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Welcome to the Block

Tommy Mac Bird grew up on a farm in rural Arkansas, USA. Traumatized by the experience and running from intense manual labor, he went to college for twenty years studying English Lit, psychology, and data science among other things. Once again living on the farm that he ran from years ago, he finally has time to write.

Lisa: "What if we say Native Americans discovered the Americas? They didn't, but it is closer to the truth than saying that Columbus did it."
Lisa is new to the Lion Academy. She was born outside the Block, but somehow ended up living inside of it. The authorities discovered her and sent her to the Lion Academy for reeducation.
Mrs. Laggerty slaps the back of Lisa's already red and bruised left hand with a riding crop. All students in the class have their non-dominant hand strapped to the top of their desk. It speeds and simplifies the corrective action process.
Mrs. Laggerty, walking to the front of the class: "Class, let us examine and correct Lisa's statements."
The class as a group: "Yes, Mrs. Laggerty."
Mrs. Laggerty: "Good. Now, first, what is truth?"
The class: "Truth is what the Block Logic dictates truth must be."
Mrs. Laggerty: "Excellent. Now, why does the Block Logic dictate that Christopher Columbus discovered the Americans?"
The class: "Because right of discovery dictates right of possession and ownership. The Block owns the Americas. Christopher Columbus was an instrument of the Block. Therefore, Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas."
Mrs. Laggerty: "Excellent, class. Now, Lisa, who discovered the Americas?"
Lisa, left hand red and bruised and bleeding now: "To the best of my knowledge, it was proto-Europeans. They came across the ice sheet during the last Ice Age. Although not in great enough numbers to establish permanent settlements."
Mrs. Laggerty slaps Lisa's strapped down left hand with her riding crop five times, fast and hard. It is on the third strike that you could hear a bone snap in Lisa's hand. Screams were not unusual at the Lion Academy and were ignored by everyone.
Mrs. Laggerty: "Class, let us examine and correct Lisa's statement."
Class: "Yes, Mrs. Laggerty."
And so the days went for Lisa. And the days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. As the months turned into a year, there was little left of Lisa's left hand. She could still move her left thumb and index finger. They were the only two digits that remained.
There was a new student in class this week. Christopher, who, like Lisa, was born outside the Block. All foreign children end up at the Lion Academy for reeducation, eventually.
Mrs. Laggerty slaps Christopher's bruised and bleeding left hand with her riding crop. "Class, let us examine Christopher's statement."
Class: "Yes, Mrs. Laggerty."
Mrs. Laggerty: "Good. Now, first, what is truth"
The class, including Lisa: "Truth is what the Block Logic dictates truth must be."
Tears roll down Lisa's cheeks. Mrs. Laggerty notices and notes this to herself, but otherwise ignores it.
Mrs. Laggerty: "Excellent. Now, why does the Block Logic dictate that slavery never existed in the Americas?"
The class: "The Block owns everything within the Block. The citizenry resides within the Block, and therefore the Block owns the citizenry. Then by right of possession and right of ownership, a citizen cannot be owned by anyone except the Block."
Tears flowing, Lisa says the words like the others do. She presses the tip of her left thumb and forefinger together, over and over, exercising them. She is regaining some functionality.
Mrs. Laggerty: "Excellent class." She holds her riding crop in her strong right hand as she walks past Lisa's desk. She strokes Lisa's hair once, affectionately, with the three fingers that are all that remain of her left.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, April 21st, 2021
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