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Suffer the Little Children

Veronica was a beautiful five-year-old blonde with a smile that could subdue the most dastardly curmudgeon.

The child was blessed with parents who adored her. You could reason with Veronica.

Perhaps because they had experienced “tough love” as children, the parents vowed they would never raise so much as a finger in anger toward little Veronica. They would talk things out.

One day they took Veronica to a military parade in Los Angeles. As the great fighting machines rumbled by, Veronica said she would like an ice cream cone.

Her father knelt down by his precious daughter and looked firmly into her eyes as he had learned to do in parenting classes that were taught by a group of truly enlightened child psychologists. “Veronica, Daddy and Mummy understand but we are watching the parade and it’s a wonderful parade, indeed. Isn’t it fun?”

“No, dammit, I want an ice cream cone now and if I don’t get it, I will teach you what it’s like to have a problem.”

“That will not work,” said her mother. “You are the child and we are the adults. We are a family and Mummy and Daddy know best. Don’t threaten us. Let’s talk.”

“Take a hike, Mummy. Ice cream.”

“No,” said Veronica’s Daddy. “We are the adults and you are our little child that we love with all our hearts. You will wait until the parade is over.”

Veronica knew the limits of her parents’ patience but was secure in the fact that they would never strike her. Several of her kindergarten friends had been spanked by their parents. And those little friends had memorized the toll free number to the state’s child abuse department. Now their over-zealous parents were cooling their heels in solitary confinement until they learned how to love unconditionally, without threats and spankings.

Veronica threw back her pretty little head and screamed louder than J. Lo when she discovered her latest love was not going to toe the line.

When the rumbling tanks muffled her screams, Veronica wept like Jimmy Swaggert at an Arkansas tent revival meeting.

Still, little Veronica’s parents did not give in. They presented a united front and the ice cream cone did not materialize.

Veronica stamped her feet and made her head spin — even that did not work.

Then a Bradley tank, a monster of a killing machine, ran out of gas in the middle of the parade. The crew got out.

Quick as a flash, Veronica wiggled past a policeman, climbed up onto the Bradley fighting machine and disappeared down a hatch. The toddler slammed the hatch shut and from inside the Bradley fighting machine, she spoke to the crowd through a loudspeaker. “Give me ice cream or else.”

The crew of the Bradley fighting machine had all taken parenting classes and they knew that you did not surrender to the demands of a terrorist or a five year old. The captain of the tank crew called the child’s bluff. “Little girl, we love you but we will not be intimidated with childish threats. Open that hatch and come out of there and let’s get on with the parade.”

“Will you spank me if I come out?” asked Veronica through the loudspeaker.

“No, we’re civilized,” said the captain. “We just want to talk with you.”

“You’re pissing me off,” said the child.

“Too bad. We are the adults and you are the child. The vehicle has no gas. Now come out of there.”

Veronica watched fighter jets move across her target screen. She locked onto them and fired.

A second later three fighter jets exploded above the city.

Sensors in Washington D.C., assuming terrorists were attacking, launched retaliatory strikes. Because of error messages to homeland security, a dozen ICBM missiles took out the central area of Los Angeles.

In all, 75,000 people were killed and about 90 billion dollars of property was ash.

Dark smoke hung over the city. Ambulances and police cars screamed about. Air raid sirens wailed.

A solider, waving a chocolate ice cream cone (like a tiny surrender flag), approached the Bradley fighting machine.

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