It’s generally admitted that if you live in a glass house, it’s not a good idea to throw stones. By the same token, if you live in a Muslim country, it’s not very wise to throw pigs’ heads. Especially into a mosque. Yet that is precisely what a gendarme’s girlfriend did on New Year’s Eve, 2013, with the help of another woman and the gendarme himself, who drove them there. The initial idea, suggested at a party attended by a score or so of military personnel and police, was to throw trotters into the neighbour’s garden. That being ridiculously tame, though, someone had the brainwave of the mosque. Everyone, of course, was drunk, but when it came to trial, that was hardly a mitigating circumstance: the two women, convicted of ‘psychological violence’, were sentenced to three months in prison, while the gendarme received a six-month suspended sentence. The defence lawyer appealed on the grounds that what they committed wasn’t psychological violence but blasphemy, which, conveniently, isn’t a punishable offence.
Mayotte is the setting for Perfume Island, the sequel to One Green Bottle. I’m not using this story in the novel, but there are others like it. When it comes to creating fiction, the gendarmes and their capers provide an excellent source of inspiration.