I can take the time to write this because my Elementary French class was cancelled for some unknown reason. And I have really nothing better to do. Oh yeah, except doing my music theory homework.
I know this parody has been done SO many times, but I can guarentee that I dearly hope this is somehow somewhat different from anything else that's been written so far. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Les Miz. I don't own the Wizard of Oz. Now leave me alone so I can desecrate them both.
Chapter 1 - The Gamin's Guide to Bugging an Inspector
It was a dull, dreary day. There had been a lot of them lately, making time pass by a good deal more slowly than usual, or necessary. Inspector Javert hated those days. There seemed so little to be going on, at least for him. He had become such a feared figure of the Law that, recently, most criminals did their best to steer clear of his notice and passing. Let other officers catch them, clap them in irons and toss them in some wet, pungent cell. Anyone but Javert. This, on the whole, made Javert's duties rather boring.
Despite Javert's bad luck in having found out plans of dangerous or even petty crooks to thwart, the Prefecture of Paris had its hands full. It seemed, however, that whenever someone of higher authority found it necessary to employ Javert in some plan to break up a plot of a particular gang, said gang found a way of wising up fast and becoming even more cautious in their schemes. This frustrated the heads of the prefecture a great deal, and soon Javert was resorted to overall harmless tasks. He was still permitted to patrol the streets, but even that was becoming rare.
This reduction of duty made Javert quite grumpy, and the unfavorable weather did not help one bit.
In the midst of this morning, however, as Javert made his usual rounds in a rather innocent part of the city, he was overcome by the strange sensation that he was being followed. Initially he dismissed it, silently claiming that it was merely his mind playing tricks on him due to this perpetual state of ennui. The idea continued to nag him, though. After resisting ever urge to look around and see if anyone was about, he did just that, promising only to do so once. The street was bare of any living souls. He shook his head, feeling he ought to be satisfied in seeing no one there. It was calm, quiet, and oh-ever-so boring.
As soon as he started walking again, the sensation came back. It's just paranoia, he scolded himself. Why on earth would someone want to follow you? Everyone is trying to AVOID you, remember?
This reminder made Javert even more sour, but it did not make the feeling go away. By the time he was out of the neighborhood and chose to return to the offices of the prefecture and report, he had turned around three more times. The third time he turned, he had only noticed a boy sitting on a bench a few feet away, struggling to tie his shoe. Ignoring this observation, he continued onward, only to be bothered once more. This time, however, he could actually hear footsteps behind him. He pressed on, pretending to be deaf to the sound, to the corner that led to the avenue of the prefecture building. Just as he made his way around the corner, he whirled around and peered back behind him. There, standing against the adjacent wall, was the boy who had been tying his shoe.
Javert's eyes widened for a moment, then they narrowed in annoyance. Of all the bloody things . . .
"What on earth are you doing?" he snapped.
The boy remained frozen for a moment, and Javert was certain that he would run away without giving him an answer. When he neither moved nor spoke, Javert added a rough, "Well?"
The boy finally did move, but he did not fly down the street. Instead, he took a few steps away from the wall, paused, then slowly touched his cap and made a slight bow. "Just . . . wanted to say 'good morning', M. l'Inspecteur."
Javert rolled his eyes. How stupid did this boy think he was? Before replying, he looked the child over again. He could not have been older than twelve, his clothes were terribly ragged and dirty, and the grime of the street was evident all over his young face. There was no doubt that this boy was a gamin. Javert, too, stepped out from his place of concealment and faced the boy head-on. Well, as head-on as he could, since he had to look down a good ways in order to see the lad. "Don't give me that," he growled, "you've been following me all morning. What are you up to?"
"Now, now, Inspector," cooed the gamin, "what is wrong with wanting to give a friendly hello to my favorite officer of the Law?"
The inspector scowled, not only at the boy's cheeky tone, but at the realization that there was something awfully familiar about him. He folded his arms across his chest and tilted his head just a bit. "Come now, out with it. Why are you following me? And don't give me that pathetic 'good morning' or 'hello' trash. I want the truth."
The boy broke eye contact with the inspector for a moment, fixing his stare on the ground as he aimlessly shifted his foot over the dirt-clogged cracks in the cobblestones. He almost seemed . . . embarrassed for some reason that Javert was incapable of imagining.
The boy did not look up when he answered. "I was only wondering if . . . perhaps . . . it would not be too much trouble if I . . . well, took a stroll with you for a while."
What a bizarre request! What could have been the gamin's intention? To pickpocket the inspector? Quite unwise, for the gypsy-born officer would have been all-too-aware of the crime if it were committed against him, and he had not money whatsoever on his person.
Another possibility occurred to Javert, but even that seemed very unlikely. Considering the situation, however (he being nearly being bored to death and unable to engage in any effective anti-crime activity at all), he decided that it might not do any harm. With a quiet, bemused but decisive sigh through his large nostrils, he conceded to the boy's wishes and walked with him another few blocks, passing right by the prefecture.
Silence pervaded their stroll; it was clear that the gamin was not in this for conversation. Javert would not have entirely minded that if he had not been so curious as to the boy's real reason for wanting to walk with him. He also struggled in an attempt to place the face of the lad and possibly recall his name. After several moments of quietude, Javert finally asked, "What is your name, by the way?"
The boy did not hesitate to answer. "Gavroche." His spirits seemed a bit lifted, and after his reply he felt an irrestible impulse to whistle. Although this sound was slightly vexing to Javert's ears, it put him in a mind to recall where he had seen the boy before. Yes, he had met him before; a number of times, in fact, nabbing him for loitering and such. One time, he had caught the boy standing by the stoop of the Café Musain. He seemed to have been waiting for someone. Friends, perhaps? Or maybe . . .
Javert spoke again. "You don't happen to know any of those . . . students in the Café Musain, do you?"
Gavroche looked up at the inspector. "You mean M. Enjolras and his friends? Sure, I know them, a bit. They sometimes go on little excursions to pass out food to the poor when they leave the café."
Yes, Javert remembered him now. Gavroche admired those radicals, those . . . revolutionaries. They were a dangerous group.
Javert had been so caught up in his thoughts that, until this moment, he had not noticed that Gavroche was often looking around and staying very close to the inspector's side. When Javert finally did notice it, a possible cause for this unprecedented desire to walk with him dawned upon him once more.
He thought that maybe Gavroche was afraid of someone, and was using Javert as a bodyguard.
While in most cases Javert would have immediately told the boy that he could not constantly watch over him in this manner, for the moment he felt a sense of gratefulness that he was finally able to serve his purpose after his superiors had tried to blot him out. He decided to confront Gavroche once more and discover if this was, in fact, the truth.
"Gavroche," he said firmly, "I would still like to know the reason for your wanting to walk with me today. Is it because you are . . . afraid of someone?"
Gavroche did not look up at the inspector; it took all his will power not to do so. Instead, his stride began to slow down, forcing Javert to slow down along with him. They finally came to a stop, with Javert's powerful stare still fixed on the gamin. "Gavroche . . ."
There was a moment's pause, then Gavroche finally said, "Well . . . you see . . . me and my family . . . we don't get along very well. Especially with my parents. I've gotten used to it, but lately . . . it's my mama, monsieur! She hates me even more than my papa does. I don't understand it. At first, she just threw me out of the house, and I was fine with that, but lately . . . lately . . . it's just so bloody strange! I'll be sleeping somewhere – anywhere – and somehow she finds me. She always has something with her, like a rolling pin or a frying pan. She starts hitting me with it, screaming at me and asking why I am such a bad child, to abandon my family when they need me, and demanding that I come home at once. She'll drag me home, and a few days later, she'll throw me out again, ordering me never to come back. Then, a day or two later, it starts all over again. Inspector, I don't know how much more I can take of it! No matter where I go, she finds me, and she beats me ruthlessly. It's just insane! No matter what I do, I can never stay more than a few days, and I land on my arse in the street. Then I'm taken back and scolded for being a deserter. It makes no sense! I think Mama has finally lost it. Or maybe she's just angry. I don't know. There's no one to help me. No one . . . except maybe you, inspector. Even if you can't do anything, just being near you will keep her away. She won't act like that when the police are around, especially you. I won't be a bother, I promise! Please, monsieur, I'm getting more lumps than I can count! My head with be a pile of mashed potatoes before long!"
This morbid and inexplicable series of events seemed too fantastic to believe. Could the boy have been lying, just to gain attention? Uncertain of how to proceed exactly, Javert merely asked, "When was the last time this happened?"
"She threw me out of the house yesterday. I thought maybe she would be after me again today, it's not easy to tell. That's why I wanted to find you."
As far as Javert could see, there was only one way to deal with this situation. "Gavroche, your story is unbelievable. But if it's true, your mother is committing a serious offense, and she must be arrested for it." And perhaps be put into an asylum for it, he silently added. "This is what will happen: you will go about your business as usual, and I will go about mine. But as soon as she finds you and does this to you, you must find me right away. The best place to look would be the prefecture building. Once you find me, I will look into this matter myself. It is important, however, that you find me right away. Understand?"
Gavroche nodded vigorously.
"Good. Now, I must attend to my duties, so you run along, all right?"
"Of course, Inspector." The boy had considered adding a little comment about the importance of patrolling when there was nothing ot patrol, but he wanted to remain on Javert's good side and chose to refrain from speaking. He merely touched his cap and dashed down the street, flying off like a dirty yet happy little brown sparrow. Javert merely shook his head and walked on.
The next day seemed to match the last, only the weather seemed even more dark and foreboding. An uneasy feeling bubbled inside Javert as he returned from his patrol and stayed around the entrance of the prefecture. He intended to go inside and make his report (not that he really had one to give), but the state of the dark, ominous clouds hanging over the city of Paris made him stop and stare. A hurricane, perhaps? A mere thunderstorm? It was difficult to say. Whatever it was, it did not look welcoming.
It was just as Javert began to turn to go inside that he heard a sound that he at first took as a distant clap of thunder. But it was not thunder. It was the sound of a cry. A boy's cry, shouting someone's name.
Before long, he could see Gavroche running toward him, eyes wide with terror. "She's at it again, Inspector! She's brought the whole kitchen with her!"
Javert didn't waste a word. Placing a protective hand on Gavroche's shoulder, he said, "Take me to your house."
In about twenty minutes, they were there. It was more of a garret, really, so they were forced to walk up a flight of stairs before they reached the door that Gavroche claimed was the correct one. Making sure the gamin stood behind him and out of sight, Javert rapped his nightstick on the door.
The knock was soon answered by a cautious creak as the door slowly opened. A middle-aged man with a reddish face and a scraggly beard stood in the doorway. "Ah, Inspector," said the man in a voice that tried to sound casual, but gave away a hint of nervousness and surprise. "What a pleasure to see you. What can I do for you?"
"Are you Jondrette?" barked Inspector, addressing the fellow by the surname that Gavroche had given him. The man's fear grew more noticeable.
"Why, yes. There's nothing wrong, is there?"
"Is your wife at home?"
"My wife? Oh no, good sir, she is out at the the market. We are not too well off financially, but she always insists on going to market to see if there's anything that suits her fancy. You know women, monsieur, they never seem to get enough of looking at things they know they can't afford."
"Is that so? I have reason to believe that your wife is out carrying a pair of pots and a ladle. Could you explain that?"
"I know nothing about it, Inspector! Pots and a ladle, indeed! You must be mistaking her for someone else."
"I do hope I am." The comment came off too flat, but Jondrette did not seem to notice. "Is she a tall woman, broad-shoulder, large faced with red hair?"
Jondrette hesitated on this point, as if wondering how safe it was to answer either way. He could sense that it was a trick of some kind, but to which end this trick would proceed, he could not tell. "I suppose you could describe her that way . . . but, after all, beauty is often in the eye of the beholder. The way one person may see her is not necessarily how I may see her. But, perhaps, she may somewhat fit that description."
"Then I regret to say that that is exactly the description of the woman carrying the kitchen equipment. It has also been reported that she has been using said instruments to strike someone. Her son, specifically. Am I correct?"
"Honestly, monsieur," winced Jondrette, "I really know nothing of such things. My wife may have a bit of a temper, but I would never expect such behavior from her. She is really such a sensitive creature, so sensitive that she may fly at the littlest thing. But I am not aware of any habit of carrying around pots and pans, for heaven's sake, or using them to beat children. In truth, we have no son. Only two daughters, you may see them for yourself. And you should know that we love them dearly, and they would not say otherwise in the least. I am afraid, monsieur, that you have called upon the wrong home. I thank you for the call in any case, and I wish you luck in finding out the true culprit."
"Oh, but I believe I have." Then Javert stepped aside, revealing Gavroche to the older man.
Jondrette turn a darker shade of red, which was enough for Javert. Immediately after the change of color, however, Jondrette said, "And who is this young fellow? A friend of yours? Certainly not the boy you were speaking of."
Gavroche folded his arms in a manner not entirely different from that of Javert. "Hello, Father. Did you miss me?"
Jondrette appeared outrage. "This is a trick! I've never seen this boy in my life! Surely you would not try to pin the blame on an innocent man, Inspector, really!"
"I am not trying to blame an innocent man, Jondrette," replied Javert dryly. "I am trying to learn the truth. And the truth is that you are a liar, and your wife must be found and arrested."
"No! This is ridiculous! It is a lie! You've framed me! I do not know this boy!"
"Eponine! Azelma! Are you in there?" cried Gavroche.
His call was answered by a female voice, supposedly of one of the girls. "Gavroche? Is that you? What are you doing here?"
"Is it Gavroche, Papa? Let him in!"
"Shut up, you stupid girls!" roared Jondrette. Then he turned to the inspector. "Perhaps the girls know the boy, Inspector, but I certainly don't! Nor does my wife! Can you not let us be?"
Javert suddenly made a step for the door, but Jondrette instantly blocked his path. "What do you think you're doing? You can't enter my home without a warrant!"
"You invited me to see your daughters, did you not? What are you afraid of, Jondrette?"
"That you will somehow blame my family and me for some crime we did not commit!"
"Let me meet your daughters."
"No, monsieur. I can't let you in. My wife . . . she won't like it."
"She doesn't like visitors to call when she's not around. She needs to make sure that everything is in its proper order. A regular housekeeper, you know."
"I will only be a minute, I'm not here for tea."
"I'm sorry, monsieur, but I can't."
"Give up, Father," growled Gavroche.
"Don't call me that! You're not my son!"
This last statement seemed quite genuine, and it made Gavroche grit his teeth. Javert almost thought the boy had tears in his eyes. Javert looked at Jondrette once more. "I said, step aside. That is an order."
Jondrette dropped all civilities and sneered. "Not without a warrant."
"Then you can be sure I'll get one."
"On what grounds?"
"That your wife is abusing your son."
"I have no son," Jondrette stated very firmly.
Gavroche was ready to make a reply to this statement when something caught his eye and he cried, "Oh no!"
Javert turned to a frightful spectacle. A large, imposing figure stood on the landing of the stairs, pots and ladle in hand.
"Run!" screamed Gavroche, and ran toward the other end of the hall. Javert could not imagine why, since there was no other way out of the building except through the entrance that Madame Jondrette now blocked.
"Leave . . . my husband . . . alone!"
Javert could hardly think before he saw the juggernaut of a woman barreling down towards him. He immediately followed Gavroche's lead and ran down the hall. It seemed to be a dead end until a section of the ceiling dropped down by a cord that Gavroche had pulled, and together they fled up the ladder and into the attic. They pulled up the ladder and closed the door just before Madame Jondrette had reached it. For the moment, they were safe.
"Quick," ordered Gavroche, "follow me."
"That was the most tramatizing experience of my life," grumbled Javert as he and the gamin stumbled down the street, wearied out by the pursuit. "And I've had plenty of them, believe me."
Gavroche sighed. "So, what do we do now?"
"What else?" said Javert. "We go to the prefect and tell him about the situation. This will all be resolved in no time."
"Are you sure?"
Wow. Again, a lot longer than I imagined. Don't worry, this is only the first chapter. It'll be much more humorous later, just give it some time.