Monday, 22 May 2017

The Exterminator

[Media prompt] Parisian women face constant harassment by migrants.
The Exterminator

Jean-Paul’s street in the Chapelle-Pajol district of Paris had changed. Women no longer entered the café under his apartment. Mrs. Dubois, his next door neighbour, rarely ventured out into the street. An elderly woman who lived in another building had been sexually molested in broad daylight. Groups of men patrolled the neighbourhood, turning cafés into men-only zones and leering at women old and young alike. They prayed in the street, laying out rugs so that traffic was halted.

The men of Chapelle-Pajol told their women to dress modestly to avoid scrutiny. They nodded and agreed with the claim that Islam was a religion of peace. When they saw migrants harassing women, they crossed to the other side of the road. And for their cowardice were rewarded with regular beatings, sometimes left for dead in the gutters.

Jean-Paul kept to himself. He read in the mornings, when sunlight flooded into his little sitting room, and practiced Russian and classical Greek after lunch. Sometimes he watched a movie before training, and every evening he went for a long walk, the route of which he never planned beforehand. Occasionally, he left his apartment for weeks on end to carry out executions for clients. In the confined circles where his name was known, Jean-Paul was widely considered the best assassin in the market.

After the Fournier girl was raped, Jean-Paul put out word that he would be unavailable for the next twelve months. He still read in the morning, and practiced Russian and Greek in the afternoons. Occasionally he watched a film, but rarely anything produced after 1976. He had little patience for the current crop of directors. But in the evenings he no longer went for rambling walks. When Chapelle-Pajol was blanketed by darkness, Jean-Paul began to take back the streets for the inhabitants who had lived in the area for decades.

One day, after returning from a trip abroad, Jean-Paul bumped into Mrs. Dubois coming out of the café below their apartments.

“Mr. Gerard,” she said, “what a lovely day, is it not?”

Jean-Paul nodded. Women had returned to the café, and life was back to normal. The bearded men so often loitering in the streets a year ago were no longer to be seen.

“You are a very naughty boy, Mr. Gerard,” said Mrs. Dubois, her eyes sparkling. “But I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Jean-Paul made a mental note to never underestimate elderly French ladies again. 

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