Copyright © 2011
“All rise!” said the bailiff in a loud voice.
The judge walked in and said, “Be seated.” After sitting, he shuffled a few papers on his desk for a minute.
“Sam Horiwitz, you have been found guilty of a capital crime. Sentencing is to be carried out on Monday morning, six a.m. in the year of our lord, twenty-one fifty-eight,” the judge said coldly. He turned to the bailiff and said in a lower voice, “I’d have it done tomorrow, but I have a golf date.”
The bailiff called out, “All rise!” We stood as the judge quickly left the courtroom. I collapsed back into my chair.
I turned to my court appointed attorney, David Widerling, and said, “I don’t believe this is happening! Since when is jay walking a capital crime?”
David was leaning back in his chair, hands linked behind his head. “Yeah, tough break pal. That went into effect just last week.”
“But this is insane! I mean, we’re colonizing planets these days! This is barbaric!”
David just shrugged and said, “New York is virtually crime free, pal. We have judges like Judge Schlect there to thank for that with their tough stance on crime.”
“But…but…I was just crossing the street! I don’t even live in New York! How was I supposed to know?”
David said, “Hey pal, like you heard in court, ignorance is no excuse.”
“And that’s another thing, Mr. Widerling,“ I said. “You did nothing to defend me?!”
David just shrugged again and said, “Win or lose, pal, it all pays the same. Besides, what was there to defend? A cop saw you cross the street.” He put is feet up on the desk. There was no hurry to leave as I was the last case to be heard.
“Aren’t you supposed to at least object to something?” I asked. With his eyes closed, he just shrugged. I leaned in close to him so only he could hear and said, “It looks like we only have two days, which seems nuts to me, but can you get me an appeal before then?”
This time David actually looked over at me and laughed. He said, “You’re really not from around here are you, pal? There’s no appeal. The judge’s word is final.”
“What are you in for, mister?”
I looked over to the adjacent cell and saw a kid, maybe eighteen or nineteen leaning up against the bars. The expression on his face was one of complete resignation.
I was sitting on my cell’s bed. It was a rat chewed mattress tossed on metal bands. Without much interest, I said, “Jay walking.”
The kid just nodded. “I removed the tag from my pillow.”
I shook my head and said, “I thought all capital punishment was abolished over a hundred years ago! And for petty shit like this? Unbelievable!”
The kid just looked at me with dead eyes. “Nobody cares,” he said. With one arm, he just pointed randomly and said, “Out there they don’t care. Crime is down. That’s all they care about!”
A guard walking by rapped his billy club on the kid’s knuckles to make him put his arm back inside the cell.
I said, “I’m not so sure.” Before my arrest, I was surprised by how few people were about. Everyone looked sullen, avoiding any eye contact. Well, crime was down.
I heard the key turn in the lock of my cell. I hadn’t slept at all. My mind was empty. I had no emotions left. The guards laughed when I requested a last meal and I was given a plate of beans just like the night before. I looked up at the small group that had assembled outside my cell.
“Mr. Horiwitz? It’s time.” I hadn’t seen before the bespectacled man that spoke to me. The cell door slid open and several guards entered my cell. The man with the glasses motioned for me to stand. “Please stand up, Mr. Horiwitz.”
Shouts from other prisoners echoed through the cells. A few cups were tossed at the guards. “Make them drag you!”, “Don ‘t walk, man! Make them work for it!”, “Fuck the guards!”, “Hey man, I’m trying to sleep here!”
I stood up and the guards shackled my wrists and ankles. The guards looked very serious holding their shotguns at the ready. The man with the glasses gestured down the long hallway. “This way, Mr. Horiwitz.”
As we walked down the long hallway towards an unlabeled black door, there were more shouts and some of the prisoners spat at the guards. But nothing deterred our slow march to the black door. I couldn’t think. I tried to think of my family, or even the reason I came to New York. I drew a complete blank. My family was denied visitation and their request to the governor for a stay was denied as well.
A guard opened the door and we proceeded inside. And there it was. I couldn’t believe it. There was the chair. Arm clamps, straps, electrodes. More guards, the judge, and some man with dark glasses standing on the other side of a thick window. It suddenly became all too real for me. I was numb. Before it had all seemed so surreal. I didn’t really believe it was happening.
“No!” I cried. “This is in-humane! You can’t do this” I struggled against the guards. My legs became rubber and I fell to the floor bringing a couple of guards down with me. I was jerked roughly to my feet by the guards pulling on the chains of my shackles. “Please!” I cried out again. “For the love of God! You can’t do this!”
I fought against the guards. I resisted with all my strength, but it was not enough. As I was wrestled into the chair, first one clamp in place, then another, the man with the glasses calmly said, “You must pay your debt to society, Mr. Horiwitz. We can’t have people like you disobeying the law. Civil society can’t exist with people who disrespect the rule of law.”
I managed to slip out of the strap on my forehead for a second time. I was sobbing, “No no no no…” Two guards grabbed my head and pulled it back. I bit one of the guards hard and heard him howl in pain. There was a sudden hard jerk on the strap and my head snapped back and was locked in place.
“Mr. Horiwitz, please,” said the glasses guy. “There’s no point to resist. It will all be over in a moment. Some research suggests that you will feel nothing.” He pointed at the black door we came though, now closed. “No one has come though that door in over ten years and stopped these proceedings. I don’t expect that to happen this time, either.” He motioned to a couple of guards who double-checked the bands that held my arms, feet and head and then they removed the shackles and stuffed something in my mouth that tasted nasty, but kept me from further protests.
With a nod to the man behind the glass, the man with the glasses and the guards except one exited back out through the door. The last guard slid a mask over my face, so I could no longer see. I heard the guard open the door and exit, leaving me alone with the exception of the guy behind the glass. I struggled uselessly against the straps. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. Sweat trickled into my eyes, stinging them.
Through a speaker, I heard a voice say, “I will count down from ten to one. After the count of one, I will throw the switch.” He then began his monotone count-down.
I thought, “Just throw the damned switch!” Listening to the count-down was worse than any torture.
My body suddenly convulsed with the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced. So much for their research…
I swallowed and licked the last drop from the customer’s rigid member. I looked up at him and flashed him a blank smile.
“Prissy-five, you are still the best. I’ll be sure to ask for you again!”
“Thank you sir,” I said. “It’s always a pleasure to…”
The pain from the slap made my vision blur for a moment.
“I don’t want you getting a big head, bitch!” said the customer with a laugh. As he walked away, he said, “These girls are so much fun.”
I tried not to cry as I rubbed my cheek. I turned to the wall mounted mirror to fix my make-up. I only had thirty-five more customers before shift end.
The government had a dirty little secret. Well, they had a zillion dirty little secrets, but one of them was the use of the MetaDNAMixer. The guy who invented it had hoped he had finally found the cure for all the ails of mankind. But all it would do was change anyone, male or female, into an eighteen year old vacuous nymphomaniac. He made ten prototypes before giving up. They used death row inmates for the tests.
Mining operations and industries started sending colonists to outer worlds after the invention of FTL, Faster Than Light travel. People from the larger cities flocked to the new opportunities on the outer worlds. With fewer and fewer sources of income, major cities turned to an easy money maker…
The major cities and the federal government bought all the prototypes that were built and the inventor himself was forced into the machine to keep him quiet. Selling prostitutes to the mining planets became insanely lucrative and city governments made huge amounts of money. Life expectancy for prostitutes on the mining worlds was only two or three years so the need for new ones was constant.
The next customer entered the room and I smiled sweetly to him…
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