Friday, February 12, 2010


“It's all about connections,” he said, glowering. “Connect marijuana use with the 'easing' of autism, boom, another gateway for the normalization of marijuana. Call something a "brash vulgarity in a sea of vulgarity," boom, you raise the bar on not only what is vulgar - lessening the sting of the currently obscene - but you open the door for increased vulgarity to make the brashness of the current vulgarity appear quaint. It's the classic slippery slope, but with the wrinkle that as they're sliding down, everyone's laughing and excited to see what's around the next bend, even if it's a chasm.”

“Y'all want connections,” he said, putting his hand lightly on her shoulder. “Y'all are gonna get 'em. From us.”

He turned quickly and walked out of the room. At the door he paused, turned around, looked at her. “Uh-huh,” he said. He left the room and closed the door.

“Show her the first,” he said, disembodied, loudly, through a speaker in the room. She jumped.

A projector whirred and a rainbow light shone out of the wall behind her. An image slowly coalesced on the wall in front of her.

She squinted.

The image's blur faded further.

Tinny, martial music started. The frozen image lurched into movement. Happy shoppers pushed their carts through a cavernous Bil-Stor. Beaming mothers. Well-behaved children. Not a mullet or fatty in sight.

The camera zoomed in on a cashier, smiling, clad in a green vest peppered with buttons and curled ribbons. A name tag.

“No!” she shouted.

The cashier, smiling, toting up the purchases from a heaping cart, patting a toddler on the head.

She closed her eyes.

The commercial stopped, frozen on the smiling, leering face.

She sat in the chair. She leaped up.

“You can't do this,” she screamed. “I won't let you!”

“Your vest is on the hook just outside the door."

The projector turned off, leaving her in darkness. She sat on the chair, sobbing, cursing. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she saw a band of light, streaming in underneath the door the man had used to leave the room.

I won't put on the vest, she said to herself.

She calmed her sobbing. Breathed deeply. The dark made her nervous, but she could handle it.

“We'll turn the light off in the outer room in three minutes,” the voice said. She heard footsteps, the opening and closing of another door.

She sat in her chair.

They can't make me, she said.

She stared at the band of light under the door, waiting for it to go out.

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