That's your reporter. A real reporter. Not just a crudely pasted head on the body of Katie Couric. Seriously.
Note to reader: Recently I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing a random sampling of handsome and learned men. My goal as a scientist was to delve deep into the psyche of the male of our species so that I might learn what makes them tick. I asked them each the same questions and they dutifully provided their thoughtful answers which were meticulously documented.
Unfortunately for them, once I had their answers I went all Bobby Brown on them and invoked my prerogative to change the questions. I did not however change so much as one word of their answers.
Now I will share these interviews and in good time, my ultimate findings with you, my tens of readers. Following is the first in a series we'll call Interview with a Bunch of Guys I Tricked.
Please note: A good journalist always protects her sources therefore I have changed their names...but mostly because their real names were stupid.
When first I met Smythe Livingston, he was serving a life sentence in Alcatraz for kidnapping a humor columnist and forcing her to go on a float trip. Although Alcatraz had been long since closed except to flip-flop wearing, camera wielding tourists and the occasional moaning ghost, Smythe was as dedicated to finishing what he started as he was to Johns Hopkins, his pet toad and constant companion.
On the first of our many sessions together, I found Livingston sitting in his cell humming show tunes and whittling what appeared to be make shift teeth out of a rat carcass. Without aid of a knife, he was gnawing away with his real teeth which this amazingly talented and beautiful reporter/scientist/fire baton twirler admittedly found ironic, if not completely disturbing.
Sher: Smythe, Hello. It's good of you to sit down with me.
Smythe: Sonofabitch. No cursing. You stupid asshole.
Sher: I only said hello. I didn't curse.
Smythe: Notwithstanding, we sometimes encounter situations in the woods that require the use of a colorful metaphor. Crude and vulgar is acceptable.
Sher: Of course you do and thank you for the clarification. Later I'll tell you about a friend of mine from Nantucket. Now if I might Smythe - I'm sorry, may I call you Smythe?
Smythe: My preference is Sonofabitch.
Sher: So Smythe, let's talk about what landed you here in this the most notorious of penitentiaries.
Smythe: What can I say? Not much to tell, but then I'm not a very interesting person, unless you want to know about plants, trees, insects and animals. Most women don't.
Sher: You're right, and I don't. I'm more interested to hear about the woman you kidnapped and what drove you to such a dastardly crime.
(Sidebar: please note the awesome Geraldo-ness in my use of the word dastardly.)
Smythe: This chick was so far beyond my hotness level that I felt compelled to date her. I'm sure from the first date she was confidant she would control the outcome of the whole relationship. I just let her do most of the talking.
Sher: Some say date, some say held against her will. Tomato, tomahto. So you're a good listener then?
Smythe: If you ever need a carb for a 1948 Massey Combine I have one.
Sher: So noted.
Smythe: I wish I had a real humorous or scary story to tell about my worst date ever. Now if you would talk to some of the women, maybe I would qualify as their worst date.
Sher: So the kidnapping victim then; she was what you would term your worst date ever?
Smythe: Prior to her entrance I caught the faint odor of a crisply starched white blouse followed by the heady aroma of a long denim skirt. Then I heard it: the unmistakable slap of Birkenstock Sandals. Enter the date; long black pony-tail very little makeup and big round glasses.
Sher:Was that brought out in the trial because I'm thinking no judge would convict you?
Smythe: She was actually very pretty, but I knew instinctively our relationship was doomed. Hey, I've seen that look before. I knew she was a Tree Hugger. She was. A PETA person too. Not really a bad date, just awkward.
Sher: So is that why you kidnapped, I mean dated, her? Because she was a tree-hugger, as you put it?
Smythe: This is a really a deep secret, and something I'd never share with anyone else. You must never tell, even if you are offered a monkey.
Sher: I'm interviewing you. I plan to tell everyone who will listen and I'd do it for a lot less than the gift of a monkey, although that would be AWESOME.
Smythe: 1976. I was 14 and had a newly acquired drivers permit. Yes you can drive at 14 in this state. Of course I had already been driving for two years, but it was still a source of pride. (I was the only kid in second grade driving).
At this point in the interview, Livingston became pensive. He sat silently stroking his toad for what seemed like an eternity until finally he looked up and continued, misty-eyed.
You know how they say events are sometimes funny after a few years. That one still isn't funny yet. Maybe another 20 years or so.
Sher: You kidnapped a woman and held her hostage in the woods for 7 years, Mr. Livingston. I wasn't expecting a joke.
Smythe: While all men are Buttheads, some are not as bad as others, and some of us (hopefully I'm one) try daily to overcome it. We fail often, and have so much to learn though. This is no joke I'm serious here!
Sher: OK. We'll leave this one alone for now. Let's talk a little about your upbringing. What was your Mother like?
Smythe: Sleeveless Western shirts or pocket T's, Jeans, (bibs in winter),& boots.
Sher: Sounds like a diva. And your Father?
Smythe: We waz in the same grade, but then he dropped out. That lyin' SOB.
Sher: I sense you have some unresolved anger toward your Father. How did he feel about you?
Smythe: I never owned a pair of sandals. The old man said that's one of his favorites of my good qualities. He also said there's so few to choose from.
Sher: I think we've covered a lot of ground today Mr. Livingston and I must get home to let my cabana boy out of his cage for a quick "walk". Before we end this visit though, is there anything you'd like to ask me?
Smythe: This is a very serious question, and not to be taken lightly. I suppose under some circumstances this could be a life altering (or ending) experience. Hey wait, is this one of those "trick questions"? Oh well. I forgot, you're gonna rip me no matter what I say.
Sher: My intention is not to "rip you", Sir. My intention is to peel back your skull and look into your brain so that I may finally get to the nitty gritty of what makes a man manly and in so doing, make the world a better place. For women.
Smythe: I assume the size of the boobs is irrelevant.
Sher: I assure you Sir, I could not care less about your boobs.
Smythe: Are you nuts? They look great to me. They feel like concrete covered in a half inch of foam rubber.
And with that, my first conversation with the infamous Smythe Livingston was over. As I turned to walk away, I heard his raspy voice calling after me.
"I like opera!"
Smythe Livingston. An enigma, wrapped in a riddle, rolled in bacon, deep fried and sprinkled with sugar.
Stay tuned kids for the next installment of "Interview with a Bunch of Guys I Tricked". (Follow me. Do it for Uncle Kracker.)
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