When I arrived, I didn't notice much at first. Things looked pretty normal to
me, but it was a bit quieter. Oh, the town square teemed with activity as
always, but I detected a bit of tension in the air. Folks were their usual
friendly selves, but there was something amiss. So I took it upon myself to find
As my usual routine, I dropped by Carl's soda shop. Old Carl serves the best ice cream around, and he's quick with the jokes and knows just about everything that goes on in Walroy.
I walked in, plopped down on the counter, and exchanged greetings with the
few folks gathered. Carl said hello as he served up a nice cherry phosphate – in
a tiny glass, of course. He didn't say much at first; in fact, he seemed very
nervous and agitated. I asked what was wrong, and Carl said, "Jiminy, things
have changed. It's not the same anymore. I just hope today, they won't
come in here like they did yesterday."
"And who," I asked, "are 'they'?"
Suddenly the place became very quiet as two men entered the soda shop. I
looked these guys up and down, then hightailed it behind the cash register. I
knew them right away: Gaston and LeFou!
"Carl," I whispered, "what are they doing here?"
"Isn't it obvious?," he replied. "This is what I was trying to tell you. The void was breached, and now the town is being run by..."
Carl didn't have time to finish his sentence as those two villains from
Beauty and the Beast strolled up to the counter, sat down, then demanded
Gaston, a hulking brute known for his enormous conceit, commanded, "Hey, you! Bring me and my friend some refreshment! And don't skimp on the stuff!"
"Yeah, Carl," said LeFou menacingly, a stout little stooge who always idolized Gaston, "you don't want us to tell him that you refused us service."
Carl, without hesitation, served both men big glasses of root beer followed by triple-decker burgers, fries, and heaps of ice cream. I had to avert my eyes as the men sloppily ate their food. Those guys aren't too neat with the table manners. Yuck! The way LeFou and Gaston gorged and smacked, wiping their mouths with their sleeves and loudly belching, disgusted us to no end. Of course, no one dared say a thing because Gaston kept threatening to tell him if we did.
After the men finished their food – they didn't bother to pay for it – Gaston
said to Carl, "Say, you're behind a couple of payments."
"But," Carl replied, "I gave you the money yesterday."
"Not enough," said LeFou. "If you want to stay in business, you gotta pay the fee."
"But I don't have enough to cover today's payment. Wait until the end of the week. Business is slow, you know."
Gaston stood up, thrust out his chest, then reached out and grabbed Carl by the collar. "Look, old man! We don't care how you get it, just pay up by sundown, or else!"
Poor Carl didn't have the courage to answer once Gaston released him. The nefarious pair just gave the man evil looks and clenched fists as they exited the shop.
At last, I emerged from the shadows, asking, "What was that all
One patron finally said, "Just what we needed around here -- Disney villains taking over our town. See what's happened? Gaston and LeFou have set up this protection racket. They've leaned hard on almost everyone. We can't even conduct business as usual because of him. Those two say if we pay up, then they can keep him off our backs."
Who is this him everyone talks about in hushed voices? It didn't take me long to find out once Tina, one of the nicest ladies in town, and a member of the town council, entered the shop shortly after Gaston and LeFou departed.
"Ben! Have you seen Bungee? I can't find him anywhere."
Kristen rushed out from the house, frantically searching for her beloved cat. Ben was in the backyard, calling for Amby. Seems the dog was missing as well.
"I haven't seen him, Kris. Now Amby's missing, too."
What a day! Strange things happening all over ever since Ben let loose that
odd red light that breached the villains' void. Now, three exceptionally awful
of Disney's best of the bad took over the town. Well, he did take charge
the moment he arrived. He banned almost anything remotely fun, took delight in
shoving the mayor aside and gave the town council a hard time. Then there was
Gaston, running his "protection" racket all over town. No one was safe from
Gaston's strong-arm tactics, and with LeFou in his company, it made life all that
much more miserable. Then she showed up and even more strange things
happened. All the girls were required, at his order, to work for this
woman after school and all weekend. What kind of work? Does the term "sweat
shop" mean anything? The girls spent hours upon hours sewing expensive clothing
for this woman's personal wardrobe, not to mention helping maintain his
fine garments and tapestries. It was, the new town boss said, "To keep the youth
in line. All this silly frivolity and playtime is wasteful. They need to know an
honest day's work builds character!"
Rumors flew all over town that this woman, who had a penchant for furs, was behind the recent disappearance of several family pets, Bungee and Amby being the latest. No one knew where they were being kept, but Ben, not wanting to alarm his sister, finally realized that the infamous Cruella deVille had the pets kidnapped. "Just as she did the Dalmatians." Wasn't it obvious? Cruella was keeping the dogs, cats, hamsters, and other various animals under lock and key somewhere in town. She fully intends to make FUR GARMENTS out of our pets!
"I don't like this, Kris," said Ben after looking for his beloved dog for the tenth time. "Hey, why don't we go over to the soda shop. Maybe Amby and Bungee will show up soon." He hated lying to his sister, but Ben knew something had to be done, and fast!
"Ooh! That man! I swear if I wasn't a lady, I'd sock him square in his smug
Tina, a petite dark-haired woman in her early thirties, breezed into the soda
shop, thoroughly exhausted after a trying interview with him. Carl took
pity on Tina and served her a cup of fresh hot coffee and a healthy slab of
apple pie. "Put some ice cream on it, will you?," she said, "Calories and low
carbs my foot! I need this.quot;
"That bad over at city hall?," asked Carl sympathetically.
"The worse. I still can't get over how he just came in and took over, just like that. Ooh, if I ever find out how that void got breached, I'll thump the guilty party so badly..."
"Now, now, Tina," said Carl sympathetically, "I'm sure there is some way to reason with the man."
Tina stopped in mid-bite. She looked at Carl disbelievingly. "Reason with him? How can you reason with such a rat? Wait, let me back up. You know Founder's Day is coming up, and Aurora and Phillip are to be guests of honor. The kids have put in so much time planning their presentation and skits. The parade is ready to go, the charity basketball game is to be a thrilling match - Imagine Eric and Phoebus on the team, Quasimodo helping officiate, and Esmeralda and Ariel leading the cheer block. Then there's the bonfire right before the game, not to mention the hayride and dance afterwards. Belle and Maurice are bringing Philippe! Mrs. Potts and Eema are heading the concession stand. Bambi and Faline are to present the plaque to Philip and Aurora. For God's sake, the dwarves are coming, so are the Banks and Mary Poppins and Bert and Uncle Albert..."
Carl said, "But, Tina, surely he wouldn't jeopardize Founder's Day. It's the
highlight of the year; it's the one weekend when all the Walroy merchant's
association sees profits through the roof."
Tina sipped her coffee, took out her notepad, saying, "Oh, he's throwing in the monkey wrench all right. Know what he said? I quote: 'My dear lady, such frivolity is unwise and unnecessary. Why, look about...The streets are quiet for a change. The children have been put to work to build their character. No doubt all that playtime and running about is not conducive to a pious life.' Can you believe that? Then he said we can have our celebration but nixed the game. What fun is that? No match between the Disney Toons and the Walroy Wonders! The kids are so busy working for him and for that Cruella that they have no time to rehearse their skits. The team has no time to practice."
That said, Tina began to cry. Carl tried to comfort her but it was of no use.
Something had to be done, but neither Carl nor Tina could come up with one solid
A familiar voice spoke from behind the cash register. "Pardon, ma'am. But I think I can help you." Then the figure emerged from the shadows.
"Jiminy!," exclaimed Carl, "I thought you hightailed it out of here after Gaston and LeFou came in."
"Nope," said Jiminy Cricket, brushing off his coat sleeve. "And I know I'm not supposed to be seen around here, not with Cruella and Gaston running around. Now, about the other baddie, it's going to be tough routing him out of City Hall. Folks, allow me to seek help. You all need it in the worst way, especially with him in charge. Let's see...we could get..."
Jiminy pondered a bit, snapped his fingers and said at last, "I think I know exactly who to get to help you good folks."
Tina was grateful but apprehensive. "Jiminy, while we appreciate the help, what possibly could route these guys out of town and locked back in the void?"
Jiminy laughed, saying, "Tina, come on. Since when did a Disney hero not defeat a villain. It won't be easy, but I think I can gather several of the top heroes to help get rid of Gaston, Cruella, and..."
Jiminy hesitated because just saying the name gave him shivers. He also knew that a few of the Disney heroes he had in mind for this case may not want to accept the challenge. After all, they had a tough enough time dealing with these ne'er-do-wells the first time. Why ask them to relive painful memories? I know Simba, Aladar, and Jasmine won't mind, but Quasi and Esmeralda might not want to deal with him again, and Belle...Just seeing Gaston again won't set to well. But it's a chance I have to take.
"Folks," Jiminy said at last, "I'm off to gather our reinforcements. It may
take some arm twisting, especially after I tell them that we're dealing with the
likes of Gaston and Cruella. Then, there's 'You know who'."
"Come on," Tina said, "you can say the name. He's not here and neither are his two oafish guards."
Jiminy's voice lowered to a dull whisper as he uttered, "OK...Judge Claude Frollo!"
When Jiminy reeled off the heroes he had in mind, both Carl and Tina voiced
approval. "But," Carl said somewhat uneasily, "I don't see how Aladar can help.
Having a dinosaur around may be unsettling for folks..."
"Carl," said Tina with a wicked glint in her eye, "I have a feeling Aladar will be just the one to really save us from Frollo. Can you imagine the look on the old guy's face when he comes face to face with a two-ton iguanodon!"
Jiminy Cricket smiled, saying, "Then it's settled. I'm off to round up our help."
Just as Jiminy ventured out the back door, he heard a tiny voice call to him.
He looked around to see a little hamster hiding behind the dumpster amongst
trash bags and empty boxes. It motioned to the cricket and said with bated
breath, "Hey, Jiminy, it's me, Winky. I didn't know you were here. I just came
from where Cruella is hiding the pets."
"Pets?," asked Jiminy.
"Yeah," said Winky, looking about as if he didn't want to be discovered. "I saw those two grab Bungee and Amby. They almost got me but I ran away. I've been hiding here ever since."
Jiminy didn't quite understand when he asked, "And who are those two..."
He then shuddered when it dawned on him. "Don't tell me Cruella brought Jasper and Horace with her? And don't tell me she's snatched the town's pets because...Oh my! I really need to get moving! If our reinforcements don't get here fast, those furry friends will end up in Cruella's wardrobe!"
TO BE CONTINUED...GO TO CHAPTER 3!
Copyright©2004 by PRP.