As I walked into the dusty tenement in the decaying mountain village of Shaguadin, I lamented my budgetary constraints. Lately, I had been gem poor (as I do my work pro-bono) and can’t really afford to travel to the ritzy places like Avalon or faraway lands of Valhalla to interview the hottest new celebrities. I heard back from Finley’s agent, and am supposed to be “his top priority” when his crew visits this week. The agent said that same thing last time, then said “something came up, but Boomer is available.” Yeah, nobody wants Boomer. Of course, as I am pretty much talking to someone’s dinner on a regular basis, like a crazy person, perhaps I should jump at the change next time.
Dread filled my being as I inhaled deeply and knocked on the door. I could smell that the resident was a smoker, even before I opened the door. Sure enough, as the door swung open, I was greeted by a cloud of tobacco smoke. There stood Nash, with two freshly-lit cigarettes in his mouth. Apparently a consummate host, he plucked one of the cigarettes from his lips and offered me one. I could not decline fast enough, and he shrugged a shoulder, and placed it back alongside the other one.
“I cleaned up a bit but I’m not gunna lie, it felt pretty pointless. Anyway, I have a family-sized bag of Funyuns, and a big pan of corn n mac n cheese ready to come out of the oven. Have a seat if you like. Pretty sure the armchair is dry now.” Nash said, oblivious to the questions I may have.
The place was not super clean, but it seemed tidy enough. I couldn’t stop myself from asking the obvious question. “Ummm so, your armchair was wet?”
“Yeah. Blood. Cleans right up, I’ve gotten good at it. Dark furniture, a little patience and Nature’s Miracle? Voila… just like new!” He chuckled as he pulled the pan out of the oven.
“Nash 1.27e13… nice guy, freshly cloned from the factory, ready to take on the world through the aggressive use of mediocrity and low expectations… only to be lost to the whims of a drunk, wandering panda that broke in and ate him as he slept. Poor guy hadn’t even finished rolling up his D&D character… Darn shame. Hungry?” He gestured.
I shrugged. The food didn’t look awful. He smiled broadly and one of the two cigarettes fell from his lips to the floor. “Meh.” He said, as he stamped it out with his bare foot.
“So, you seem pretty casual about the whole cannibalism thing…” I said, beginning my interview quickly so that I could get out of there.
“I mean, I guess I have an existential crisis from time to time, but it’s no big whoop. Just gunna do whatever I want until my time comes. So how is it?” Nash gesturer to my bowl of food. I gulped down a steamy bite. It was surprisingly not awful.
“Pretty decent, not wonderful, purely mediocre, yet passable. Is it easy to make?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’ll give you the recipe. I know I’m not putting BoldTusk out of a job anytime soon, but Zudak gave some to Gormek and he said that it— and i quote— ‘wasn’t the worst thing ever’… which, yknow, high praise.” Nash beamed.
“You know Gormek eats raw flesh, right?” I sniffed out a couple puffs of sardonic laughter.
“Yeah, I know, but I’m happy to revel in the small victories. Focus on the brighter side, control what I can. Like this meal.” He smiled.
Admittedly, this guy wasn’t too bad. Wouldn’t want to spend too much time here, lest I die of second hand smoke exposure…
“So I guess the big question for me and my readers… does anything bother you?”
Nash nodded. “Ohhh yeah. Definitely. Gore sure.”
“…and?” I prodded.
“My name sucks. There. I said it. My name sucks. I hate it. I mean, with a name like Nash… no wonder I am stuck in this life. Nash is the worst name ever.” He whined.
“Pretty sure Steve Nash, Nash Bridges and other noteworthy Nash names counter your argument well enough.” I said, ever the Devil’s Advocate. “I mean one guy narrowly avoided getting called Uranus. Seshat’s stuck with that. Muggy is about as imaginative as he is… and Brand… thats about as generic as you get!”
“Heh… yeah i guess you are right. But indugle me for a moment.” He took a mouthful of mac N cheese into his mouth, oblivious to the large cigarette ash atop the spoonful.
I waited for a reaction. Seeing none, and feeling sufficiently disgusted… i decided to excuse myself under the guise that Scarlett promised me a swimsuit photo.
“Yeah you gotta get me a copy. Hey— before you go…” he handed me a grease-stained paper. The recipe. “Nash’s Corny Mac n Cheese”
I thanked him and left. Nash was a nice guy, but I was tired of slumming it. No more interviews with the Common folk, no matter how Uncommon their insights might be.
I tore up the unanswered interview sheets and discarded them in a dumpster that was filled to the brim with trash.
Only prime interviews from now on, folks.