The Incorrigible Youth Conservation Camp warden read a memo from the Board of Prisons and frowned.
“This is ridiculous” Warden Steele grumbled. “Why the hell would the board waste money building a theme park catering to prisoners? They approved a one day outing for our career criminals to visit the Campus Farms.
I don’t know warden,” his secretary replied, handing him the eligible prisoners’ files. “You’d think they would spend money seeking a resolution to prison overcrowding.”
Steele thumbed through a file and then threw it on the desk.
“What really tightens my jaws is that Iggie Kallus, our senior inmate, who’s been a menace to society his entire life, gets to go. Why the hell reward guys like that?
The following morning, Dr. Steele called the prison board chairman. After a lengthy phone conversation, he attended the inmates’ morning group therapy session.
“Men, the Prison Board has decided to send a number of you to the Campus Farms theme park tomorrow.”
The inmates cheered and high-five’d.
Iggie however, grumbled, “Campus Farms? Big deal! That’s for schmucks. What if we don’t wanna to go?”
“Frankly, what you want or don’t want is irrelevant, Iggie,” Dr. Steele replied. “You do what you are told; unless you want spend the next six months in the hole. You don’t want that, do you?”
“No, I guess not.” Iggie said quietly, staring at the floor.
The warden continued, “You’ll be free to roam the park, though you will be under constant surveillance and the armed guards are authorized to shoot to kill if you attempt to escape. And, if you cause any disturbances inside the park, guard dogs have been trained to rip you to shreds.”
The following day, the prisoners’ excitement built as the bus rumbled toward the park. After entering, the heavy iron gates slammed shut behind the bus, reminding the men they were still prisoners. Guards lined the inmates up outside the bus and replaced their shackles with electronic leg bracelets.
“Have fun, men,” the warden said, “and I will see you at lunch.
The inmates spent the morning riding rides and gorging themselves on cotton candy, popcorn, and sodas. They belly-laughed in the funhouse, spun out of control on the Tilt-a-whirl, and screamed and lifted their arms on the roller coaster, winding and flipping around the track.
Warden Steele stood before the inmates as they ate a picnic style lunch of grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and watermelon.
“Men, the park’s newest attraction, The Sausage Chute, will be unveiled after lunch. I’ve been told its one hell of a ride with twists, curly-q’s, and breath-taking drops. You’ve been selected to take the inaugural run.”
After lunch, guards marched the men to the far side of the park where the Sausage Chute building towered above them. The attached links of sausage-shaped cars held one person each.
A schematic drawing of the route at the entrance boasted, “This state-of-the-art ride is not for the faint of heart. Your spine will tingle and your bladder will empty.”
Iggie pushed his way to the front of the line. “Since I’m the senior inmate, I get the first pick of seats!”
Warden Steele stepped next to Iggie as the other inmates grumbled, and expressed their displeasure.
“All right, listen up! As the senior inmate, Iggie has the right to be first.”
Iggie jumped into the lead car, and the others followed. The funny-looking sausage cars jerked and slowly pulled away from the entrance. They passed through a double door into a dark cool tunnel, picked up speed and then wound along the track spinning and turning topsy-turvy.
Iggie dropped his cool persona, and laughed and screamed like a kid. The sausages rushed through the open mouth of a giant, a growling gargoyle, and then past growling, iridescent-colored monsters that jumped out at them from corners and crevasses.
Several minutes into the ride, the cars abruptly separated. Strobe lights flashed and sirens wailed as the cars suddenly dropped in the darkness. Inmates screamed, revealing their fear of the unknown. However, the sausages landed on a moving conveyor and continued on.
Iggie rode toward the tunnel exit laughing like a kid. Just before reaching the exit, the conveyor veered right into a tunnel.
Suddenly the conveyor rolled underneath the tread guard, and the sausage restraints released. Iggie was dumped over the edge of the conveyor and into a large funnel with a closed bottom.
His screams turned to laughter as other inmates fell into the funnel from all sides, joining him. They scrambled around in the funnel until a large rubber cone descended into it. The inmates piled on top of each other and were pushed through the funnel bottom.
A whining turbine engine drowned out Iggie’s horrific screams. He peed in his pants as he and the other inmates were stuffed into a gigantic meat-grinder.
After heat sterilization, the ground meat was stuffed into sausage casings and boxed for nationwide distribution to theme parks and state fairs as a healthier alternative to the less regulated processed sandwich meats.
Warden Steele and prison officials watched the tracking monitor, pleased that they had found the most expedient way to reduce the prison population.
"Theme Park Links"
Copyright: © 2010 Hal Kempka
Harold ‘Hal’ Kempka is a former Marine, and Vietnam Veteran. His poetry has appeared in Leatherneck Magazine, and short stories published in Many Midnights, Black Petals, Dark and Dreary, Microhorror, Long Story Short, The Shine Journal, and the Fiction Flyer, among others. He is a member of the FlashXer flash fiction workshop, and lives in Southern California with his wife, Celeste, and son Derek.