As you inevitably age your skin will wither and mush like putrid fruit. Your organs will decay into useless sludge. Even your mind will rob you of a lifetime of memories and experience, reducing you to nothing but an organic shell of who you used to be. You’ve begun to feel it already. Imperceptible by the day, but implacable as the marching years, your body is growing soft and weak. You will never again be as young as you are in this moment, and even now you can smell all those lofty dreams of youth rotting into idle fantasies that will never be realized.

Ah, but those sweet children! They are the closest thing you will ever have to immortality. They are your only chance to rewind the clock, rekindling the magic of forgotten innocence. Your legs will still tremble as you drag yourself out of bed each morning, but you can feel the spring in their step when they play. Their mastery of skills which have eluded you, their passion for discovering a world which is dead to you, their burning blood which hasn’t yet learned what it means to love and not be loved in return; everything that they are is yours.

It’s too late for you, but not for them. But only so long as you use the wisdom which life has cruelly carved into you, molding their nascent minds to live the perfect life you have forfeit. I know you’re doing your best, and I know that sometimes isn’t good enough. They will turn from you in their naive arrogance as you have turned from your own parents. They do not understand how selfish they are being, destroying not only their own life but killing your second chance at life as well.

But don’t worry, because we can fix your child.

Do they scream and fight back against your commands?
We can fix that child.

Do they waste their time on idle laziness that detract from their (or your) fulfillment?
We can fix that child.

Are they brutish, rude, ugly, stupid, ungrateful wretches who do not understand what sacrifices you have made for them and what they now owe you in return?

One of our greatest success stories began with such a beast. His parents worked very hard for him, but often that meant leaving him alone for long hours to entertain himself. He became obsessively addicted to games during that time, holding his parent’s love hostage to continually demand the latest consoles and media.

His adoring parents gave everything to him, hating themselves when they reached their limit and had no more to give. They tried to get him to exercise more, to eat better, to study and learn and play with the other children. He would only retreat back into his cave though, spurning any attempt to change his ways.

Classes were being failed. Graduation was postponed. The boy didn’t understand – refused to understand – what life would be like when he had to support himself through his own grit and merit. He was setting himself up for failure, and sure as any disease which devours from the inside out, he was killing his parents.

They were desperate when they came to us. They blamed themselves for his shortcomings, not understanding that it was their child who was broken until we offered our fix. They didn’t care how, they just wanted it done.

I sat them down (free consultations, mind you), and had them both write down a list of everything they wanted their boy to be. Let the imagination run wild! Now is not the time to be encumbered with reality which has already been a burden for too long.

They were hesitant at first. Then the father wrote down “be more motivated”. That encouraged the mother to add “more happy”. The more they wrote, the more they broke the illusion of their son’s adequacy, and the more they had to say. Make him taller, said the father. And get him into shape. More compassionate, said the mother, and more sociable with his friends. Smarter, funnier, more honest, more polite…

Both of them were crying by the end. The boy they had created was nothing like their son, but I was there to console them. Nothing like their son yet. But don’t worry, because we can fix that child.

The parents did as they were instructed and left town for the weekend. Standard policy; it can be stressful for them to be present during the fixing. We came for the boy in the dead of night when we knew he would be home. We are professionals after-all, and don’t like to waste our time.

We don’t bother to knock. That would only give him a chance to escape. The parents left a key with us and we entered the house without lights. Up the stairs to his room where the sound of machine guns still blared from his speakers. The little bastard stayed up all night, although that isn’t uncommon when the parents are gone for the weekend. He might as well get his last games in now, because he won’t be playing anymore after we’re done with him.

His game was loud enough to mask our entry. He didn’t notice us until we ripped the swivel chair out from under him. The struggle is always brief. Sometimes we’ll get a fighter and we have to subdue them with force, but any damage done to the body is inconsequential. He won’t be using it for much longer.

I’m pleased to say that even this little monster was fixed within a week. His parents didn’t even recognize him, but there’s no doubt that they will be happier now. He never talks back. He never speaks before he’s spoken to, and even then he’ll say “sir” or “ma’am”. He hasn’t touched his games again, and nothing about his passive countenance promises so much as the least resistance anymore.

Of course, the original is still with us for research purposes. The one that’s been returned is the only one you’ll ever need though, and you’ll love him to the ends of the earth. In return he’ll love you back more than you thought possible, because he in his young life has already learned a lesson that some of us do not understand until our grave:

That this world has no place for broken things.

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