Ever since he got some ink (two sentences) in a recent Daily News op-ed column, Benjamin BadKitten has become more insufferable than ever. His amped-up ego is especially annoying because he’s no publicity rookie. He has a featured role in the Impetuous Gardener column, has gotten mentions in print from several other writers, and has been the subject of complimentary emails sent to his biographer. If readers go online and Google him, they will find six entries for him.
Benjamin hit the bigtime last year, when he was the focus of several letters to the editor. He’s still preening about a published message, calling him to national service: ”BBK in 2020.” He is certain that a grassroots political campaign will follow. (No, it will not, his biographer promises.)
Last week Nick Gier, a retired University of Idaho philosophy professor, gave him a cameo role in a column headlined “Some of the funnies are not very funny.” Gier took issue with a few of the comic strips in the Daily News, including the target of BBK’s envy, Breaking Cat News. “Maybe others see redeeming value in … Breaking Cat News,” Gier wrote, “but I certainly do not. I have a suspicion that our local Benjamin BadKitten is the only reason why the latter was chosen. I bet he would really like to have his own microphone.”
The strip’s main characters are three cats who form the BCN news team. Black-furred Puck is sweet and compassionate. Fluffy white Lupin is BCN’s fearless anchor and the idea guy for the news team’s assignments. High-strung Elvis, the Siamese, is most likely to go bonkers in an emergency. All three cats would give up their beloved potato salad to protect their persons’ baby girl.The BadKitten applauds Gier for his perceptive critique of those three no-talent poseurs and for the affection they generate from readers, including his own biographer.
He flicks his tail at the bumbling trio, who, unlike himself, lack sophistication and street smarts. (Hah. Double hah.) He wonders, for instance, where the humor lies in the cats’ fixation on potato salad. In a recent storyline, the bowl sat out of reach on the kitchen table, and the three furry stooges were stumped. What to do? Finally — finally — they came up with a strategy that BBK and any other self-respecting marauder learned in kittenhood: Knock the bowl off the table to the floor and then shove your face into the spilled salad. Duh. But, he wonders, why waste a classic take-down technique on a disgusting mess of mayonnaise, mustard, onions, eggs and potatoes? He flattens his ears at the horror of licking mustard off his whiskers.
Benjamin is certain that newspaper readership would soar if it published a new comic strip, featuring the adventures of a charming, handsome, brilliant and creative cat of action. Modest, too. (Snort.) Readers would need only his initials to identify him as BBK, the pussycat with the heart of a lion. Story arcs would include:
Stare-down on B Street: The Poodles’ Retreat
BadKitten’s Coup: From Underpaid Garden Staffer to Millionaire Couch Potato
Revenge of the BadKitten: Poop on the Pansies.
Love Triangle Mysteries: The Blonde, the Gray and BBK (rated PG-13)
The scripts would practically write themselves. (Ahem.) These true-life (pretty much) episodes would be stuffed with drama, pathos, romance and redemption — except his biographer still won’t forgive him for the pooped-on pansies.
Of course, the cartoon strip would go into syndication. Then TV showrunners would queue up to snag the BadKitten’s paw print on a contract for his own animated series. Breaking Cat News? Ha. BBK is destined for Netflix. Mic drop.
Sydney Craft Rozen is the harried biographer of the irrepressible Benjamin BadKitten. She fears that, as they say in the TV world, BBK has finally jumped the shark. Email her firstname.lastname@example.org