Far Fetched Fables No 27 Matthew Johnson and Steven Pirie

First Story: “Public Safety” by Matthew Johnson

Officier de la Paix Louverture folded Quartidi’s Père Duchesne into thirds, fanning himself against the Thermidor heat. The news inside was all bad, anyway: another theater had closed, leaving the Comedie Francaise the only one open in Nouvelle-Orleans. At least the Duchesne could be counted on to report only what the Corps told them to, that the Figaro had closed for repairs, and not the truth — which was that audiences, frightened by the increasing number of fires and other mishaps at the theaters, had stopped coming. The Minerve was harder to control, but the theater-owners had been persuaded not to talk to their reporters, to avoid a public panic. No matter that these were all clearly accidents: even now, in the year 122, reason was often just a thin layer of ice concealing a pre-Revolutionary sea of irrationality.

Matthew Johnson is a writer and educator who lives in Ottawa with his wife and two...

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