Kandi and four friends were jumping up and down screeching at the screen. They made high pitched whines, lower grunts, and mid-range shouts. Their sounds didn’t resolve into words or sentences. They jumped a lot.
Boo watched from his vantage point in the kitchen. This kept him well away from the shrill demonstrations of the primates before him. It was an interesting show. They were already stomping kale chips into the carpet. Perhaps they’d eventually fling feces?
What started it was when guests arrived (uninvited as usual, there was no need for invitation among the sisterhood). Boo noted that the one who had missed her GRE’s this morning was nowhere to be found. The guests found Kandi snoring on the couch and a gleaming new flat screen along the opposite wall. They were entranced! It was a monstrous device. Boo noted it’s dimensions seemed roughly 1:4:9. Kandi, after they woke her, admitted she’d ordered the device during a blackout about 20 hours earlier. She had no idea what it cost. She’d probably just cover it with some student loan money. The others nodded indulgently, who hadn’t blown a little excess money during blackouts?
The ladies couldn’t find the remote. This was to be expected since Boo had stolen it. He intended to keep it for himself. The ladies blamed the delivery man but diligently searched for 45 minutes. They all agreed that it would be a fine thing to watch this new device but they couldn’t activate it. After about an hour, one of them realized there were physical buttons on the device. She cautiously approached it, as if it might leap forth and bite her. Then, with all eyes on her, she pressed the red “power” button.
It was Fox News.
They went apeshit!
One leapt over the couch and bounced into the wall. Another burst into tears. A third flung her iPhone in rage and immediately regretted it when the phone shattered. Kandi started jumping up and down shouting. The remaining guest joined her aerobic complaints.
As if fascinated by a zoo exhibit, Boo paid close attention. The man on the television was reciting some boring statistics about capital gains tax rates and the ladies were apoplectic. Boo was pretty sure none of them paid any taxes. Certainly they weren’t in a position to ponder capital gains from an investment strategy. The three women who weren’t jumping and shrieking realized they were out of phase with the zeitgeist and joined the shrieking two. Now all five where leaping and rolling about as one. They covered their ears and spilled more kale chips and cursed the Gods for bringing this horrible blight into their universe. Boo glanced back at the screen, it was an advertisement for antacid; a smiling man swung a golf club on a field of green. For some reason, the solution to stomach misery infuriated the women even more than taxes on investment returns.
Boo was fascinated by his subjects. There were buttons on the base of the device. One of them said “Channel +” and another said “Channel – “. He waited for them to change the channel. They didn’t. Instead they started hurling things; red plastic Solo cups, a pair of socks, another cell phone, the lamp got knocked over. Boo began to fear they’d damage the device he’d worked so hard to acquire. He stuck his nose under the refrigerator and fished out the remote.
As he turned around, careful to hide the remote from view, he noticed a change in the tone of the shrieking. It was just as high pitched and angry but now it was resolving into words. This was interesting. Boo waited to see what would happen.
The teary group had assembled into a line. They had locked arms and were shouting at the television. On the screen, a man with nice hair and a failed acting career was reading words from a teleprompter. He was talking about the recent events in Venezuela. The ladies couldn’t find Venezuela on a map if Juan Valdez personally stapled directions to their forehead. Even so the story enraged them. Meanwhile their shouts were evolving into a chant. One of many repetitious sayings of Kandi’s people.
Except it wasn’t that. “Hey hey, ho ho, we’re in control!” That’s what they were shouting.
Boo looked at the screen again. It was a video of a large boat, possibly traversing the Panama Canal. Whatever these women controlled, a Panamax cargo ship was not among them. One of the ladies, incapable of differentiating between a tanker ship and a container ship, slipped into “No blood for oil!” The other four held firm and soon the fifth was back on track. “Hey hey, ho ho, we’re in control!”
Once they settled on a chant they stuck to it. Boo waited. Five minutes later it was a commercial for a minivan and they were still arm in arm “holding the line” against the unmoving television. They were no closer to finding the “Channel” buttons.
Boo pressed a button on the remote. The image flickered and now it was a video of violent men blocking streets and setting fire to cars. They had their heads covered, some were shouting in Arabic. The ladies collapsed on the couch. Having “won” in their protest of the deadly news channel, they were unconcerned with the terrorists dancing around the streets of some foreign city.
Oddly, none of them wondered why the channel had changed. In their world, the television had agency and would change its channel if they protested long enough. That the event happened merely proved they were right.
Boo decided to experiment. He pressed another button on the remote. Back to Fox. The five leapt to their feet, locked arms and started screaming. “Hey hey, ho ho, we’re in control!”
Boo clicked to the alternate channel, now an advertisement for women’s hygiene products. The five relaxed and went silent.
Boo pressed the button again. It was an ad for AARP membership. The five looked on, agitated but confused. Then a logo appeared on the lower left of the screen. Fox. They leaped up, locked arms, and began shouting.
Boo did this six times in the next half hour. He had to admit that the people trainers (whoever they were) did impressive work. Pavlov himself couldn’t have initiated such a precisely controlled response. Finally, Boo decided they’d had enough. He turned off the power.
The screen went blank.
“Power outage.” Kandi announced. (Despite the overhead light remaining lit.)
They all nodded. After milling about a bit, they left to go clubbing. Boo was glad to see them go. In a few minutes, the 1930’s movie “M” was going to be on channel 185b. Boo loved the works of Fritz Lang.
If you think a Fritz Lang movie is a damn good way to spend an evening, feel free to click below. If you think black and white movies are for pretentious nitwits who talk to trees, you’re also welcome to click below.