Tiny Viola ~ Chapters 61-70
Sixty-one ~ The Seven Tinies
Matthew took it upon himself to give the seven little people partially in his care as much freedom as he could provide. If they wanted to go to the Eiffel Tower, he provided a fisherman's vest with plenty of pockets for them to hide safely in. At the top of the Eiffel Tower Audrey took a picture of Matthew with seven tiny heads peeking out of his pockets.
If the group wanted to check out the French Quarter, Matthew or one of the other FBI agents was ever ready with the fisherman's vest, or for quick commuting, a small rodent cage that they deemed "the mouse bus," complete with a soft thick cloth to provide both cushioning and the security of a covering to hide in.
The gang named themselves The Mouseketeers, or at least most of them did. They enjoyed each other's company and took turns teaching Elsa things. Espie taught her kickboxing moves, Genie taught her how to make her bed, and Viola and Linda took to helping her with her reading skills.
The Mousekeeteers toured the Louvre. Sam, the pizza delivery driver by night, an art lover by day, and Linda, an artist, especially enjoyed that day. Sam commented that he had never seen the Mona Lisa up close. Linda was moved by Antonio Canova's Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss and made Matthew walk around it five times, pausing every three steps. They finished that day off with a trip to the Opera National de Paris where they watched Tosca, seven tiny bodies perched in seven top shirt pockets of FBI agents and Ramon.
They toured the River Seine in a boat, tucked safely in top shirt pockets, and soaked up the history of old Paris.
"Do NOT feed me to the ducks," warned Elsa, after watching a two ducks glide near the boat.
Everyone laughed although some of the little people did tuck deeper into their respective pockets.
They watched a children's cartoon, Ratatouille, for Elsa. It brought things home.
On the day the sun was out Matthew took them on a walk at the Parisian beach set up just for July through August along the Quai de la Villette in northeastern Paris (the 19th arrondissement). Matthew dabbed sunblock on them with Q-tips. For a full four hours, hidden by being surrounded by FBI agents, they were allowed free play in the sand and built sand castles using bottle caps.
"I'd read a book if I had one small enough," grumbled Alex.
Instead he read a Vogue magazine brought by Audrey, by walking around on it and flipping each individual page with his whole body. He didn't seem to mind.
In short, the five little people enjoyed a tiny week's vacation in Paris courtesy of their hosts, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Sixty-two ~ Federal Bureau of Investigation Unofficial Report for Thursday, 3 July 2012 1600 Hours
The full force of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in France has been unleashed to find one Stockton Hydrobian Lars, secret nickname P.G., for "Professional Ghost."
More than three hundred FBI agents stationed in France are working with the French police to investigate Dr. Bonofacio Sacchi's workplace lab for traces of Stockton Lars as well as for traces of substances known as LSR (Lycomobin Synclopia Rye, a growing potion) and H-Hydrobi Factor X (a shrinking potion which was found in the bottom of three beakers at the scene).
Evidence and eye-witness reports include:
- Approximately one half ounce of H-Hydrobi Factor X shrinking potion residue found in beakers labeled Exhibit A701, B703, and C411.
- 11 milligrams gunpowder and lead powder (confirmed with Sodium Rhodizionate) residue from a Colt M1911 pistol.
- Gunshot pattern suggests pistol range between 3-5 feet.
- One lead bullet from a Colt M1911 pistol, suggesting a military background of suspect.
- A missing Renault rental car, Paris license plate number 723 JRA 92; rented to one Ms. Esperanza Meadows, traced and found at the P4 Parking Area (long term parking of more than 5 days) of Bordeaux-Merignac Airport on Monday 0315 hours
- Suspect named Stockton Hydrobian Lars
- Suspect Description: medium height and weight, dark medium length brown hair, brown eyes, caucasian, wearing a white lab coat, dark slacks, and dark men's dress shoes. Distinguishing features: Light-weight metal frame spectacles, thin lips, and a strong nose.
- Suspect highly dangerous, may be armed.
International governmental spy agencies have been alerted to Stockton Hydrobian Lars as a dangerous wanted person status.
~ * ~
The investigative team was eventually able to find out, after interviewing many airport personnel, that Lars likely flew to Florence under the name "Raymond Lopez". It was then found out that he had a grandmother there. But by the time the FBI arrived in Florence it was too late. Lars had again vanished, once again earning his nickname "Professional Ghost."
Because of the danger of Lars, Bonofacio's work place lab was closed. The FBI took the empty apartments along Bonofacio's floor to strategize and provide additional security for Bonofacio's secret home lab.
Sixty-three ~ The Outing
Espie was in the habit of hiding her personal life.
Therefore, Viola and Espie took separate rooms in the doll house to avoid suspicion. Viola followed Espie's lead and did not touch her in "public." The days, while filled with exciting visits around Paris and France, felt long and slow to Viola. On the surface the two women seemed to be close friends, but inside the two longed to show their affection. At night Viola snuck into Espie's room to give her a kiss. Occasionally the two women would sleep together but early in the morning Viola would sneak back to her room, her heart full but sad.
The day for a trip to the wine country came. Bordeaux is known for its wine and Espie thought it'd be fun to get a little drunk with Viola.
"We'll get drunk on two drops!" she laughed.
Viola and Espie convinced Matthew it'd be a fun day trip for the seven little people. Ramon, Geoffrey, and Audrey went also. They took an SUV and the mouse carrier case so the little people would be safe for the trip.
Once they hit the vineyards, Espie directed them to a vineyard owned by a friend of hers.
Matthew wore the vest. First the group toured the vineyard and learned about wine-making. Then they were invited into the chateau for a wine tasting. When the wine director left to get a bottle of their current favorite offering, Matthew set the seven little people on a back table and he and the other big people in the group crowded around to hide them. They poured a little of their wine from a glass into a bottle cap and the six adults tried the wine with their individual Barbie cups. It was quite good. And not surprisingly, quickly finished.
When the director came back, the little people were already back inside Matthew's vest, having been given a stern warning from Matthew. If she could hear very well the wine director might have heard the sound of two quiet giggles and a snort coming out of the top left pocket of Matthew's vest where Viola and Espie were smooshed together.
Sixty-four ~ A Walk
After days of being cooped up in his house, Bonofacio was itching for a trip out. While he enjoyed getting the preparations done for the concoction of the LSR, secretly he felt jealous of his tiny housemates. Here the little guys were leaving everyday, hidden in Matthew's vest pockets or an FBI agent's shirt pocket. They'd gone on trips together and even Ramon got to leave freely. The French couple was currently in custody and were to be extradited to the US to face money laundering and embezzlement charges.
Because of Lars, the FBI thought Bonofacio was in too much danger to risk leaving their sight, so they either went with him everywhere or took care of his chores for him. The lab where he worked gave him a leave of absence considering the extenuating circumstances of a FBI most wanted criminal on his tail.
One hot day Lars wanted to go out for a walk. An FBI agent, Marco, insisted on going with him. Bonofacio argued and the two finally compromised that Marco would follow at a little distance behind.
Bonofacio went to Parc Bordelais, enjoying the calm, beautiful surroundings. He saw a pretty lady at the far end of the path he was on and regretted he had not been more stern with Marco so he could have more privacy. He looked back ~ Marco was watching boats from the bridge.
Bonofacio quickly walked on to bring more distance between them, and the sun grew hot above him. He stopped and got some ice-cream from a vendor which he ate with relish ~ it helped cool him off. His mood improved and he was about to turn back around to find Marco and offer him a cone of ice-cream when he noted how sleepy he felt. He went to the nearest bench to wait for Marco, his eyes heavy and tiredness in his bones. He should really work less.
Bonofacio fell asleep on the bench.
Sixty-five ~ News
Viola lay on the doll house chaise lounge in the doll house livingroom and watched Espie in the doll house kitchen as she cooked. The kitchen worked -- even the kitchen was a small ice-box that kept food cool -- and the big people supplied the little people with stores of food which they could cook. Espie loved salads and so she was making a dark green salad with bits of bell peppers, fruits, and a lemon dressing whose smell was pungent in the house.
"The salad's ready!" said Espie.
"Mmmm..." said Viola.
She went to the kitchen, and quickly, before anyone could see it, she pecked Espie on the cheek.
"Yum," she said.
They sat down at the little kitchen table to eat the salad. It was good.
It was at this point that the news of Bonofacio's disappearance reached the little people. Elsa came panting to the doll house. She'd run from the livingroom -- the real livingroom -- all the way around the corner, down the hall, and behind the armchair to the doll houses.
"Bonofacio's missing! Marco went out with him but couldn't find him in the park. He just got back!" Elsa was breathless.
Viola and Espie looked at each other.
"Where did he go?"
"The park, I guess, that's where he's missing from," said Elsa.
"Tell me what happened," said Viola.
"I don't know. I just heard Marco telling Jeremy that they have problems because Bonofacio disappeared in the park."
"Why would he leave us?" asked Sam.
"He wouldn't," said Viola. "He worked very hard to get me big the first time and he wouldn't leave us now."
"We have to help find him!"
"Let's go see what the specialists have to say about his disappearance," said Espie.
Sixty-six ~ Commotion
Viola, Espie, Alex, Sam, Genie, and Linda all followed Elsa from the doll houses in the bedroom to the hallway, along the edge of it, around the table, behind the bureau, and under the sofa into Bonofacio's livingroom, where they could hear Marco being grilled by Jeremy and Saulo.
"When did you last see him?" asked Jeremy. "The exact last place?"
"In the Parc Bordelais. He was on a path in front of me, not 20 feet in front of me. I turned to look for Lars along the river. When I turned back, he was gone. I went further down the path after him but it was no use. There was only an ice-cream stand and the man there said he hadn't seen him."
"We have to go back there," said Jeremy.
"Post-haste, as Bonofacio would say," said Audrey.
The FBI agents quickly gathered equipment and were out the door in less than five minutes.
Sixty-seven ~ A Little Discussion
When the FBI left the seven little people started the slow, long walk back to the doll houses. They didn't say anything until they finally reached their little home.
"Is there anything we can do?" Alex asked. "Anyway we can help the FBI find Bonofacio?"
No one said anything. After a while Espie cleared her throat.
"Without him, we're doomed. I think we all know what happened to him."
"What happened?" Elsa asked.
No one said anything.
Finally Viola spoke.
"He's probably down to two inches like us, or else Lars got him unfortunately."
"But where is he?" Elsa asked.
"Goodness knows," said Viola.
Sixty-eight ~ The Lab Mouse
Dr. Bonofacio Daniel Sacchi did not know what hit him. One moment he was sitting down on a hot summer's day in a beautiful Bordeaux park, and the next he was waking up in the corner of a mouse cage, with tiny boxed netting wire sides, a water bottle (very undignified, he thought), and some food in a box near a wire door which was four inches up, closed, locked, and very difficult for small hands to budge (he tried).
People in white coats with white masks looked down at him for eight hours of every day and tried to poke him with needles. He wasn't sure if his food was safe to eat or had been spiked with any number of chemicals to test on him. For that is what he knew was happening, he was a lab mouse, and the people who ignored him and tried to prod and poke him were scientists. They all were Asian, he thought by their dialect Chinese, and they all ignored him when he begged to be set free.
He looked down the row of cages next to him. Other, unhappy two inch people were likewise locked up. Some, unfortunately, had pink spots, lumps, and missing limbs, the consequences of being experimented on.
He knew only one thing. He was going to make it out of here intact and he was going to get Stockton Hydrobi Lars and make him pay for this.
Sixty-nine ~ Closing In
Audrey was hot on Lar's trail. The FBI would get a tip and know where to look as far as which city Lars was in. Then it was a matter of inspecting the local postal office, x-raying boxes of a certain size, and finding or not finding a little human inside. They found three more humans in the time since Dr. Sacchi's disappearance, all saved before they were to be sent to various destinations of psychopaths that were then put under surveillance to ensure nothing untoward was happening or would be happening in the close future with the suspects.
It was a big undertaking. To keep the little ones safe, Geoffrey and Matthew flew them and their double doll house to the San Francisco Bay Area to an unspecified location, but close to Bonofacio's friend, Mariana Gemora, the one other person in the world besides Dr. Sacchi, who was familiar with Lycomobin Synclopia Rye.
While Mariana worked to create the DNA coded LSR potion that could safely grow a human (as Dr. Sacchi had successfully done), ten little people stayed together in the doll houses.
"Not that I mean to complain," said Sam, "but it's getting crowded in here."
The FBI took note and brought in Disney to create a better environment for the little ones.
Viola and Espie had a plan. They had been sneaking out of the doll house together at night and had been up many nights talking. Being so close to San Francisco gave Viola the idea. It started when Espie voiced her worries about saving her job in the movie that was coming up in no time.
"I'm going to lose my job if I don't show up," said Espie.
She only confided to Viola since it might sound melodramatic for a millionaire to complain about losing a job to the others, who most likely, already had lost theirs.
"How much do you know this director of yours?" Viola asked.
"Jim Benson. We were very close on our last film together," said Espie. "We had a lot of fun. He's great to work with, he knows just what he wants."
"Maybe it's time you told him what's going on?" said Viola.
"One: how would I do that? and two: how would that help?" asked Espie.
"One: you could borrow Audrey's cell phone or we could climb up to the counter and use the phone up there. Two: It would help because he wouldn't write you off forever, just for this movie," said Viola.
"You really don't think Mariana will make the LSR in time?" Espie asked.
"I don't think so. And on second thought I don't think Audrey or any of the FBI agents are going to want the outside world knowing about shrinking people. So is Jim trustworthy? Or do you think he'll tell?"
"He'll keep it quiet for me, if he knows my life depends on it. He's probably swamped with moviemaking right now."
"One more question," said Viola. "Do you have his number?"
"I don't, it was in my cell phone, but Henia will have it. I just have to call her first."
Seventy ~ The Sneak Out
In an undisclosed location in the San Francisco Bay Area, in a large room with a large doll house made of two doll houses back-to-back, ten little people went to bed. Two women, Viola and Esperanza, were wide awake beneath their covers, waiting for the right moment when the whole house was asleep.
Finally Viola deemed it long enough, and stepped out into her little doll house room. She stepped out into the hallway and tread lightly to Espie's door. As quietly as she could, she slowly turned the handle and opened the door. She went over to Espie and sat at the edge of her bed. She leaned over and kissed her beautiful face lightly. Espie smiled up at her.
"Ready?" Viola asked softly.
Espie nodded and got out of bed quietly.
The two women exited the bedroom and tip-toed down the doll house stairs to the front foyer room area. They quietly opened the front door and snuck outside into the dark room. Only light from computer monitors and a large screen shone down, lighting the way to their destination, a phone in the middle room of the complex. The door was slightly ajar, so the first thing Viola and Espie would have to do would be to quietly close the door. They ran to the door and closed it by pushing on it with all the strength of their little bodies. Then they ran across the hallway to the middle room of the complex.
Inside the middle room they could see the phone on a table next to a chair with a coat draped over it. They could climb the coat and reach the phone that way.
Viola boosted Espie up to a secure pocket which she hung out of to lift Viola up. Once at the pocket, they climbed up the coat, taking turns to help the other one, and eventually they reached the top. First Viola and then Espie walked along the top edge of the chair to the table. Once at the table Viola and Espie took the phone off the receiver together. Then Viola held down the hang-up button until Espie was ready. Espie called Henia.
"H-h-h-ellooo?" asked a very sleepy Henia.
"I need you to get me Jim Benson's number."
"OK. But don't you have it already?"
"Yes, but I don't have my cell with me right now. So I need it again."
"Yes, right now, I know it's late, but it's important."
"OK, just hold on a minute.."
A few moments later Henia had the number. Espie memorized it on the spot. She could do that because of her intense acting work in the past.