Story Go Round 06/29/2002, round 1, #4

The 5¢ Spanking Machine

It was Terry's birthday, again, and as always he was clamoring for a trip to the wharf. He was hoping to see the man in the wool cap again. The man's nervous glance and toothless grin had become the aura of home for him. He beat on the bars for special attention, using the empty coffee can they fed his milk to him with. He hoped for a glimpse of that or, at least, to have that entertaining man in the Chicken Suit run past. But Terry's birthday clamors met with the stodgy resistance that is so typical of professionals these days. Once, years ago, they would've been nothing but delighted with his expressiveness. Now, the only sign they even heard him was the cotton in their ears. Not that Terry noticed it. His world revolved around one thing - mechanical spankings, and nothing else could hold his attention for more than a minute. Except watching Alan in his native attire. Terry could focus on that for up to a minute and a half. At first, Terry drew lots of criticism for his deviant habit, but as the attention span of the youth population steadily declined in the outside world, he began to look like some kind of savant. His one-minute attention span made all the papers. World leaders would fly in from unpronounceable countries to share 30 or 45 seconds with him in conversation. They all came away with one, or half of one thought burned into their brains; "spanking machine" (or just "spanking" for the less savvy leaders). A world movement was formed, the acronym, LSTAAA, or Let's Spank Terry Again And Again , also known as 'Lightly Spank Terry At An Angle' - appeared on drinking glasses from all the fast food chains and was written across the surface of the moon. The only vestige of the Terrian Dynasty that remains today are the Spankadoodles that our children clamor for every year on their birthdays. Got a nickel? You're never too old, you know ...

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange