Out back is where we crucify the students. The loyal-consumers-in-training, I mean. The lcit.
Actually, out back is mainly where we crucified the lcit – those who have most seriously erred – but now, times being what they are, we crucify them all over the Terminal and Terminal grounds.
There seems to be an inevitable rhythm to the crucifixions. This stern punishment arises from incidents that arrive in clusters around the holidays, near the beginnings and endings of the Terminal year, and semesters, and months, and weeks. Also, the beginnings and endings of days, classes, and exam periods are particularly fraught with tension and volatility. Not to mention to different degrees every moment in between. We find remedial crucifixion necessary for lcit crimes deemed especially heinous, such as duct-taping over forehead ID bar codes and other subversive behavior, like excessive cooperation and socializing.
Rockview Terminal is more prone to crucifixions nowadays, but I’m sure it has nothing to do with the higher rates the Terminal is able to command from advertisers who attempt to peddle their brand name attention deficit disorder drugs at these lamentable yet festive events. After driving the nails into the hands and feet and leaving the errant lcit hanging for the better part of a day, a Terminal security agent then drives a painted fluorescent orange, two-foot-long, three-inch-wide steel spike through the center of the condemned lcit’s forehead, into the wooden post behind.
There is talk among advertisers of electronically lighting up the tip of the spike after it is driven through the skull or otherwise brightening the advertisement, in an effort to get the message to really sink in.
I often wonder why people sometimes object to the amount of money corporate advertisers willingly pay for the circular three-inch spot on the head of the spike. The pharmaceutical company that manufactures the Real-Lite pills that best calm the loyal-consumers-in-training, Real-Lite Incorporated, pays top dollar to help remind everyone that allowing natural body chemistry to simply run free – that is, out of control – can result in dire consequences for everyone concerned. I say, let big business pay for the remedial spike through the head. (To me, it’s a no-brainer.)
As a final warning about the dangers of personal freedom and the financial-chemical remedy for this dread state of being, Real-Lite corporation in conjunction with the Terminal hangs a colorful banner over the head of the crucified lcit displaying the different pill sizes and strengths for sale.
Behind the Terminal is still the preferred place to carry out crucifixions. That’s where visitors will find a permanent assortment of three cross sizes – small, medium, and large, for elementary, junior Terminal, and full Terminal lcit – several small crosses, a few more large crosses, and nearly two dozen junior Terminal crosses, since by far the vast majority of all infractions occur at the junior Terminal age. Who knows why – for some reason, freedom seems to max out at the same stage as when the body and mind begin to mature.
After the unfortunate lcit is spiked through the head to the cross, the body is left to hang until it rots and thoroughly disintegrates. Eventually the bones fall into a heap below. There is quite a mound of skeletal parts behind Rockview Terminal by now, obviously. Sometimes we still catch an lcit or two loitering out there, wistfully kicking through the bones, as if reminiscing, maybe searching for the skull of an old elementary chum or a junior Terminal buddy.
More frequently we find a couple of boys sword-fighting with thigh bones – not unlike the Terminators who often spar with training room whips – a pleasure to watch. Nevertheless, such freelance sport earns the young warriors an automatic trip to the smashing block, where security agents sometimes go easy on them, seeing younger versions of themselves. They joke with the duelers in an effort to cheer them up, then smash only a fingertip or two.
On occasion, out back among the bones, we’ll catch a young couple in the act of something more intimate. This offense leads straight to the isolation rooms, naturally.
We Terminators generally allow, even encourage, loyal-consumers-in-training to think no one patrols the crucifixion area with any regularity. On the contrary, there is no more peaceful spot near which Terminators like to take their breaks than out back overlooking the crosses, skulls and bones.
I must admit, I am especially drawn to the place as well. My youngest son recently met his sorry fate there on the cross after he was caught cheating on a math test – a minor crime, one might think, but he was a repeat offender, I am sad to report. After all of my son’s trips to the smashing block, psychiatrist’s office, and isolation rooms, after all the head resizings, electrical stimulants, and Real-Lite doses, the poor boy seemed scarcely functional anymore, no more functional than before. The crucifixion turned out to be for the best, really, an outright mercy. He was so far gone I don’t think even the final spike through the forehead was terribly necessary.
Every once in awhile now I’ll go out and lay a red rose on the pile of bones and wonder if anything could have been done differently to salvage my dear son’s life. Alas, despite having graduated with distinction from the Terminal years ago, I have no idea.
Fortunately, whenever I get a little down in the dumps there is plenty of life around here to pick me up – not least the great Terminal mascot and the great Terminal Cheer.
As for the mascot, ever since the Grand Obliteration – that difficult but necessary moment in our country’s history immediately following the Great Repression – Rockview Terminal has proudly adopted as mascot an actual decommissioned M-1 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.
With multiple defused warheads this missile has been mounted nobly above the arched main entrance of our Terminal for the past several generations, all throughout our country’s myriad interventions in those numerous misguided third world nations. Thus, each morning, before the loyal-consumers-in-training recite the Flag Pledge, the Twenty Commandments, the Twelve Golden Pillars of Corporate Success, and the Official Terminal Cheer, everyone is viscerally reminded of the awesome brute force by which this country has supplied the material needs for all society, or at least for those best situated and most properly insured.
We must never forget how very many urgent material needs our loyal-consumers-in-training actually do have, just as the lcit must realize how difficult it is even in a country as mind-blowingly and stupendously rich as this one to ensure that everybody gets a speck of creature comfort at a reasonable price of time, labor, credit, sweat, blood and tears.
Not all loyal consumers are lucky enough, or even entitled, to live as long and with as much health as they would like, and in a fortified hut of their own, but this is the price that must be paid by the loyal consumers of any happy and secure nation for the country itself to be great.
And to think, our noble mascot the M-1 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile has made so much of this greatness possible through the glorious nature of War! War! War!
Well, not war exactly, I should say, for this is a term with which only the occasionally well-read historian such as myself may be familiar. Just as the former Department of Defense was initially called the Department of War, until 1947, so today it is called the Department of Velvet Enrichment. And in the near future – if the Republicrats and Democans have their way with their latest enlightened proposal, and don’t they always, happily – this most favored and highly exalted department will henceforth be known as the Department of Love and Remedial Kisses.
It may tickle some of you armchair historians to note that long ago, a handful of psychologically disturbed protesters actually took to calling the Department of Defense, as it was then known, the Department of Death. Now there are laws against such things, as there certainly ought to be – especially since the Department of Velvet Enrichment currently accounts for about 98 percent of the National Budget.
In any event, Rockview Terminal is absolutely delighted by its friendly mascot, the M-1 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. A picture of this missile appears on the screen savers of all the lcit computers and is posted on Rockview Terminal’s home page and in glass frames all around the walls of the Terminal.
We could not be happier even if we had a full-size B-1 Bomber perched on top of the Terminal. On the other hand, we would pay dearly to acquire such a weapon, for show of course, and we look forward to the day when one might come up for sale at a nearby museum.
It’s true, the death of my son was a hard blow. Thankfully, the Terminal never fails to inspire. For example, the great Terminal Cheer –
“Go Terminal Go! Go Terminal Go! Go Terminal Go!”
Some people, not from around here, have suggested that this slogan is a little too bland, too indistinct and seems to refer to all Terminals in general. However, we like it. We Terminators, loyal consumers, and loyal-consumers-in-training feel that this cheer is wholesome, yet edgy, and to the point, like all other Terminal pledges and oaths. Occasionally we even change the order of the words, for example – “Terminal! Go! Go!” or “Go! Go! Terminal!”
If only my dearly departed son had kept this resounding cheer more firmly in mind and taken it more deeply to heart, how different things might have been.
Fortunately, for hard cases such as my duly disciplined son, there is Terminal insurance. Of course, insurance is one of the great blessings of modern Terminal life and of all life across this benevolent society of ours.
These days, the Terminal even provides basic insurance free of charge. This includes coverage for minor corrections and their side effects that most loyal-consumers-in-training experience at one time or another – smashed fingers, blackened palms, whip lashing infections, random dislocations, stress-induced delirium, laser burns to the brow, and other necessary concomitants of modern education.
The Terminal does not itself cover major trauma and debilitations, such as broken bones in the cranium or elsewhere, extended seizures – psychological or otherwise – pre or post isolation room paralysis, mental or physical, or amputation. However, extensive coverage may be purchased at extra charge, and is highly recommended.
Formerly known as death insurance – Final Lcit Departure (FLD) insurance is mandatory. Compared to other Terminals its size, Rockview Terminal admits to rather low rates of FLD, but some such risk is inherent, given the high standards set in our beloved Terminal and society in general. And of course no small risk is incurred by ingesting lunch, let alone the toll exacted by rote pacing, by the stress and threat of isolation rooms, and by those always adventurous visits to the psychologists, by prescription drug mixups, mismatches, complications in the Terminal health room, et cetera and so on, not forgetting side effects exacted by lasers, needles, electrified fences (often invisible), unexpected power surges, invigorating course contents, and, well, just the basic day to day demands of life as we know it here in the happy confines of Rockview Terminal.
Also, as the example of my dearly beloved son shows so poignantly, the possibility of remedial crucifixions can never be fully discounted when considering insurance needs for daily attendance in the Terminal.
My special advice to parents – buy that insurance. It’s about the only blessed thing one can count on in life and death anymore – those insurance policy payoffs – assuming one ultimately qualifies.
Most families wisely purchase every extra bit of insurance they can, or cannot, afford. In ever high demand is what used to be known as life insurance, and is now sold through the Terminal’s popular and generous reprieve-from-death plan, commonly known by its acronym, SCULL (Standard Coverage Underwriting Long Life) and by its catchy trademark motto, “Don’t go Terminal without it!” 1-800-BUY-SCULL.
Whenever I think of my son and the joy he must have felt during his happy brief time in the Terminal, I’ve always been grateful we fully insured him.
Lcit everywhere would do well to obtain the most advanced insurance plans they can possibly afford. Happily, our lcit are unlikely ever to forget such thoughtful, caring commitment to their total well-being, for which we the dutiful functionaries, concerned parents, and responsible loyal consumers of Rockview Terminal may feel justly proud.
Say it with me now, all at once, all together – say it loud, say it proud – Go! Terminal! Go!
* “Ritalin®, the brand name of the drug methylphenidate, is prescribed to about 2.4 million children diagnosed with attention deficit disorders (ADD) to help them concentrate. The drug is manufactured by the Ciba-Geigy Corporation. The Drug Enforcement Agency said there were 1,171 emergency room admissions attributed to use of methylphenidate in 1994, a slight increase from 1993… We have always had some problems with [methylphenidate] abuse and traffic. But it has never been pervasive because there never was much available… That situation [has begun] to change radically,” said Gene Haislip, head of the DEA’s drug diversion unit. “A lot of people don’t know Ritalin® is like cocaine,” Haislip said. “It can be very dangerous.” He called the relationship between Ciba-Geigy and CHADD, an ADD advocacy group, an “unhealthy co-mingling of medical and commercial interests.” -National Drug Strategy Network, http://www.ndsn.org