Play Time-Arrondissement-Part Forty-Six

Maxi buttoned up her blouse, smoothed her trousers, and put on her jacket. Her latest conquest still slept in the hotel bed, snoring softly. He was the perfect distraction, beautiful, skilled, and uninterested in asking any questions. Severin, no.. was it Simon? It didn’t matter, they would never see each other again.

Picking up her boots, she silently exited the room. Time to go home. Well, not home, the Tower Cerulean. Maybe one more drink, just for the road. She exited the small hotel which was nestled between a long inactive automata and reverse fountain, turned the corner and headed for a quiet brasserie she had seen on her way to the hotel.

Sitting in the back she ordered a Fleur Deliquor, dirty, and observed the room. It was still early, so the place was not yet crowded. A young couple sat the bar, hands intertwined, smiling widely. Three office workers at a small table talking rapidly and laughing. A craftsperson, her boots still covered with fine sawdust, leaned against a beam and took a long draft of her beer, eyes closed with pleasure.

“Are you expecting someone?” asked the barmaid as she placed Maxi’s drink in front of her.


“Pardon?”

“I saw a man walking past the front window, he couldn’t keep his eyes off you. I thought it might be your lover.”

“What did he look like?”

Tapping her fingers, the barmaid furrowed her brow.

“Strange.”

“He looked strange?”

“No!” she laughed, “No, it just that he seemed rather ordinary. Sorry, no offense.”

“None taken. I think I know who you’re talking about. He’s pursued me but I’ve told him no, but he keeps following me.”

“Merde! I hate men like that! Can’t take a hint. Do you want me to call the Gendarmes?”

“No, but do you have a back exit?”

“Yes, just go past the WC and open the last door on the left, that will lead you out to the alleyway. Do you want someone to walk with you? Our kegman is very strong.”

“No, I’ll be fine if I give him the slip. Thank you!”

“Don’t worry, we have to look out for each other, right?”

“Absolutely!”

The barmaid winked and went to get another order from the office workers who were loudly talking. Maxi took a sip of her drink. It was well mixed, which was too bad, as she couldn’t enjoy it fully. A minute later, she got up and headed to the back and exited to the ally. There was a fire escape on the building, easy enough to get to the roof.

Looking down on the other side she saw people walking home or off to dinner or drinks or whatever they had planned. On the corner, three figures stood talking. They then walked with purpose to the brasserie. Moving to the alley side, she waited a moment and then two of them exited then split, each going in opposite directions.

Maxi padded to the street side. No sign of number three. She hoped he wasn’t doing damage to the brasserie or the barmaid who was so kind to her. But she also wasn’t going to go back and find out. No one was fleeing so that was a good sign. Time to move.

With a casual air, Number Three leapt from the fire escape on to the roof.

“Maxilline Couture, would you please come with me?” he said politely.

“Since you asked so nicely,” she said, “No.”

He pursued her over rooftops, leaping over narrow lanes and passages. Maxi had to admit he was nimble. He missed his calling. Number Three could’ve been a first-rate burglar. What a waste of talent.

Maxi came to a narrow plank that was placed between two buildings. Things being what they were she didn’t take time to check sturdiness, balance, or the various criteria she normally would but just ran across as quickly as she could. The plank did bow in the middle, but it did not break, which was all she wanted.

Landing on the other side she flipped the plank, sending it plummeting to the street. Number Three was running towards the edge of the roof across the street. Maxi, with an impulse she knew was childish but still immensely satisfying, made a rude gesture to Number Three.

It was impossible to tell if it made any impact on her pursuer because he leapt into the air and landed on the same roof as Maxi.

“Eh Biden, bias-mois,” she said.

She landed three blows in rapid succession, which did not slow Number Three down in the slightest. Maxi soon realized that this was not a fight, he wasn’t trying to hurt her, Number Three just wanted to capture her. Maxi could fight when she needed to, but she was better at not being caught.

It was a bit like a dance, lunge then sidestep. A grab followed by a pivot, a bear hug countered by a drop. They were evenly matched with one exception; Maxi was getting tired. She prided herself on keeping fit, but Number Three wasn’t even sweating. It was a matter of attrition. She had to do something risky.

Maxi tumbled in-between Number Three’s legs, his arm shot out, grabbed the collar of her jacket and she threw her arms backwards slipping out of the garment. He flung the jacket into the air and it fell to the street below.

‘Damn’, she thought, ‘I really liked that jacket’.

She moved to the edge of the roof. It was about as high as her waist and Maxi could feel the stone pressing against her back. Number Three ran towards her and she gripped the edge.

Everything seemed to slow down as he reached out for her. Gripping the low wall, she somersaulted back over the edge, straightening her legs and placing her boots on his chest. Number Three flew for a heartbeat but then gravity applied her gentle but unrelenting hand.

Maxi felt a jolt of pain as she dangled from the edge by her on arm, the other shirking its duties. Gritting her teeth, she tried to use her legs to leaver herself up but the angle was less than optimal. She knew it was a risk but it was not the time to play it safe. Her fingers began to slip and safety began to have a distinct appeal.

Just as Maxi lost her grip, a hand grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her up. With less grace than she normally exhibited, Maxi tumbled onto the roof. Looking up, she saw a Chevalier dressed in dark red armor of forged silk, with short spiky white hair.

“Are you injured?” the Chevalier asked.

“My right arm- “began Maxi.

“Let me look.”

The Chevalier examined Maxi quickly.

“Can you lift it?”

Maxi tried but pain flared.

“It’s dislocated. No worries, I can fix that a jiffy.”

“Maybe I should see a chirurgeon.”

“No, it’s easy to remedy,” she said taking Maxi’s arm gently, “Now just count to three.”

“One, two, AHHHHH!”

The Chevalier pulled her arm and popped it back into the socket. Maxi lay on the roof and closed her eyes.

“Wake up.”

“I am awake, I’m just resting quietly.”

“Well, we should be on our way.”

“Why?”

The Chevalier helped Maxi to her feet, more tenderly than she had popped her arm back and led her to the edge. Below, Number Three’s body was impaled on a spiked iron gate. People were gathering and the trumpets of the Gendarme Velo-Pedes could be heard.

“I take your point.”

They took a fire escape to the street and entered a waiting Velo-Pede and sped off into the night.
“Thank you,” said Maxi, “How did find me?”

“Oh, I’ve been following you all day. You’ve been quite busy mademoiselle.”

“All day?”

“Indeed. He was very pretty.”

“Yes, he was. But you saw that I was in danger?”

“Oh yes.”

“And did nothing?” sputtered Maxi, “I could’ve been killed!”

“But you weren’t. And I have to say, I was curious.”

“About?”

“You have a reputation for getting out of trouble, I wanted to see how you handled the situation.”

“I almost died!”

“But you didn’t! I was impressed by your solution.”

“Are you the Reckless Chevalier?”

She laughed and said, “Oh no, he’s off on a quest at the moment.”

“Then who are you?”

“Forgive me, I am known as the Unexpected Chevalier,” she said with a nod.

“How did you know to shadow me?”

“Orders from the Marshal.”

“I don’t suppose she trusts me.”

Unexpected shrugged and said, “Well, you can hardly blame her.”

This entry was posted in Arrondissement, Short Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.