So, while the ladies finalized their plot against Frollo, Quasimodo
got an idea to help trap Gaston and LeFou. He had watched the kids play
around with a holographic device Mayor Lee gave them last Christmas. Gee,
thought the bell ringer when he saw this device, the images sure look real,
almost lifelike. He mentioned this to Belle who said that Gaston and LeFou
are ignorant superstitious types who fall for anything unusual or whatever
they don't understand. Hey, look how Gaston reacted when Belle proved that
the Beast truly existed. What did Gaston do? He got the townspeople all
riled up with his wild assumptions: "The beast will make off with your
children, he'll come after them in the night..."
So what Quasi suggested gave Belle such a charge that she wholeheartedly agreed to help the bell ringer and the kids 'get Gaston' with a little 'Gaslight' treatment.
Now, what were Simba and Aladar's roles? They took it upon themselves to rescue the town's pets. Winky, the little hamster, along with Jiminy Cricket, told them how to get to the warehouse which was on the southern edge of town. Taking care not to be spotted in broad daylight, the lion and iguanodon set out just before dawn. It didn't take them long to find the warehouse, an abandoned structure which once served as Walroy's postal distribution center.
Concealed by thick brush, Simba and Aladar were about to make their
move when Winky spotted a familiar car. "It's her!," he cried, "it's her!"
Indeed, that monstrous vehicle with its front license plate proudly displaying "DeVille" roared up the road and parked at the front gate. They saw her get out, all enrobed in ermine and mink. Her pale death's mask/fashion plate face and half-black, half-white hair were plainly visible, as was the ubiquitous cigarette in its long slender holder. She strode up to the gate and rang the bell. Like magic, the gate creaked open, allowing her entry then closed again.
"How are we gonna get past that?," wondered Simba.
"I don't know," said Aladar, "but I have a plan. Come on!"
They sneaked around to the back, relieved that there were no fences
or gates this time. Ever so cautiously, not wanting to make noise that
would give themselves away, they made their way to the rear window. Winky
and Jiminy climbed up onto Aladar's long neck and peeped in.
"See anything, Jiminy?," Simba asked.
"Plenty," responded the cricket. "I see all the cats, dogs, monkeys, and...Jasper and Horace are in there...and Cruella is saying something to them." Aladar strained to hear whatever snatches of conversation. He could make out some words, but not all of them. "She's talking to them, giving orders..."
Simba couldn't make out the conversation either, whispering, "But what is she saying to them?"
"Here," said Winky, espying a tiny opening in the window, "I can get into that hole up there." And with that, the little hamster squeezed his body through the broken glass then quietly stole into the building. There he saw them all: Amby and Bungee; Sammy, the mayor's pet monkey; Lucky, Carl's Golden Retriever. There were so many furry friends lying about awaiting whatever horrible fate Cruella had in store for them. Winky climbed upon a rafter, hanging on for dear life. From his perch, he could hear everything.
"Ah," Cruella said while stroking a squirming Bungee, "what lovely white fur you have. I think you'll make an excellent muff. My hands do get so cold in the winter." She cackled evilly as poor Bungee finally wriggled free of the woman's grasp. The cat immediately ran to an old mail bin, jumped in, and hid herself from Cruella. How she hated that woman! And those men... Bungee remembered those two, Jasper and Horace, when they grabbed her as she took her morning stroll outside. They thrust her into a bag then threw her in the back of a trunk. Amby was already there, doped from a tranquilizer dart. Bungee noticed all the town's pets were in the same predicament – destined to wind up as fur garments for Cruella. If help doesn't come any time soon, they're all doomed.
Winky listened carefully, shuddering at each and every word passed between
Cruella and her hired goons.
"Now listen, men," she said through gritted teeth, waving her cigarette as if it was a magic wand, "I want these animals killed tonight! I don't care how you do it – gas them, bop on the heads – just do it!"
"But, ma'am," said Jasper, "we just got 'ere. Can't we wait a couple more days?"
Cruella's face paled even more, her eyes darkened as she roared, "I DON'T CARE! I WANT THOSE PELTS TONIGHT! AND DON'T BOTCH THIS JOB LIKE YOU DID THE LAST TIME!"
And with that, Cruella swept from the room, leaving Jasper and Horace
to do her dirty work. In a matter of minutes the car could be heard roaring
down the road. Poor furry pals!, thought Winky. They'll end up in Cruella's
wardrobe for sure! The little hamster scampered across the rafters, backtracking
to the broken window. He was out of breath when he made it outside. Winky,
panting and shaking, reported everything he heard to Aladar and Simba.
"And she wants the pelts tonight! That's what she told those guys. Poor Bungee! Cruella wants to make a muff out of her!"
"This is gonna be tougher than I thought," said Aladar who had a mind to crash through the door, scare the crap out of Jasper and Horace, and rescue the pets. Simba nixed this plan but thought of something else.
"Hmm...I have another idea. Aladar, why don't you stay here, then I'll go inside, just to ward off those two. When I give the signal, then do your thing." The iguanodon didn't like it; he voiced his concerns to Simba. "Hey, don't you think it's kind of risky, going in there alone? At least let me burst through that door and those guys will be on the run."
Jiminy Cricket, listening to this exchange, pondered the outcome if
Jasper and Horace were spooked enough to do something really stupid, like
kill ALL the animals. No, if Simba is thinking what I know he's thinking...
"Fellas, we gotta act fast. Look, it's still daylight, and we can't take the chance of being spotted. If word gets back to Frollo that one hero is in town, then our plan is dead meat." To Simba he said, "I say we wait until dusk. If I know Jasper and Horace, they'll be so bored they'll botch this job just like they did the last time."
Simba thought it over, wondering if what Jiminy said made any sense. But we were recruited to help rescue the pets, so why should we stall any longer. Noticing a loose lock on the backdoor, Simba said, "I still say let me go inside, just to free a few now. Then we might buy some time."
To this Aladar agreed, anxious to play his trump card when the time came. "OK, Simba, do what you have to do. But be careful. If anything goes wrong then I'll be right behind you."
Tina paced the mayor's office. Well, for the time being it was Judge
Frollo's office. Ooh, and I have to play up to him like some starstruck
teenager. I only hope this plan works. Esmeralda said she and Ariel have
everything in place. The door flew open and Ruth, the secretary, said,
"His Honor will be here shortly."
She looked at Tina sympathetically, adding, "I don't know what I'd do without you here. Honestly, Tina, the way that man carries on so, making me do all this...Why, Mayor Lee never worked me half this hard. You should see the stacks and stacks of memos and letters HE wants typed and copied by the end of the day. I don't even have time for a proper lunch break. Oooh, if I ever live to see the day when HE is dispatched back where he belongs..."
"Now, Ruth," said Tina with equal empathy, "I know you're suffering under his iron fist, but so is the rest of the town. If it is any comfort, I've managed to get some help–"
"Help?," interrupted Ruth with raised eyebrow, "What kind of help? We're stuck with these ne'er-do-wells, and it'll take a miracle to make things right again. Why, just this morning, Judge Frollo wanted to know where to acquire TORTURE devices. Can you beat that? It's unthinkable, and it's unconstitutional."
Tina gulped. "Torture? He wants a torture chamber?"
"Down in the jail, which by the way, according to His Honor, is far too empty. So, he's thinking up new laws that the townspeople can easily break. Curfews, set opening and closing hours for business, littering, etc. You name the least little offense and he has a law, and punishment, all ready."
Now Tina wanted to be sick, but she felt this might be the trump card
to play. So, Frollo wants a torture chamber, eh? "Uh, Ruth? When will Frollo
return? I'm getting a bit restless and I promised Kristen I'd pick her
up from school."
"He should be here any time."
"Good! Keep a bright lookout for him. I have to make a phone call."
When Ruth left, Tina got out her cell phone, dialed home, then discussed the latest with Esmeralda. "Hi, Esme, it's Tina. Hey, Ruth just told me that Frollo wants a torture chamber...Yeah, he's that kind of guy all right...Oh, let him have it? But...Esmeralda, this is so...OK, I'll play along, but...You'll WHAT?!"
It was getting late and Aladar grew restless. He, all two tons and forty feet of him, stood concealed in the brush as Simba managed to gain access inside the building. No sounds, not even a single roar emanated. Aladar became quite concerned but bided his time. Inside, Simba stealthy crept to where Winky said Bungee was hiding. Sure enough, he found the cat cringing in the mail bin, quivering with fright.
"Psst! Bungee! It's me, Simba." Bungee peeped up and breathed a sigh
"Simba!," she said.
"Shh!," Simba shushed, "Don't want to wake up those two." Yep, just as the Lion King predicted, Jasper and Horace, thoroughly bored with their endless vigil, were fast asleep. The pets were scattered here and there, so it would take some time to free them all.
"I found a way out the back," said Simba. "The lock was broken so I
just pushed the door open. Now, I want you to do this..."
He explained to Bungee his plan, but the cat hesitated, saying, "But what if they wake up? There're so many of us here. We won't be able to get out in time. Besides, Cruella is due back here tonight, and it's almost dark now."
Simba said, "Then that's the chance we'll have to take. Come on and help me get everyone out."
In no time, Bungee got Amby, the dog, and several others up and out. One by one, the pets crept towards the backdoor. So many, thought Simba, how are we ever going to get them all out? He kept an eye on the still snoring Jasper and Horace, hoping that they'll sleep all during the great escape. Ah, most are out, but there are a few more to go. One fat Basset hound, Belvedere, Ruth's dog, ambled his way to the back of the warehouse, and almost balked at going outside.
"My lady never lets me go outside, Simba," he protested, "unless it's
on a leash." The Lion King chuckled, "Well, let this be a first, Belvedere."
With a mighty push, Simba managed to wedge the hound's chubby form through
the door. He smiled with satisfaction knowing that all the pets were now
free. Winky was standing outside the door, saying, "That's all of 'em.
Come on, Simba, let's get out of here."
As Simba prepared to go out, he felt a sharp prick to his hindquarters. He tried to walk to the door but couldn't. Suddenly he felt numb, his mind in a fog. Simba collapsed in a heap, totally unable to lift himself up. He heard cackling laughter as he felt hands dragging his body.
"Heh, heh! Looks like we got a big one! Great shot!" Then Simba heard another say, "And to think Cruella wanted DOG and CAT fur? Why, she can 'ave 'er very own lion skin rug!" Simba knew those voices – Jasper and Horace! Apparently, in his dazed state, Simba figured out it had to be Jasper who shot him with some sort of tranquilizer gun. Now he's in trouble for sure. He recalled Nala's warning: "Don't end up a lionskin coat!"
And now it is about to become true. Simba, his mind and body overpowered by strong sedative, prayed that Aladar will spring into action, and fast!
"They got him! They got him!" Winky ran to Aladar, screaming his tiny
lungs out. "They shot Simba! He's out cold!"
Oh no, thought Aladar, who immediately went to the window and saw his leonine friend sprawled on the floor. Yep, Jasper shot him, all right. Simba's still breathing...he's still alive.
He turned to Bungee and said, "I hope you know your part." To this the cat replied, "Hey, if it's to rescue Simba, I'd swim in the ocean."
Jiminy, growing very worried for Simba, called down, "They're getting ready to do something to Simba. Aladar and Bungee, let 'er rip!"
"OK, Jasper, so what we ain't got the others. I say we gas this 'ere
lion, skin 'im up, then let Cruella 'ave a nice rug for 'er drawin' room."
"Right, mate. Let's get 'im over 'ere."
Horace helped Jasper drag Simba's limp body to the gas chamber. It took
some time to pull all that heavy weight but they did it. They shoved Simba
into the chamber then shut and locked the door. "Hey, Horace," said Jasper,
"'ow much gas ya think'll kill that lion?"
"Oh I don' know," replied Horace. "Just give it to 'im till 'e's good an' dead."
Grinning wickedly, Jasper set the dials for "High", then began to pull the switch. Problem! The switch was stuck. "Now what?," said an aggravated Jasper. He motioned to Horace with, "Come give me a 'and."
As Horace and Jasper figured how to get the switch unstuck, a frightful
scream pierced through the air. "What was that?," said a now nervous Horace.
"I don' know," said Jasper, "can't be the lion 'cause he ain't woke up
The scream came again, this time accompanied by an earth-shattering rumble. It was the cat, Bungee, who sprang forth, meowing frantically.
"What's wrong with that cat?," said Jasper. "What's makin' this building shake?," said a more frightened Horace.
In an instant, the pair came face to face with an animal – a monster to their eyes. The creature burst through the door, shattering everything in sight. Bungee tried to scamper up the rafters but it was too late. The monster had her cornered. Bungee, in a frantic attempt to save herself, desperately leapt from the rafters, away from the monster's dangerous jaws.
Oh no! The monster reached out and swallowed the cat whole! Only the tail dangled from his mouth which he sucked up like a stray strand of spaghetti. Jasper and Horace quaked in their shoes, their faces the very picture of fright. They stood there as the monster eyed them with a peculiar hunger. "He's gonna eat us, Horace! Let's get out o' here!" Those guys ran out of the building, got into their truck, and tore up the road with all deliberate speed.
"OK, let me out!," said Bungee from inside Aladar's mouth. The iguanodon heaved and hocked back, expelling a saliva-coated Bungee. She was not too pleased with having her spotless white fur covered in dino spit.
"Ah, gee," she said, trying to lick off the spit, "now Kris will have
to give me a bath. I hate baths." Aladar wheezed and coughed, saying, "Speak
for yourself. Now I'll be spitting up hairballs for a week."
Then the dinosaur saw the gas chamber and said, "Simba!" With all his brute strength, Aladar smashed open the chamber and assisted a barely conscious Simba.
"Ow, my head," said Simba. "You guys got here in the nick of time."
"Can you walk OK?," asked Aladar. Simba, still wobbly, replied, "I can barely stand, let alone walk, Wow, what did they shoot me with?"
"Here," Aladar said, bending down, "climb onto my back. I'm strong enough to carry you back to town." Simba, heaving his body onto the dinosaur's back, worried about the town's pets.
"They're safe and sound," said Jiminy who just came in to witness Aladar's
amazing moment of triumph. Jiminy said to the dinosaur, "Say, that's a
neat trick, old friend."
"It's no trick. I play that 'monster' game with Suri all the time."
Jiminy, noting his watch, said, "Well, this part is finished, but Cruella
is due here any time. We gotta get out of sight and fast. May I suggest...Yes!
We keep the town's pets in Tina's barn until the coast is clear."
"You mean," said a still groggy Simba, "until the villains are back in the void. Gaston and LeFou are pushovers. I know what Quasi and Belle have cooked up for them, but how to get Frollo, then Cruella?"
Aladar, with a sly grin, said, "Esmeralda told me all about it. Frollo won't know what hit him. As for Cruella...Well, leave that to me."
TO BE CONTINUED...go to chapter 7
Copyright©2004 by PRP.