Just in time for summer, the lethal injection process is about to get a much-needed facelift. For years now, death penalty states have used a so-called “lethal cocktail” of three drugs to execute convicted killers. While this procedure was always considered more humane and more dependable than other methods of death, it’s garnered plenty of bad press lately. Some states have run out of one of the required drugs while others are stuck with large batches of “expired” drugs which have been deemed potentially harmful—somewhat ironic, considering that the drugs are meant to kill their recipient!
To combat the bad press and “liven up” the lethal injection process, some states are now adding food coloring, paper umbrellas, plastic flamingos, and other decorations to their lethal injection drugs. “The newspapers have been calling it a ‘lethal cocktail’ for years,” said an anonymous prison spokesman. “So we figured we’d dress it up and make it more like an actual cocktail.”
While inmates can’t be given real alcohol, the spokesman said that adding bright food coloring and an orange slice or a pineapple wedge makes the mixture far more festive. “We’re still working on ways to add cherries and other small pieces of fruit,” he explained. “Those little plastic cocktail swords might seem harmless, but they’re a serious violation of the prison’s weapons policy.”
After consulting with bartenders from popular restaurant chains, lawmakers have come up with a list of “cocktails” with fun, execution-appropriate names like Last-Minute Stay, Call from the Governor, and The Exonerator. While some of the trendy drinks in real bars have names with harmful or negative connotations—such as Snake Bite, Mind Eraser, or Irish Car Bomb—prison officials decided not to go that route.
“We tossed around the idea of names like Angry Cellmate or Court-Appointed Lawyer but decided against them in the end,” said our prison spokesman. “We want to keep the mood light and fun. Just imagine the chuckles you’ll hear in the death chamber when the condemned man or woman says, ‘Can I get a Last-Minute Stay, please?’ or ‘I’d really like a Call from the Governor.’ Hopefully it’ll make the whole process easier on everyone involved.”
To generate excitement about the program, some prisons have come up with catchy names for their new system and are already launching promotions. One state renamed its death chamber O’Sparky’s and hung up a banner that says Time for some Capital Fun-ishment! Another state dressed its prison guards in hats and suspenders, pinned lots of whimsical buttons to their shirts, then sent them off to death row with laminated menus that read Dying for Something Different? Try One of Our New Gleeful Injections!