The Fan-Maker's Inquisition
my window.
    Solvite corpora et coagulate spiritum .
    If, as some think, Nature needs to coagulate, corrupt, and dissolve in order to renew Herself, then shall I, having rotted away, be born again? Will I, after so much suffering, and with the help of a sound digestion and the philosophical fire, become perfect? Or simply more corrupt? You see: Suffering makes the spirit mean. It impoverishes the heart.
    Many are the days when I become so crusty that I fear I will calcify or, perhaps worse—surely worse—turn to mud. I prefer calcification. To be a kind of aggregate of crystals; to, in other words, achieve an optical quality and, like the Maya shamans, a certain transparency .
    To be prismatic in habit! To be…reticulated. To be studded with bright angles. My girth has imparted an unavoidable opacity; I am in a chronic state of eclipse. If I could, I would choose to be formed of rock crystal, to be, there and here: water-clear! Chemically pure: lucent, refractive, prismatic. Ah! To be prismatic: splendent, a changeling. To glimmer.
    Then again, one might be graphite—a good conductor of heat, if I remember well. Magnetic! To be, like amber, electrified by friction! To be of malachite: always green . To be a malachite dildo up the ass of a youth handsome in the extreme. To be gold: a gold ring on the finger of an inexhaustible branleur. Mais oui …to be anything but mud!
    I have pawed her last letter; I have worried it as a dog worries a rib; I have wept over it as though we had been lovers; and I have pondered—all night I have pondered—knowing full well how preposterous it is, a total waste of time: the reasons, the Unreasonable Reasons, for her execution. I know our friendship is in part to blame; the Revolution has embraced sexual prudery with the same passion a necrophiliac embraces corpses. So there’s a reason: friendship with Sade . Further: I’ve been told our little story of the Inquisition in the New World has offended the Powers. (The Comité is made up of men who do not read, except the books they burn.) Now that Robespierre has embraced that bum-cleaver Yoweh—this rumor is more a certainty. Lastly: her affection for women . Above all, her brief liaison with Olympe de Gouges, who wrote a play to glorify D-before he proved himself a traitor: foolish mistake! A terrible play, I hear, yet people write bad plays all the time. Nothing comes more easily; I, myself, have done it. Surely she wrote the play to prove her patriotism—now, there’s a thing one should never do! What a trap that is! What it means to be a patriot changes from one instant to the next, and women have lost their heads for less. An example: a lady of my acquaintance who was seen eating a flan with a député out of favor with Robespierre for dressing too smartly and whoring. Both dispatched sans un mot . If it is possible to lose your head over chemises and foutre , well, then, surely a play…!
    Worse, really, is the Other Thing: Illicit Delight. Robespierre—I know his type well—hates a good time. Olympe (that silly name of hers!) and Gabrielle were lovers. Perhaps they flaunted it. Or, simply: were seen together . Once by the son who—I’ve a letter referring to this somewhere—came in upon them as they slept, sweet as lambs, in each other’s arms. The boy in boots, back from the wars, famished, blundering in and roaring them awake, roaring , wrote Gabrielle, as though in the throes of a Catastrophe! .
    And they were seen many times by Restif, which was inevitable because he could not keep his eyes off them! . The thought of those two lionesses devouring each other, solarized by desire, was a hot magnet that caused his rusty article to wag and to weep. Imagine him for an instant if you will: Crouching at some spy hole or other, his brain in a boil, Restif stares and stares—he cannot help himself! His loathing is a sort of worship, you see. He’s crazy to encunt the two of them! Instead he’s reduced to spying: now

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