i call one of the kids from the audience down to sit next to me cross legged on the floor. all the kids raised their hands, but i picked this kid becuase he looked photogenic. you gotta think of stuff like that when you're on tv.
so we sit on the floor. i ask him his name and he says Sam. i tell him that i'm going to try to think of the worst thing in the world. i'm going to try to conjure a mental image of something really really mean and bad and terrible, and i want him to do the same.
so i think. Sam scrunches up his little face and closes his eyes and he thinks, too.
and i say i have it. i tell him i'll tell him my terrible idea and then Sam will tell me his.
i say to him that the worst thing i could think of is this: reaching over to grab him, cutting off his arm with a butcher knife, then beating him half to death with his own arm. i tell him how he would scream and try to get away but i'd be too strong and do it anyways. i ask the audience to just think about how it would feel to have your own limp bloody flesh smashed against your face repeatedly.
the audience is silent. or maybe i'm just not paying attention. i have become strangely fixated on Sam's right arm. i think he may have told me the terrible thing he thought of, but i wasn't listening. I just kept wondering how people a week after this hypothetical incident would treat him.
The kid runs away at my producer's beconing and i stand up. i ask the children in the audience what the most terrible thing they can think of is. maybe write it down and hide it somewhere for strangers to find.