"Monsieurs and Mesdames! Distinguished guests!" Pierre Mannette's voice rang out over the square as he began his introducion.
"It gives me great pleasure to introduce these three lovely ladies. Singing a selection of songs known in their country as 'Motown', here are Jaqcueline, Michelle, and Danisha ---- Better know as 'Jacki and Company'!"
The crowd erupted in thunderous applause as the three of us took center
stage. The compliments came even before we started singing.
"Oh, they are so pretty!"
"Your gowns -- trés magnifiqué!"
We launched into a medley of classic Motown, beginning with a string of Supremes songs. We sang snatches of nearly all the major hits, although I talked Jacki and Shelli out of singing "Love Child". It was pretty controversial when it first came out...these 15th Century ears may not appreciate it...Besides, singing about 'love-babies' may bring back not-too happy memories for Renee, for Claude, for me...Let's sing happy songs and have a good time...
I got to sing lead on a special dedication to Claude, who by now was thouroughly enjoying himself. His eyes never wavered from me during the entire performance; I could tell he was well-pleased at my 'surprise'. I looked straight at him as I began to sing How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You):
I wanna stop,
And thank you baby...
I swear I saw Claude's eyes grow bright, his very expression conveyed sheer gratitude. He shot me smoldering looks, and mouthed "I love you" over and over.
Oh honey...I didn't know this would affect you so...You really must love me that much...Well...this song truly expresses how I feel about you...
The crowd erupted in wild applause; I even saw the King and the Royal
Court give us a standing ovation. The crowd heaped their praises, "This
was wonderful! Marvelous! Sing more! This is so much more entertaining
than that gypsy dancer a few years back!" Gypsy dancer? What gypsy
We took our final bows as Pierre took the stage again. It was time to
crown the King of Fools! Oh no...If Quasi is crowned King, we're prepared...I
just know some jerk will try to torment my little buddy...Here goes the
"All right, people!", called Pierre, "now is the time to crown the King of Fools! Make the ugliest, most horrible face you can and be King for a day!"
Soon the stage was packed with assorted people, all making the strangest, and goofiest, of faces. These folks are no different from the 'rednecks' Jeff Foxworthy talks about...Jeff would have a field day with this crowd...Hmm...that guy looks familiar...He's so..so...country...like a real hayseed...
The crowd gave the 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' for each contestant. But I didn't see Quasimodo. I walked over to Claude's tent, who smiled at me and said, "I truly enjoyed your little performance. But tell me, where did you manage to hide the band?"
"Thank Jacki and Tony for that; they rigged up that...Remember that 'music machine' Fern and I had?"
"Well...that's what you heard, for the instrumentals. We just supplied the vocals."
Claude Frollo smiled again. "Well, if your talents never cease." He then laughed, nodded over to the Royal Court's tent, and said, "I see His Majesty's pleased with your contribution to the Festival. And I can say, my dear 'Nisha, in all honesty that, for the first time in my life, I am actually enjoying myself."
I sighed with relief. "Oh Claude, I'm so glad you're having a good time. Sorry about deserting you like that...I simply couldn't ruin the surprise." Claude's eyes registered marked amusement and playfulness as he replied, "Oh, my love. There's no need to apologize. Why, I wasn't worried a bit; I knew you would show yourself -- eventually."
Our pleasant conversation was interrupted by Fern, who stopped by to
chat with Claude. "Hey there! Mighty damn good show you gals put on!
Y'all gonna sing again?" I said we had another song set to perform
right after the crowning of the King of Fools. Which reminded me! Where's
Claude's eyes scanned the crowd. "I haven't seen him at all today", he said. I told him Quasi was backstage with me when Tony did his first comedy routine.
Fern then made the comment, "Hmm...you all are lookin' for Quasimodo, and I'm lookin' for...Hey! That's what I came over to ask you. Have you seen Dwayne?"
Dwayne?Her husband of twenty years? Fern finally got him to come
on these trips through time? He said he wanted no part of this. 'It's not
for me!", he always said...even though he'd been curious about what
Fern does "back when"...
I said I hadn't seen him; then again, it's hard to find someone in this crowd. Our attention was focused on the action on the stage. The final choice came down to two men: Dwayne and Quasimodo! We were so wrapped up in our conversation, we never paid attention to what was going on.
Pierre then called out to the crowd, "Mon Dieu! We have TWO
contestants! Which one will be this year's King? Make your decision!"
Now, I knew Quasi was a shoo-in, but Dwayne? Let me describe ol' Dwayne...
How can I put this? Ever watched the TV show Evening Shade? With Burt Reynolds? You know that little guy who played the assistant football coach...What was that character's name? Herman Stiles! Yeah! That's him! Well, that's exactly what Dwayne looks like -- Really mousy and hick-from-the-sticks -- AND he talks like that, too! Dwayne and Fern love each other to pieces, despite their differences in appearances.
Quasi just stood onstage, smiling pleasantly and being his natural self. Dwayne, on the other hand, just slouched and looked like, well, he was being HIS natural self. The crowd was silent for a few minutes. Then someone shouted from the audience, "We want the New Worlder! We want the funny little man!" Soon the whole crowd chanted, "M. Dwayne! M. Dwayne!"
"So be it!", proclaimed Pierre, putting the fool's crown on
Dwayne's head. The people of Paris paraded Dwayne throughout the Place
de Notre-Dame. Confetti flew everywhere, pretty girls repeatedly kissed
Dwayne on his balding head. This is too unreal! Wonder what Fern thinks
of this? Fern?
Fern was speechless as she watched Parisians shower her husband with accolades.
"I can't believe this!", she declared. "I take the fool...no pun intended...just one time -- ONE TIME! And this happens!"
Claude Frollo leaned back in his chair, laughing uproariously. :"My dear Fern, please don't tell me you're embarassed with all this. Why, I'm having the time of my life! And your husband -- He seems to be the perfect King of Fools!"
Quasimodo then joined us. "I'm glad someone else got to be King. I'm glad your husband won!", he said. He then started to say something to Claude. "Master? I have a special surprise of my own..." I quelled Quasi with a look that said, "Please don't tell him!" Claude looked intrigued. "What's this? Another surprise? Hmm...seems this day is full of surprises."
I shushed Quasimodo as I explained, "Claude, he means that we're planning another set of songs, then Quasi's gonna do a little thing on his harmonica."
"Quasimodo? Harmonica? Since when did you acquire a musical talent?",
Claude asked his young charge. "Oh, Tony taught me", innocently
replied Quasi. "It's just a simple little piece, nothing complicated."
I looked at Claude, wondering if he'd bought Quasi's explanation of the 'simple' piece Quasi was about to perform. Claude just said, "I would love to hear you play your little song, dear boy. I always look forward to your many talents."
I looked at Quasi, he looked at me. We understood each other perfectly; Claude Frollo's in for another shock.
"Hey!", Tony called to me, "You gals get ready to hit
the stage. Pierre's turning the MC tasks over to Dwayne."
I quickly kissed Claude, hugged Fern, then headed back for our tent. Gee...I hope Quasi's routine goes off as planned...sure don't want no mishaps...I hope his partner knows HIS part...Now...out of this fine dress and into our 'rebel' clothes...OK...Pierre's giving Dwayne the big warm-up...the crowd is going nuts! Hope Dwayne doesn't get nervous...he does that sometime...
Just what is Quasi's 'little' routine? Why won't he and FF divulge
any information? And WHO is this partner?
GO TO THE CONCLUSION!
Copyright©1998 by FrolloFreak