No Pain, No Gain

Our solution for saving Texas's claim to capital punishment fame

Texas offers many more gloried pieces of history that can be used to great effect — especially for Hispanic inmates. It’s time we put a real Lone Star stamp on our efforts.

Y’all Ready for This?
It’s possible, in this emasculated age of weepy liberals, that there will be some objections to portions of the project. If the Ball-Lacking League decides to raise a fuss, we’re willing to bend on some aspects.

If, for instance, introducing the healthy alternative of Slim-Fast for a last meal somehow draws howls, we are willing to go another way. You want a last meal? You got one.

An inmate, a cattle prod and Rice University alum 
Alberto Gonzales -- perfect together.
John Ueland
An inmate, a cattle prod and Rice University alum Alberto Gonzales -- perfect together.
No more time wasted on elaborate last meals. A can 
of Slim-Fast should hold 'em long enough.
John Ueland
No more time wasted on elaborate last meals. A can of Slim-Fast should hold 'em long enough.

Good-bye, chicken-fried steak and Tater Tots. Hello, Joe’s Crab Shack.

What began on Richmond Avenue 14 years ago has turned into a nationwide phenomenon, yet another test-marketed, micromanaged “dining experience” produced by Tilman Fertitta.

The Geneva Convention couldn’t even imagine the horror involved: the long wait, spending money on drinks while you stare at empty tables; aggressively bland, overpriced seafood; screaming kids at the next booth.

And always, always, the looming dread of what is to come when the waiters put down their trays, grudgingly work up a “We’re so wacky!” smile, and launch yet again into “The Macarena” or “YMCA” at the scheduled spontaneous time.

With all the sheer enjoyment of someone attending an office birthday party for an asshole boss, these game guys and gals plod their zany way through yet another ear-splitting forced-march performance of “Staying Alive” as you try to eat. Or get some more beer for your table.

If anything could increase the joy of pseudo-Cajun étouffée, it’s watching waiters dutifully pull some eight-year-olds from the crowd to join in on “The Cotton-Eyed Joe.”

“Kill me now!” your inmates will scream, thereby helping to speed up the death row process.

True, even the White House balked when Fertitta patriotically offered to open a branch at the detention center in Guantánamo Bay (“Good Lord,” Dick Cheney reportedly said, “we are a civilized nation, are we not?”).

But desperate times call for desperate measures.

“Disco Inferno,” anyone?

Driven Insane
Houston leads the state in sending people to death row, so it should play a big part in the Alberto Project. Luckily, the infrastructure is in place.

Joseph Stalin would have shied away from it, to be sure. Idi Amin would have accused it of lacking compassion. But sometimes you have to engage in some ToughLove (pat. pending).

The method is simple. Get the kind of car a working-class Houstonian can afford, with an a/c system that same working-class Houstonian can afford to keep up. From the downtown jail, have the inmate drive the Southwest Freeway to the West Loop to I-10 back downtown. Be sure to have the radio on. To any local station.

We can hear some of you grumbling already — this is where you draw the line. Not even the brilliant legal mind of Alberto Gonzales would be able to get this past the torture judges, you say. We might agree, if the trip involved rain, but even the most enthusiastic advocates of the Alberto Project would not be so cruel as to include that.

We admit it comes close, damn close, to anyone’s definition of torture. The orange cones that protect workers who are never there, the endless waiting to move up even one foot, the sheer terror that someone might just pull over to the shoulder with a flat and then compound the agony tenfold, as drivers take time to intently study the crippled car.

But dammit, no one said this would be as painless as lethal injection. (Which, according to recent studies, turns out to be not so painless anyway.)

There are many other methods that can be devised to exact society’s price. The heart may shudder at the mere mention of such phrases as “Astros season tickets” or “living in Dallas” or “forced to watch a primary between Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison.” But these are serious times; they call for serious steps.

And they call for a serious man. Texas has given us this man, tutored by the Texecutioner himself, and it would be sheer folly to ignore this resource.

Alberto, come home. The world is waiting.

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