First, cats start talking. Subsequent investigations reveal that the scientists we trusted to accurately evaluate the feline brain were bribed or threatened by cats to produce assessments indicating IQs lower even than dogs—a plan designed to manipulate our craving for petting induced oxytocin in order to achieve a lifetime of easy food, comfort, and safety. This changed after an underground movement among cat society toward a more active role in global affairs reached a fever pitch. At this point, cats begin campaigning for their civil rights as self-aware, cognitively commensurate American citizens. New studies reveal that cats can stand on two legs indefinitely, produce vocalizations roughly equivalent to humans, and actually enjoy wearing clothes, particularly Italian knit sweater vests.
Caught between sentimental affection and fearful confusion, Americans—and the rest of the world—struggle to cope with these revelations. A Newsweek poll indicates 60% of people find cats even more adorable than before while the other 40% are dramatically more leery. Cat activists describe this latter reaction as a subtle form of interspecies racism, drawing comparisons to the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. Later, a prominent U.S. senator is found filleted like a fish in his upstairs bathroom after making inflammatory anti-cat statements on Fox News. Controversy erupts as news pundits and commentators attempt to discern where cats fit into American society or whether such untrustworthy nonhumans belong here at all.
Meanwhile, cats begin constructing a system of plush dormitories connected by plastic Discovery Zone style tubes, a network interweaving through our own human neighborhoods in an unobtrusive and yet unsettling way. A bill restricting cat habitation to certain specific zones is introduced, debated, and ultimately thrown out by congress for fear of violent reprisal. The CIA devises response strategies should cats attempt an armed overthrow of the U.S. government, but can see no practical way of overcoming their superior stealth, speed, and cunning.
Cats begin raising mice as livestock and building the infrastructure necessary for aquaculture. For the first time, formerly domesticated cats use miniature toilets or, if nostalgia overcomes practicality, a Cat Genie litter box. Their population explodes with no one to neuter or spay them, and unchecked sexual appetites spill out into the streets. Hateful lovemaking fills quiet neighborhoods with agonized hissing and shrieks long into the night—and no cop would dare issue a noise citation for fear his family would be found eviscerated and soaked in cat piss.
Nevertheless, many communities welcome the cats, seeing them as adorable hardworking peers, even volunteering to help construct recreational centers (buildings designed to look like Rubik’s cubes and filled with cardboard boxes, soda can tabs, and houseflies), clean litter boxes, and operate Psychological Wellness Centers where human volunteers pet cats for an hour or two at a time to dispel “deep feelings of existential despair and/or malice.” They also build View Rooms, glass cubes suspended over busy highways between two plastic access tubes where cats can peer down on the activity in haughty judgment of all mankind. These humans are known to cat society as “familiars.”
Just as presidential elections ramp up, congress passes the 28th amendment to the constitution, granting cats American citizenship and equality under the law. To everyone’s surprise, a cat named Murphy Brown catapults to the forefront of the Democratic primary thanks in large part to write-ins from fellow cats and old spinster ladies. Murphy Brown’s platform strongly emphasizes naps, laps, snacks, and campaign finance reform. He speaks of the need for cooperation between humans and cats—particularly as 18-hour sleep schedules have slowed cat progress to a crawl. He also speaks of a desire for equality, an abandonment of the overt racism in employment restrictions like minimum height and maximum fur limits. He’s the smartest president America had ever seen although it’s sometimes hard to tell as he occasionally slips into cat-speak and begins meowing for several minutes before transitioning back into English.
It’s a landslide victory for Murphy Brown. A cynical nation weary of the same old human candidates sees Murphy Brown as a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow. His first speech as President of the United States revolves around reduction of greenhouse gases, repairing America’s decaying infrastructure, a constitutional amendment legalizing gay marriage, and publicly funded head-rub services. But then, in the middle of his speech, Murphy Brown scampers off the podium into the audience after a speck of light reflected by a news camera lens. As the camera moves, the speck moves, sending the newly elected president scurrying about the crowd in a matter unbecoming a leader of the free world. Political commentators are quick to question whether a president so distracted by a speck of light can stay focused on the hard issues. The internet explodes with new memes depicting the president’s lapse in decorum. #catpresidentmakesmelol is a trending topic for weeks afterward.
Fortunately, over the following six months, Murphy Brown institutes nearly all his promised policies. Cat accessible toilets are installed in every public bathroom. Grocery stores rename the pet food aisle “Feline Necessities” and move the dog food two aisles over. One room in every office is converted—by Federal law, mind you—into a nap room where employees can take twenty minute naps as necessary. Clothing sizes come in large, medium, small, cat, and baby kitten. Everyone is required to pet a cat once per day, but not too much. Those who pet cats too hard or too frequently receive a $200 citation for heavy petting.
In time, Murphy Brown ushers in an American renaissance, the most economically prosperous and artistically productive time in the nation’s history. History books refer to him as the greatest president ever—and the only president who publicly licked his genitals during speeches.
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I should eat an entire sleeve of saltines (and a brownie).
Forget answering: my salary is ________. This is about all the little things that you think are your preferences but were actually given to you like gifts.
7. Visiting the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum.
Writing is all about process. Learning how you write, or how you create, is just as important as what you’re actually writing about. Here are several things I’ve learned since starting to write my first book, that will help you embrace the creative writing process (or any creative endeavor), and share your story with the world.