12 Days of Christmas #1: The Cat in the Hat, A Lovecraftian Horror

For the first short story in my 12 Days of Christmas, I’m sticking with my unorthodox format by presenting a piece in rhyme. I love Neil Gaiman, and his poetic stories are some of the best in his short story collections. This is my first attempt at this style.

This piece began as a conversation with @cantrellwriter and I got a little carried away. If anybody likes it I would love to collab on making it a coffee table book. I also have a PG rated version that is not as good.

The Cat in A Hat
A Lovecraftian Horror (R-rated Version)

For Gentlemen, and Ladies, of Questionable Taste

There once was a gent
Who liked nothing better
than a hat at a bent
Such a go-get ‘er

One fine morrow at market
As Jack blooded his wallet
A shop girl did ask,
“How about this damask?”

Freckled was she, a lovely ginger
Buxom, too, and known as quite clever
Jack did not want to look the cretin
But he was, in a word, smitten

Well alas poor Jack
Lady love’s rare, a bit
Fate’d have his mood black
As chance would have it

Our main man, quite a heel
Reached out to seal the deal
But as he made to buy the pretty hat
Another beat him to it, fancy that!

“My Good God,” cried Jack
“Whatever is your hurry?”
But stood there in fact
Was a man stank of curry

No aromatic spice, this
But a coat of many scents
Mace and peppers, two a pence
And distinctly ambergris

And atop his noggin, a travesty!
A hat of such monstrosity!
With lenses and gears stuck every which way
For, likely, keeping dogs at bay

“Sir, you mean to offend,”
Said jack with rank mockery
“I’ll not let damask rend
On that head of indecency.”

And our man of flavor
Said nothing improper
Only turning the hat this way
And that. At last he made to say

“Perhaps so fine a topper
Hides a feline proper
tell me good miss, within that hat
Oh is there, is there a cat?”

At which point our straight man jack
And shop girl, sharp as a tack
Stood there looking, in a bind
“Has he lost his bloody mind?”

But the man who smelled so low
Did reach into the chapeau
With wonder and shock did they behold
The spiced man got in up to his elbow!

“Oh haha, very funny,”
Said man Jack with a twitch
“For a wizard you’re quite barmy,”
Said shop girl, who was from Dunwich

Not that it matters, not a wit
That is to say, she’d seen some shit.

But fair shop girl ain’t ever seen
a man pull an adder from Aberdeen
Out of a hat pretty much the size
Of a caramel corn cracker prize

“Jesus effing Christ,” said Jack of Springs
He jumped like the girl gave him a ring
But the perfumed man was not done
Pulling in turn a rat, a bat, and a nun

“Where’s the cat? Where’s he at?”
Quoth magician, madly
“Come off it,” said Jack
“Can’t you see we’re off quite badly?”

But our spicy mage kept going
it seemed there was no stopping
Once in the damask he reached
Some kind of dam he had breached

As he pulled out a barrel of pike
He said odd things, things like
“Is it dead or is it not?
That’s what Doctor Dinger has forgot”

After a while, there was a row
As the nun fought with the cow
in the shop, the hats tearing
Shop girl bid, “Pay, in sterling!”

Said Jack: 
“What shall we do with this heap?
People are starting to weep!”

“Ah, but don’t you want a ride,”
Said the wizard, his brow dank
“Across to the other side
Of Euclid, Dirac and Planck!?”

Of course Jack did not know
Such men out of his day
But our heroine tried to show
He ought to run, or pray

And now the madman’s product
Came fast and far stranger
Scales and tentacles and suck
And too many eyes, danger!

Jack watched a squid hand
strangle Ray, his barber and crony
A lobster killed the butcher and
That bloke from the haberdashery

“This feels like an absinthe draught,”
Said Jack. Shop girl found it too dreary
“Now’s not the time to be daft!
Later you can visit the green fairy!”

Kicking and screaming they fought
Old Ones from some ancient abyss
Though mentioned it probably ought
They smelled like Whitechapel Miss

Jack struck a thing like a pollock
And shop girl fared well
When she kicked a foe in the bollock
Jack shouted, “Ooo, that’ll swell!”

But the monsters overwhelmed
Becoming a flood and a bother
Quite distraught, Jack lost his helm
“For God’s sakes, buy another!”

Upon horrors they paddled
Wet and smelling like a moor
Man jack on a saddle
and shop girl on a door

And the mad wizard, his hat spinning
Did keep on reaching, kept on pulling
Until at last the hat gave a sad wheeze
Like a ball in too tight a squeeze

And all the horrors, every one
Gave a sigh, a crescendo
Limp and weak like sodden buns
They lay there, bad innuendos

The wizard fell in a horrid heap
In ruined Camden, what a creep
His hat slowed to a stop
his fingers gave weird pops

“Is that it? Are you quite rid of it?”
Asked everyone, sick of his shit
“Yes,” cried the wizard, doffing his hat
“But blast it all, where’s the damn cat?”

They locked up the madman
Without his hat, or in case, shoes
Safely away to Bedlam
Also his horrors, all forty-two

“Well I’lll be,” said our man Jack,
“That was quite the adventure”
“Yes,” said girl, flushed from attack
“Care to take me to dinner?”

“Dinner!” cried Jack, quick on his feet
“With a pretty girl tonight!
First we find my hat. Tout suite!”
“You’re taking the piss, right?”

They looked and they searched
Though the market lay asunder
And finally found it perched
With a pile of crap atop her

When they moved the stone blocks
With some choice profanity
Man Jack gave a loud squawk
Which had quite the vocabulary

For there,
curled up flat
Was a cat, snoozing in his hat.

zoe

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