HANGIN' WITH THE ART CROWD
Scott and Virgil
take a trip to Paris to see an art exhibition.
Author's Notes: My
thanks to Jules for letting me borrow elements of her stories
'There's Snow Business Like the Rescue Business' and 'The
Virgil Card'. And thanks to Dawn and Jules and quiller for
reading the story over, making it better, and correcting all
my errors. Any errors you may think you see are mine alone.
literally pushed Scott up the steps to the VIP entrance of the
Louvre Museum in Paris. Being sons of the billionaire
Jefferson Tracy had its perks and using VIP entrances was one
had to go through security screening, just like the ordinary
folk. Scott and Virgil had discussed this with their father.
They decided that, as it would not be difficult to find Scott
and Virgil in the museum if an emergency arose, neither would
wear their IR wrist comms. If they did wear them, they would
have to take them off as they went through the security check
point; it wouldn't be prudent to have the security guards
examine the comms too closely. Security was so tight these
days that most anything could be looked at as suspicious.
might look at the comms and wonder, "Why are they thicker than
regular watches?" and so on until Scott and Virgil would give
in and leave before their patience, and tact, ran out. Or most
likely until Scott's ran out. He wasn't the most patient or
tactful of people when it came to being interrogated. And
there was no reason to take any chances.
put them in the hotel's vault for safe keeping until they
returned and donned the old Timex watches they had brought
with them for this trip to the Louvre.
consequence, for a few hours Scott and Virgil could wander
through the halls and galleries of the vast and great museum
without the concern of being suspected of sinister motives.
have the schematics of the wing of the museum with the exhibit
I want to see. Man, this is so well planned, so well
engineered. See how the various gallery doors lead you from
one end to the other but with ... "
already, Virg. You dragg--, uh, brought me here to see thisfabulous
exhibit of late 19th century nature art. So lead on, brother.
Let's get to it."
go around here with the attitude of ‘If we go at supersonic
speed we can see it all in an afternoon,' " Virgil complained.
"We take it easy, enjoy the atmosphere and gentle flow of the
people as we wander through these magnificent galleries."
Virgil," Scott smirked. "That is what I meant to say."
Virgil leading the way, they made it to the gallery with the
exhibit of paintings of the naturalists he was so excited
this, Scott, see how in the foreground the grazing sheep are
true-to-life while the background is more the
pseudo-impressionist style. And in the next painting, we have
woman who was standing slightly to the right of Virgil
listened with interest.
me, you sound as though you have some training in the various
styles of the 19th century artists. Do you think the combining
of two disparate styles is somewhat distracting or do you ..."
rolled his eyes ceiling-ward and turned away. He just hated it
when Virgil got started on his dissection of a painting, which
encouraged others to join in, pushing him off to the side. He
could see these two had gotten quickly involved in a
passionate discussion of ... whatever ... and figured Virg
would be there for some time.
just move around in this gallery and take a look at the other
pictures here. And there's a comfortable chair over there I
can relax in while Virgil expounds on the virtues of ...
wandered around in the gallery. As he approached the door that
lead to the next gallery, a painting caught his eye and he
moved through the door and over to it. He looked at it, sort
of leaned his upper body to the right to get a different
point-of-view of the subject. Then over to the left, and
decided it was a pretty cool picture.
wandered around in this gallery and then started into the next
when he remembered that he was there with Virgil and didn't
want to get too far from him. Virgil was always wandering off,
ending up in obscure alcoves and was hard to find. They didn't
have so much time that Scott could spend it searching for
returned to where he left Virgil who, of course, was nowhere
to be found. Except, this wasn't actually where he left
Virgil. He didn't recognize the pictures here. He spotted a
museum guard and asked, "Where is the gallery with the picture
of the flying geese. You know, the one where they are flying
in the V formation with their landing gear, uh, feet starting
to descend in preparation for making a splash landing on the
looked at him very oddly. Not because he couldn't understand
English but because he had never heard that particular
painting described in such a way. Sounded like a pilot
describing a group of planes, but what did he know about that.
the painting you are attempting to describe is in the next
gallery over, là bas," explained the guard.
Scott thanked the guard and went in the direction he had
Unfortunately Virgil couldn't be found there, either. Scott
started to wander through the galleries until he decided this
just wasn't getting him anywhere. He formulated a plan and
found an unoccupied small alcove (no sign of Virgil there,
though). He figured John could help him find Virgil, since his
solitary attempt had failed. He raised his left wrist to his
face, and as he started to mouth "John, come in please, it's
Scott," he saw that the little hand was on the two and the big
hand was on the four.
the alcove quickly as a young couple, startled by the cry,
looked in, only to see an anguished, angry looking young man
staring at his watch.
that son of ... our father!" It's getting late, we can't stay
here much longer. Where is he?! Merde."
found himself in a small gallery and was drawn to the wave of
people undulating in front of a particular painting. As he
approached it, the wave parted for a brief moment and he found
himself staring at the Mona Lisa.
you can smile. You know where you are."
dejected and frustrated nearly beyond his capacity, he
wandered into the museum restaurant. He figured he would just
have to leave the museum and wait for Virgil to show up back
at the hotel.
will he get an earful then."
he would get something to eat, to soothe his grumbling
walked over to the coffee and stopped short of his goal.
There, at a cozy table for two, was Virgil and the woman who
had started talking with him way back at that first painting.
slowly and calmly, Scott got fairly close to Virgil's back and
stood there, glaring.
don't turn around, but there's a man standing behind you and
he looks really angry. Maybe we should get up and leave here."
slumped, and sighed. He turned around and threw Scott a hearty
are, Scott. We've been looking all over for you. How did you
get so lost in such a short span of time?"
how long have you been here, sitting, eating, enjoying the
company of this lovely young woman? How do you do, I'm
Virgil's big brother, Scott. It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss
....?" Scott returned to glaring at Virgil.
Virgil started to explain, "we got separated and I couldn't
find you. I knew that eventually you'd make it to the museum
restaurant. You can't go that long without eating. So
we waited here for you. And here you are. See, it all worked
out." Virgil hoped his rational explanation would pacify
wasn't really buying any of it and was about to tear into
Virgil. Virgil could see the storm about to break so he played
the IR card.
you're not the one who gets lost. You're the one who finds
lost people, remember?"
what amounted to a moment in the passage of time, Scott
recalled the look of relief and sheer joy on a ten year old
Virgil's face when Scott was the one who found him after he
had gotten lost in the woods near their "Aunt" May's house. In
fact, he also recalled the same expression on his "nephew"
Sam's face as he recently rescued him from near the same area,
although this time he had his wrist comm and John's help.
smiled, a small smile, but enough to let Virgil know he had
played the right card.
Virg. You're right. I just hate it when you're right, you
grinned widely. The young woman just sat there, seeing the
affection between the two men, and knowing better than to say
Scott said. "I'm going back to the hotel. I'm beat. All this
art is overwhelming me. You stay and enjoy the rest of your
lunch. I'll check in with home. But come back to the hotel
before going out again for the evening. There may be some
things we need to discuss."
Scott. See ya later."
stood there for a moment, looking around.
Scott, the exit to the street is that way. Just go toward the
dessert section and turn right and there's the door to the
Virg," Scott said, his eyes narrowing.
expression turned sinister.
don't linger too long here. You know how you get in an
unfamiliar city when it's dark. It may be scary but perhaps
your friend will escort you to the hotel so you won't have to
be alone. In the dark. In a strange city. All alone."
the museum, Scott smiled and wondered how Vigil would explain
that without embarrassing himself.