the Governor of the State of Kentucky, by image a rotund dignified Southern gentleman, already looking a little out of character in his Boone-skin cap, much more so now dangling, rump-high, over the Convention floor, the tail of his cap down between his eyes. The Cat in the Hat lowered him to the platform, whisked off his coonskin cap. Under it was another, oddly a bit larger than the first. The Cat pulled this one off, revealing yet another, larger still. The next coonskin lay on the Governor’s ears, the next flopped down over his eyes. As the Cat whisked off caps, the Governor gradually disappeared beneath them. Soon he was wearing a cap
yet—and anyway the delegates never came back. In the media nothing but the Cat in the Hat: he was a national sensation, though the media people themselves, infected by it all, were filing haphazard and even outrageous stories. The Cat, though in great demand, slipped out of sight, but his disruptive spirit lingered on. The delegates were completely out of hand, and the banquets that night were slapstick, table-dumping, pie-throwing affairs. Only one of my scheduled speakers had the nerve to carry on—someone rigged his mike through a tape recorder so that everything came out backwards; when he paused, his scrambled voice carried on,
that covered his head and rested on his shoulders, then one that flopped down his shirt front, others that lay on his plump belly, reached to his knees, his shoes, until finally there was only one huge coonskin cap on the platform. The Cat lifted the cap: no Governor! Shouts of amazement, even fright, from the Convention floor. The Cat, though smiling still, looked perplexed. Silence fell. The Cat doffed his own Hat, and there, on his head, in the lotus position, sat the Governor of Kentucky. “Me-You!” the Governor said, then clapped a pudgy hand over his mouth, gazed sheepishly at the now wildly cheering, wildly hooting crowd. The Cat fired his b’ar gun suddenly, a tremendous explosion and cloud of smoke: when it cleared, all the Boone- skins had turned into live raccoons which were scampering madly about, sending the girls shrieking up onto chairs with lifted skirts. Sure enough, under most of the Boone-skins, the delegates had been wearing the miniature Cat Hats, which they now merrily squeezed, raising a din of happy Cat-Calls. Some of the coons balanced balls on their noses, some rolled and tumbled, but most of them
and when he spoke the speakers went silent. “What’s happening?” he cried and sat down abruptly on a miniature Cat Hat someone had planted in his chair, issuing a lusty ME-YOU!— had a heart attack, and nearly died. Things were that serious. And through it all shuffled Ned and Joe with their lame- brain hayseed routines: Ned: Say, Mr. Joe, our nation has got cat problems! Joe: How do you mean, cat problems, Mr. Ned? Can you make me a list? Ned: Make you a list? Why, Mr. Joe, I’ll make you a catty -log! Joe smiles as the audience guffaws and issues the Cat-Call. Ned: I mean, things is catty-clysmic, Mr. Joe. They are catty-plectic, catty- strophic, and all cattywamptious ! Joe: That bad, hunh? Well, what’re we gonna do about it, Mr. Ned? Ned: Well, Mr. Joe, I say you gotta send a cat in to do a cat’s job. Joe: Send a cat in to do a cat’s job? How do you mean, Mr. Ned?
ARMS REACHED OUT FROM THE CLEAN-UP MACHINE, SNATCHING
BOONE POSTERS. THE CAT SHUFFLED THEM, PASSED THEM OUT AGAIN.
NOW THEY READ: “EAT A PRUNE AT NOON WITH BOONE!”
Ned: Well, Mr. Joe, supposing your house was full of rats, what would you do? Joe: Unh-hunh, I think I see what you mean, Mr. Ned! The Cat in the Hat for President sounds like a good idea. Ned: It’s not just a good idea, Mr. Joe—it’s a catty-gorical im-purr-ative! Reprinted with permission fromThe Cat in the Hat for President: A Political Parable, OR Books/Counterpoint Press. --- One of the most revered contemporary American authors, Robert Coover’s most recent books are Noir, The Brunist Day of Wrath, and Huck Out West . A book of selected short fictions, Going for a Beer, will be published in winter 2018 by W.W. Norton. He is the recipient of the William Faulkner, Brandeis University, American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Endowment of the Arts, Rea Lifetime Short Story, Rhode Island Governor’s Arts, Pell, and Clifton Fadiman Awards; as well as Rockefeller, Guggenheim, Lannan Foundation, and DAAD fellowships. *
started humping each other. The whole nationally televised Convention floor was a mad melee of shrieking laughing girls, Cat-Hat-squeezing delegates, and copulating coons. I fainted dead away. Later, they told me that the Cat fired one final salvo on his b’ar gun, and a little flag popped out that said: “Come along! Follow me! Don’t be afraid!
There are many more games That we haven’t yet played!”
And then he’d clinkclanked out of the hall in his clean-upmachine, the Governor of Kentucky squeezed, wide-eyed and jolly, in beside him, most of the delegates deliriously Me-Youing along in his wake. Riley never even got nominated. It took hours to clear the hall of coons—in fact, as far as I know, they’ve got the run of the place
Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online