2017-02-16 / Features

Silly Social Scenes

A Wand'ring Minstrel (Nye)

”Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”


H. L. Mencken


A WAND’RING MINSTREL (NYE)

Columnist Ad-Hoc

    

    BTWSC IS MISSING; WORLD DEMANDS, “WHERE IS BOB?” – Only minutes after receiving the accolades of a grateful state, his promotion to Field Marshal, and his gold, gem-encrusted Marshal’s baton, Bob the World’s Smartest Cat disappeared (inferior “journalists” would say “went missing,” but this Columnist Ad-Hoc eschews such third-rate usage). Since the news became known, the name of the Famous Black Bob-Tail has been on lips around the world; radio, television and print media, to say nothing of jungle drums, have relayed every scrap of information, misinformation, alternative fact and wild speculation that has surfaced.

    The local cable station, Transverse-Video, interviewed the Ex-Pet Casket King of No’field, who swore he saw Bob step into a flying saucer with Venusian markings and head for outer space; he then launched into a long, loud, unintelligible rant about the number of aliens sneaking into the U.S., but by then, the camera person had departed to follow up on a lost-dog report. Likewise, the No’Field Gnus sent its Ace Fotograffeur to the Ordinary Hash House to sample public opinion; comments ranged from “Huh?” to “Say wha” to “He stopped for a coffee on t’ way t’ werk.”

    Reuters dispatched a dirigible full of investigative reporters, but on trying to moor their gasbag at the Greater Western East Roxbury Aerodrome, Canning Factory, Foundling Hospital and Gin Joint, they ran afoul of the Fearsome Elfreida-Alice MacCardunkin, who demanded twice the usual fee on the grounds that they were “rich Brits” (which came out sounding like something rude, which didn’t help matters). After several hours of negotiations, a large sum of money was wired from London to the Last National Bank of Western East Roxbury (E-A. & V. MacCardunkin, Props.), the news persons were allowed to descend, whereupon they rented several rickety, late 1930s jalopies from the MacCardunkins (at astronomical rates, of course). Hot on the heels of Reuters were the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Mongolian Radio-with-Pictures Company, and the wire services, as well as dozens of stations in major TV markets across the country. Naturally, The Cat Channel was on the scene to provide continuous, if hysterical, coverage.

    Rumors were hawked on street corners by enterprising urchins, and local residents did well peddling their theories (although the reporters, having been warned [for a fee, of course], avoided the wildly inaccurate XPCKN and the equally unreliable Walawahoohoo Wasabi, who was still smarting from being placed under Bob’s supervision). After much sifting of chaff from wheat, a few (a very few) True Facts were ascertained, to wit: First, Bob disappeared from the statehouse reception after he and his Factotum, Chief Nylon, wallowed in the champagne fountain and got roaring drunk; second, the drunken duo were hustled out by Coast Guardsman Perky; and third, the trio went roaring down Stately Street with Perky at the wheel of Bob’s 1930 Bugatti Napoleon Imperiale limousine.

    Attention immediately focused on Perky, the driver of the vehicle, as the likeliest suspect; Dumbbart Fake News Network characterized Perky as a Benubian terrorist (on the scant grounds that some Benubian names begin with P and have either an E or a Y in them); The Times of London speculated that the presumed abductor was going to hold Bob for the largest ransom in the History of the Entire World; the Gnus of No’field noted that Perky was a card-carrying member of the Grumpy Old Men’s Breakfast Club, which was no place for a Respectable Person, and, in a related matter, that a neighboring town’s basketball team won a recent game.

    In the Governator’s office, faces were grim; Captain-Admiral Skip Philpott mobilized the Natural Guard, deputized half of his cabinet to search for the Famous Bob-Tail (although he declined Bob’s under-deputy-assistant Walawahoo Wasabi’s request to drive the Sherman tank), and instructed the Unready Reserve (now short one member since Chief Nylon was also missing, although no one seemed to mind that much – Missus Chief Nylon said she was going to camp and that her spouse “would turn up eventually”).

    However, if the Governator was upset, his patron, Don Riccardo Mazzaratti, was positively WILD! Striking a pose with his right fist over his heart and his left arm and index finger straight up in the air, he declared emotionally, “That-a Bob, he-a one-a special-a Cat,” and as tears trickled down his cheeks, he sobbed out the words, “and-a I-a [sob] love-a him [another sob] like-a [two sobs], like-a [gut-wrenching sob], like-a I-a love-a [final sob, followed by the nearly inaudible words] my-a favorite-a Corvette-a!” When he was able to speak, Il Senatore declared in a Voice of Thunder words that sent shivers down the backs of everyone in earshot: “VENDETTA! We-a gonna go-a to-a the-a mattresses!”

    With that blood-curdling pronouncement, Don Riccardo and the Governator left for the War Room in the secret bunker to plan their strategy as the world watched and waited for news. Houses of worship stayed open 24 hours to allow the millions ob Bobfans access so they could pray for the safe return of The World’s Smartest Cat, and bars and ginmills everywhere observed a moment of silence.

    This is the news to date, but be assured that this Columnist Ad-Hoc will keep Our few but faithless readers advised of the latest developments.

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