I woke up inside the tiny cinema aboard the ship. Let me tell you: don’t watch a James Cameron film after binging on catnip. Avatar had been WAYYYY too much for me.
“I have had another epiphany!” I said to Straw Puppy. “If I my last chapter has gone way to far and I don’t know how to start the next one, I can just say it was all a dream!” “Brilliant!” said Straw Puppy. “Also we can invade people’s dreams and drive them mad with haunting visions of their death!”
With these new found insights we landed in sunny old England. There on the docks sat a sad lonely and dishelved figure. “What ails you good sir?” I asked the derelict fellow who somehow managed to look both gaunt and overweight at the same time. “I am down on my luck, I is.” he said, struggling to put words together in a sentence because he was none too bright and also drunk. He also smelt bad and may have pooed his pants at some point. “What is your name?” I asked as gently as I could for fear that I might startle this shrivelled excuse for a human being into the pit of madness that he clearly sat upon the edge of. “Why sir, I have plum forgot my name,” he replied pitifully. “Then I shall name you ‘Camestros Felapton’ after my servant’s dog from when I was growing up as a member of the landed gentry.” I declared in a gesture of such amazing humanity that everyone on the docks was astonished by my generosity. “Gawd bless you sir! And for giving me a name I shall pledge my service to you forever!” said the unkempt fellow who now had a gleam of sanity in his eye. “Then rise up and grab my bags!” I said, knowing that what this man needed was firm commands and a sense of purpose. “And where is it we be going?” he inquired. “Why to my ancestral home. Felapton Towers near the pleasant town of Bortsworth.”
Yes, I had returned and it was time for me to reclaim my rightful place on the throne of Bortsworth!
Chapter 8: Wall Street Blues and the Global Financial Crisis
NEW YORK! The heart of the global stock market!
“Oh, so that’s where New York is,” said Straw Puppy as we got off the Greyhound bus from California.
Our gang of goons helped us storm into the Flatiron building near Times Square.
“We’ve come to float our company on the stock exchange!” we shouted.
“This is a publishing company!” the confused editors shouted back.
“Sorry! We got our chapters mixed up!” we shouted again.
“Been there, done that!” shouted the editors.
Just then the Global Financial Crisis happened and the stock market crashed all around us. We sold our polo necks for tickets for a tramp steamer home to England.
As the ship sailed out past the Statue of Libertines, Straw Puppy and I stood on the deck and waved farewell to America. We had done our utmost to drag that nation into the twenty-second century but our vision was just too raw, too real, too commanding for the good old You Ess of Ay. But as the old saying goes “If you can’t change the country you are in, then you should change the country you are in.” Which I didn’t get at first but then Straw Puppy explained it to me. He drew a diagram and to be honest I still don’t get it.
Britain beckoned us. Blighty, that Sceptred Isle, that sling and arrow of outrageous fortune, home. Soon we saw the White Cliffs of Dover or at least that’s what we assumed they were but everybody else was shouting “ICE BERG!” Before you could shout “man the life boats” the ship was sinking and Celine Dion was singing and everything was becoming very confusing.
Chapter 7: The Epoch of Disruption – The Silicon Valley Years
Clad in a black polo neck I strode onto the stage to a round of applause. The audience was full of tech-heads, journalists and people with far more money than sense. I swaggered to a podium with all the nonchalance of a cat who knows that he holds in his head a vision of the future.
“Welcome to sTrawCat Product Release Symposium 20XX,” I said carefully pronouncing the ‘XX’. I practically sneered at the auditorium. “You’ll not that we no longer use the last two digits of the year. Our bold vision has deprecated that feature from dates, an initiative that you will all soon be adopting as none of our products are compatible with the now defunct standard.”
The applause was deafening.
“But what is it that your company actually does?” asked one frankly unvisionary journalist. I wrinkled my nose at him and had security out of the building.
“THAT WAS LAST YEAR’S PARADIGM!” I shouted to the departing hack.”stRawcAt has moved beyond being a company that ‘does’. We are now a company THAT IS!”
The roar of the crowd was even more deafening before. Which was great for my ego but not so good for my persistent tinnitus.
“We’ve made it!” said Straw Puppy.
“Yes, who would have thought that we could establish a global technology company that consists of nothing but two pairs of polo neck shirts and a gang of goons!” I said.
The next step was inevitable. We would float strAwcaT on the NASDUQ Index thingy!
LONDON! The heart of the world of publishing. It was here that I would build my empire! I immediately set off to the zoo to visit the penguins. Strangely, they were untalkative and showed no sign of controlling a vast business of iconic paperbacks. They mainly waddled around an enclosure with excellent views of Regent Park.
“They are Humboldt penguins,” said Straw Puppy reading the helpful sign. “I imagined they would have more typewriters,” I observed. “They have a slush pile,” said Straw Puppy. “Is that what that is?” I said as the smell of fish wafted towards us. I decided we needed a new plan.
NEW YORK! The other heart of the world of publishing! Manhattan awaited us!
“Damn,” said Straw Puppy as he perused the Tube Map, “New York isn’t on the District Line.” “We’ll have to catch a bus,” I concluded. Yet after several days hopping on and off random buses, we never once found ourselves in New York. We did visit Catford though and saw the shopping centre that had a big cat on it. Which was great.
PARIS! The other, other heart of the world of publishing! Sadly, this was off limits due to an outbreak of my profound europhobia caused by reading far too many copies of The Daily Mail.
MUMBAI! The heart of India’s film industry! After an accident with a shipping container, Straw Puppy and I found ourselves in the midst of Bollywood. The singing! The dancing! The riot of colours and costumes! Fun though it was, our short-lived career in the movies was getting us no closer to founding a publishing empire. We put aside our most excellent fake mustaches and decided to return to London by the first available shipping container. There would be other choices than a brand like Penguin we decided. “There’s Club Biscuits,” I noted.
SAN FRANCISCO! The heart of America’s Tech industry or at least not far from the heart of America’s tech industry. “Did we get in the wrong shipping container?” asked Straw Puppy. He was right — we were in the famous City of Angels now or rather the City of Angels Called Frank.