However, Aladar and Simba were puzzled. Since they had successfully freed the town's pets, they wanted to take down Cruella themselves. Come on, Simba had a personal reason for getting Ms. DeVille since it was her henchmen who nearly killed him.
Nevertheless, despite his and Aladar's plan to spook Cruella, Ben's revelation of the mystery hero and how Gaston and LeFou were about to confront Frollo...
"Hmm," said Aladar, "Seems the best plan yet. Let those guys turn on each other. It always goes like that when one lords it over the others. With Frollo calling the shots, maybe Gaston and Cruella will get fed up with His Honor's high-handed ways."
"Yeah," said Quasi, "let their plot to take over the town simply implode on them. But what about Esmeralda and Belle's plan to trap Frollo? Won't that – the mystery hero putting a bug in Gaston's ear about Frollo selling him out – put a damper in giving my ex-master what for?"
Simba shook his head, saying, "From what Tina told me, everything's a go. Belle and Maurice are setting up the trap as we speak. Once Tina has Frollo down in his new 'torture chamber', Esme and Ariel will search his office, try to find something that will incriminate him. Hmm...If what You-Know-Who is right, then Frollo has been playing fast and loose with his partners in crime."
Judge Claude Frollo sat back in his chair, smiling smugly to himself. At last, everything is going along as meticulously planned. Ah, what a pleasant Monday morning. Nothing like a fresh start of the work week to get things done.
The workmen had labored long all weekend setting up the special torture chamber downstairs in the jail. Frollo would have to thank Tina personally for overseeing this little project. He never ventured downstairs to inspect the work, leaving that task to Tina and Ruth. Besides, it was too beneath him to go down into the jail, chatting with lowly laborers. All he wanted was for the devices to work as Tina promised. From her last report, the chamber was very modern, very state-of-the-art. Nothing creaky or secondhand; everything was spanking new and the latest in all instruments of torture and pain.
Frollo literally salivated at having first crack at the electronic rack. He couldn't wait to nab the first hapless offender, put that unfortunate person at the mercy of his merchants of pain. Finally there shall be some real justice in this town. None of your modern-day leniency and "no cruel or unusual punishment" nonsense. No wonder this modern world is going to Hell – the old ways of making offenders suffer always yielded results. People around here will just have to get used to it. No more whining about their so-called 'rights'.
He walked to the window to see Tina briskly making her way across the town square. Ah, just in time, for she has been more a help than she realizes, thought Frollo. If he played it just right, he could have her where he wanted – as Madame Frollo if she had any sense. Poor thing, to discard her previous views of fair play and equality. Well, no matter, for she will bend to my wishes...
He smiled to himself again then frowned when Ruth entered the office. She said, "Sir, sorry to disturb you, but Gaston and LeFou are here. They demand to see you."
Frollo frowned again, this time allowing his eyes to darken and mouth to downturn into that awful scowl few people could stand. Thank goodness Ruth had gotten used to her new boss' moodiness.
Undaunted, she said, "Sir, they said they came by yesterday but you weren't here."
"Well, it was Sunday. Can't they get it through their thick heads the office is closed on Sundays." Clenching his teeth and scowling, he said, "Oh well, show them in. And make sure we are not disturbed."
Then, "Oh yes. When Tina arrives tell her I am in conference and will meet her downstairs in the jail."
Ruth merely nodded then showed Gaston and LeFou in. Once she closed the door, she returned to her desk then picked up the phone. "Tina," she said, "it's me. He said he'll meet you down in the jail. OK, I'll let them in as soon as His Honor is gone. He's hiding something fishy around here and it ain't last week's blue plate special at Carl's."
After Ruth finished her phone conversation, she got up, tiptoed to the closed door, and pressed her ear against it. She couldn't make out everything the men were saying, but she could tell Frollo was not pleased with his two-bit flunkies.
"All right, Frollo! Where is it? And why didn't you tell us Jasper and Horace got sent back?"
"I have no idea what you are talking about, Gaston. Now, whatever petty problem you and your pathetic friend have, I don't want to hear it. Begone, you idiots!"
Claude Frollo was livid Gaston and LeFou had the nerve to storm into the office, accusing him of deception and dishonesty. Why he allowed those two passage through the void was quite baffling. Never before had he allowed such slipshod incompetents to work for him. He'd already experienced that with his ex-Captain Phoebus. At least soldiers were trained to follow orders and not exercise their so-called conscience. These two uncouth, most vulgar men are hardly the type to oversee the simplest of tasks. All right, Frollo pondered, let them rant and rave. Enough! For I shall soon dispatch them as I did those bumbling idiots Cruella hired.
Feigning sincere concern, Frollo sat silently, listening intently as Gaston and LeFou recounted what happened yesterday: A suspicious noise outside; LeFou investigating for prowlers; a "monster" attacking LeFou then trashing the house, demanding the whereabouts of a magic remote.
"He said it's for sending us back to the villains' void," claimed Gaston, his voice couched in anger and face all screwed into an ugly scowl.
Then the most damning of all: The monster telling LeFou and Gaston that both Jasper and Horace were sent back via that special remote. Both men assumed either Frollo or Cruella have that device, thus spurring them to suspect their companions in crime were selling them out.
"Come on, Frollo!," demanded Gaston in his most swaggering, menacing manner, "those guys didn't go back to the void by themselves. We wondered what happened to them. So come clean: Do you have it?"
A startled Claude Frollo successfully fought back his surprise. How did this 'monster' know the remote existed? And just who is this 'monster'? He had to know although he had his suspicions.
"Tell me, Gaston. Just what did this...er...monster look like?"
"Not human by any means, sir. Looked more like an animal, but unlike any beast I've ever seen."
"Yeah," rejoined LeFou, "so if you're thinking it was that bell ringer guy, you're wrong. This monster was big, blue, and butt-ugly. Oh yeah, he had a real temper, too. Really wrecked the house, so we'll need a place to stay."
Frollo smiled as he heard Tina's voice outside the door. He had to get rid of these two fools posthaste, before resuming his duties as Walroy's mayor. Perhaps Gaston and LeFou could be the first to try out the new torture chamber, but Frollo had other ideas.
"Gentlemen," he said, reaching into the desk drawer, "I understand your plight. And no, there is not a 'magic remote', so your monster lied to you. However, you are presently in need of shelter, so may I be of service. Here, take this key. It is to a special dwelling for the pair of you."
In an instant, without further explanation, Frollo aimed something at Gaston and LeFou. He pressed the button, sending forth a blanket of bright red light. That light engulfed the pair, whirling and sparking. Gaston exclaimed, "What is this!"
Claude Frollo laughed wickedly, saying, "Oh, just a nice little device Sid whipped up. I've had this on me the entire time. Do you think I'd share power with the likes of you? Just as I sent Jasper and Horace packing, so I shall with you two. Now, back to the void with you. Begone!"
Within seconds, the red beam totally engulfed the hapless duo then disappeared with a flash of crimson and gold. No Gaston, no LeFou. Only Frollo standing there with a self-satisfied smirk on his face. So be it, he muttered to himself, and I shall do the same for Cruella...
"Claude, I'm sorry to be so late, but Kris couldn't find her homework, and Ben needed a permission slip signed..."
Tina stood at the top of the stairs leading to the underground jail. As much as she hated being alone with Claude Frollo, this time it would be worth it. All was a go. Esmeralda, Belle and Ariel were on standby waiting for their cue. All they needed was the all-clear from Ruth. Tina had Frollo right where wanted him.
One thing did bother her, and it wasn't just being in Frollo's presence. Where were Gaston and LeFou? Ruth said they were in conference with Frollo yet the pair never emerged from the office. After Frollo left to meet Tina downstairs, Ruth sneaked into the office, hoping to find Gaston and his pal still there. Wrong! The men weren't there, and there was no other way out of the office. How could that happen? No one just vanishes in thin air...Hold on!
What if Frollo has that magic box that sends all the Disney villains back to the void? Tina wracked her brain, trying to come up with a plausible reason why Gaston and LeFou just disappeared as if by magic – Well, it was magic, and Tina knew Claude Frollo had either the box or some other kind of device to send those guys back where they belong.
Her questions were answered when her cell phone rang. Frollo had yet to come downstairs, and Tina thanked God that he didn't. The call was from Quasimodo who explained the seventh Disney hero finally made himself known. Apparently, this hero knew about a magical remote designed by Sid, that sadistic brat from Toy Story. That device was made expressly for Frollo, and he used it twice.
Hmm...Frollo has that device in the office, obviously locked away in a drawer or in Mayor Lee's wall safe. We have to get that device to send both him and Cruella back to the void.
Once she finished her conversation with Quasi, Tina heard Frollo's deep booming voice at the top of the stairs. Losing no time, she hastily dialed home. Ariel picked up, and Tina informed her to wait for Ruth's all-clear signal then come, with Esmeralda, to City Hall. With Frollo occupied – "He'll be occupied all right" – the women will use the time to search the office, find that device, then use it to send the judge and Ms. DeVille back where they belong.
Three days...We don't have much time...Oh please, let this work...One more thing! What to do with Cruella? How to get her so worked up that she'll turn on Frollo. Leave that up to Simba, Aladar, and the "Mystery Hero".
She closed the phone as soon as Frollo's unmistakably resounding footsteps drew closer.
OK, Tina, play it cool. Let him think you're nuts over him, then let him have it!
The excuse was believable enough, and Frollo seemed unnerved by the usual rants of a frazzled working single mother. Instead of chastising her, he was extremely gentle, courteous.
Claude Frollo smiled again, allowing his arm to drape around Tina's shoulder. She wanted to fight him off, but she felt why not lead him on long enough to lull him into a false sense of security. Once the 'demonstration' got underway, His Honor wouldn't know what hit him.
She, instruction manual in hand, continued, very businesslike, "The firm that built all this left precise operating instructions. The devices are quite unlike what you're used to, however we must move with the times. You know, take advantage of electronics, computer programs, mechanics..."
Frollo caught her in his arms then kissed her soundly on the mouth. Releasing her, he said, "Tina, my love, you have made my day. Why this is all so wonderfully constructed. I don't believe I've seen such fantastic instruments of pain."
Catching her breath, she replied, "Well, let me show you around, let you try out some of the stuff." She took him by the hand, leading him through the bowels of the building, which served as the city jail.
It was like any other jail. Plain stone walls, concrete floors painted a dull shade of gray, the usual cells equipped with the bare essentials.
Due to Walroy's extremely low crime rate, the jail was seldom used although it was quite clean. No dust bunnies, rusting bars, or peeling paint. Mayor Lee saw to that. However, once Frollo took over, he wanted the weekly cleaning to cease. Why? To His Grace's thinking, the last thing criminals needed were clean and neat surroundings. They did wrong, so why incarcerate them in comfort. The offenders should suffer with the grime and vermin, as well as with the pain inflicted upon them.
"We will have to make sure this place is not too comfortable. I do not believe in coddling criminals. How can they learn penitence if their cells are too tidy?"
Tina wanted to slap him but resisted. Instead she drew his attention to the various devices, so unlike those Frollo was used to in his 15th Century world.
"Our space is quite limited down here," she explained as she lead the way through the single cell reserved for torture. "So we think we can get by with the one cell. If you need more room, we can convert another cell, or expand the jail. To do the latter, we'll have to knock out a few walls, move the archives elsewhere..."
On and on she went, showing Frollo some highly curious devices. Along the wall were chains and clamps, obviously used to suspend offenders by their hands and feet. A harness of sorts suspended from a cable which was attached to what looked like a garage door opener.
"This is so interesting," she nonchalantly said, "I had this made especially for you. Here, let me demonstrate."
"Am I glad you gals got here in time. Here, take these keys. They unlock the desk drawers, the closet, the wall safe."
Ruth, her wrinkled hands shaking, handed the keys to Esmeralda and Ariel, adding, "She's got him downstairs in the jail. I hope your scheme works. Belle and Maurice were down there all weekend getting that – Ugh! – torture chamber together."
Esmeralda patted Ruth's hand, saying kindly, "Don't worry about us, Ruth. You did good. Now, let us find that magic remote. If Frollo used that thing to send Gaston and LeFou back to the void, then he obviously locked it away somewhere in the office."
The three women hadn't stepped two feet inside the office when a resounding roar emanated from the jail downstairs. They could hear someone screaming, cursing, threatening.
Ariel, recognizing the voice, turned to Esmeralda and said, "That's Frollo. Tina's trap worked!"
The lovely dancer grinned wickedly, replying, "And if I know Frollo, he's damning Tina, threatening to put the screws to her – no pun intended." At first she wanted to head downstairs to see Claude Frollo in such dire straits. However, finding that remote was Priority One.
"Two down, one to go," said Ariel. "Wonder what's in store for Cruella?"
Esmeralda, rummaging through Frollo's desk drawers, found the magical device, then announced, "I got it! Now, let's head downstairs. We'll toy with Frollo while he's 'tied up' before sending him back. And don't worry. Quasimodo told me Aladar and Simba have a special surprise for Ms. DeVille."
TO BE CONTINUED...Go to Chapter 10
Copyright©2004 by PRP "crazedwriter". All Rights Reserved.
Copyright©2004 by PRP "crazedwriter". All Rights Reserved.