Thursday, November 15, 2012

The City's True Name 6; A Cat May Look At A King

            A Cat May Look At A King

            “Eek, eek!” Mischief squeaked. “Follow me!”
            She followed him at high speed, east on Easy Street, then north on Commonwealth Avenue, then down on Brotherhood Way. This eventually lead to Market Avenue, where they turned west. Mischief said, “I could have taken Church Way, but like I said, it’s a bad neighborhood.”
            “When did Church Way turn into a bad neighborhood?”
            “Since he took over, when else?”
            West down Market Avenue; soon they got to the intersection of State Street, Church Way, and Market Avenue. Mischief said, “Here’s the Pyramid.”
            “What Pyramid?” Sogwa saw a windowless cube, with a few heavily guarded entrances.
            “It’s a four-dimensional pyramid. That’s its base. Now follow me!”
            Mischief turned a quirky curl and vanished into the fourth dimension. Sogwa wrenched herself out of Hellen-space and followed him into hyperspace.

            She and Mischief spiraled ana through hyperspace. The further ana in hyperspace they got, the smaller the cube got. It shrank to the size of a large hall; then windows appeared in its sides, and Mischief flew through.
            “Welcome to the Belfry,” Mischief squeaked. “Also called the Eye of the Pyramid.”
            The Belfry had lots of bells, of course; but also telescopes and control panels and radar screens and video monitors.  There was a man going from monitor to screen to panel. He looked busy, like he was looking for something.
            The Belfry was a good place to look from. That far ana in hyperspace had a great view; you could see anything in Hellen-space, including everything inside anything in Hellen-space, simply by tilting your head just so.
            Mischief introduced the two. “Sogwa, meet Chaim the watchman. Chaim, meet Sogwa the supercat. Tell me, Chaim,” Mischief teased, “is she the one you’re looking for?”
            Chaim looked Sogwa up and down. He said, “You’re no king. Or excuse me, queen.” And he returned to his telescopes.
            “Never mind him, he’s on duty,” Mischief apologized. He showed Sogwa where the air vent was; she took off the panel and slipped into the ventilator duct.

            There she followed the directions that Gabriel gave her. First a right turn; then the next down turn, then the next kata turn; then right, down and kata again; then again, and again. She hurried down a four-dimensional spiral deep into the Pyramid.
            Soon she reached her destination; Gop’s dressing room. She quietly opened the air vent and looked through. There he was.
            Sogwa landed softly on the floor, and padded up behind him. “Ahem,” she said.

            Gop the Image turned around. He said, “How did you get in here?”
            “Oh, I have my ways,” Sogwa purred. She slinked up to him, sat at his feet, and stared wide-eyed at his face. She mewed, “I’ve never seen a theocrat before.”
            Gop chuckled. “What do you think?”
            She pounced onto his lap and rubbed against his chest. “I bet you love all the attention.”
            He scratched Sogwa behind the ears. “Heh-heh, true.”
            She jumped up to Gop’s shoulder, and whispered, “But I bet you hate the paparazzi.”
            “Damn nosy meddlers,” Gop grumbled.
            “They’d be out of business if it weren’t for the fans...” She climbed onto his back.
            Them,” Gop grunted.
            “They never give you a moment’s privacy, they question every move you make...” Sogwa rubbed against the back of Gop’s neck and purred. She nuzzled and gnawed his hair.
            Gop sighed. “That’s the interesting thing about my job,” Gop remarked. “I don’t have to explain myself to anybody. My acts create their own reality; others explain it, afterwards.”
            “In my job,” said Sogwa, “I always have to explain myself.” She climbed over to Gop’s other shoulder, and she whispered in his ear, “You see, I’m a messenger.” She jumped from his shoulder to his lap, to the floor, to the counter-top. “I bear a message.”
            Gop asked, “What’s your message?”
            Sogwa said, “See for yourself.” She licked a paw and held it out. Three bugs flew forth  and circled around the room.
            Gop looked at them in horror. “Listening bugs!”
            “I’ve just groomed them out of your hair,” Sogwa explained. “Smile, you’re on candid camera. They’re transmitting, right now. They’re been transmitting. You didn’t know that before, now you do, and that’s my message.”

            The listening bugs landed. One bug wore on its back the sign of the Blood Diamond.
            Gop growled, “Pat, you rat, stop telling me what to do!”
            He pointed a finger at the listening bug and shot out a lightning bolt:
            The listening bug blew up, and the mirror it was on shattered.
            Sogwa said, “But he’s a hit.”

            The second listening bug wore the sign of the Yellow Elephant.
            Gop raged, “Rush, you rat, I take back the loan!”
            The listening bug blew up, and the bottle it was on burst.
            Sogwa said, “He needed the straight dope.”

            The third listening bug wore the sign of the Almighty Dollar.
            Gop moaned, “O Ayn, Ayn, why have you forsaken me?”
            The listening bug blew up, and the bouquet it was on caught fire.
            Sogwa said, “It was the rational thing to do.”

            Gop said, “Thank you for removing all the bugs. I will reward your loyalty...”
            But Sogwa cat-laughed. Have you ever heard a cat laugh? It’s very annoying, especially when the cat is laughing at you. “You’ve got dozens more bugs! How long since you last washed your hair? And guess what, I’ve just planted a bug myself!”
            You planted a listening bug? Whose?”
            Gop gasped. “You mean... Miss Liberty?”
            “Yes, the lady is back in town!
            “You’re one of hers? Traitor!”
            But Sogwa had already jumped out of the way.
            ZAP! He missed.
            ZAP! He missed again.
            She dodged his lightning bolts fast than he could aim them, for Gop was a superman, but Sogwa was a supercat, and cats are quicker than men. She yowled, “Dissing you, Bubble Boy!”
            “Halt, in the name of the Law!” Gop roared, firing bolt after bolt, missing and missing.
            “What Law?” Sogwa said, dodging and leaping.
            Gop thundered, “I am the Law!”
            “I know...” said Sogwa, and jumped.
             “... an even...” she continued.
            “...better Law.”
            Sogwa mewed at Gop from behind his back, “Power corrupts.”
            She slipped through the air vent and got clean away.

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