The narrator on the nature documentary is speaking in a hushed but soothing baritone…
“As expected, the attendees at the national convention of a certain religious organization refused to take their blinders off. Otherwise, they would be forced to see the effects of hypocrisy and the cherry-picking of dogma, and that just wouldn’t do. Still, they all got a free toaster oven that promised to imprint the bleached image of Jesus on their favorite choice of bread. And if they signed up for the “Monthly Twenty-Percent Tithing of Income” level of worship, they could take that special toaster oven with them when they proceeded to their now-guaranteed spot in Heaven.”
The narrator looks down, soothingly, and spies a furball. He hits a button to pause the recording.
Cleo the Cat: “Whatcha doin?”
The Narrator: “I’m working on a project for Netflix. Everyone is doing it these days.”
Cleo the Cat: “I’m not, so that’s a lie.”
The Narrator: “Well, you never work on anything. We all know you don’t provide a revenue stream here at Bonnywood.”
Cleo the Cat: “I don’t work because I’m royalty. We’ve discussed this.”
The Narrator: “We’ve also discussed the fact that this has never been proven.”
Cleo the Cat: “Then you didn’t do enough research. You’re a lousy documentarian.”
The Narrator: “Fine. Don’t you have somewhere else to be? I hear there’s a couch in the den that you haven’t completely ripped to shreds.”
Cleo the Cat: “Nope. I got nothing in my day-planner except ‘go see what Daddy is doing’. That’s it.”
The Narrator: “Then come up with a new agenda. Run along and let me get back to business.”
Cleo the Cat: “I want to help.”
The Narrator, stunned: “I’ve never heard you say anything remotely like that. Are you feeling okay? What can you possibly do?”
Cleo the Cat: “I can help write the story.” She jumps on the desk and peruses the image on the laptop screen, contemplating, then: “What about that empty chair? Say something about that.”
The Narrator scans the photo again. “Ah, good catch. Hang on.” He restarts the recording.
“A careful observer will note the empty chair in the lower left. This seat has been reserved for anyone who actually attended Trump’s abysmal inauguration, a seat that remained empty throughout the Toaster Oven Convention. Despite his continual gaslighting, Trump’s administration was nothing but smoke and mirrors.”
The Narrator hits the pause button once again.
Cleo the Cat: “Okay, that’ll work. I’m done now. Bye.” She hops down from the desk.
The Narrator: “Wait, we still need to finish the story.”
Cleo the Cat: “You expect me to do two things in one day? You need to get over that mess. Royalty, remember?” She then hoists a leg and begins to clean her hoo-hoo, because there’s simply no sense of proper comportment when it comes to felines and hoo-hoo maintenance.
The Narrator: “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Cats never finish the job.”
Cleo the Cat lowers her leg. “Really? Well, how about this tidbit. Some people did show up for the smoke and mirrors inauguration. And you’re related to one of them.”
Suddenly, The Narrator has a rapid-fire visual flashback, a la “The Usual Suspects” movie. The questionably-high Visa bill from January 2017 with an array of cryptic charges, the fading memory from that same month of Cleo presumably hiding under the bed longer than she normally did, and the strange, clearly-forged passport issued under the name of “Cletis the Cat” he had found at the bottom of his underwear drawer. “Wait a minute. Did you go to Trump’s inauguration?”
Cleo the Cat: “Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. If you would ever get around to properly researching my history, you’ll find that royalty doesn’t have to answer any questions they don’t want to answer.” She turns and begins to sashay out of the room.
The Narrator processes this intel for a moment, then he whacks at the button to restart the documentary soundtrack.
“As the Toaster Oven Convention drew to a close, several things became clear. One, the promised Jesus image on the toast turned out to bear a striking resemblance to Bart Simpson. Two, the International Federation of Actual Cherry-Pickers were suing the convention organizers for maligning their image as decent people who were simply trying to harvest produce. And Three, never trust a cat that claims to be royalty.”
From the other end of the house, Cleo: “I can hear you.”
The Narrator Daddy: “Good.”
Previously published on “Crusty Pie”, massively revised and extended for this share on Bonnywood. (The original version was merely the first paragraph for The Narrator.) I’ll keep you posted on the shocking development that we might have a Republican living at Bonnywood….
Categories: Past Imperfect