Author’s note: I recently wrote a first-grade level reader, to be published later this year. The publisher restricted me to a list of 126 words, as well as any word that could be constructed from a simple consonant-vowel-consonant combination. (Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat, by contrast, was written from a list of 223 words.) After days of fruitless labor, I was no closer to my goal – but I did manage to produce the following text within the assigned parameters.

I can say shit.
Shit is good to say.
I can say “tit.”
I can say “bum.”
I can say “You are a bad, bad cat.”
This is fun for me.

I am not the man I can be.
I do not see as far as you do.
Show me a bed, and I run to it.
Show me a job, and I am sad.
I am a bad, bad cat.

Sam is a good mom.
She can do a lot.
She sees that I am not so good -
That I am a bad, bad cat.
This is not fun for me.
Nor for her.

The time is at hand.
Time for me to say shit to you.
A lot of shit, such a lot.
You are a bad, bad cat.
Oh, that was fun.

If I have to say shit,
Can it be good shit?
Good shit that is not so ABC?
Can I say shit you will not get?
Shit that a bad, bad cat can say?
Not tit, not bum, but ...
But ...

Can I?
Or am I not the bad, bad cat that I wish I was?