fiction.06.c

The line for the Louvre is relatively short. We all go in but split up and then I am on my own to encounter Aphrodite. The crowd is manageable enough for them to keep an eye on me. I walk up to the statue and a stranger hands me a pamphlet, which I take involuntarily. Before I realize that I already have one in my pocket and can tell him this, the man is gone. It is the French version and I almost toss it but notice there is a corner dog-eared. I open it up to a message. In English it reads, “ I know you are not alone. Fine for now, but no authorities.” He has left me a phone number. 33 1 58 80 80 80 After comparing it to the one saved in my phone, I notice it is new.

“Why didn’t he write the next clue down?”

“Guess he wants to be in complete control.”

“He didn’t care that you were working with us?”

“Not according to this note.”

“Let me see the pamphlet.” Demands Jessica.

Mark breaks the silence that followed, “Well let’s call the number!”

“Wait!” Interrupts Jess, “this number is for the local authorities.”

“What?”

“How do you know?”
“It is the same number as the back of the pamphlet where it gives instructions for emergencies.”

“Shit!”

“He tried to trick us?”

“Well if you read the note again it literally reads “but not authorities: ­­PHONE#”

“Where do we go next?”
“This sticker shouldn’t be here. What is it?”

“That’s Notre Dame.”

“You think – “
“Yes of course!!”

In the car, we try to do some figuring out. Jessica points out that neither contact with this guy has told us what he wanted or what his game is. Then unproductively pries at us for more information, which of course we still do not remember.

Pulling up to the cathedral we could see that our luck with small lines was over. This line reminded me of those seen outside concert venues – one in one out; they also resembled the lines for the latest iGadget. Since we didn’t know exactly what we were looking for here, other than this massive cathedral, we decided it was best to split up again. Jess and I went inside and the other three stayed outside with their eyes peeled.

As we enter we are both taken aback by the majesty of this place. Jess grew up going to church and though I did not, I can appreciate the architecture; the love and pride that was placed into building such a magnificent structure. One of the tour guides near us mentions that these types of cathedrals took close to 200 years to complete. This means of course that those who began it’s work did not ever see it finished. Secondly there was much damage to Notre Dame during the French Revolution.

Jess interrupts my thoughts, “What are we supposed to do in here?”

“I don’t know. He found me last time and I didn’t even know it was him.”

“So maybe he’ll approach you again?”

“I hope so. Let’s split up but stay inside. You go around that slowly in that direction and I will go around this other way; meet back here.”

“Okay.”

I make it back around to Jess in what feels like an eternity, possibly due the wonder of the place we are in. In all actuality it took about 10 minutes.

Jess starts, “I say we head back out.”

I agree, “Ya, maybe they have something or someone out there.”

We were wrong. The outside group had seen nothing unusual and to quite the contrary claim to be famished. We decide to go to dinner.

“Bonsoir”, our waiter begins, then changes his tune to, “Good Evening!”

“Good Evening!” we return in unison as if at summer camp.

“My name is Matheo! I will be taking care of you this evening. Shall we begin with a bottle of wine? Red – White?”

We agree on red and Matheo says he knows just the one. While he is away, I bring up that I like his name and Mark adds that he appreciates his friendliness and flawless English. He brings us a bottle of Bordeaux. Drew blurts out that he has always been fascinated by the word, “…it sounds so mysterious!”

We laugh and Matheo laughs with us. He then walks us through the menu and before he leaves us, Michelle adds that we will need another bottle when he returns.

“Bein sur!” to which we all stop laughing and stare as though we’ve been shot with a ray gun of stupidity. Jessica unfreezes us with a translation, “Of course!, he said of course.”

Dinner distracts from our missing friend and their kidnappers game even to the point that a drunken Drew professes his and our love for Matheo. “I really like your name. Well and so does Alex he said so and we love that you are so friendly and – ”

Michelle saves him with a question of her own, “Matheo is a good strong name. Were you named after anyone?”

Matheo smiles, we relax, he answers, “My name is actually derived from my grandfather, my father and myself. It is the years we were born.”

Judging by the dumfounded stares, I was clearly not alone in my confusion, “Wait! YOUR name was derived from yourself? Sorry but there’s an awful lot of redundancy there.”

“Ah yes! You are thinking in names and letters and most likely trying to decipher the sets of letters that could allow me to have a name that comes from my father and his father.”

We nod, slowly.

“Well my moniker is based on numbers. I can see I have you all stumped now, let me finish. My father was a professor of mathematics and statistics at the University. My grandfather was born in ’36, my father in ’62 and I was born in ’84. These numbers correspond with the following letters on a phone dial: E, O, M, A, T, H. Though my father loved math he wasn’t going to name me E.O. Math; however, he did throw the two first letters after the H to form Matheo.”

“Weird!”

“Awesome!”

“Thanks and you guys are friendly too.” he says this while looking directly at Drew. Matheo sets the bill down on the table and walks away.

“Someone’s got a crush!” starts Michelle.

“Oo la la” encourages Mark.

Drew responds with two words, “Notre Dame.” and holds up his napkin with the following phone number: 0 66873 3263

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