"Get your hands off of me, vile woman!" I scream. "Turn me loose, Martha Stewart!" Martha Stewart's hands have the strength of a steroidal orangutan. It's all that scissor work. And the tying of stiff twine and ribbons. Those hands have worked. The bones are steel. The sinew of them, mooring lines.
My throat offers no more resistance to her crushing grip than a drinking straw in a vice. On the crafting table behind me, I nudge with my elbow a pinecone that's been dipped in bronze. My vision tunnels, but before I lose consciousness, I smash the heavy, metallic, evergreen cone into her temple.
She got the drop on me. She's crafty in more ways than what we see on the television. I set to work binding her hands with a length of decorative tapestry rope.
Martha Stewart sneers and licks a drop of blood from her mustache, "You're doing that wrong."
"Are you correcting me? Even now?"
"Look," she says. "If you don't bring the end of that line through this loop, I'll be able to wiggle free."
My knot seems sturdy enough, and I tug it to cinch it a bit, but she pulls at the restraints with her powerful wrists and it loosens. "Take that end," she instructs. "And bring it through. Oh, for the love of... Here. Here's an easy way to remember how to securely hogtie a victim. The end of that rope is the 'bunny,' that loop is the 'burrow,' and my wrist is the 'tree.' The bunny runs around the tree and into its burrow."
Constricted silk braids turn Martha Stewart's palms white after I get the "bunny" into its home and yank the knot tight.
In her spacious crafting studio, littered around the room, are eight pairs of scissors, a dozen razor knives, bundles of thick metal skewers, barrels filled with pointed wood stakes, sets of slim screwdrivers. The place is cached with pockets of sharp objects she could have stabbed me with, run me straight through, and I would've awoke on a brocade love seat, stitched down with fishing line like Gulliver, bleeding to death. Instead, she chose to punch me in the ear when my back was turned, and when I whipped around, to choke me.
"Were you hoping I'd win, Miss Stewart? Why even attempt to fight me? Why not stab me to death?"
"It doesn't matter," she says, constrained by her ties. "Regis will be here any second and then...then it's your ass."
Thursday, May 17
ABC 9:00 a.m.
Dig Eisenhower up, prop his body against an Oval Office wall, and broadcast round-the-clock recordings of his speeches. A chick who's cute and can cook? She used to be "average" during Ike's term. Now she is so freakishly extraordinary that television shows are dedicated to her. Sing us back to those days when ugly, drunken, divorcées didn't forage from greasy McDonald's wrappers, Dwight D. Sing us back.
Bob Barker: A Celebration of 50 Years on Television
CBS 8:00 p.m.
Bob Barker is my fiercest adversary. Someday, though. Someday his shiny silver pelt will hang in my trophy room alongside his extra-slim microphone, and I'll hold up my glass of fine, neat bourbon in a toast. I'll touch the scar on my eyebrow and cheek from where he gouged me. It was youth, Bob. No shame in it. The only advantage I had on you was youth.
Friday, May 18
A Dr. Phil Primetime Special: Caged?
CBS 9:00 p.m.
Finally, a Dr. Phil cage match. Ready my leather shorts and my hockey mask. It's a little unnerving that CBS didn't tell me about it before this, but no matter. I've been practicing a few moves with the mini-sledge, and there's no one better with the chainsaw. Slap my thighs hard, girls, because I'm going to war. And I won't quit until Phil McGraw's mustache hangs at the end of my bayonet.
Saturday, May 19
Today at the Preakness
ESPN 9:00 a.m.
I'll need a steed on which I will ride to round up all my celebrities and force the nation into a quiet, contemplative, hard-working society. Seabiscuit was my last worthy stallion, but he's long since been laid to rest. On my white Triumph, I'll maraud through the streets until the fascination and frenzy of pop idolatry is subdued to its former staid self from a half century ago.
2006 World Series of Poker
ESPN 5:00 p.m.
Once Ike's been reinstated and I'm appointed as chancellor, my first order of business will be to restore the world of sports to normalcy. Poker will be something chubby husbands do around a folding table in the garage. Basketball will be a boring game where short white men in long socks pass to each other, and the biggest, wildest, NFLer will be six feet tall, 200 pounds, and he'll be the only athlete allowed to have a beard.
Sunday, May 20
TVLand 5:00 p.m.
I'm going to start writing my name with a hand grenade substituted for the "O." So it'll be "Handgrenade-l-l-i-e," only it won't be the word "hand grenade" it'll be a quick cartoon depiction of one. Maybe one of those old-time-y bombs that is black and has a rope fuse out of the top. That'll be so cool. It'll send a message to my celebrity foes.
Monday, May 21
Wheel of Fortune
NBC 7:00 p.m.
All unmarried women over the age of 45 will be required to have two cats, one white shawl, one black, ankle-length dress, and their nightly leisure hour will be spent watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy . Saturdays and Sundays are theirs to either play bingo or bowl with their married friends and, ladies, you know there's at least one single desperate man at the hall or alley. I suggest you sit next to him.
Tuesday, May 22
CBS Evening News with Katie Couric
CBS 6:00 p.m.
Until you learn to bake, young lady, you're off the air. I want a thin, confirmed bachelor in a gray suit to read me my news. He'll be allowed to be unwed because of his undying dedication to broadcast journalism. Katie, get yourself an apron and a Julia Child primer on crusts and cookies. You've got a long haul.