Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Louis Remire, convicted of killing his wife, is serving a twelve-year sentence in the remote penal colony of Saint Laurent de Maroni in French Guiana. His is not, however, the miserable existence endured by less fortunate prisoners, for Louis Remire occupies an official position: He is the colony’s executioner, a privileged station accorded him not only because of his exemplary behavior toward prison officials but also because of his experience as a police officer in his native Lyons, France. Remire’s position brings with it any number of perquisites: He has his own small house on the prison grounds; he is able to wear his own clothes, rather than a prison uniform; he is allowed to grow the mustache of which he is inordinately vain. As if these liberties were not enough, he also receives one hundred francs for every execution, and has been able, he thinks, to save up enough money to establish himself in the outside world on his release. The job is not, however, without its drawbacks. The rest of the convicts hate the executioner and would gladly kill him if given the chance. Louis Remire’s predecessor was found stabbed, then hanged, in the jungle.
Still, despite the potential danger of his position, Louis Remire remains undaunted. His experience as a police officer has taught him to protect himself, and two vicious dogs patrol the grounds of his hut. He thinks of himself as quite above his fellow inmates, and is glad to be separated from them....
(The entire section is 998 words.)
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