Papillon

14 Nov

I got my plan. It was a highly-polished aluminum tube, that unscrewed right in the middle. It had a male half and a female half. It contained 5600 francs in new bills. When I got it, I kissed it. Yes, I kissed that  little tube, two and a half inches long and as thick as your thumb, before shoving it into my anus. I took a deep breath so that it would lodge in the colon. It was my strongbox. They could make me take off all my clothes, spread my legs apart, make me cough or bend over double, for all the good it would do them. The plan was high up in the large intestine. It was a part of me. Inside me I carried my life, my freedom…my road to revenge. For that’s what was on my mind. Revenge. That’s all that was, in fact.

…I stretched out on the mattress on my iron bed and, lying there without a pillow, went over and over the details of that terrible trial…

What would I do after I escaped? For now that I had my plan I never doubted for a moment that I would.

Well, I’d make it back to Paris as fast as possible, And the first man I’d kill would be that stool pigeon, Polien. Then the two informers. But two informers weren’t enough, I had to kill all informers. Or at least as many as possible. I’d fill a trunk with all of the explosives it would hold. I didn’t know exactly how much that would be: twenty, thirty, forty pounds? I tried to figure what I’d need for lots of victims.

I kept my eyes closed, the handkerchief over them for protection, and I could see the trunk very clearly, looking very innocent but crammed with explosives, the trigger carefully primed to set them off. Wait a minute…It must explode at exactly ten in the morning, in the dispatch room on the second floor at Police Headquarters, 36 Quai de Orfevres. At that hour there would be at least one hundred and fifty cops in the room, receiving their orders for the day and listening to reports. How many steps were there to climb? I had to get it right.

I must figure exactly the time it would take to get the trunk from the street to its destination at the very second it was to explode. And who would carry the trunk? All right: be bold. I’d arrive in a taxi immediately in front of the entrance, and with an authoritative voice I’d tell the two guards: “Take this trunk up to the dispatch room. I’ll be right up. Tell Commissioner Dupont that Chief Inspector Dubois sent it and that I’ll be along in a minute.”

-Papillon
Henri Charrière

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