Bruce Rousseau
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Snippets from French Tango

It was a lovely day, much unlike the last.

Gabrielle -- the TV reporter
Normally for Gabrielle, diplomacy was a tool best left in the box.

Paulette -- the church secretary
Growing tired of dishing out expensive cat food, Paulette started leaving sales receipts next to the bowl. Surely that would lead to some appreciation.

“Drink up, you pathetic little thing,” she said, cheerfully sloshing some water the on the poor office fern who daily begged to die.

“I put up with all that nonsense until she said all we did in France was prance around and eat cheese. Yeah, can you believe that? So I really let her have it! How Italians had spaghetti for brains and lecherous goats for men—the works. Except shoes. I really love their shoes. Don’t you? Well, she hung up on me.”

Luc -- unfortunately the Don's delivery boy
More money—more pain. Life was such a downward spiral.

Somehow Chinese toxins fit right in with the Don’s taste in gear. Austrian shotgun shells, Cuban baseball bats, Israeli silencers, Russian things he could only guess at—the Don was known for his upscale mob accessories.

Tinuzza -- the little old Sicilian maid
Tinuzza waved the gun around as she fought back waves of panic. No! her mind screamed. Be the simpleminded maid. Be the halfwit she was hired to be!

Margaux -- fear embodied
She sputtered as she clutched his hand, “Satan is here . . . and could be any one of us. Most likely a teenager. They are . . . the devil’s own spawn.”

Le Moucheron (aka The Gnat) -- a budding young crime lord
On the other side of the small garage stood little Le Moucheron, bobbing nervously up and down, shifting from one foot to the other—a bad combination of energy and juvenile confusion.

Marie-Luce -- Luc's sister
Marie-Luce pulled the covers over her head and said softly to herself. “That’s when the hapless daughter began to realize her mother was supernatural. Or psychotic. A cold sweat broke out on the girl’s forehead.” Marie-Luce checked her forehead for signs of actual sweat. “But she wiped away all traces of fear—determined to carry on—determined to live and love and find her own way through the minefield that was her childhood.”

Claire-Chantal -- Luc's girlfriend
Claire-Chantal reached into her bag and palmed the little pressurized tube of pepper spray. She’d heard it was effective.

Roland -- the new deputy Gendarmerie in town
Roland wondered if she’d mind that he was armed on their first date. Someone was coming. The door opened to reveal a large woman in her forties, packed inside a tight floral housedress.

Roland ordered a bottle of Alsace Pinot Blanc because that’s what pretty church managers would like. Paulette nodded approvingly at Roland’s stubby little pistol because that’s what rough tough deputies would like.

Adèle, the church organist
And through it all, Adèle sat idle at the organ keyboard—listening to the muffled gasps of the old compressor in the basement—listening as it wheezed and pleaded its convincing argument for swift mutual retirement.


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