As he waited in the terminal, Fletch looked at the smart phone's manual. Frank told him that he can watch the Laker game on it while he was in flight. Fletch still didn't understand it. To Fletch, it read like Greek. He didn't understand most of the instructions. It took a nearby child to show him how to get the game to show.
Fletch tried the new phone to record his thoughts. He pushed the 'Voice Memos' button. He saw a picture of a microphone and record icon on the bottom. He pressed record and began.
"It took me five hours to get me to JFK airport, with a two hour delay in New York. I finally got on the plane to Paris. It wasn't too bad; I finally get to see the Lakers win over the Nets. Heck I could of reported it, but why should I? It was probably seen on every phone on the flight. Yup, another job taken away because of the internet, or Frank. Now I'm another eight hour flight. Everybody is asleep right now, that sounds like a good idea. This Fletch signing off."
A young man sitting next to him, looked over and said, "You should blog cast that dude."
Fletch looked over and replied, "I'm not a fisherman."
Fletch then dozed off until the jet landed in Paris-Orly Airport. It was, By Paris time 7:00AM, when Fletch was awoken by female flight attendant.
He walked towards the baggage claim area in the busy airport, pick up his black suitcase, and headed towards the nearest café. After his morning coffee and few croissants Fletch decided to head over to the hotel. He took out a piece of paper that had the hotel name.
'Great' Fletch thought, 'Of all the hotels in all France, Frank had to pick a hotel I can't pronounce. It's probably a cheap one if Frank picked it out.'
Fletch stepped into the first available taxi cab as the driver said "Où Sir?"
Fletch replied, "Ill Ade? I'll I Add?"
Fletch, in defeat, showed the driver the name of the hotel.
"Ah, Iliade. Oui, Sir."
"No, just want check in, I'll wee later."
"American, Tout ce que je n'ai pas besoin aujourd'hui," grunted the driver.
The driver drove off into the city. Fletch seen pictures and video of the city, but they are nothing compared to the real deal. He awed at its buildings and architect. Even the woman looked like goddesses in their high fashion coats and suits. He figured it wouldn't be too bad to be here.
The driver pulled up to the narrow six story hotel. As Fletch got out with his bag, he looked up at the hotel and frowned. He looked to the driver and paid him, then went inside.
Lobby was smaller than Fletch imagined it to be. A couple small yellow imitation leather seats and a desk occupied the room. Fletch placed his bag down and rang the bell.
An old short black haired lady walked out from her small office and confronted Fletch.
"Ou, Ou, Comment puis-je vous aider?" she asked.
"Oh hi, I got reservation. The name's Fletch."
"Oh, you American?" She wondered with a heavy French accent.
"I sound and look like one, yes."
She went over to the computer and typed his name.
"Sorry, no name came up."
"Hmmm, Frank," Fletch started as she typed in the name, "No, no, Frank is not my name, try Jane Doe."
"Jane Doe? That is a woman's name."
"I know, that's my alias."
She raised an eye brow in question and typed in the name.
"Ah here it is," The woman said.
Fletch frowned, "Figures."
The woman turned around to the key cupboard and took a key and handed to Fletch.
"You are in room 201. It's upstairs to the left."
"Thank you, or should say merci? Been practicing that one all night," Fletch grinned as he picked his bag up and climbed the stairs.
He unlocked the door and entered the room. Fletch looked around and frowned. The room was small as the lobby. Just a single twin bed, a table lamp, and a 13' flat screen TV. He placed his bag on the bed and unpacked whatever he could. The presentation wasn't until seven o'clock tonight so he decided to get some lunch at the nearest café. He took out his smart phone and his charger and looked about for an outlet. That was until he found out Frank didn't give him the proper adapter.
"Perfect," Fletch mumbled.
He slipped his phone back in his pocked hoping he can get right adapter later. Once he got himself all set, Fletch went back to the lobby where the short old lady was.
"Excuse me. Can you tell me what a good place to eat around here? Preferably one with a bar."
"Ah, you may want to try zee Le Rez-de-Chaussée. It is very good, and only few meters away down zee street."
Fletch walked outside. The weather was nice for this time of year. There were a few clouds that covered the sky as Fletch looked about the other shops that lined the small street. One of the reasons he didn't like going to France, was the language. He couldn't read it properly and understand what they mean. And forget about pronouncing it, he probably say it wrong and insult someone's pig or something.
He saw what looked like the right place. He saw a sign above the café windows that read: Le Rez-de-Chaussée. He walked through the door and looked about. He wondered what it was about Paris and small rooms. The café was twice as big as the lobby of his hotel. There five tables strewn through-out the place with two chairs placed next to them. There were a couple of patrons that filled the room. The bar was on the left side wall were the bartender and a man in black suit sat sipping a glass of red wine.
Fletch made his way over to the bar, sat in the tiny stool it offered, and waited until the bar tender walked over to him.
"Comment puis-je vous aider?" The barkeeper asked.
"Uh, yes, what do you have on tap?" Fletch asked.
Then man in the black suit looked over and said to the tender, "Il a demandé à ce que vous avez sur le robinet."
"Ah, Nous ne servent pas la bière, du vin."
The man said to Fletch in a light Canadian accent, "They don't serve beer, only wine."
"Ah ok thanks," Fletch said, "Well then, do you have Chardonnay 1980?" The tender looked at him strangely, "No? well," he look over to the man in the black suit and said, "I'll have what he's having and bring a lunch menu."
The man sitting next to Fletch smiled at him and translated to the bar man. He then turned to Fletch.
"Thanks for getting me out of that one," Fletch said.
"No problem," the man said as he extended he hand out him. Fletch shook it. "Remy. Remy Dubois.
"Fletch, I. M."
The Bar tender came back with Fletch's Drink and a menu.
"You a tourist?" Remy asked.
Fletch replied. "Does it show?"
"A little bit."
"Actually I'm a reporter for the L.A. Times."
"A reporter? What are you doing here Paris?"
"I heard the Lakers was gonna play here."
"Lakers? Oh Ha ha ha. American humor."
"Actually I'm here to interview Raphael."
"Ah, the lost painting they discovered at the Louvre."
"Yes, I'm also going to attend tonight as well."
"You a reporter too?"
"No, no, I am what you may consider a copy painter, from Quebec. What I do is I paint famous and expensive art sell them at an affordable price."
"Isn't that illegal?"
"Not unless you have license for it witch I have."
"So, is that why you are going to the exhibit, to copy Raph's painting?" Fletch asked as he sipped his wine.
"No, I am going there to examine it to make sure it is real." Remy replied as his cell phone rang. He took it out, looked at the small display and said, "Excuse me Mr. Fletch." He then answered it, "Bonjour? Qu'est-ce? Que voulez-vous dire que notre client veut sortir? Écoutez-vous lui dire s'il pouvait trouver un meilleur artiste au Canada, je lui appliquera moins. oui, oui. Ok bon, bye." He hung up and placed his cell phone back in his jacket pocket. "Sorry about that Mr. Fletch."
"Is there problem?"
"No, my sales clerk at my art boutique had question for a client. Good help is hard find these days don't you agree?"
"I can't argue with that," Fletch said as glanced at his menu. "What do you think is good here?"
"For you, I try the Filet Mignon. Very good."
"Ok, I'll try that. What make you think the painting not real?"
"There are a lot of forgers out there Mr. Fletch that paint art and make it look like it has been in storage for hundreds of years. I can authenticate any painting." Remy looked around and saw a painting of a serene lake that was hanging across the room. "That that painting for instance. From here it looks like it's real. Come." They both got up and walked over to the painting for a closer look. He pointed to small feature on the painting. "Look here, the brush strokes look like it's been in a wind storm. This painting is a copy of the original. The original artist would taken his time and stroke his brush elegantly, like making love woman."
Fletch smiled and nodded, "Now you're talking my language."
Remy laughed at his joke as the returned to the bar.
The bar keeper returned as Remy translated for Fletch what he wanted for lunch. He obliged and headed to the back where the kitchen was kept.
"So, you have family or friends here?" Fletch asked as he sipped his wine.
"I have a cousin who helps me sell my paintings. He has an art gallery on La Rue Street called 'Les Deux Bruhses'. We'll visit him while you are here."
"That'll be great. So, you think you have client who would like a copy of Raph's painting?"
"That is to be determined. In my business it's anybody's game."
Moments later the server came out with a plate and small piece of juicy cooked meat on it with garnish surrounding it.
"Ah, no I ordered entrée, not the appetizer," said Fletch disappointedly.
"That is the entrée, Mr. Fletch."
"Oh, this all I get?"
"Welcome to France." Remy smiled as he raised his glass.