Thursday, 5 April 2012

Interview with a Chihuahua

Interview is an art, both for the er and the ee. So is writing. If neither has mastered either, strange things can happen. On the strange scale this one is somewhere above ‘see’ level.

For me it is right in the middle of Maple syrup season. With sap so prominent in my mind I had no trouble picking the target for my first blog interview. It seemed like a quick simple way to stay on schedule for pounding these things out and keeping my blog record clean of open spaces. Why do I not feel clean now? Do you think this answer to my simple question should make me do so? (By the way Steve provides a link in his answer that should not be skipped over)

Q: You skinned a cat at some point in your life. How do you really feel about cats: either your neighbors’ or your own?

I wrote about that one time, and since I hate to repeat myself, I'll just link to it here. Plus, the link has cat Haiku. If you don't want to bother clicking, that's your prerogative, but then, of course, you may miss something life changing. Your choice.
See, he successfully sidestepped the question and left all of the work to you.
After a response like that you MUST want to know who is being interviewed. I called him Steve but the truth is that he’s rather be known as Haggis and he wants you to think he is a mangy looking Chihuahua. He has other problems too. I’ll stick with Haggis in interest of protecting him. Why, I can’t answer. Old Haggis, having earned the adjective honestly, is a horror writer who is waiting to become as famous as one of his heroes, Mark Twain. It’s going to be a long wait, I’m afraid. He is, however worth getting to know. For depth I can’t provide in a short blog, I suggest you find him here, particularly the Cabaret in the Humor section.

His problem … to wit ..

Q: Are you right handed or left handed and why?

I write with my right front paw, type with both front paws, and raise either hind leg to pee. I guess that would make the back half of me ambidextrous. Why? Because I'm a terrestrial quadruped, that's why.

Every once in a while he slips up and shows his human side …

Q: We know you can write because I said so.. Can you sing or dance?

My daughter once said I had a good “campfire voice.” What that means, I think, is that if I go camping, far, far away from her, like maybe in a different country, then it's okay for me to start singing. Otherwise, no.

.. and then stays in that role too long with things like these responses..

Q: If you were sitting down for what you knew was your last meal, what you have the warden provided for you and why?

Outside of the normal steamed lobster with drawn butter, roasted free range turkey with sage stuffing and rack of lamb with mint jelly, I'd ask for one of them cakes with a file or hacksaw baked inside.

Q: What was your first car?

A black, 1957 Cadillac Fleetwood. Looked just like a funeral director's car and *cough* had a very comfortable back seat.

Q: What happened to it?

I killed it by bouncing it off too many other cars and buildings and by providing it poor maintenance.

Q: Would the first girl you ever dated speak to you now and if she would, what would she say to you?

None of the girls I dated would speak to me now. In fact most of them wouldn't speak to me while we were dating.

Q: Assuming you have some, which of your friends would you like most to outlive, and why?

Oh, I have no friends, but there's a certain First Sergeant I'd like to outlive. He told me once, “Haggis I know you hate standing in line. That's why I never have to worry about you pissing on my grave.” I'd like to prove him wrong.

Q: Since you are a writer, because I said so, what single piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

I'm not qualified to give advice, but Mark Twain is. He said “I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”

Q: Who is your favorite writer and why in the world would you have chosen him or her?

Porter, it's impossible to name just one. Besides, I haven't chosen them; they've chosen me by writing stuff I like. I'll toss out some names--Michener, Joe R. Lansdale, Steinbeck, Twain, Poe, Jack Ketchum, Robert McCammon, Edmund Morris, David McCullough, Joseph Heller, Vonnegut, Garrison Keillor and way too many more. I have a new favorite now too. His name is Thomas Lynch. He's a poet and essayist. He's also a funeral director in a town within an hour's drive of where I live. (ED. One wonders if his ’57 Fleetwood was a used car) Pick up a book of his essays and one of his poetry. Knowing you, I guarantee you'll love his work.

Q: You can, by the grace of time travel, invite three people to lunch with you. Who would they be and why?

I love this kind of question because every time I answer it anew, I come up with three different people. Let's see who'll crop up this time.

I'll start with Winston Churchill, who's always been a hero of mine. What a great mind he had. And the way he inspired his nation and ours as well through his oratory makes Reagan and Obama pale in comparison. I think I want Richard Nixon there too. (ED .. no wonder he goes by an alias) Another brilliant mind but clouded by darkness. I have but one question for Nixon: “How could you have been so stupid?” Finally, I want Julia Child at the table. She's always been a delight to listen to. And I'd love to get the real story on what she did for the OSS during WWII. Besides, with Julia there, we're guaranteed a fantastic lunch. Waiting in the wings, in case one of my dead people gets sick is Margaret Meade. Meade was studying things in the 1920s that men were afraid to deal with. Her early works on sexuality among South Pacific Islanders ultimately paved the way for the sexual revolution of the 60s.

Q: Was W. C. Fields right in preferring Philadelphia over death? (explain)

You are referring, of course, to the alleged epitaph of Fields--”All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.” The truth is that that is not Field's epitaph at all. He never would have allowed it, because being from Philadelphia himself, Field's was acutely aware that being dead and being in Philadelphia was essentially the same thing.

Thanks for the talk, Porter. Now where's that two by four you promised me?

A 2x4 is a mixed drink. Two parts maple syrup, four parts Chivas Regal. He pretends to be heavyweight enough to drink a couple of them.

And thank you Steve .. er .. Haggis for your clear thinking.


  1. that was very entertaining, folks.
    nice interview, porter.

    also, haggis? i dare say i am hurt that you didn't invite me to lunch.

    and porter? i want some of that syrup!



  2. want want want you'll want to be interviewed, or you'll want out of Philadelphia, or you'll want a real life ...

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Out of Philadelphia or a real life? That's the same thing, Porter.

  4. As one of Haggis's's's exes, I'd just like to say -- WHERE'S MY FREAKING ALIMONY?

  5. Porter? Remember I told you to ockblay the itchbay?


    1. HEY! I resemble that remark...

  6. The nerve o' some dawgs...makin' me traipse through all kinda godfersaken dumps like that there caberet place and that crooked screw dump and that old fart hangout of yours and then when i finally track you down here in Porter's place and demand my rights do i get a warm welcome no i dont i just get a bunch o' that furrin pig greek or whatever you may call it because

  7. Well, if youd stayed home and raised the kids like you were brought up to do and not run around bothering good folks like Porter here and me who is gooder too and asking for alimony and money you havent earned but by getting a judge to steal it from my wallet because he liked you better because you were a lawyer and you both knew each other what with feeding on the same bottom and all like you all do because there must be no more ambulances to chase because

  8. Well I never and what with you running around with every devil dog demon puppy that wandered into the cabaret not to mention whooping it up with Artee and Cray and Porter while I'm there crying my eyes out and slaving over a hot stove and trying to hold down a decent loving home for the demon spawn in spite of my bleeding heart and that is why the judge liked me better because he knew you were no better than you oughter be leastaways when no one was looking because