"La Tour Eiffel sera la fermeture, en dix minutes. S'il vous plaît faites votre chemin vers la sortie"

Guillaume sighed whilst pulling on his janitorial overalls. The most beautiful monument in all of Paris, and he would be spending his time visiting it cleaning up after the daily throngs of visitors that cluttered its magnificent structure each day. It wasn't his first choice of job, it wasn't his first choice by far. It wasn't even his second choice. But since he'd lost his position at a bank in Central Paris three months ago, this was all he could find. He felt a jealous pang as he watched the crowds descend from the top of the tower in the lifts that took them down to the bottom. Tourists, most of them, of course - Allemandes, Bretagnes, and of course, lots and lots of Americains.

He'd watched them come and go all day, wondering wistfully what it would be like to go right up to the top and see out over the whole of Paris. In all his twenty-five years of life, he'd never been, and sorely regretted it as he reached for his cleaning supplies.

Sandrine had not been happy when he'd told her of his new janitorial position. "Can't you find something else?" she'd implored. And then she'd sighed, hugged him, and told him she was proud of him for trying. As the last person left the ascenseur, Guillaume gathered his things and made his way to it, his trolley of cleaning materials ricketing on the ground as he pushed it in front of him. He climbed into the lift, pressed up. The lift shot up off the floor, higher, higher - Guillaume stared out at the scene as he rose into the air, the twinkling lights of Paris a minuit filling him with awe. A hundred thousand little lights, yellows, oranges, silvers, golds, sparkling against the pitch black. He saw the faint floodlit Arc d'Triomphe, the shimmering twist of the Seine, the headlamps of cars blinking like beetle eyes. The slow revolve of the ferris wheel. The hooting of vehicle horns, just audible. The streetlamps of the Champs Elysees igniting a fiery path of beauty against the backdrop of opague buildings.

On reaching the top, Guillaume stepped out onto the middle platform, halfway up. At ninety-five feet high, the scene that was stretched before him beyond the iron railings was mesmerising. Black, black for miles, and the lights peppered against the sky like jewels, matched by the stars in their sparkle.

 He removed the broom from the trolley, and began sweeping up the floor of the platform, brushing together empty bottles, cans, plastic cups, empty crisp packets, food wrappers, bits of paper, all kinds of paraphernalia. A crumped, trampled American flag. A tricolore napkin from a takeaway croissant. Odd drinks straws, striped in red and blue and yellow. A map of France. A ballpoint pen.

A ball point pen, with no ink inside, but a rolled up piece of white paper.

Guillaume, intrigued, stooped to pick it up. Yes, it was a piece of paper, and there was something written on it, though he couldn't read it properly. He pulled off the lid of the pen, held it upside down, shook it.

The paper fell out onto his rough palm, curled and dirty at the edges. He unrolled it, flattened it against his hand carefully.

J'ai pensee tu decouvrerais cette message. Jamais dit jamais.

The next day, he quit the janitorial job and went to the bank. He asked for a loan. Four weeks later, Le Cafe de Montange Rouge recieved fifty customers. He'd never felt happier in his life.



Ballpoint pen

Eiffel Tower

The End

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