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Postcards from Paris

Contact Loulou de la PaumardierePAGE 6 OF 6 <<PREVIOUS

On that early winter evening it was already dark when Heilbronn placed the envelope  against the victim’s door, then he and Moumoute quietly left the building, the blind man and his seeing eye dog and crossed the boulevard des Invalides where Leclerc was waiting within sight of the  victim’s flat and now seemed to be gesturing to Heilbronn who had to pretend not to be able to see him but as he got closer he could see that Leclerc was indeed waving his arms wildly and pointing at him and shouting Run! and as he got closer  Run goddamn it! and as Leclerc had run away he’d bellowed even more intriguingly Oh God we’re all going to die! and Heilbronn looked down and Moumoute was grinning with the envelope in his teeth and was waiting for Heilbron to thank him for having picked it back up and pat him on the head but instead Heilbron said many bad words and ran after Leclerc and Moumoute ran after them because he loved to play tag and after zigzagging up and down and back and forth across the boulevard des Invalides shouting Moumoute, go away! The detectives jumped into the dry moat that surrounds that institution and hid there, their hearts pounding, for over one minute. Then, a thud. And they looked down and of course there stood Moumoute, tail wagging, and you can jump down into the moat but there’s no way back up and it’s a mile or so around so they said Moumoute, stay, and ran away and the dog stayed until he couldn’t stand it and so ran after them until Leclerc found a rock and it hit him and really stung and Moumoute decided he’d misjudged Leclerc and decided then and there that henceforth he would give all of his love to Heilbron, who was harder to catch so he sped up until on his second sprint around the moat with Moumoute hot on his heels, Heilbron started to slow down, looplegged with fatigue and his screaming having now modulated to a high-pitched squeal that sounded like the gifted eight- year-old female guest soloist of a pentecostalist gospel choir singing “Mama Get A Hammer (There's A Fly On Daddy's Head)” on helium and finally the wheezing was all but silent as he tried unsuccessfully to catch his breath, almost too weary to draw his weapon when Moumoute appeared at his feet still grinning and slobbering with the envelope in his mouth, tail still wagging inanely and Heilbron struck him with his night stick and Moumoute yelped and ran away as fast as he could, so loveless and forlorn that he hadn’t even remembered to pick up the envelope he’d set at Heilbronn’s feet in the dark. And the explosion catapulted the dog back onto the sidewalk above the moat where, no longer a pariah, he ran across the boulevard des Invalides to the welcoming, tree-trunk-like arms of  Leclerc,  and Heilbronn rocketed skyward, pieces of him raining down on the surrounding pavement with a nasty splat, like raw liver being shot from a purpose built automatic weapon mounted in a helicopter and hundreds of eyewitnesses said that the golden dome of the Invalides jumped sixty feet off its chapel and came back down again in a cloud of smoke the bodies of the cars that lined the streets within a six-block radius levitated off their axles and then back down again, the lid had blown off of Napoleon’s magnificent mahogany casket and the Emperor’s remains had somehow landed intact in the arms of a tourist to whom someone had just said “First time to Paris?” and who promptly died of a heart attack. Anyway, Nicolas was not happy with the operation. 

We helped draft a supplement to the 2003 law on national identity and national symbols (with legal assistance provided pro bono and even though they were busy defending their own son Daniel on major felony charges in court that day by Nicolas’ patriotic lawyers Micheline and Bertrand Cahen) and voted into law on November 15, 2008. In it we outlaw offensive descriptions of the French and of France by French authors, who are not, Nicolas pointed out, representative of True France. Already on our initial list were four or five hundred authors, including Montaigne for having written inter alia in 1580 “The French surpass cannibals in every kind of barbarity.” Writer and French ambassador Paul Claudel called France," that stupid, hateful, bourgeois (i.e., Philistine) country on which I shake off the dirt from my slippers.”  France’s greatest poet, Aime Cesaire, referred to his own homeland as “an old turd” and “a worm-drawn carriage.” And perhaps the worst violator of the sacred symbolism of our great nation was General De Gaulle, who once said—and this was while he was the President of France—that only an utter fool would ever speak unironically of la douce France,” i.e., the storybook sweet and gentle France dear to the French masses and foreigners. http://www.europe-revue.info/1999/giraudouxintro.htm Here are some of the loathsome sentences or phrases formerly found in the oeuvre of Voltaire (they all come from the year 1769 alone, so one can see the necessity of a permanent committee such as ours) that we decided during our preliminary meeting to delete permanently: 

All of these sentences are libelous, defamatory and even though Nicolas has made it illegal to photograph or film police officers committing crimes, http://www.digitalworld.fr unless you are a journalist, this is what the undercover cops look like at the door.

At our next meeting, in January 2009, we’ll be looking at ways to keep the horrid Scandinavian languages from using the word “Frenchman” to refer to the cockroach.

The meeting broke up and I went into Nicolas’ office  and  he and Rachida both had their hands over their mouths and were red-faced trying to contain their laughter, and I said “Well, are you going to share?” and Nicolas said “Rachida had that African lady arrested. Apparently she objected to abusive treatment of a Mauritanian youth who’d asked for French nationality and who was being accompanied as a handcuffed prisoner on a flight back to Africa, so Rachida (well, okay, at my request, but did you hear that bitch during the commission meeting going on about torture and Coco Chanel and God knows what other lunacy?) had her arrested, handcuffed, removed from the plane, stripped naked, given a body cavity search and thrown into jail in Paris for no reason other than sadistic pleasure. (http://en.afrik.com/article12935.html).

I step out of my bath and am toweling off in the upstairs bathroom at 60, rue de Varenne and using my new pink Caron powder puff and a few drops of La Tubereuse or Vol d’Avion and have candles going and the whole pheromone arsenal and I look in the mirror and the moon through the window shows up just above my head, dotting the i of Louise. I stick my tongue out at myself and I think Loulou, you, my girl, are pointlessly beautiful and gifted and smart and alone. And I know I’ve been a terrible mother, too busy throwing parties and attending them and planting and throwing up privet hedges of gossip and shopping and travel right and left in order to preserve what was left of my innermost self, if it ever even existed, to have been able to open up my heart to my children’s love or to give any in return. Well boo fucking hoo.

Neither one of us was hungry this evening so I too climb into bed, where she has on the 3-D glasses that came with the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records, and I take a magazine with some serotonin-boosting Rich and Famous Caught Off Guard photos showing America’s sweethearts in graceless states, and Carla turns over to me and props herself on her elbow and runs her long narrow index along my stomach and says “Loulou sweetheart, I’d hate for anything ever to come between us.”

And I say “Oh Carla darling, we’ve been through everything together. What could possibly come between us?”

There’s a rather long pause and then she says “The American for example.”

“Oh don’t be silly Carla,” I say, “I’ve told you how ridiculous I think that situation is, but you’re a big girl and you have to live with your own decisions, especially decisions about making love to hillbillies.”

“But Loulou, he and I have never made love.”

“What? I don’t believe you. You’ve been sharing the same bed for weeks!”

“Yes, sharing the same bed and talking endlessly about his one obsession.”

“Which is?”

“Which is you, Loulou.”

I shrieked. My heart was fluttering like a hummingbird trapped inside a jock strap. “But that’s nonsense,” I said. “We’ve barely even spoken! He doesn’t even know me!”

“Oh but he does, ma petite Loulou. I have no idea how, but it’s as if he knew your innermost thoughts. He even knows things that happened to you at school when you were 14 and I know they were true because I was there at the time!”

“Carla darling, you are so weirding me out. How can this be possible? What is he—a stalker?”

“I don’t know, but he seems harmless enough and I just adore him, I really and truly do.”

“Carla, I can’t believe my ears.”

And of course the doorbell rang, and I thought well it must be the concierge bringing laundry at this hour so I’d better go down. And I open the door, and no one’s there, but on my doormat, the one with the words Parva Sed Apta (Small but Adequate), there’s this gorgeously-wrapped package in opalescent salmon- pink satin paper with a broad Nattier blue silk moiré ribbon. It’s fairly obviously a book, and I can’t wait to open it, but there’s a small envelope wedged on top and I stand there on my doorstep and open it and read the note and I cannot believe my eyes.

© 2008 Louise de la Paumardiere





About LOUISE DE LA PAUMARDIERE It would be difficult to imagine anyone more purely French or a better embodiment of France and French values than polyglamorous Louise de la Paumardiere. Loulou's paternal great grandfather Andre Le Troquer, unfairly removed from office as President of the French Senate in 1958 for having run a pedophile network, and her maternal grandfather General Paul Ausseresses, unfairly stripped of his rank and thrown out of the Legion d'Honneur because of his role as a torturer in the Franco-Algerian war, are but two of her many famous ancestors. Author of From Foreign to French: 100 Makeovers in Stories and Pictures (New York and London: PLB Books, 2006), multi-talented and multilingual Loulou de la Paumardiere first came to public attention when several of the high-profile Paris-based foreign women on whom she performed makeovers committed suicide. Her family operates the majority of the uniquely French institutions known as Centres d'aide par le travail, or CATS, factories in which handicapped French citizens are employed at less than minimum wage because, as Loulou puts it with her typical Cartesian clarity, "they are handicapped." Her ancestral home, Château de la Paumardiere in Boilly-sur-Gui, an hour from Paris in Normandy, has hosted every head of state since Louis XIV and was a favorite haunt of Lully the Sodomite. She continues that great tradition of French hospitality on weekends in Boilly and during the week at her luxurious mansion at 60, rue de Varenne in Paris.