Second Fiddles

Episode 7 – The Naming of Cats

September 06, 2021 Sidekicker Studios Season 1 Episode 7
Second Fiddles
Episode 7 – The Naming of Cats
Show Notes Transcript

Sophia and Ren hang out and catch up. Suck it, Bechdel test!

FOURTH WALL
Previously, on Second Fiddles: Ren’s been playing the name game, and she’s still stuck with the alias Snoozy Susie. The A-league left the solar system to defend the universe against an alien invasion, leaving their sidekicks and the B-league to fend off the threats to Rose City. Sophia’s been devoting her time to working the downtown bombing case for months. Months, really? On a TV show, it would’ve been wrapped up in 42 minutes. Oh, well. Let’s begin.

MAX
Episode 7, The Naming of Cats.

REN
Ya know, it’s never gonna happen. Lucy’s never gonna like any of my alias suggestions. So far, she’s hated Somnus, Torpor, Zonks, and Morpheus. I tried to get her to shorten Snoozy Susie to just Snooze, but she wouldn’t listen. I also suggested Lullaby again, which I really, really love.

SOPHIA
I believe that if Lucid Lucy liked Lullaby, little Ren could live her life with less mess-causing stress, I do confess.

REN
Ugh. Are you enjoying yourself?

SOPHIA
Yes. I have begun reading poetry. I especially enjoy the alliterative ones with punchy rhyme schemes.

REN
So, you mean poetry for kids?

SOPHIA
Poetry is for anyone who enjoys it. Why shackle one’s reading preferences with age-limits?

REN
Is there a reason for your poetry deep-dive?

SOPHIA
Cats.

REN
Uh, what kinda cats?

SOPHIA
The musical, Cats. I did not discern a specific plot, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. It was inspired by the poems of T.S. Eliot. I decided to read them, thus beginning a downward spiral into meter and rhyme.

REN
I’ve never seen it.

SOPHIA
I do not think you would enjoy it, but you could always try and let me know what you think of it.

REN
Maybe my sister would like it. How much longer until we get there?

SOPHIA
We should reach our destination within a number of minutes. Our walking pace will affect the exact time of our arrival.

REN
I still can’t believe you lied and said we’d be getting coffee. Can you just tell me where we’re going? I really don’t like surprises.

SOPHIA
You will understand the reason behind my manipulations when we arrive. Ren, why does it matter if your hero likes your alias? Sidekicks should be able to choose their own names. I came up with Recall on my own, and Smasher did not question it.

REN
Smasher is also not insane.

SOPHIA
Are you beginning to agree with Tammy? Do you think Lucid Lucy is, and I quote: A crazy psycho BLEEPing BLEEP BLEEP?

REN
She’s not quite that bad, but I’m starting to question her judgement sometimes.

SOPHIA
Are you referring to a specific occurrence?

REN
A few days ago, she was asked to take a peek into the dreams of a woman, Cynthia... Morris? She owned the hair salon that blew up during the bombing months ago, but she just happened to’ve already gone home for the day when it all went down. Apparently, someone just discovered that she was having financial issues. She was gonna have to close down the salon, and the thought was that she wanted to collect the insurance money after the explosion, so maybe she set it all up.

SOPHIA
Yes, I am aware of Ms. Morris. We already ruled her out as a suspect during the initial investigation. We could imagine her setting a fire, but killing her own staff and using explosives was just too unlikely.

REN
Maybe she had connections and reached out to the wrong people, who took it too far?

SOPHIA
It would seem that you are grasping at straws.

REN
Hey, when the A-league up and left the solar system to deal with the Kromin invasion, all the B-league was left with was a bunch of loose ends and no payoff. The fact is, ballistics made it pretty clear that the salon was specifically targeted along with the offices. It wasn’t just collateral because it was nearby. Lucy thought the salon owner’s dreams could maybe shed some light on the situation.

SOPHIA
Was Ms. Morris cooperative?

REN
She agreed to come in for questioning, and she was pretty open with us.

SOPHIA
Do you think she did it?

REN
Honestly, she seemed oblivious. I don’t think she could’ve lit a fire, let alone arranged for a criminal mastermind like MacGuffin to crawl out from whatever hole he was hiding in to organize a bombing. We didn’t think she was lying, but thought maybe she was forgetting something important.

SOPHIA
Was Lucy’s dreamwalking fruitful?

REN
I don’t think so. I did my thing and sang her to sleep, then Lucy entered her usual dreamwalking trance. Sometimes she’s only in there for a few seconds, and other times she’s digging around for hours. She was only in Cynthia’s dreams for like, five minutes, and before she even snapped out of it, she started screaming.

SOPHIA
Did you wake her up?

REN
I’ve been told not to interrupt her, so I just let her scream. She started pulling her hair and acting like she was dying. She actually started yanking out clumps of hair. There was blood oozing out of the chunks in her scalp, I didn’t know what to do, I mean, except for panic.

SOPHIA
At this point, did you wake her up?

REN
I knew if I touched her or tried to pull her from the dream, she could get trapped, so I just stood there. I thought about singing her to sleep, to see if that would pull her out gently, but we’ve never tried that before.

SOPHIA
Did the screaming wake up Ms. Morris?

REN
Thankfully, no. My power knocks people out for at least an hour, usually. Sometimes, much longer.

SOPHIA
How long was Lucy screaming?

REN
Not too long. Not even a full minute, but it felt like forever. There was a glass of water on the table for Cynthia, and when Lucy came to, she dumped it over her head and asked me if I could smell the burning.

SOPHIA
Did she tell you what happened?

REN
She disappeared into the bathroom for a while, and came back with a shaved head. Like, bald-shaven, not a buzz-cut. I honestly don’t even know how she did it. It’s not like we keep clippers or razors laying around headquarters.

SOPHIA
It would appear that she had a Britney Spears moment.

REN
Hey, leave Britney out of this, she’s been through enough. So, Lucy told me in the dreamscape, she was looking through Cynthia’s eyes and she looked into a mirror and saw her hair on fire. She felt the flames, smelled the burning, and right before this happened, an older man wearing a gray uniform pulled up in front of the salon in a tank that turned into a car, like a transformer. He was talking directly to Cynthia, telling her that he was going to do whatever he could to get his daughter back. That’s when she looked in the mirror and her hair caught on fire.

SOPHIA
Did you ask Ms. Morris about this when she awoke?

REN
Yeah, and she didn’t know what the fire meant. It was probably an expression of her survivor's guilt, considering how her employees died, but the man, the one in the uniform? He did help trigger a memory.

SOPHIA
Did she know him?

REN
She remembered him coming in the morning of the attack, rambling about his daughter, asking if she deserved what she got. They thought he was homeless and called the cops on him, but he got in his car and drove away. She swore his car looked like it was getting bigger as he drove away, and changing size, but she was too busy trying to get the license plate.

SOPHIA
Did she see it?

REN
Yeah, she said it was easy to remember, because it was a vanity plate. It said–

SOPHIA
Plot.

REN
Plot, yeah. Which means it has to be MacGuffin, but we have more questions than answers now. Why would he go talk to a hairstylist he doesn’t know? And who even knew he had any children?

SOPHIA
Ren, who else knows this information?

REN
Just me and Lucid Lucy. We have a meeting in a couple days to reconvene with the rest of the B-league to gather our intel, start putting together the puzzle pieces, if any of them even fit together. We’re spread really thin right now.

SOPHIA
I need to tell you something, and I need you to keep it a secret.

REN
Uh, yeah, no problem. You can trust me!

SOPHIA
A-ha. Yes. I think I may have an idea who MacGuffin’s daughter is, and why he is trying to find her.

REN
Really? Who?

SOPHIA
I found a hair near where the tank treads were observed, and I brought it to the lab to test it. I ran it through our database to see if it matched any DNA on file. There was a partial match for one person: me. I believe that MacGuffin may be my father.

REN
Are you serious? How does that even make sense?

SOPHIA
MacGuffin was last seen thirty years ago, when he escaped from the Island and supposedly drowned. If he survived, he could have easily fathered me. My assumed age is in the high twenties, so the timeline works. Also, my power is based on my memory, and MacGuffin’s power is unidentified, but historically thought to be related to his intelligence, so there is a chance that my memory power was inherited.

REN
Oh my god, that is a lot to unpack. Do you think that would explain your amnesia?

SOPHIA
I do not know, but I am now suspicious as to how I arrived at the lab where I woke up as Recall. I have many questions for Smasher, but they must wait until he returns to Earth. Perhaps the A-league was aware of my parentage and they wiped my memory to protect me from my father, or maybe my father did this to me, and the A-league rescued me, and that is why MacGuffin wants me back so badly.

REN
Umm, are you… okay?

SOPHIA
I am feeling anxious, but also excited.

REN
Excited about possibly being the daughter of a supervillain?

SOPHIA
No, I am excited because we have arrived at our destination. Behold!

REN
Uh, Sophia, why are we at Pet Universe? I don’t even have my dog with me.

SOPHIA
We are not here for Giles, we are here for you. You asked Max if Pet Universe was hiring, and he never responded.

REN
And you obviously never forget anything, so you thought…

SOPHIA
I thought you could apply for a job, if you still need extra income. I will not pry into the state of your family’s finances, but I would like to present this as an option based on your previous inquiry.

REN
Oh, wow, um, thanks, Sophia. I probably have to talk to Max about this, to see if it’s okay. I don’t want to cross, like, a weird friend line, especially since he’s pretty embarrassed about working here.

SOPHIA
That is why I strategically timed our arrival to coincide with Max’s lunch break. I texted him on the way. He is expecting us.

REN
This is an example of the kind of surprise I’m not a fan of. Not the Max part, but the pressure-me-to-apply-for-a-job part.

SOPHIA
I apologize. I have an ulterior motive, as well. I would like to see if there are any cats.

REN
Of course you do.

MAX
Hey, guys! Come in!

REN
Uh, hi, Max.

SOPHIA
Hello, Max, it is very nice to see you. Please bring us to the cats.

MAX
Okay, so I had to take my lunch break earlier than I thought, so I’m on the clock right now so I can’t hang for long, but we can hide over in the cat adoption area and no one will notice. It’s been pretty slow today. One of the kittens has tummy issues, so I have to go check his litter box anyway. It’s just right over here.

REN
It’s weird seeing you at work.

MAX
Well it’s weird being seen at work. At least Sophia warned me. Other than Tammy, no one’s ever visited me here before. I don’t actually hate having you here. Oh, if you see anything you want for Giles, you can buy it with my discount, I get 20% off.

REN
Oh, okay, cool.

SOPHIA
Ask him.

REN
Max, I know I already asked you this, but… are you guys hiring?

MAX
Oh, uh, maybe? I feel like our cashiers are always quitting or being fired, so there’s probably a part-time opening. Why here, though?

REN
Well, I never went to college, and I can’t exactly put singing people to sleep on my resume, so I don’t have many choices. I really don’t want to work in food service, and I like dogs, so I thought it was worth a shot to try.

MAX
Well, I was valedictorian in college, and I’m here, so I’m not exactly sure what that says, but there have gotta be more options for you other than fast food or retail, just probably not like an office job, but hey, that sounds super boring anyway. So excuse me for a minute, I might not hear you. I kinda have to scoop this litter box. Hey Sophia, do you wanna hold this kitten for a second. I have to scoop but he keeps jumping in. It's gonna get messy.

SOPHIA
Yes, please.

REN
I know I’m a dog person, but he is so cute.

SOPHIA
It appears as if he is wearing a tuxedo. Also, he is rumbling.

MAX
I’ve been calling him James Bond, because of the tux.

SOPHIA
I believe that he is thirsty. He would like a meow-tini. Shaken, not purred.

REN
Is that a reference I’m supposed to understand?

MAX
Well you could help me think of a better name. James Bond always makes me think of a henchperson Tammy used to complain about. His name was James Bondage, and he, well, used ropes a lot? I don’t know, he kept trying to ask her out, but then she ruptured his eardrums and he stopped talking to her.

SOPHIA
Mister Mistoffelees would be fitting.

MAX
Hey, you’ve seen Cats! But no, I’m not naming him that. He’s not very outgoing, so it doesn’t really fit his personality. He’s actually pretty calm, he's like the little shy runt of the litter, I guess.

SOPHIA
He is figuratively melting into me.

REN
We’re going to have to pry him out of your arms, aren’t we?

MAX
Or... you could always take him home. He’s a smitten kitten.

SOPHIA
I am not an impulsive adopter of animals. I have never had a pet, nor was I planning on it.

MAX
I could hook you up with everything you need, and I’ll use my discount! He really does like you.

SOPHIA
He probably purrs for everyone. He is, after all, a sleepy kitten.

MAX
Oh, I’m not speculating. Remember? I can hear his thoughts, and he’s practically in love with you. The babies don’t exactly speak to me, but I can feel their intentions, and James Bond does not intend to leave your arms at all. Also, he is falling asleep.

SOPHIA
In light of this information, you have forced my hand. I must bring him home with me and supply him with a constant source of love and affection.

REN
Hey, we came here for a job, and we’re leaving with a cat! You need to come up with a new name. I would suggest something, but as we all know, I’m really bad at coming up with names.

MAX
Okay, so, I’ll take care of the adoption application and Sophia, you can’t exactly fill out an address for A-league secret headquarters, so I’ll fudge it a little. I’m not waiving the adoption fee, though, because I don’t wanna get in trouble. Is that okay?

SOPHIA
Cost is not an issue. The A-league has given me a credit-card with no limit.

MAX
Seriously? The C-league doesn’t even have health insurance for sidekicks.

REN
Have you ever thought to unionize? Or work for someone other than a giant deer?

MAX
Have you ever thought to not shame me for having a useless power? I can’t even get Bubbles under control.

REN
Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. I just– uh, nevermind. Who’s Bubbles?

MAX
Bubbles is an evil hamster demon. I’ve been trying to sell him for months, but whenever a customer tries to pet him, he rears up on his hind legs and screams, and pees. He is, unofficially, my arch-nemesis.

REN
I thought Sally Mander was your arch-nemesis.

MAX
I’m kidding. Sally Mander hates me and the Stag, sure, but she’s been locked up in the Island for a while now.

SOPHIA
Max, that is not true. There was a legal technicality and she was released from the Island months ago.

MAX
What? How? She tried to burn down an entire forest!

SOPHIA
I would tell you the details, but I am distracted by the kitten in my embrace.

MAX
Great. You know, no one keeps the C-league in the loop anymore. It would’ve been nice to know that someone who wants my hero dead could be anywhere, plotting our demise.

SOPHIA
I apologize. I will fill you in shortly. But first, you said you would “hook me up” with cat supplies?

MAX
Oh, yeah. So, don’t leave the adoption area, in case any of my coworkers wonder what’s going on. I’ll go grab all the basics you need, like carrier, litter box, all the other boring stuff. After that, I can show you where all the fun stuff is, like the scratchers and toys and beds. I’ll warn you, though, cats hardly ever sleep in the bed that you buy them. You’d have a better chance if you just threw a blanket in a cardboard box. Okay, I’ll be back in a few minutes.

REN
I can’t believe you’re adopting a cat.

SOPHIA
His name is Eliot.

REN
That was fast. Is that a character in Cats?

SOPHIA
No, I am taking inspiration from the poet I mentioned, T.S. Eliot.

REN
That’s not bad. He’s like, super passed out right now, isn’t he?

SOPHIA
Yes, I believe Eliot is asleep.

REN
I wish it was that easy for me to come up with a name.

SOPHIA
You have still not told me why you cannot simply name yourself. What are you afraid of?

REN
Well, Lucy's my first hero. I don’t want to mess anything up. If she wants me to be Snoozy Susie, then I guess I’m stuck with it.

SOPHIA
I concur, that is also not my favorite, but if it benefits your partnership, it may not hurt to embrace it for the time being.

REN
Okay, then. Hi, there, Eliot. My name is Snoozy Susie.

SOPHIA
He cannot hear you. He is still asleep.

REN
Look at his little paws, they’re like tiny black licorice jellybeans!

SOPHIA
I thought you were a dog person.

REN
Whatever, you know he’s adorable.

SOPHIA
Yes, I do. Ren? What do you think I should do about MacGuffin?

REN
Yes, he is, yes he is adorable!

SOPHIA
Ren.

REN
Hmm?

SOPHIA
MacGuffin may be my father, and, in hindsight, I do not know if I preferred it better when I thought I had no father at all.

REN
I might not be the best person to talk to about this. I'd rather have a supervillain for a father than have to think about what I– My dad’s dead.

SOPHIA
Ren, I am so sorry. It was not my intention to bring up sad memories. Would you like to hold Eliot?

REN
Nah, he looks comfortable where he is. Thanks, though. I don’t talk about my dad. Things haven’t been easy since– since he died. That’s why I need an extra job. My mom isn’t well, and I’m trying to help her and my sister, so things’ve been a little rough lately.

SOPHIA
Let me know if there is anything I can do to assist.

REN
Just being my friend is good enough for now. Unless you have a time machine.

SOPHIA
I do not believe anyone has ever called me friend before. If I was a cat, I believe I would be purring.

REN
Deal with it, you’re stuck with me.

SOPHIA
Then it is decided. We are friends. However, if you would still like that time machine, I believe there is one available. The A-league tries not to use it too often, but I could look into it for you.

REN
What? Are you joking? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re joking.

MAX
Hey guys! So, I filled the cart up with everything you need. The toys are in aisle 5 over there, so feel free to go peruse. I saw some homeless-looking guy talking to himself over by the hamsters, and I think he wants to buy Bubbles, so I gotta go do everything I can to convince him to take that hellspawn away from here. I’ll find you when I’m done.

SOPHIA
Thank you. Good luck!

REN
Okay, so, we need to talk about this time machine. Were you kidding?

SOPHIA
This is not the place to speak of such things. Let us go look at the cat toys. I must find something that has feathers, but is also shiny. Oooo, and catnip. We must not forget catnip.

REN
Are you trying to change the subject? Come on, just give me a yes or no.

SOPHIA
Yes.

REN
Yes to having a time machine, or yes to joking about having a time machine? 

SOPHIA
Yes.

REN
Yes, what?

SOPHIA
Oh, look, Eliot, a string of shiny fabric and feathers at the end of a stick. This will encourage hunting behaviors!

REN
You’re deflecting.

SOPHIA
Yes, I am. Help us look at the collars. Some of them have bells that produce a jingling sound!

REN
Uh, fine. But we’re not done talking about this!

MAX
In this episode of Second Fiddles, Ren is voiced by Kristy Barkan, Sophia is voiced by Robyn Rime, Max is voiced by Mat Johnson, Fourth Wall is voiced by John Pupo, and Eliot the cat is voiced by Samson, also a cat. Thanks for listening!