"Jiminy," she said, "I thought you were rounding up SEVEN heroes. I only counted six."
Jiminy Cricket allayed his hostess' fears, explaining why Jasmine could
not be present, and that another hero had been dispatched to Walroy. "But
with this one, I feel it's best for him or her to come here incognito,
sort of a surprise for our ne'er-do-wells."
"OK," she said, as she had the kids serve their guests refreshment, "I sure hope you know what you're doing."
Esmeralda, the beautiful gypsy dancer, was the first to speak. "I know
it's not been easy on you, Tina, having to deal with Frollo, but we need
a surefire plan to route those guys out of here." Ariel and Belle agreed,
so did the others. But it was Quasimodo who thought of something.
"But how are we going to pull it off without Frollo, Gaston, and Cruella getting wise to us? We can't show our faces in town; it might tip Frollo's hand, and we all know how HE operates."
That's when Aladar, one who always believed—but not now—in doing things
together as a team, suggested that the heroes split up, each coming up
with plans to rid the town of each villain, but in their own way. He turned
to Kris and Ben, and asked, "Any word on your pets? Jiminy said Cruella
kidnapped your animals and...Ugh! She plans to turn them into fur garments."
He grimaced at the thought, then focused on his adopted lemur family back at the Nesting Grounds. He shuddered to think that if Plio or Yar or even little Suri had come along on this adventure, then they could've ended up in Cruella's wardrobe.
Ben replied with a broken heart, "I don't know where Amby and Bungee
are." He asked Jiminy, "Didn't you say that Winky told you?" The
cricket replied, "Well...I really don't want to alarm you folks, but it's
the truth. Cruella has all the town's furry friends locked up in a warehouse
not far from here. And she's got Jasper and Horace watching them."
"Then," said Simba, "why not let me and Aladar take on this one. You know, as animals we can communicate with your furry friends. Maybe..."
He looked at the two-ton iguanodon and thought of something, to which Aladar picked up on right away. "Oh, you mean...we pull...er...THAT on those guys," he said with a sly grin. "That's exactly what I was thinking," said a smiling Simba. The Lion King added, "OK, we get Winky to show us where this warehouse is, then we have to figure a way to free those poor animals."
Tina, sipping on hot coffee Ariel had so graciously poured for her,
smiled slightly that at least the pets will be freed from Cruella's clutches.
But there were other, more pressing matters on her mind, like getting Frollo
off her back. Esmeralda thought long and hard for a few moments, then it
came to her. "Hmm, you say he has...ahem...the 'hots' for you? Why not
play along with him, you know, let him think you are a willing partner.
Then, when the time is right...BAM! You let him have it!"
Now Tina didn't quite understand this. Is this crazy suggestion really coming from Esmeralda, the very woman who aroused Frollo's lust, driving the man to burn down half of Paris?
"Esmeralda, I can't 'play up to him', it's totally out of the question!,"
"But don't you see?," said Belle, "it is the perfect ruse. In fact, Esme, Ariel, and I talked about it before you got home. We were...er...watching a movie on your TV then got this great idea..."
Belle relayed the ladies' plan, and how it could work on a certain
magistrate. Even Quasimodo laughed with delight, wondering why Esmeralda
didn't think of it when Frollo cornered her in Notre Dame. But that would
GREATLY alter the movie. Tina's mouth twitched into to wicked smile; she
said, "Well, I think it might work. I can't imagine a more apropos comeuppance
for that man. But what about Gaston?"
To this Quasimodo said, "Gaston, from what Belle says, is a pushover, a real superstitious type who falls for anything. I suggest we do this..."
The kids laughed long and hard as Quasimodo explained his plan to get rid of Gaston and LeFou. "It's a surefire plan. Guaranteed to send those guys packing," said the bell ringer.
But there was one more thing: how to break open that breach again. It
was Ben who finally admitted to doing that in the first place.
"I'm sorry, Mom," he said with tears running down his cheeks, "but I only wanted to see how it worked. I didn't know it would do that, you know, send that red light and knock a hole in the void." "YOU breached that void, Ben?," Tina said incredulously. "THAT'S why your teacher couldn't find you that day of the field trip. YOU did it to show off, didn't you? Who else was with you?"
Now Ben began to sob; Quasimodo put his comforting hand on the boy's shoulder. "I know I did wrong, Mom. Even Kris and Andrea told me not to do it, but I did it anyway!"
And look what it got us, thought Tina. Three of Disney's most bad have
taken over the town. The kids are working overtime for Cruella, Gaston
is lording it all over with his 'protection' racket, and Frollo oversees
everything with an iron fist. At first she wanted to smack Ben for being
so careless, but she knew that the boy could be the very instrument in
sending those villains back where they belonged.
"Ben," she said, "do you remember what buttons you pushed on that thing? We have to know. Once we have the villains where we want them, we'll have to send them back to the void."
Ben thought it over, but Kristen piped and said, "I remember how he did it, and so does Andrea, I think."
"Good girl!", said Ariel who looked at Kris with loving eyes. In a way the little charmer reminded her of Melody. She turned to Tina, saying, "OK, it's a go. We'll be on standby when you have Frollo right where we want him." And to Aladar and Simba she warned, "And be careful if you ever cross paths with Cruella. You, Simba, could end up–"
"Yeah, yeah," replied Simba, "Nala gave me the same warning, but you forget I have my two-ton pal here."
To this Aladar laughed, saying, "I don't think Cruella and her boys would want to tangle with me."
Everyone nodded in agreement. Now was the time to put each of their plans in motion. Tina would call on Frollo again, playing up to the man, pretending to give into his dark designs on her. Simba and Aladar would stake out the warehouse, devising ways to free the town's pets. And what was in store for Gaston and LeFou? Leave that to Quasimodo and the kids.
Carl busily totaled the day's receipts. It was a good day business-wise, but not so good with the likes of Gaston and LeFou coming in anytime they wanted. Honestly, thought the old man, the idea of those two extracting money from hardworking stiffs just to keep Judge Frollo appeased. Ah well, I surely hope Jiminy's plan, and those heroes he gathered will think of something to rid Walroy of those baddies, then everyone can breath easier and things will get back to normal.
Not too many people in the soda shop this time of night. Then again,
it's this stupid curfew Frollo enacted. No one is to be on the streets
after ten o'clock. Carl's place used to stay open extra late on the weekends
to accommodate the teen crowd, mostly after school dances and games. But
not this time.
It seemed, and Carl wished Tina would – could – talk sense into Frollo. The judge had laid down the law that the usual Founders Day celebration and its time-honored activities be canceled in favor of more 'staid, decorous' events. A formal luncheon instead of a picnic, and no bonfire or pep rally. And no charity basketball game! Carl and the other business folk in Walroy already had a pool going on which team would come out on top, with the Disney Toons a four-to-one favorite. Of course, the bulk of the prize money was going to charity, but even a man like Frollo could not be swayed. Must've gotten spooked when His Honor heard who's on the team, thought Carl.
Glancing at the clock, Carl knew it was close to closing. Just a couple
of patrons remained finishing up their late night supper. Ah, once they
leave, Carl could lock up and go home. The bell on the door tinkled, announcing
the arrival of another customer. Carl didn't look up at the stranger standing
at the counter.
"Sorry," he said, "I'm closing in a few." To this the stranger produced a note from his pocket. Carl read it, which said, "I've been in a nasty accident. That's why I'm all wrapped up. I can't talk but I can point to what I want."
When Carl finished reading the note, he looked at the stranger. Sitting at the counter was a little figure that barely reached four feet. The stranger's body was wrapped in an oversized trench coat, the head and face totally obscured by a heavy black hood. Even the hands were covered with black leather gloves. On the feet were heavy black boots. Carl eyed this stranger with utmost curiosity, but relented and asked him what he wanted.
The stranger scribbled another note: "Give me a chocolate shake and
a double cheeseburger."
"OK," said Carl, "just sit tight and I'll fix you up quick."
The stranger then got down off the stool and moved to a booth in the
back of the shop. He did nothing while Carl quickly prepared the food.
While back in the kitchen, Carl glanced every now and then for signs of
Gaston or LeFou, hoping they would stay away this time. Come on! This poor
guy is obviously in bad shape, and he's hungry.
In minutes, Carl set the food before the stranger who merely nodded thanks and began to eat. Carl went back to the kitchen to clean up but still kept a sharp lookout for Gaston. The stranger finished his meal, left money on the counter plus a healthy tip for Carl, then left. When Carl went to clean up the table, he noticed another note. It read, "I'm here to help get rid of Frollo. Don't come looking for me or ask who I am. I'll be around."
TO BE CONTINUED...go to chapter 6!
Copyright©2004 by PRP.