by Melissa Chiasson
Brenda, President of Cat Fancy, convenes the meeting and welcomes the editorial staff to the annual meeting in which they decide which sexy cat will reign supreme. She explains that the three executive editors have all chosen one cat we think embodies the spirit of a Cat Fancy Sexiest winner–a cat that knows what it wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it, a cat that you can take home to mom but is also a “freak in the sheets.” Or maybe he’s a bad boy? At this, Dale interjects to say that Cat Fancy should only be representing cats of good moral standing, no bad boys. Everyone starts booing, and someone in the back yells “Shut up, nerd!” Brenda clears her throat and concludes by explaining that the staff will hear the pitches and then vote.
Gordon starts off the presentations. He dims the lights, and George Michael’s “Faith” starts playing on the sound system. With the lines “Well I guess it would be nice/if I could touch your body,” a high-definition photo of Black Satin, an all black cat sitting in a basket of daisies, wearing a white top hat, illuminates the western wall. The room goes wild. Someone starts throwing ones at the screen.
When it quiets down, Gordon throws up some bullet-point facts about Black Satin. He loves lying in the sun, meowing loudly, and eating catnip. Gina is visibly flushed and starts fanning herself. There is then a gif of Black Satin playing with a toy mouse, endlessly on loop. Gordon hits the return key and “Any questions?” rolls across the screen. There don’t appear to be any, and retreating to his seat, Gordon high fives an editorial intern who tells him he “nailed it.”
Dale approaches the front of the room, shaking his head. Quiet settles. “Are we not better than this?” he asks, probably rhetorically, but before he can finish, Shauna announces that she’s found a video of Black Satin trying to eat a popsicle on her phone. Dale ignores this, sighs, and puts up his first slide, which has the sentence, “Webster’s defines ‘sexy’ as generally attractive or interesting.” A beer bottle explodes on the wall inches from Dale’s head. Dale relents and says he will skip the rest of the intro (as he breezes through the slides, we see one slide consists entirely of quotes from Nietzsche next to a photo of 2013’s Sexiest Cat Alive, Ruffles).
Then, bam: a resplendent calico, reclining in a bay window, gazing back with knowing eyes that say, “Drink it in.” Dale tries to ruin this perfect moment by telling us the cat’s name is Gus and he’s never killed a bird in his life. Someone again yells, “Shut up, nerd!” and then, unbidden, “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt” starts blaring from the speakers. Shauna approaches the screen, seemingly to dance with Gus, only to realize that he is a photo projected on the wall. A heated debate breaks out about whether Black Satin or Gus has more charisma, and punches are thrown. Carrie uses a whistle draped around her neck to call everyone to order. When Jeff continues to shadowbox, Carrie slaps him across the face and tells him she will end him if he doesn’t calm down. He cooperates.
Carrie strides to the front of the room, a serious look on her face. “What if I told you that you are about to see the sexiest cat you’ve ever seen–nay, imagined–today?” The excitement is palpable. She hits play on the laptop. A siamese cat, dressed in what appear to be red garters, stalks her way onto the screen. Exuberant wooting comes from the back of the room. Carrie tells us the cat’s name is Marbles and she loves yarn. The video is set to “Lady Marmalade,” and we watch as Marbles walks around a living room for thirty seconds before sitting down and attempting to bite the garters off for the remainder of the song. Dave has popped a bottle of champagne and is yelling “Take it off!” Soon people are dancing on top of the conference table, removing cardigans and loosening neck ties.
Brenda intervenes, telling people to keep it together and reminding us that we do still have to work after this meeting is over. This is met with boos as she hands everyone a ballot. Dave is now vomiting in a trash can by the door.
Fifteen minutes later, Brenda stands at the front of the room with the final results. She commends us all for another wonderful Sexiest meeting and the three executive editors for finding outstanding candidates for this year’s competition.
She announces that Gus is the winner, and there is jubilation and devastation. Dale is elated, while Carrie is just screaming “How?” over and over again. Gordon tries to open the window and jump, but Brenda reminds him that the windows have been childproofed because of similar attempts made in previous years. He sits on the floor, a broken man.
As the meeting draws to a close, Gordon tearily approaches Dale, and offers his congratulations. “That cat is sexy as hell,” he says, pointing to the photo of Gus Dale is clutching in his hand,
“Sexy as hell.”