Kevin Cowherd, whose column normally occupies this space, has the day off. He is at home recuperating from injuries sustained after he was brutally attacked and held hostage by a renegade gang of mimes, accordion players and cat fanciers at a suburban mall.
Though Cowherd has repeatedly vilified all three groups in his column, he claimed not to recognize any of his attackers. "They all look alike," he said. "Don't get me started."
Still dazed after the ordeal, Cowherd nonetheless agreed to be interviewed by an Evening Sun reporting intern Sunday afternoon.
Salaried reporters were otherwise occupied.
Here's a partial transcript of the interview:
INTERN: So let me get this straight. You were riding down the escalator, drinking an Orange Julius and eating a big cookie when this group charged down the stairs and started beating you with clubs?
COWHERD: Well, they weren't exactly clubs, but they packed a punch like clubs. I never realized how dangerous umbrellas could be.
INTERN: Did they use the pointy ends or the curvy ends?
COWHERD: I can't recall. But it was like being a VW bug going through the bristle stage of a car wash.
INTERN: Wow, Mr. Cowherd. Can I have a sip of your Diet Pepsi?
COWHERD: What? Can't you see I'm an injured man! I need to regain my strength if I ever hope to be an award-winning humor columnist again.
INTERN: You mean like that Dave Barry? He's really funny.
COWHERD: Didn't they have a real Metro reporter to send out today? Where's Hilson? Where's Schoettler? Where the hell's Roylance?
INTERN: BSO casual concert.
COWHERD: Jeez. All right, let's go on. After the thrashing, these savages tied me to a baby stroller and subjected me to torture for hours on end.
INTERN: What did they do?
COWHERD: Well, first, some woman named Edna placed her house cat Fluffykins on my lap. When the little monster started clawing through my best jeans, drawing blood, Edna said, "Isn't that sweet? Fluffykins is kneading bread!"
INTERN: Then what?
COWHERD: This beast starts gagging and spazzing, its head HTC spinning around like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist." Then it spits up a hairball the size of a cantaloupe.
INTERN: Gosh! Talk about your cruel and unusual punishments! Say, would you be willing to share those Chee-tos with me?
COWHERD: No! And pay attention if you ever hope to have a paycheck in this business.
INTERN: Sorry. Go on.
COWHERD: After the cat thing, they wheel me to the terrace. Out comes a troupe of mimes, performing a silent version of "The Sound of Music." There were three of them, all pretending to be parts of the Alps.
INTERN: Were you able to remain conscious?
COWHERD: Barely, but the worst was yet to come.
Just as I was losing my grip, I began to hear the strains of "Lady of Spain" coming from a bus-load of 40 lady accordion players. Every third one was named Rita. The bus driver grabbed an accordion from the luggage bin and launched into the "Flight of the Bumblebee." The mimes stop Alping and begin twirling around, pollinating one another.
INTERN: Jeez! This is like a Fellini movie!
COWHERD: No, you nitwit. It was like "Die Hard III: The Apocalypse."
INTERN: What saved you?
COWHERD: A group of heavy metal video game addicts arrived in Metallica T-shirts and scared my tormentors away. I was found at dusk by the crack mall security people.
INTERN: Did they administer smelling salts?
COWHERD: No, they just put a match to one of those potpourri candles from the Hallmark store and let me inhale.
INTERN: What did your wife say when you got home?
COWHERD: She said, 'Poor kitty. Those hairballs are so difficult to dislodge.'
Kevin Cowherd's column will resume Wednesday. Contributing to the above fabrication were a few Cowherd wannabes from the Evening Sun newsroom.