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Welcome

A greying man stands at the lectern. His hands are folded on his chest as he surveys the rows upon rows of inmates in this camp. He wears school-teacher glasses to affect sternness. The inmates are quiet. Deathly silent as if they’ve just gotten out of the morgue and aren’t defrosted yet.

He speaks to them in a voice high-pitched and filled with z’s between his words.

“Welcome inmates. I am your camp warden. You are here for a variety of offences. Most of them are judged to be destructive to society. It is our job.” He motions to the surrounding uniformed guards and himself.

“It is our job to make you functional. Society is a machine made up of cogs. Individual cogs that fit together nicely and snugly. Proper cogs that turn and are turned.”

Pause for breath.

“You are cogs that do not fit. Your presence has caused the machine much grief. That is why you were taken away and sent here.”

“Our reformation techniques are revolutionary. We are 100% successful in reforming bad cogs. And you can expect never to return to any reformation centres!”

“We will take away all the things that make you rough. We know why you did what you did. For example, Inmate #320 is here because he defiled every and anything that looked like a woman. He’s almost cured now. In fact, he’s asked to send his pay to his victims’ families. Well done #320!”

Inmate #320 sits with his legs crossed far too tightly.

“We will take away the madness in your head, heart and groin. We will replace them. And we will teach you how to love the machine. Love your place in the machine. In the end, you will love us and be obedient.”

The grey man’s glasses gleam opaquely as he surveys his audience. Absolute quiet, not a twitch. Satisfied, he leaves by the right exit. His guards herd the inmates back. After all, he is a busy, busy man with a reformation centre to run.

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