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“Hurry, Darian! It’s almost on!” Eden shouts at me from the other room.

“What’s almost on?!” I ask, walking into the room. Eden and Red are sitting on the couch in front of the television.

“Kangaroo Court!” Red replies. “The new game show that’s sweeping the nation!”

“Kangaroo Court?” I ask, sitting on the couch with them. “Is that a joke?”

“Shush!” Eden retorts. “It’s on!”

The television is showing a judge sitting at his bench. He’s wearing a little pin with a cartoon kangaroo on it. “Welcome to Kangaroo Court!” the judge says. “Where the punishment fits the crime!”

There’s a long line of prisoners waiting for their turn to talk at the witness stand. The judge beckons one forward.

“Prisoner One, you stand accused of arson! How do you plead?!” the judge demands.

“Arson?! What the hell? I don’t know what you’re talking about!” the prisoner replies. “Where am I?”

The judge ignores Prisoner One. “Prisoner One, you’re clearly guilty! I can tell. Your sentence is to be burned alive!”

A wall opens up and a turret sticks out of it. The turret launches a jet of fire at Prisoner One, immolating him. He falls to the ground, thrashing and shrieking. His clothes burn off. Then his skin. Soon, there’s nothing left of him but a charred corpse. The floor beneath him opens up, dropping him to who knows where.

“Next defendant!” the judge shouts.

“What the hell is this?” I demand. “What in God’s name are we watching?!”

“Shush!” Eden retorts. The judge is talking to Prisoner Two.

“Prisoner Two,” the judge says, “You stand accused of murder! How do you plead?!”

“Not guilty!” Prisoner Two begs.

“You are clearly guilty!” the judge retorts. “Your sentence is the Gorilla Treatment!”

“What?!” Prisoner Two gasps.

A cage falls from the ceiling and lands next to Prisoner Two. There’s a crazy gorilla inside. The gorilla reaches out of his cage, grabs Prisoner Two, and tries to pull him inside. Prisoner Two is screaming and begging for his life. The gorilla pulls harder, tearing his arm off, and the man falls to the ground, bleeding out.

The gorilla takes a few big bites of his victim’s arm, then drops it and reaches for the prisoner. He grabs him and tries to pull him into the cage. This time, the prisoner’s neck breaks. The gorilla pulls him inside his cage and tears him to pieces, then starts eating him. The cage rises back into the ceiling, taking the gorilla and his prize with him. “Next victim!” the judge shouts.

I watch on, aghast. Eden and Red don’t notice how uncomfortable I am. Clearly, they’re having the time of their lives.

It keeps going on and on like that for hours. I witness one atrocity after another, each one worse than the last. A man is fed to piranhas. A woman is tied up and thrown into a lake to drown. Two men are boiled alive at once. A guy gets dumped in a vat of molten steel. Another woman is crushed in an industrial vice.

A man is given two options: “head” or “feet”. The man winces, obviously thinking he has to choose between losing his head or his feet. “Feet?” he says cautiously.

Of course, he’s wrong.

“You got it,” the judge says. “All right, boys, you heard the man! Put him in the industrial shredder feet first!”

The carnage continues. It’s horrible to watch. But the screams are the worst part.

After watching the show for a while, I come to an uneasy conclusion: none of these guys seem guilty. In fact, the judge isn’t even bothering with evidence. He’s just killing them for the sake of killing them. What kind of sick world am I living in? Who would think this is entertainment?

“And our final contestant for today,” the judge cracks. “Please welcome Prisoner 100!”

Prisoner 100 is called to the witness stand.

“Prisoner 100,” the judge says, leaning across his bench, “you stand accused of raping and murdering two innocent little girls. How do you plead?”

Prisoner 100 spits at the judge. “What is that, a joke? Does it matter how I plead? You’ll just kill me just the same as you killed the other ninety-nine. I’ll have no part in this debauchery, you monster! You might think this violence is all just a fun game, but it’s not! These were people, you brute.”

He gestures around the room. There are hyenas still gnawing on one of the corpses, and a pool with a shark inside, eating another victim.

“Everyone you just killed was a person, you bastard,” Prisoner 100 says. “They had families. Lives, you bastard. What’s with the fun and games? What’s with the show trials? Just own up. Admit you like killing people. Admit it. Admit it!”

The judge’s smile has slowly turned into a stern frown. He sits up straight on his bench.

“Prisoner 100, you have been found innocent.”

Prisoner 100 can’t hide his disbelief.

“What?” he asks.

“You heard me!” the judge replies. “You are free to go.”

Prisoner 100 blinks up at the judge. The judge stares back. Finally, the prisoner turns and starts to walk away.

“No, wait!” the judge says. “It slipped my mind. You’re still wanted for contempt of court. Your sentence: the Degloving Chamber!”

The floor beneath the prisoner’s feet opens up. He falls into whatever the “Degloving Chamber” is. A piercing shriek rises out of the pit. A second later, the floor closes back up again.

“And that’s all for now!” the judge says, smiling at the camera. “Come back next week for more Kangaroo Court! I’m your host, Judge K., and it’s been a pleasure to dispense justice today!”

The show ends.

Eden and Red are speechless. They both sigh.

“Wow, another great episode!” Eden says. “Wasn’t that great, Darian?”

I don’t respond.

“Darian? You good, bro?” Red asks.

I still don’t respond.

“Hey, come on, Darian,” Eden says. “It’s just a show, man. Don’t be like that.”

“What if we wound up on that show?” I ask.

Eden and Red blink at each other.

Then they both burst into laughter.

“Get out!” Eden laughs. “Us? Seriously, Darian? Get out.”

“Oh, that’s a good one, Darian,” Red says, wiping away a tear. “You’ve got me in stitches. No, really. You had me going for a second there.”

I ignore them. The show might be over, but I’m still replaying it in my mind.