Fessay So Myself

You are witnessing the invention of a new literary form, the fessay. This is a fictional essay. It takes a news item, writes a column-length (750-900 words) response, but uses a fictional format. The name "fessay" is my copyright and requires permission for use.

Monday, March 21, 2005

FEE LINES by Jay D. Homnick (Fessay #1)

(NEWS ITEM: Michael Schiavo petitions court to remove his wife’s feeding tube, against her parent’s wishes. Earlier, he had her two cats put to sleep rather than give them to her parents or siblings.)

“Hello, sir, and welcome to Kool Your Kat, where we offer a wide variety of options for assisting your special kitty in the transition to the great Beyond. I’m Herbert Watson. How can I help you today, Mr. ….?”
“My name is Doe. John Doe.”
“Oh, we have serviced members of your family before. Many Does have come here, Smiths too, although they can hardly keep up with the Joneses.”
“You folks put cats down, am I right?”
“Oh, no, Mr. Doe. We never put cats down at all; in fact, everything we do here shows them the utmost respect and dignity in their final passage into the Infinite. But we do offer a range of Feline Eternalization packages.”
“Okay, what’s the most reasonable?”
“Well, Mr. Doe, one man’s reasonable is another man’s treasonable. When you think of all the years of loyalty that your kitty provided, it may not be the moment to be economical.”
“What have you got?”
“We like to recommend our special Family Love package, which includes the symbolic gold dust sprinkled on the maw and paw. This goes for Thirty-nine ninety-nine.”
“Forty bucks. Fine, I’ll take it.”
“Three thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine, Mr. Doe.”
“Oh, no, nothing steep like that. Give me bare bones.”
“Mr. Doe, please. We do not provide deboning here at KYK.”
“Your best price….”
“That would be our Kat’s Got Your Tungsten package, where the somatic evacuation segment is performed with a Tiger Woods signature golf club. Only four hundred and ninety-nine dollars.”
“Rats. Wait a second, can’t I make some money back by selling the fur for a coat or something?”
“Sorry, Mr. Doe, the only use for cat fur in fashion is in the millinery division of DeGatto in Milan, where they make that lovely Hat-In-The-Kat design, but unfortunately they will not accept the fur off American cats. Wound too tight, they say.”
“How about selling the guts to the violin people? Aren’t those strings made from catgut?”
“Fascinating. We get that question a lot from members of your family. Unfortunately, catgut is made from sheep intestine.”
“Come on, are you trying to pull the wool over my eyes? This is ridiculous. How about for catsup?”
“No, since Heinz has dominated the industry with ketchup, I’m afraid the catsup people are playing catch-up.”
“Well, don’t they need them for CAT scans?”
“Perhaps periodically, but lately it’s been catch as catch can. I’m afraid that the procedure for entrails involves traditional interment or cremation.”
“Is cremation any less expensive?”
“Well, the process is theoretically less costly but the receptacle for the ashes is more ornate, so although there might be a penny saved at first, eventually it’s a penny urned.”
“Can’t you design some sort of custom package for me? Also, I have two cats, so shouldn’t I receive a volume discount?”
“Two cats at once? I don’t think that we have ever performed a twin killing here before, you should excuse the expression. What kind?”
“You’re purgin’ them?”
“Persian cats, very annoying.”
“The problem, Mr. Doe, is that our costs are a constant and there is simply very little that we can do to alter the level of our outlay, which in turn does not allow us the opportunity to offer any discount.”
“What is so costly for you?”
“The most expensive item is the fee for the eternalizer.”
“Why is that?”
“Because very few people can bring themselves to… er, dispatch the little kitties to their reward. Many people try the field but the dropout rate is a national tragedy. It’s gotten to the point where we simply won’t hire anyone without a criminal record.”
“Well, how about if you don’t use any manpower at all? Why don’t you just not give them anything to eat or drink and within two or three weeks they would be gone?”
“Surely you don’t mean to starve them?”
“Oh, nothing nasty like that. You don’t kill them, you eternalize them, right?”
“Yes, Mr. Doe.”
“And the owners thank you for a mystical, euphemistical experience, right?”
“Er, yes, Mr. Doe.”
“Good, so then there is no need to starve them literally, you can do it euphemistically. You simply let them transcend nutriment.”
“And what about drinking, Mr. Doe?”
“Alimentary, my dear Watson? That can be eclipsed.”
“My goodness.”
“So is it a deal? We transcend nutriment and eclipse aliment until they self-eternalize, and I’ll pay you fifty bucks.”
“Oh no, that would be impossible, Mr. Doe.”
“Why so? What’s the problem?”
“To starve a cat, Mr. Doe. Why, that would be illegal.”


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