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Death by Numbers

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Words by Aron Simkins      Art by Trevor Wirth

Prisoner 90210 – Dovid O. Burnsides, sentenced to death on 25 or 6 to 4 counts of armed manslobber. I’m sorry. My mouth was full. This breakfast sandwich Carl brought in from the outside world is out of this world. You seriously should’ve requested it for your last meal—you big murderer, you.


Now, Dovid, before we proceed with your execution by lethal injection of deathly amounts of electricity applied to your head till you’re dead, I have to ask—is Dovid your real name or a clerical error? Oh farts. I forgot your mouth is gagged and your head is strapped in place. Try blinking 13 times for no or 14 times for yes. Hmm. I swear I counted 15 blinks. Did you mean to blink 15 times or was there an extra blink in there by accident? Move your eyeballs side to side 12 times if you meant 15 blinks or side to side 13 times if you meant 14 blinks. Farts, you were moving your eyes too fast. I lost track. Maybe we should go back to blinks. Were blinks easier? Scrunch your nose 18 times if blinks were easier or 17 times if you’d like to stick with the side-to-side eyeball thing. Well, poopers. I counted 18 nose scrunches. But I also couldn’t help notice your eyes were awful shifty. And you blinked at least a dozen times. Kinda sending me mixed signals, Dovid. If that’s your real name.


I suppose you think this is funny? Tell you what, tap your unstrapped ring finger 26 times if you think this is just a big joke or 2 times if you’d like to get on with your execution. Just as I thought, 26 finger taps. So, this is just a big joke to you. You think my time isn’t as important as yours? Well, I don’t have to play your hilarious game. In fact, I have an even more electrifying appointment arriving in 25 minutes, so we probably ought to keep things moving—figuratively speaking, of course. I realize you can’t actually move on account of the straps. Plus, I hate the thought of others having to wait for their turn in the big chair on account of your morbid sense of humor.


So, on the count of 3, Carl is going to put his breakfast sandwich down, and then on the count of 7, he’s going to flip the switch. Sound good? I’ll take your silence as a yes. Now, do you have any last words before I send you to meet your maker? If so, blink 32 times and bat your eyes side-to-side 28 times and scrunch your nose 43 times—all while tapping out the beat of Chicago’s "25 or 6 to 4" with your finger. That song’s been stuck in my head for a month. Kill me already—if you know what I mean. It’s horrible having a song stuck in your head for that long, right? Wiggle your big toe 61 times if you think I’m right, or 60 times if you don’t.

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