I Meet My Guide
It was ten o’clock on a Saturday, and other than our waiter, it seemed as if we were the only people awake in town. Bastille Day celebrations had ended just hours earlier, and most Parisians were still sleeping off the effects. It was the perfect time to plan our expedition.
Though she’s only a year or two older than I am, Claire has been visiting the catacombs for more than a decade. But she only gives tours to those who come with a personal recommendation. Kiki Strike has seen the tunnels with Claire. So have several macho movie stars, one of whom didn’t like the idea of being guided by a girl. He took off on his own and was discovered twelve hours later, huddled in a corner crying softly to himself.
Claire said she had met members of the Perforating Mexicans while exploring the catacombs. She’d considered joining the club herself, until she found that their taste in movies didn’t suit her. She agreed to take me to see their underground cinema. (The one the police have yet to discover.) But there are far more interesting things in the catacombs, she assured me, than film clubs. Not only are there bunkers and crypts and rooms made entirely of chalk, but her grandfather had always sworn that there were passages under Paris that not even the most intrepid explorers had discovered—tunnels dug by the Nazis during the war. He had spent his entire life searching, and died before he could find them.