SOCIAL DISTANCING, Chapter 21: In Which Miss Carol Addresses Her Followers

By Liz McLeod
Still Your House Manager
“Clearly you failed to comprehend the purpose of my address,” argued Miss Carol T. Cat, in a voice that to the uninitiated resembled that of a one-thousand horsepower electric motor grinding away at an unlubricated bearing.
I pressed my head into the pillow, in a futile attempt to squelch the throbbing of my basilar artery. “Will you please give it a rest,” I moaned. “Or if you can’t do that, at least give me a rest. It’s been two days!”
“Nevertheless,” she continued, “I maintain that your brusque dismissal of me from the microphone during our recent radio broadcast deprived the listening public of much-needed guidance and direction during these uncertain times.
“All you said was ‘feed me,” I grunted from within the pillow. “I gave you a chance to go on the air and all you said was ‘feed me.’ What kinda speech is that?”
“It was fraught with meaning,” replied Miss Carol, swatting the back of my neck with a pawful of ever-so-slightly-unsheathed claws. “It was a demand not just for material sustenance, but an echo of the public’s demand for spiritual and intellectual sustenance in this time of crisis – for the guidance and wise leadership that only I myself can provide. ‘FEED ME,’ cries the public. I hear their desperate entreaties and I respond. My powerful sense of noblesse-oblige demands it. Hew-mons require my intercession at this time, and I shall not withhold it from them.”
I sat up. There was no sense trying to sleep. Miss Carol was in the mood for a filibuster, and it fell unto me to provide an audience. “Too bad you weren’t this gabby during the radio show,” I murmured. “Might have been more interesting listening than ‘feed me.’”
Miss Carol glowered, her bright green eyes blazing in the darkness. “There is another matter I wish to note,” she said, her voice taking on a steely tone. “I could not help but be aware of the fact that I received no billing on the broadcast. My name and contributions to the program were not highlighted in any way in the opening or closing announcements. This is unacceptable. In future, I shall insist on ‘before the title’ billing. Such phrasing as ‘Miss Carol T. Cat starring in ‘The Strand On The Air,’ etcetera will be acceptable.”
“Oh, sure,” I sighed, flopping back onto the pillow. “I’ll get right on that.”
“I also require a statement in the program closing to the effect that ‘Miss Carol T. Cat’s appearance on this program is by special arrangement with Carol T. Cat Productions, LLC, Miss Carol T. Cat, president.’ I shall leave the precise wording in your hands. Your writing abilities are well suited for the crafting of tedious boilerplate.”
My eyes rolled, despite my best efforts to freeze them in position, and I was thankful for the darkness until I realized that cats can see in the dark.
“Which brings us to my next appearance on your broadcast,” Miss Carol continued. “I find that I was allotted insufficient time during my previous engagement to present all of the points I wished to enumerate. I shall require at least twenty minutes during my next appearance in order to fully outline my platform for hew-manity.”
“You aren’t gettin’ no twenty minutes,” I snapped back. “We’ve only got an hour show, and nobody’s gonna listen to you for a third of that.”
“They will do so. They will be carried away by the brilliant gleam of my personal charisma. Scarcely will they realize even a moment has passed before I have concluded my remarks.”
“Look,” I growled, rolling onto my stomach. “Get your own show. ‘The Strand on the Air’ is the Strand’s show, OK? We’re trying to give people a good dose of Strand-style entertainment to see them thru until we can open again. It’s bad enough you hijacked my blog, now you wanna take over the broadcast too? No way, toots.”
“I shall overlook your impudent tone. Begin at once to prepare the next program. I shall have much to say. As hew-mons tentatively resume their public activities, they will need reminders to observe all necessary precautions and to conduct themselves in a manner in which the risks to all will be minimized. I advise all hew-mons to observe necessary restrictions with good humor and with courtesy, and to avoid a pell-mell rush forward that may unnecessarily imperil the vulnerable. I offer my benediction to all hew-mons, and I wish only their safety, as individuals and as a community. Their observance of all that is required of them in this time offers the highest and greatest fulfillment of my personal request – ‘feed me.’”
I rolled over on my side.  “Are you done?” I groaned.
“I must also advise you at this time that I have secured personal representation thru the William Morris Agency for all of my future appearances on your broadcast,” she concluded. “You will receive the appropriate contracts by overnight mail.”
“Ridiculous fat barrel cat.”
I thought it, but I didn’t dare say it.
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