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January 20, 2013. Salon-de-Provence, France. 7 a.m. Paris time
Est-ce que vous faites du tourisme?‖ <Are you sight-seeing?> asked the cab driver
on the ride from the hotel to Salon-de-Provence.
Oui,‖ said Morse. His two children, Zach and Zoey, did not speak French and
looked at him quizzically.
Qu‟est-ce que vous allez voir?‖ <What are you going to see?>
“Nous esprons voir la maison de Nostradamus.” <We hope to see the home of
Ah, le Grand Prophète. J'espère que vous vous amuserez, mais il n'y a pas
beaucoup à voir. Vous pourriez peut-être emmener les petits à Euro Disney faire les
montagnes russes.” <I hope you have fun but there is not much to see. Perhaps you could
take the little ones to EuroDisney and ride the roller coaster.>
Zoey‘s ears picked up. ―Did he say EuroDisney?‖ Zoey grabbed her father‘s arm in
the backseat. ―I think he said EuroDisney. Are we going to EuroDisney?‖
―He says we should go to EuroDisney and ride the roller coaster.‖
―Can we? Can we, Dad? That would be so much more fun than looking at a dumb
old French house.‖
―I told you, Zoey,‖ said Morse. ―We are here on business. I am only taking you two
along because I have no place else to put you while I am gone. I am not making any
promises on roller coasters. That is not why we‘re here.‖
Zoey pushed her father‘s arm away in a huff, swinging her long brown hair towards
her brother. ―Uuuuuuuh! You‘re mean. I am so bored!‖ Zoey had brought along her
acoustic guitar, which was in her lap. She brought her acoustic guitar everywhere. She
was just learning to play and was not by any means an expert yet, but she hoped one day
to be in a rock band. She had an electric guitar back at her house, and a huge 60-watt amp
that would shake the chandeliers when she played.
Her brother Zach, age 15, looked out the window, taking in the bright green hills of
the French countryside, his eyes barely able to peak out through his blonde-streaked, Zac-
Efron-like hair which he always wore halfway across his face. He wore a dark blue
American Eagle hoodie and a skater cap on sideways, and was clutching his ―long-board‖
(an extra-long wooden skateboard with lime green wheels) to his chest. Between the
long-board, the guitar, and the three passengers, the back of this French taxi was very
―Z, chillax. Don‘t be buggin‘ on Pops.‖
Zach spoke some form of strange hip-hop-rap-speak which his father did not
understand. The taxi rambled on through the town of Salon-de-Provence. As the taxi
rolled over the cobblestones, Zach began loudly beat-boxing and singing a Jay-Z rap
song. Morse could make out something about bee stings and shoestrings, but the rest
sounded like gibberish.
―Stop doing that!‖ chided Morse. ―Not only does the song make no sense, if you sing
it, people will take you for an imbecile. Is that what you want?‖ Zach was annoyed.
―Right, Dad,‖ he said sarcastically. ―I am a real imbecile. I have straight A‘s, you
know, unlike dimwit here, who be bo-janglin‘ like 24-7.‖ Zach elbowed his sister.