Sometimes C.W. likes to torment folks, on purpose. Take this morning. He shows up in the form of one of my least favorite people on the planet, Bill O'Reilly. I wasn't bothering a soul, just reading an article about my country’s entry into World War One. I looked up and there he sat.
“Mornin’ Sport,” he said. “Thought I’d stop by. Been a good week, eh?”
“I’ve felt real good this week,” he said. “You should have too. Your state, Arkansas, has made the world news. I’m even recommending it for a Fox News Civic Responsibility Award.”
“We’ll call the coverage, ‘Eight Empty Cells,’ and we expect a big sweep in the ratings. We’re working arm in arm with your governor.”
"Oh no. Are you referring to …?’
“You got it, your state is planning to whack eight condemned prisoners in ten days. ‘Eight In Ten,’ as your governor terms it. We plan to have that printed on souvenir fan hands, along with ‘Arkansas Is Number One In Somethng.’ Can't you just see all those big fingers poking toward the sky?”
“I hadn’t heard about that.”
“Just the thought of all those excited folks makes you feeling like grabbing for joy, doesn’t it?
“You can ask Joy about that, but eight executions in ten days doesn’t seem like a cause for celebration to me.”
“Are you kidding? There hasn’t been the chance for ‘pub’ like this since Hillary Clinton got caught in bed with that dead girl scout.”
“Hillary Clinton didn’t get caught in bed with a dead girl scout.”
“Did too. Our team covered it for over a month.”
“So, you see some chance for high ratings in this … this … this, ‘execution euphoria,’ as some are calling it? How will the people at your network contain their excitement?”
“Uh, … on what?”
“Yes. We’ve heard that your governor is having trouble attracting enough fans for the show.”
“Oh, the liberals call them witnesses. On Fox, we call them fans. Anyway, last we heard, not enough people have signed up to watch, even with our inducement package.”
“Oh yes. We’re offering chances to draw for souvenir cotton swabs. The ones they use to swab the condemned's skin with alcohol before they insert the needles.” He paused. “What’s the matter? You look pale.”
I said nothing.
“We’re also considering a ‘Seconds to Flat-Line’ pool. Big prize to the winner. We think this association between our network and your state will set a new, and a much higher standard, for public-private partnerships, in addition to helping me personally.”
“Diverting attention away from some things and toward others.”
He seemed to be groping for an answer. “They tell me I’ve written a new book and it’s about to be published. Anyway, your state is on a roll publicity-wise.”
“The eight in ten isn’t enough?”
“Oh, no, there’s the fellow who shot one of his balls off fiddling with his pistol while trying to walk down a hotel corridor. Oh, and don’t forget about Bill Clinton getting arrested for cashing hot checks.”
“Bill Clinton didn’t get arrested for anything."
“Did too. How many times do I have to tell you that you watch the wrong news channel? You missed our entire series about Barack Obama being a secret cross-dresser. And you didn’t even know about President Trump healing all those crippled children. What’s the matter?”
“Eight in ten.”
“Ain’t it great? Your state was it dire need of some favorable publicity since the Central High furor died down.”
Just then, a female voice roared from the kitchen and I turned toward it, “Tell that son-of-a-bitch I’m coming in there,” it said, “and, if he has any ideas, I have a ruler in my hand that I haven’t used since I taught grade school.”