We leave the story for a brief interlude and share the latest interview with Murdoc. It’s a bad phone connection that cuts in and out, as the wind has its way with the signal as it reaches out to him in his exile across the winters emerald water. Again, some silly fool has taken interest in his work and he suffers the intrusion with the usual aplomb. The fool trying to get something from him is named Mike. He is an upstart writer and is proud for hunting Murdoc down and cornering him for some time and words.
After a number of disconnects, dropped signals, they finally connect with a clarity that is muddy at best, but purrfect for the exchange that will occur.
What follows is an edited transcript.
Mike: So can you hear me now?
Mike: What? Was that a yes?
Murdoc: Yuppers. (pause) Yes, I can hear you. Now what?
Mike: Sorry, you keep breaking up and falling out. I…
Murdoc: That’s pretty much the routine for me. But then the Fort might have something to do with this as well. One road in and one cell phone tower, and damned by God. We take turns making calls out. The old guy up the street had a stroke two days ago and his wife had to wait to call the volunteer fire department until her neighbor had finished talking to her sister in
Cleveland. Living here teaches us patience and what’s
Mike: So you live on an island?
Murdoc: It will be one day; and probably soon the way things are going. So, when are you going to get to the prepared questions?
Mike: Okay. (pause) But can I ask a couple of more questions off the list?
Murdoc: Sure, you get two.
Mike: (pause, Mike thinks hard and wants to make the best of this candid opening) So what’s your newest toy?
Murdoc. No toys right now. Not in the cards.
Mike: From your work we have heard and read about the Triumph, is it done?
Murdoc: That’s your second question, and no, it’s still sitting in the living room, sulking like a spurned child. But Christmas is coming and I’ll wrap some lights around her and make her feel loved again.
Mike: Can I ask one more off the script?
Murdoc: Yuppers, but make it good. And that’s three.
Mike: So why haven’t you written anything in the last two months?
There is no pause before he answers and the signal gets stronger and suddenly clear.
Murdoc: I fell in love, and then went fishing.
Mike: As a reader of the HME Papers, this is clear, but could you explain?
Murdoc: Sure, but I thought this interview was supposed to be about the Papers and the change in the narrative and redirection of the experiment. Is it back-story that you want?
Mike: I was hoping for a glimpse into the writers mind and how it is that you can just jump in and out of the work? I don’t think I am alone on this.
Murdoc: That’s six unwelcomed questions now Mikey, and it should be noted that I am no writer.
Mike: Sorry, but why the black out? Why the pause? It was just getting good.
Murdoc: The big Rockfish came in season. They run when the waters blend. The trophy’s gather up and school and wait for the cold to draw them out of the Bay. It’s simple migration, “Hey Renata, its getting cold let’s run south.” So fools like me chase them. You’d be a fool not to slowly glide the surface of the upside down black universe, knowing that something great and beautiful is down deeper than you, waiting to rise and fight you and then change you forever.
Mike: Are we talking about fishing now or love?
Murdoc: Fishing fool. You never kill love. But I have to say that fishing is love and what you take from the water, if you are a good man, becomes a part of you. Fishes? Loaves? It’s all killing. But appreciate the gift and understand where it is coming from.
Mike: So can I ask about love? It seems that you have found love, a profound love.
Murdoc: Great love. The only love. A love I have chased and waited for, for as long as I have ever been.
Mike: So the new character in the HME Papers is real?
Murdoc: Yuppers, and she has a great ass.
Mike: So again, you are writing fiction and non-fiction at the same time?
Murdoc: Are you saying her ass isn’t great? Them’s fighting words. But seriously, It’s always been real. It just seems like I made the whole thing up. I mean, I’ll be honest, if I read this shit, I would have a hard time believing this crap was real. But it is. And the few times I go back and read this, I still find it all unbelievable.
Mike: So she’s a writer?
Murdoc: Best writer I know. The woman can write soft white circles around the moon, that make you smell snow, and light your way home on a cold winter’s night.
Mike: So is it strange to both be writers?
Murdoc: Nope, ‘cause I’m not a writer. I can only speak for me, but I think she feels this as well…We inspire each other. She is trained and I am a rough animal. I learn something new from her ever day and I know my writing gets better. The best part will be when she is done with her studies and finally has the time to edit all my shit and make me look all edjumacated and smartzie.
Mike: Will she change you stylistically?
Murdoc: She already has. I don’t wear tapered jeans anymore.
Mike: I meant as far as writing?
Murdoc: Of course she has. She has raised the bar. I fell in love with her words and the way she gathered them together and set them to flight. She has a natural gift, and yet has worked so very hard to hone this craft that she has taken as her own. Anyone can sharpen a stick into a crude spear, only a few know how to heat steel, temper it, sharpen it, and create a potential, threatening beautiful weapon. That’s what great writing is. My gal has a gift.
Mike: I’ll be honest, I figured out who she was and read her work. It’s stunning.
Murdoc: Good for you. It’s not hard to find her, us, we’re out here, and I pass along a thank you from her for appreciating her work. We try to hide and protect our intellectual and creative children, but we are proud of them and take great pride when they come home with good marks. Her baby is in the “gifted and talented program,” mine is still licking bus windows and laughing at farts.
Mike: (laughing) So what’s next?
Murdoc: We get married, I settle into “soft alcohol middle age” and she punches fools in the face with important ideas and words.
Mike: So no more writing for you?
Murdoc: Hey Diptard, I have to keep writing. I have to. When I stop, the story ends; but sometimes the call of the black water, and its lull of tide, take’s precedence over words and ideas. Sometimes, it’s nice to just rise and fall upon the universe’s pull, and let the black waters run deep and through you....(pause, cell phone signal starts to break up) Until you’re ready, and then you dig in and start wrestling with words once again. (pause, last sentence almost imperceptible) That makes no fucking sense, but what the fuck is writing anyway?
Mike: I’m losing you.
The signal fades and breaks upon the heavy wind that has rolled over the Fort.
Mike: Can you hear me?
Murdoc: Yuppers, sorta. This is purrfect.
Mike: (heavy static) One last question…
Murduc: Go ahead.
Mike: Who is she?
The radio signal glows strong and the lights over the Fort surge bright for a brief moment. The street light next to the post office will vibrate under the push of soft amber to blinding white heat and light, and then burst.
Murdoc: She is…. http://msfaustus.blogspot.com/