, a lady who didn't take any nonsense from anyone. Even this overgrown flower child didn't stand in her way as he addressed her.
"Hey, mama! What's happenin'?"
Christine, her resolute expression, ignored this stale come-on. He repeated his line, then walked
behind her and didn't slow down even though she stepped up her pace.
"I said 'What's happenin'?' Hey, baby, what's your sign? Do you know the more I see you the more I want you?"
She turned to look at him, telling him firmly and repeatedly to leave her alone. "Sir, I don't know
you and I'm not interested in your 'sign', whatever that is. Now, begone!"
But Iggy was insistent when I approached Christine and told her, "This man is from the New World, the western part to be precise. It is why he doesn't know Parisian ways."
I then whispered to her, "Christine, this guy is my friend's brother, and I don't want to see get into trouble. You and I both know what could happen if Claude ever walks in on this."
Christine acknowledged this while Iggy wandered up beside her and said, "Aw, baby, I was just havin' some fun, that's all. But, hey, why don't we mosey in the ol' watering hole and split a brew. Maybe I can sing you song."
Christine glared at Iggy, then looked at me and said, "I suppose he only understands one language?"
I grinned and nodded. Christine returned the grin, then hauled off and landed the perfect right cross to Iggy's jaw. A crowd had gathered the minute Iggy tried to come on to Christine, They all laughed hysterically as Iggy struggled to his feet, still holding his jaw.
"I think he got the message!", Christine said with a wink before resuming her journey.
Iggy only had this to say: "Damn, that chick has a killer punch! What was name? Christine?" He shook his head, got to his feet, and watched her vanish down the street.
"Her mama named her right! 'Cause she packs the wallop of a Buick!"
La Belle d'Avignon...Medieval Europe at its finest. Yep, there it is...Madame Jouet's portrait prominently displayed. Victor must really loved his mama...
In the dimly lit, crowded, smoke-filled tavern, I beckoned to Victor for "three beers for my friends and some of that fab Rosé for me".
"Oui, Mlle. Nisha," came the hearty reply; Victor's huge snow-white 'handlebar' mustache (even though it wasn't termed as such yet) twitched with delight as he personally served the four of us. He asked me about Fern, and then Jacki.
"That Jacqueline is trés belle, and Madame Fern is a delight!" Victor turned to Iggy then exclaimed, "You MUST be the brother, no? Mme. Fern has told me much about you! I understand you are a musician."
Iggy answered each and every question Victor posed, then said, "Hey, if you want me to play for your little crowd..."
It was then that Victor glanced over at me and said to Iggy, "My dear monsieur, I've heard this
young lady sing. On occasion, she will come in here and serenade my customers with her
wonderful New World music."
Then Victor glanced around the half-empty tavern, sighed and added, "Business is slow tonight -- Hardly anyone comes in here. Maybe it's just as well I sell this place and go back to Avignon."
Iggy leaned over to whisper something in Victor's ear, then said to me, "So you still do the Diana Ross bit, eh? Ol' Vic's done asked me to strum a few bars for his customers -- I've never turned down a gig yet."
I let out an audible sigh and began to protest Iggy's impending performance when Quasi
interrupted me with several questions.
"Danisha, I wanted to ask you something. What was this 'Woodstock' and 'Summer of Love' stuff Iggy was talking about? Did you do this stuff when you were a kid?"
So he asked me a few questions about the 60s, but I was still in grade school when all that happened...I bet Iggy can fill him in...
Suddenly, a man ran into the tavern, out of breath, and excitedly said, "If any of you fellows have broken the law you'd better hide under the nearest table. 'Cause Judge Frollo is heading this way!"
The man grinned then laughingly said, "I'm just pulling your leg! Old Frollo seems in mighty fine
spirits this evening, but don't let that fool you!"
Quasi was understandably distraught, but I assured him that as long as he returns to Notre Dame in time for his duties, there was little danger of chastisement.
I peered out the window as Claude rode past. He stopped, and hitched Snowball to a post outside a sweet shop located a few doors down.
Whew! Claude's not coming in here that's for sure...Can't have him discover that Iggy...Iggy?
Before I knew it, Iggy and Phoebus were out the door and down the street. I told Quasi to stay put
while I went out after these two clowns. Now how was I to know that Iggy would want an up-close and personal look at Claude Frollo's fine black stallion. And how was I to know that Iggy
would launch into the funniest impression this side of a 1960's sitcom.
I'm so glad Iggy disappeared before Claude recognized him...
Much later, as Iggy promised, "The Good Times Rolled!"
To Part 6(II)
©Copyright FrolloFreak FSM #14, 1998.