1.19 Izzy Intuits, Cleo Perceives
1.19.1 Isador Bott MD Tends PROFATPOL's Injured
The Infirmary on the PROFATPOL Campus, Richelieu
About 11:30 am Thursday 3 April 1987
Behind the microscope-eyeglasses required by his task--repairing a lawman’s split eyelid--the doctor’s expression was gloomy. He hadn’t a taken a sabbatical from his practice in Shunway, Illinois, to do this kind of pigletwork, he complained inwardly. He included under that heading, pigletwork, not only this busted-eyelid job, but also the cracked ribs, contusions and other assorted injuries sustained by no fewer than five PROFATPOL officers, all in one bungled roadblock.
No, he’d come to France—the Substance crime center of the universe, supposedly—for one reason only--to work with users, supervise their fasts, help them back to health. He'd made his preference clear, but what does he find? A flim-flam shaping up, by the look of it. That shifty sow they called the Cat, who seemed to run everything to do with PROFATPOL around here, she set to work not on users but on bozos driving 400-horsepower souped-up stinkpots but can’t even catch up with a Gaeadamned user in a lumbering hycell! In a roadblock, yet. Okay, that fat punk in the red Mercedes—the Red Baron as they call him—he might be one hell of a driver....
A thought came to his mind out of nowhere. That dimensionally disadvantaged snorer in the Brûlante Afrique place—might he be the Red Baron? Unlikely, but not impossible. He tried to dismiss the idea but it stayed in the back of his mind….
His suturing hand must have jerked or something. "Huh? Oops, sorry about that! I mean, uh, pardon!"These PROFATPOL agents think they're pretty tough, but they whimper at the slightest pinprick....
For a time he kept his mind on his sewing. But then it began to wander again. That tub of lard, the so-called Red Baron--sooner or later, the great hulk was going to come down with something in the CHAOS AND OUCH line. Treating a patient with that many risk factors would be a interesting experience. Depending on his vital signs, something along the lines of a 21-day water-only fast would be a good start. But only a start....
In response to signs of impatience from the owner of the semi-repaired eyelid: "What? Okay, you’re right—it’s déjeuner time. Sure I'll get on with it. Just relax, huh? Relaxez-vous, or whatever, okay?" Gaea-damned frogs, always thinking about lunch!
Lunch--the word brought to mind an agreeable prospect, a thick, juicy slab of prime zucchini, grilled medium rare--à point as they say here. There'd be a price to be paid, though. Today's lunch was at the invitation of the Cat, and her purpose was to give him his assignment for the duration of the internship. Izzy resolved to insist on a placement to treat Substance users. Users like the Red Baron guy.
1.19.2 Cleo Sights Professor Ducru
Kitty Kat Salon, Place du Marché, Richelieu
10:30 am Friday 4 April 1987
Cleo hustled to fill yet another order: Same again: Rhum à l’émulsion de soja, fort, or in other words rum ’n’ emulsified tofu, good n’ strong. According to her boodle search, emulsified tofu looked just like animal milk. Animal milk, or pus, to use the accepted euphemism.
Newly installed behind the bar in Madame Cava’s Kitty-Kat Soyfood Salon, the young waitress had to concentrate to get each order exactly right. Rhum à l’émulsion de soja, fort meant two dashes rum, fill up with the white hi-fat, hi-protein, low-nutricity pus-lookalike goop.
"Voilà!" she said, sliding the tall glass across the counter.
She’d aimed for a nice bright waitress-type tone, but her voice lacked its usual pizzazz. She felt uneasy. That woman was on her third drink and was lapping it up as if there were no tomorrow. Probably a milkic on émulsion de soja maintenance, and here she was packing on extra fat for no good reason. Probably unaware of Dr Lynche's XPROW and its message about low nutricity foods.
Cleo frowned. What a drag, worrying about milkics and stuff! She could have kicked herself for getting into the business of selling borderline harmful substances. How much happier she’d be working in a nice ordinary totally legal restaurant like Les Dhuits! Or the one she’d passed up the previous day, Le Gardon....
But she wasn’t just a waitress, she reminded herself, she was a historian. Or an investigative journalist, depending on how things worked out. And in the Kitty-Kat she’d secured an ideal vantage point from which to observe the comings and goings of persons of interest, including the one person of particular interest. Incidentally, it was getting late. Why hadn’t Uncle Paul showed up already?
She took an order for two servings of strawberries marinated in Grand Marnier, with a topping of mint-perfumed whipped tofu. She carefully charged the blender, touched the button and then let her thoughts drift to the whirr of the machine.
Apparently something had gone wrong. According to her latest intelligence, Dr Lynche's Uncle Paul invariably appeared in Kitty-Kat early each Friday morning, thence to mount the stairs at the back of the salon that led to Madame Cava’s first-floor apartment. She considered various possibilities. He’d come in all right, but in some clever disguise. The truth of the matter never occurred to the young investigator: Uncle Paul, bored with his long-time paramour and distracted by reports of promising research developments in the genetic modification of mushrooms, was simply running late.
Cleo spooned whipped tofu over the strawberries, closed her eyes to savor the icy scent of crushed mint, and when she opened he eyes again, there he was! A wiry, quick-moving geezer in a George Washington style knee-length jacket-knickers combo, medium heels--it simply had to be him. He did not enter the Salon proper, but scampered directly up the stairs leading to the doorway to Madame Cava’s apartment. According to her Advanced Primate Reproductive Protocols course at Bennett High, the flashy outfit was a sure sign of a male bent on enticing a female into mating activity, definitely not a repairman come to check on the refrigerator or the Düngermischmaschine. Another tip-off: the snatch of music as the door swung open, Du bist der Lenz from "Die Walküre," reportedly one of the subject’s favorite songs! And to round out the identification, he looked just like the guy shown accepting the Légion d'Honneur on the HV history channel! Had she not been on duty behind the bar, Cleo would have let out a whoop of triumph.
But of course she was on duty, and her customers were becoming restive. Reverting to the manner of her new profession, she hastened to serve them: "Mesdames ’sieurs, fraises Grand Marnier au purée de tofu chantilly à la menthe."
"Voilà!" she added with even more than her usual pizzazz.