At first I was shocked to see the 6-foot tall feline walking toward me. Then I noticed the oversized bowtie and the huge red and white striped hat perched jauntily atop his head.
“Say, aren’t you’re the Cat in the Hat?” I inquired as he sauntered past me.
He stopped suddenly and twirled around. “You say I am he, but can it be so? I’m a cat, I’ve a hat; well what do you know?”
“You are the Cat in the Hat!”
He smiled, his whiskers dancing up to his twinkling eyes. “It appears very true, you know all about me. But do I know you? We shall see, we shall see.”
“No, you don’t know me. I’m – I – this is incredible!” I stammered, hardly able to believe this was happening. “I’m actually talking to the Cat in the Hat. I grew up with your books.”
He reacted as if he’d swallowed a bite of spoiled who-hash. “Books, books, I’ve had it with books. I do not want to see them. I do not want to look.”
“Wait, what are you talking about?” I asked.
His expression became even more disgusted. “It’s all electronics and digital crap. Kids glued to their iPads with some gaming app.”
Now I definitely couldn’t believe this was happening. “What? Are you crazy? We still need your books. You’ve been entertaining and teaching children for years!”
“I will not do that anymore. I will not do it; it’s a bore. I do not like them, that it that. I do not like those little brats.”
“Have you forgotten who you are?” I shouted.
He shrugged his hairy shoulders. “One book, two books, red books, blue books. What does it matter? What can I do? The children have found something better to do.” With a sad shake of his head, he turned to walk away, his whiskered face changing from a grimace to a frown. His once jaunty hat sank into a dejected droop.
I grabbed his arm and yanked him back.
“Now, listen! You’re the Cat in the Hat, mister, and you’ve got a responsibility! Cut the self-pity and get your act together!” His mouth dropped in dismay and I tried to calm myself. “Uh…I mean…you’ve got to keep up with the times. Maybe…try something new.”
He rubbed his beard and pondered this. “Something new, something new…But what would I do? What could I do? I’ve told about Whoville, I’ve told of the Grinch. I’ve told about Horton, and that was no cinch.”
“You’ve got to get hip. You’ve got to be wow. It’s a new demographic you’re dealing with now.” I was suddenly shocked by what I’d said.
He began to grin and the twinkle in his eye brightened. “So now I think I understand. I’ve got to take the upper hand. They’ll want my books before their eyes. I simply need to modernize!”
“And I can help you, help I will. Those kids will read, they’ll get their fill!”
“A partner! My, that’s something new. Now here’s the first thing that we’ll do…”