The Unavoidable Continuation of Notes Surrounding The Trial

Submitted with no further comment, typed on an analogue typewriter with a dirty ribbon which filled in the “a” and “e” letters throughout, yellow paper:

Trial notes, day 2, Cat’s interview:

-Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, attorneys, magistrate, tribunal, hooded council, paparazzi, executioner, advocates, friends of the court, and so forth, I’d like to offer a few comments before we go any further. This is a deeply phony world we live in, with little to offer the vast majority of people in it, beyond what they can make for themselves and their immediates. I come from a place where even that is difficult, where the government and half the people try to suppress and silence the other half. It is enough to make a person hard, cold, unfeeling, uncaring. For the majority of my life, I had only a vague sense of another world, and even then it was so distant and impossible that it was not worth even my dreams to consider it.

Many of you have attended a circus before? I have an idea of what it is, from a picture book I received as a child, written in a language I did not yet understand. There are giant, striped tents, with stands built for people to sit close next to each other and eat salty or sweet foods. These stands are built for maximum visibility, to see both high and low. The performers up high risk their lives from falling, the performers below risk them from trained animals overcoming their training and casting aside the tiny whip or baton which is meant to command them. The performers are very talented, of course, and serious injuries seem to be rare, at least in picture books. There are exotic beasts from Africa, exotic performers from Europe, immigrant labor or descendants of former slaves to build the entire enterprise, and, more importantly, to tear it down. That is the most unique element of the circus: it must move. It must be moveable. Does this make it fake? I don’t know. I leave that to you to decide.

I came to this circus of a country to avoid dangers which were very real, and because I thought I could not tame them any longer. I lived without a net, and I was sick of performing, either above or below. But I am here because in this courtroom because I did not want to run any longer. My crime is being an illegal person, a net-less performer who had too many close calls. So I ran to a land where the circuses are spectacular, where at least my performances would be appreciated for one night at a time, before moving on to the next. I could tame your lions or swing from your trapeze, and there would always be a place for me. But I see now how they are built, these tents and stands and cage, on the backs of the poor, and they do not appear so spectacular any more. I understand the language in the picture book now. I think it translates to: “Beware the circus, little boy, because it will kill you one way or the other.”

-Sir, you were asked for your name. Are you prepared to answer that question?

-Well, naturally: I’m Cat In The Hat.

-Mr. In The Hat, which would you say is greater: the number of things about which you care or those about which you do not?

-Oh, the latter, without question. But if it is a matter of degree, my answer might change.

-Would you then care to comment on degree?

-I would not.

-Mr. In The Hat, what are “tingly teeth”?

-I think that is a fairly self-explanatory concept, which is my favorite type to explain: they are teeth that tingle.

-Like a chill in one’s spine in winter?

-That sounds about right.

-Based on your preceding, totally unsolicited monologue, I am tempted to ask: why circuses?

-I thought you might. To cause complete and unceasing pain to my enemies. To bury them under a dance floor upon which I will waltz with my friends in our finest rags. You can catch me for a drink afterwards.


-Why not.

-And growing old?

-Disgracefully, of course. One should look in the mirror and be thoroughly dispirited as their younger self within is forced to contend with the realities of the older self without.

-Wonderful. You know my last question already, but shall I ask it, just for formalities sake?

-You do what you have to, as always.

-Blood or wine, Mr. In The Cat?

-I have spent what feels like a lifetime explaining, and this seems like a natural point to cease that practice. Jack is about to take the stand, surely that will prove more interesting than this twaddle.