I had no idea what to write about today, since, like Anna, I don’t spend much time pondering men’s receding hairlines.
Then my 14-year-old son came home and asked for help with his French project. He had to summarize a black-and-white-illustrated lesson book and needed help translating into English. Here’s the story. Two baby-faced French-Canadian boys, Paul and André, travel to Europe, buy Eurailpasses and wind up in France. André loses his passport on the train and the pair—both of whom are sporting stone-washed, ankle-length Mom jeans—head over to the Canadian consulate in Marseille to replace the document. So far, so normal.
It’s at the consulate that things start to get exciting. The boys bump into an old guy in the waiting room, a fellow Canadian called Monsieur Boisvert who is—you guessed it—balding. M. Boisvert is nothing special to look at…bad posture, droopy paunch, long sideburns and pleated pocket khakis.
When the boys get outside, M. Boisvert starts to look more appealing. He saunters over to his convertible Rolls and shouts to the boys, “Embarquez, mes amis,” as he offers to drive the young boys to Nice.
Okay, at this point my motherly instincts are clanging in alarm. I pause the translation to lecture my son that he’s never, ever to set foot in some 50-year-old stranger’s convertible, no matter how unthreatening his bald little head might be.
Things go from iffy to worse. M. Boisvert invites the lads for a “float on his boat.” It is at this point we get a really good eagle-eye view of Boisvert’s meager combover, and also at this point my son and I start to suspect Boisvert of having unholy thoughts about our two young protagonists. Boisvert invites them to stay on for a night or three. Paul and André are suspicious at first, but poor André lost half his money along with his passport, and apparently, does not know how to wire home for cash.
Even when we consider Paul’s child-bearing hips and his PTA-mom glasses, my son and I can see this situation is bad, bad, bad.
Things go from worse to utter crap. Two raccoon-faced toughs wearing undershirts pull up in a speedboat and quietly threaten M. Boisvert as our two innocent Canadians look on, agog. It’s at this point that even Boisvert starts to perspire. It’s also at this point my son points out that Boisvert fits the physical profile of the middle-aged pedophile perfectly. I cannot argue.
(Ninth grade was never this fun when I was a kid.)
So now, creepier things start to happen. Boisvert starts skulking around in dark alleys with packages “de la drogue.” And his sideburns get even longer. Suddenly he speaks of a dead wife who “est tombée par-dessus bord.” Fell over board.
We fear for Paul and André. They’re too Canadian for their own good.
It’s all I can tell you for now. We have two more chapters to finish tomorrow night. But, so as not to leave you hanging, gentle reader, we scanned through the remaining pictures. We’ll let you decide for yourselves how it ends.
Photo A – The toughs return, this time with dangerous-looking beards and t-shirts with actual sleeves. M. Boisvert cranks up the sweating. His sideburns threaten to grow down his neck.
Photo B – An even prissier Paul and a newly roguish-looking André trip a “drogue”-wielding thug with a skipping rope, causing the thug’s hat to fall off and his hair to stand on end. This turn of events takes place on the boat deck, where a mysterious mustached man emerges from below deck with a pistol. Boisvert is nowhere to be seen. I’d like to think he’s showering.
Photo C – Boisvert, Paul and André are soaking up some rays at a café “dans le port de Nice.” The atmosphere looks relaxed, happy. Boisvert, whose previously menacing sideburns seem to have returned to normal, is offering Paul what I can only hope is drogue-free lemonade and André has a paper umbrella in his cup. Most importantly, our pasty Canadian boys look as if they just might have toughened up. Slightly.
11 Replies to “The Astonishing Lure of Monsieur Boisvert by Deb Tish”
I love that Boisvert’s sideburns change!
I certainly never read anything this interesting for school in ninth grade…
Sacre Bleu! Nothing like a good old French story to fly in the face of everything we tell our kids not to do, eh? (Thought I’d throw that little Canadianism in there)You made the story sound so interesting, now I want to read it. Nice seems to be a bit shady. I’ve had a few bad experiences there with men–even wrote a short story about one guy who fleeced me of 100 francs twenty-five years ago in that fair city. Ah, the memories of youth. Thanks for taking us back, Tish.
If French had been this interesting when I took it I might have paid more attention
That is utterly bizarre! At least it’s not for kids in grade 3. But still… Creepy!
Oh, Tish, Boisvert certainly came through for you. Just another example of how ideas or inspiration can fall into your lap. Thank goodness for homework!
Toughened up, or learned the power of love?
That story sounds… wholesome.
Jennifer: The sideburns were the barometer of evil intentions, I think. Not a bad title for a book, actually.
Katie: Love? Erm…maybe in some states.
Maia: Did he drive a white rolls?
Eileen, Maureen, Larramie: Can any of you guys translate his name? It gave my son and I a laugh.
Well, according to a French – English dictionary:
bois [n] the trees and other plants in a large densely wooded area.
Contains tree underbrush
Related derivation afforest
Type of vegetation
Example: grove bosk old_growth second_growth
vert [a] gree; not seasoned; “uncured pelts”.
Similar to unseasoned
If this is even close, then M. Boisvert has an “uncured pelt!” 😉
Btw, Tish, do you know the publication date of this tale?
I believe it was published in the early eighties.
I liked his childbearing hips, and his PTA-mom glasses!
My sleazy Nice resident didn’t drive a Rolls, thanks for asking. He was devastatingly handsome and a psychopath, though. I thought Boisvert meant Woodgreen or Greenwood. Non?
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