But the encyclopedia entry is positively prurient!
Scaphism, also known as the boats, is an ancient Persian method of execution designed to inflict torturous death. The name comes from the Greek word skaphe, meaning "scooped (or hollowed) out" and from Latin word meaning "boats".
The naked person would be firmly fastened within a back-to-back pair of narrow rowboats (or in some variations a hollowed out tree trunk), the head, hands, and feet protruding from this improvised container. The condemned was forced to ingest milk and honey to the point of developing severe diarrhea, and more honey would be rubbed on his body so as to attract insects to the exposed appendages. They would then be left to float on a stagnant pond (or alternately, simply exposed to the sun somewhere). The defenseless individual's feces accumulated within the container, attracting more insects, which would eat and breed within his or her exposed (and increasingly gangrenous) flesh. Death, when it eventually occurred, was probably due to a combination of dehydration, starvation and septic shock.
In other recorded versions, the insects did not eat the person; biting and stinging insects such as wasps, which were attracted by honey on the body, acted as the torture.
Death by scaphism is painful, humiliating, and protracted. Plutarch writes in Artaxerxes that Mithridates, sentenced to die in this manner for killing Cyrus the Younger, survived 17 days before dying.
I suppose it is the reference to diarrhea that put me in mind of the force feeding of prisoners in Guantanamo. Inserting a size-too-large tube into the nose of a chair-bound prisoner for a liquid lunch usually leads to wet-sounding farts. (Again, I am describing my entire creative process for the above-stated reasons. And don't you admire how Homer-esque I sound in my adjectival compound forms? Rosy-fingered cavity searches...wine-dark bodily fluids flung...)
Given my twisted logic, several things started to gel around this concept. The similarity of boats with water boards, for instance. The illogic of putting high-value prisoners in sensory-deprivation hoods, goggles and mitts when aiming to extract factual information from the personality disordered results. Equating Persians and Iranians with the permissions the United States has granted the rest of the world to practice torture as they see fit. The sexualization inherent in the naked Abu Gharib mistreatment, where Senator Lindsey Graham tells us Americans murdered and anally raped adolescent boys. That sort of thing.
Of course, I always aim to be upfront, even when I'm face down. I want to see Alberto Gonzales and the core of high-level "Justice" Department and C.I.A. sadists tortured until death as punishment for crimes judicially reviewed and penalized. I want their punishment to be as protracted and painful as possible and passing poop until putrid sounds alliteratively perfect.
Just updated though. I see designer coffin-shaped body casts, allowing full movement for the limbs and head sticking out. The nose tube goes in and then lots and lots of milk and honey constantly pumped in from a belly-pack. This should prevent a premature death from dehydration or starvation. A scientifically blended mixture of maggots, flies and pond-scum matter would be injected in.
Then I want it televised--with commercial interruption. The toughest of these men (and women?) might could earn my respect by lasting longest and crying out the most horrifically, begging for forgiveness. Americans would have buttons in their homes, and depending on the details revealed in their trials, some might be released as their suffering becomes acute and the necrotic tissue spreads to exposed tissue, with maggots crawling into tear ducts. Conversely, some may appear not to be suffering enough, in which case Americans at home could call for the honey and the wasps treatment for some visual fun. Then there are always whips and electric cattle prods.
Does this horrify you? Then you are a sick pathetic sub-human animal. The torturous treatment Americans are already guilty of, have already unleashed across the planet, already have grounded into fact, makes such surgically precise hypotheticals seem like the kisses of angels or the healing of sick children. We sleep because it is too painful to awaken.