400 Lightbulbs

Charles “Choo Choo” Justice built Ohio’s only elec­tric chair at the turn of the last cen­tury, a bright ma­chine of sea­soned hick­ory, stiff leather and the gun­metal smell of fear. Unlucky thir­teen years later he was ex­e­cuted in the same chair. Here lies Chuck Justice, killed by irony. The best way to per­form a hu­mane ex­e­cu­tion dur­ing the twen­ti­eth cen­tury was no longer some­thing with such an hon­or­able pedi­gree as be­ing hanged by the neck un­til dead; tech­nol­ogy im­proves every­thing, and some­one had a bright idea. What if, and try to stay with me here… What if you strap a felon into a chair, se­cure his arms, head and legs with broad straps, place an elec­trode on his tem­ple and an­other on his leg and then send 400 light­bulbs in one ear and out the other? We can zap him again and cook him up to one hun­dred and thirty eight de­grees Fahrenheit, just to make sure. Now that’s pro­gress, and as easy as flip­ping on a lightswitch. So easy, in fact, that a record seven men in Kentucky rode the light­ning one evening be­fore the stock mar­ket crashed. That sev­enth son, sat in a chair still steam­ing from the sixth and smelled what seemed to be fried chicken of all things. Some last meal. The ef­fects of elec­tro­cu­tion are neg­li­gi­ble. Some burned, ooz­ing skin, a pud­dle of urine on the floor, shit­filled pants. Just af­ter World War Two, Willie Francis was electrocuted,and sur­vived. Although lawyers ar­gued that Francis had al­ready been ex­e­cuted, he re­turned to the hot seat a year later and did his job right this time. Contrary to pop­u­lar be­lief, the elec­tric chair was not in­vented by Thomas Alva Edison, but by one of his as­sis­tants. Louie the Lightning Bug says: “Remember gang, you’ve got to play it safe around elec­tric­ity.

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