THE OLD NEW NORMAL, Chapter 10: Action!

By Liz McLeod

Your House Manager


“Come back here, you brat!” I growled, as Miss Carol T. Cat stormed from the kitchen, displaying as she did so the highest of all possible dudgeons.

“You will cease tormenting me, hew-mon,” Miss Carol hissed back, “or I shall certainly rend your garment, and you with it.”  As she issued this reply I heard the unmistakable sound of her claws snapping into position.

“You gotta take your medicine,” I pleaded.

“As do you,” came the response. “And you most certainly shall if you do not immediately dispose of that vile bolus. Your attempt to taint my food with it has failed. Your concealment of it in a gelatinous meat-flavored substance has come to naught. My position on the matter is final. TAKE IT AWAY.”

I groaned. I do a lot of groaning these days. Miss Carol’s thyroid checkup last month went surprisingly well, all things considered, with the vet advising me that her numbers had, with medication, dropped from extremely high to a bit low.  “I do nothing in half measure,” she declared when I read her the results, but she balked at taking the reduced-dosage tablets now prescribed. Maybe they taste worse than the other ones, maybe the Pepto-Bismol pink color of the pill is offensive to her restrained sense of esthetics, but either way it’s been a battle over the past two weeks to get them into her. I fear, from my own sluggish and fog-brained state, that I may be absorbing more of the drug than she is. Either that or I still haven’t recovered from CIFF weekend. Whatever. Either way, it’s a challenge.

“Maybe,” I shouted into the living room, where I knew Miss Carol now to be sequestered in her lair beneath the record-player table, “I oughta have one of the kids come in with a camera. Maybe I oughta make a movie of this. A REAL TWO-REEL COMEDY! You know, where the unbearably clever cat repeatedly outwits her LOWLY HEW-MON and leaves her humiliated in every scene! Maybe we oughta DO that – and submit it to the Strand’s Youth Film Festival! Because,” I continued, “the deadline for getting in entries is coming up fast – we’re accepting submissions right up thru October 31st! I BET A FILM CALLED ‘PILL THE CAT’ WOULD BE RIGHT UP THERE WHEN THE AWARDS ARE HANDED OUT! JUST THINK, A REAL TROPHY FOR YOU TO KNOCK ON THE FLOOR!”

“Preposterous!” growled back the reply. “You are INELIGIBLE for this competition, both as a Strand employee and as a hew-mon of ADVANCED AGE. The CREAKING OF YOUR KNEE JOINTS would no doubt DROWN OUT THE SOUNDTRACK of any motion picture!”

“Oh yeah?” I retorted. You can tell how fogged my brain is today from the lacerating, Wildean quality of my ripostes. “Well, YOU’RE  twelve years old! Ya gotta be 18 or under to enter, an’ it don’t say nothin’ about SPECIES! I could enter it under YOUR NAME, and you’d be a CELEBRITY.”

“A celebrity?” Her voice here took on a surprisingly mild tone, with just a hint of intrigue. “Indeed? I have, as you know, considered pursuing a career as an entertainer, as the Judi Dench of felinity. Perhaps I have been hasty in dismissing this opportunity.”

“Yeah,” I bounced back, sensing my chance. “But you know, you can’t be a star unless you rehearse. Lotta rehearsal in show business. You gotta do your scene over an’ over to get everything just right. Like, take this pill for instance – you might have to do the scene, oh, I don’t know, twice a day…”

“Indeed? Then we must begin at once.” She dashed back into the kitchen, her dudgeon slightly lower now, and made a straight line for her bowl, where the soggy, gravy-moistened Pill Pocket containing her medication awaited. With a lick and a gulp and a chew, it disappeared.

“Did you get that?” Miss Carol queried. “I considered my performance exceptional.”

“Sorry,” I said, holding out my empty hands. “No film in the camera, and no camera. Whattayasay we try it again? In, oh, twelve hours maybe?”

“Very well,” she agreed. “I shall, as we say in the profession, be ‘on my mark.’ See that you are on yours.”

“Absolutely,” I agreed. 

“In the meantime,” said Miss Carol grandly, “I shall wait in my trailer. See that craft services delivers a proper meal.”

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