Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England’s King Henry VIII, was beheaded in 1536 by a French swordsman, rather than the standard axe-wielding executioner. Sword or axe, the executioner got it wrong, leaving his target writhing in pain, until he delivered another blow, and then another, until the job was painfully done. The guillotine was invented in France as a more humane form of execution than the sword or the axe, and remained in use until 1977. Marie Antoinette went to the guillotine in 1793, during the Reign of Terror. The guillotine was precise and almost instantaneous. In 2020, in Minneapolis, the United States of America, a variation of the guillotine was invented. It was guillotine by the knee. The executioner was a policeman. He would force the condemned man down flat on the ground, ordering accompanying police officers to handcuff the man and pin him onto the bare cement, while he casually, with one hand in his pocket, applied the guillotine around the man’s neck with his knee. It would take all of about 10 minutes. The condemned man would cry, I can’t breathe. He would cry out to his dead mama. The executioner was impassive, handsome in his impassivity. The man was dead after about 7 minutes, but the guillotine stayed on for 3 minutes more. Just to make sure. Or maybe like a tourniquet to stem the flow of blood.