Claude, lightly convulsing from laughter, said nothing, but directed Fern's attention to the main stage.Look at him...Why is Fern so embarrassed? Why, he makes a wonderful King of Fools! I wonder what my darling Nisha is singing next...she has such a lovely voice...and sings the most sensual songs...I swear if she performs another passionate, sultry...I don't know how I'll manage to contain myself...She is so...Ahem! I do believe 'His Majesty' is ready to address his 'subjects'...and introduce my beloved...
Pierre shushed the crowd as Dwayne began to speak. Fern
watched him nervously. Please, Dwayne...don't you get
all shaky on us...
Soon Dwayne, so wrapped in his own pleasure, forgot his nervousness. He slouched again, and addressed the crowd, his high-pitched Arkansas accent pierced the air like a hot knife through ice.
"You know, friends. My mama always said I was a damn fool, now she's got proof!"
The crowd whooped and cheered as Dwayne continued to deliver corny jokes and stories. "Hey!", he said, "Y'all didn't come here to hear my cornpone stuff! When you got three purty women backstage waitin' to sing some more! So without wastin' time, here they are: Jacki, Nisha, and Shelli singing what is know in our part of the New World as 'the Spector sound'."
Parisians, eager for more 'New World music', cheered wildly as Dwayne introduced those three beautiful American women...
"I guess that's our cue!", I said to Jacki, as I put on my
jacket. We now wore what we called 'rebel' clothes.
Actually, the ensemble consisted of tight black jeans,
black turtleneck tops, black leather jackets, and purple
boots with three-inch spiked heels. Hmm...black clothes
and purple boots...now whatever possessed me to choose
those colors? I mean I was in charge of putting this
As soon as Dwayne introduced us, Tony hit the switch on Jacki's music machine. Shelli, Jacki, and I bounced onto the stage to thunderous applause, and immediately launched into He's a Rebel:
Did I say that 15th Century Parisians LOVED our music? It
sure seemed that way, because when we finished each and
every song, from Da Do Run Run to River Deep
Mountain High, the crowd applauded wildly and screamed
I then decided, as yet another surprise to Claude, to end our set with a couple of Ronettes' songs. I whispered over to Jacki, "Play 'Baby I Love You'."
Jacki winked and nodded, then gave Tony
the signal. I took my place in the middle, looked straight
at Claude Frollo and began to croon my best Ronnie
Have I ever told you/How good it feels to hold you...And though I really keep trying
I feel I may start crying.
My heart can't wait another day
'Cause when you kiss I just got to say...
Baby I love you (come on, baby)
Baby I love (ooh wee baby)
Baby I love only you...
Claude Frollo's eyes took on an...an...I really can't describe it. But from where I was standing, I could see his eyes sparkle from sheer love for me---He was that moved.
At the conclusion of our set, I immediately headed for
Claude's tent. His smile was dazzling, his eyes sparkling,
as he said to me, "Nisha, my love, that was a performance
from the heart. Why, that last song was...words cannot
describe my feelings for you..at least at this point. I
love you, Nisha."
"I love you, too, Claude Frollo", I replied as I sat down next to him. He kissed and caressed my hand, then said that he'd "never known so much pleasure, the sheer joy that I was missing. You've done that, my dearest. You've delved deep within me, bringing out my fun-loving side, that part I'd thought I'd lost long ago."
I kissed Claude's bejeweled hand and said, "Baby, don't change too much, though. I still like that hard-boiled man whom I first encountered those many summers ago."
Claude laughed then told me not to worry, "The old Claude Frollo is alive and well." He then smilingly added, "But for today, he's on vacation." Our laughter was interrupted by Dwayne's introduction of the next act.
"Hey, ya'll!", Dwayne's hayseed voice yelled out. "Ya'll
ready to bust out laughing some more?" The crowd erupted
with whoops and cheers. "All right, folks! Here he is
again, doing his best Bill Cosby, give it up for Tony
Tony walked out onto the stage; he looked totally different than he did during his first set. Gone were the hip-hop attire and the urban posturing. Instead, Tony wore a neat three-piece suit. His hair was neatly brushed out in a short, stylish Afro, and he wore small, wired-rimmed glasses. He carried an unlit cigar, and waved it around as he addressed the crowd.
"Now stop that! Stop that clapping! We don't have time for that!" The audience's cheers soon abated as Tony launched into his famous Bill Cosby impressions.
"How many of you have children?", Tony began. He then performed word-for-word, Cosby's famous routine of "when I was a child": a spiel describing how mothers talk to their children.
"Mothers enunicate. In public. They talk to you like you don't understand...'Put that down!' 'Do you hear me talking to you?' "
Soon, as he always did Jacki and me, Tony had everyone in stitches, including the King and, to my delight, Judge Claude Frollo.
Tony continued to deliver line after line: "The biggest hassle was the room...nothing wrong with my room...but to a mother...'THIS IS A PIG STY!'" The laughs came louder and faster with every word coming from Tony's mouth: "Mothers can talk up some violence, man!: 'I'll knock you into the middle of next week' And I'll say 'Please do, for I'm having a very rough time this week'."
"And my mother's favorite word, 'sick'. My mother was sick 800 times a day: 'I'm sick of picking up after you; sick of yelling at you; 'I'm just sick and tired--' 'Tired' usually followed 'sick'." Tony managed to keep a total straight face during his entire routine, although I couldn't say the same for the audience. They laughed and howled, and offered glowing compliments:
"This man is funny!"
"The New Worlders are a humorous lot!"
"HE'S so much more entertaining than that stupid Gypsy King!"
Hmm...Now I wonder who're they're talkin'
Tony took his final bows as the crowd heaped more
accolades. Confetti flew everywhere. I turned to Claude and
asked, "Did you like that, honey?"
Claude Frollo, a man of power and control, a man who always said, 'I hate these disgusting displays', was still laughing, still thouroughly enjoying himself.
"That, my dear Nisha, was the funniest performance...Hmm...Young Antoine is extremely talented." He then drew closer to me, and said, "My darling, I had a sneaking feeling you had something planned: The secret meetings, the long days away from me, your own, private rehearsals." I then felt his warm breath on my face as he tenderly kissed my cheek. "I thank you, my love. I know you did this for me, to please me."
Claude leaned back in his chair and asked me, "Now, Nisha. When does Quasimodo perform his little piece?" I knew he thought that Quasi was just going to play some simple little piece on his harmonica. And I knew Claude wasn't expecting much. As far as Claude was concerned, "Quasimodo will amuse the crowd with his little song; he'll have his day in the sun, and that should make him happy."
You just wait, Claude Frollo! You are in for the shock of your life! For not only is Quasi performing his 'little' piece, but someone else is joining him...
"All right, folks!", called out Dwayne. This time he was
accompanied by Tony. "We now come to the finale of our
show!" I snuggled closer to Claude, knowing that this
'finale' would totally blow him out of the water. While I
hoped he's like the performance, I began having an uneasy
feeling that Claude may not be wholly pleased with seeing
his young charge onstage.
What if he ends up hating it? Then what? I know he'll lash out at me for sure...probably won't speak to me for a while...Oh boy...Here goes nothing...Come on, you guys...don't screw this up!
Tony made the final introductions. "Citizens of Paris, and distinguished guests! It gives me great pleasure to introduce our final act. You'll recognize the performers but I guarantee you, their look, their sound, will totally blow you away! Live on our stage! The 1487 Paris edition of...Jake and Elwood...Better known as THE BLUES BROTHERS!"
Tony rushed backstage and flipped the switch on Jacki's special music machine. Soon the familiar theme song wafted throughout the Place de Notre-Dame. Then all eyes focused on the two figures making their way onto the stage.
Both were dressed in dark suits, black Fedoras, and black sunglasses. "Elwood" was tall and slender, and carried a briefcase chained to his wrist. "Jake" was short, squat, and deformed. He unlocked the briefcase as soon as they hit the stage. "Jake" then took something out of the briefcase: a large, silvery harmonica.
I glanced at Claude, trying to gauge his reaction. The expression on his face was indescribable. Some said that Claude Frollo's expression of shocked surprise was nearly the same as a few years ago, when a certain gypsy dancer gyrated before his eyes.
But this time...well...I actually thought I detected a thin smile. "Quasimodo? This is his..ahem...'surprise'?"
I leaned over and kissed his cheek; his eyes still registered utter, yet pleasant, shock. Then Claude Frollo began to chuckle. "You did this", he cooed with a smile, his foot caressing mine.
"Not now, sweetcakes!", I whispered. "Can't you wait until after the show? Besides, take a good, and I mean, GOOD, look at 'Elwood'."
Claude laughed, then scanned the taller gentleman, his eyes widened instantly.
"Jehan? My brother? You recruited my own brother?"
Now what?! He seemed happy a few minutes ago...But now...I knew I should've let Jehan talk me into this...Oh Claude...I'm sorry...I didn't mean to embarass you!
To my total surprise, Claude took my hand into his, then kissed me and said, "I never knew Jehan would stoop to doing such a thing." He smiled, adding, "Then again, something like this seems to fit him. I mean, look at him!"
Claude said nothing more, as we both tapped out toes to the lively, bluesy sounds emanating from the stage.
Everybody,needs somebody...Somebody to love...I need you, you, you...
Everyone in the square began clapping hands, dancing in the streets, and singing along with Quasi and Jehan. I mean, those guys were JAMMIN'!
Quasi then amazed everyone with a jammin', get-up-offa-that-thang harmonica solo. A nearby group of street musicians soon matched Quasi beat-for-beat, note-for-note.
An all-day jam session in Paris...make that 1487 Paris...I don't think folks will forget this for years to come...I'm glad Fern and Pierre decided to do this...It surely makes up for what happened at that *other* festival....
"Man! This joint is jumpin'!", Fern said, moving her big body in time to the music. Tony and Jacki came over, saw Claude and me, and exclaimed, "I didn't know Quas would pick up on that so fast! I mean...Damn! That boy's good!"
Claude then told me, as he nodded over at the Royal Tent, "No doubt His Majesty will want to pay you the utmost compliments."
He leaned over, kissed my cheek, then he whispered in my ear, "But using my brother this way...and Quasimodo...I don't think I'll ever live this down."
"Oh, Claude! You are upset! I knew you'd be!"
"Nisha! Who said anything about being upset? I am truly having a wonderful time! This is the truth!"
Then Claude Frollo leaned back in his chair, and eyed me with a wild mixture of slyness and smoldering desire---a look that always makes my blood boil with yearning.
"My sweet, sexy, oh-so-satisfying Nisha. You just wait until I get you home. I...umm...have my own ways of showing my gratitude."
He emitted a deep, throaty, erotically-charged laugh, ran his tongue over his lips, then continued to enjoy the remainder of the performance.
Show your gratitude, Claude Frollo? I know what exactly is on your mind...But I'll be ready for you...Hope you'll like my 'private' performance!
COPYRIGHTę1998 BY FROLLOFREAK