NOSEY: Greetings, cybernuts! This is I.B. Nosey, your official unofficial reporter. Today I’m coming to you from— *gasps* I hear something. What can it be?
*Sound of pounding hooves. Creature who is half-man in front and the rear end is…um, the rear end of not a man… gallops up to Nosey*
CREATURE: *glares* And you, a long-nosed, microphone-clutching, bargain basement blazered specimen are not classified -as the writer has just labeled me- a ‘creature’?
CREATURE: My name is Bcoaretypqh.
NOSEY: *scratches head* How d’ya pronounce that, pal?
CREATURE: I just did.
*Loud claps of thunder jolts the ground. Nosey shrieks* Holy Chicken Little! I gotta take cover! Is there a shelter nearby? Quick! Quick! Anything’ll do… a shed, a groundhog hole, a convertible with a gorgeous blonde driver.
CREATURE: *raises brows* Convertible?
NOSEY: Oh. Heh heh. Then again, maybe not.
CREATURE: What you can do is to… *extends hand* climb aboard.
NOSEY: Uhh… If you think this Pukelitzer Award winning reporter is gonna ride bareback on a… *gestures* bare back, I gotta tell ya ‘no way’. Yeah, see. I got my trusty atomic-battery microphone to lead the way to— *lightning sizzles, frying Nosey’s nose hair. He screams* On second thought— *he leaps atop creature-man* Giddyup!
CREATURE: *races at breakneck speed through miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers and— nah, he only trots a couple of feet and comes to screeching halt. Nosey lands -- on his head -- with a loud hollow bong*
CREATURE: Enter the cave at your peril. *nods at foreboding entrance*
NOSEY: Cave? *sprints to feet and brushes down sides of tweedy-weedy blazer* Ha. This official unofficial reporter doesn’t conduct interviews in dark, damp, musty, filthy, and spidery— *chunks of hail plummet from sky* Aack! *Nosey streaks inside cave* Greetings, new little spider friends! This is I.B. Nosey, your official unofficial—
WOMAN: Stop right there! *raises arm and Nosey runs --smack!-- and lands flat on the floor* What’s wrong with you, Nosey? Can’t you stand upright in this interview?
NOSEY: What fun would that be? *leaps nimbly to feet… [he’s had lots of practice, you know]* And, remember, I am a professional.
CREATURE: A professional what?
WOMAN: *stares at Creature* Who are you?
CREATURE: Why does the writer continue to call me ‘Creature’? My name is Bcoaretypqh.
WOMAN: How do you pronounce that?
NOSEY: I already asked him. *scowls* Lady, don’t repeat my lines.
WOMAN: *blinks* Sorry, but I wasn’t present when you asked the first time.
NOSEY: Yeah, but—
WOMAN: Anyway. *takes Nosey’s arm and drags him to interior chamber* So glad you’re punctual, Nosey.
NOSEY: What’re ya talking about? Of course I’m punchable— er, um, I mean… *tugs at collar*
WOMAN: Hm. *gestures at surroundings* What do you think of my little abode?
NOSEY: I dunno. *gazes around* It’s kinda spooky.
WOMAN: Wanna go back into the storm?
NOSEY: *brightens* Actually, you’ve made it pretty cozy. Yeah, with those wall torches stretching the deep, dark shadows and… *swallows* and squeaky bats hanging off the ceiling. *nervous chuckle* It gives a real meaning to the term ‘atmosphere’.
WOMAN: Yes, I am clever, aren’t I?
NOSEY: Uhhh… but if it’s all the same to you…
WOMAN: Nosey, listen here. *drags him down length of dimmed tunnel* What kind of reporter are you, anyway? You’ve not introduced me to your listening audience. I’m tired of being written as ‘woman’.
CREATURE: And what about me? I'm not treated with respect by this idiot either.
NOSEY: What idiot? *spins around to search behind him*
WOMAN: *glances over shoulder at Creature* Who are you? And why are you in my interview?
CREATURE: *throws up palms* I give up.
NOSEY: Heh heh. I’m sure there’s a reason he’s present, Miss, um, Miss…?
MH: Melanie Hatfield. *grins* There! I finally get to announce who I am.
NOSEY: Hatfield? *jumps away* Holy hillbilly hoedown. You hiding in here ‘cause of the feud between you and the McCoys?
MH: *giggles* Not those Hatfields, Nosey.
NOSEY: *breathes sigh of relief* Goodie. Should be a pretty safe interview. *mutters* Maybe my very first one.
MH: *clicks tongue* You think?
NOSEY: Whaddaya mean ‘do I think’?
MH: Hard question, huh?
MH: Here. Why don’t we do this. *presents book* Read the blurb and let’s see what your audience thinks.
NOSEY: *squints* Lights are bad in here. Why don’t you call an electrician?
MH: Use the light from your atomic-battery microphone. *rolls eyes* Where would you men be without us women using our brains?
NOSEY: I dunno. Lost my roadmap a long time ago.
MH: My point exactly. But, for right now, I want you to just read, Nosey. I’m getting impatient.
CREATURE: So am I. I wanna know what your book’s about.
NOSEY: What’s your name again?
CREATURE: *gnashes teeth* Read.
NOSEY: That’s a funny name.
MH: *hoots* Say what, I.B. Nosey?
NOSEY: I just said his name—
MH: Forget it. *taps book* Shall we?
NOSEY: Oh. Sure. Let me turn on this atomic-battery microphone. *grins at MH* You’re not dealing with an amateur, you know.
MH: *purrs* Of course not.
NOSEY: Ahem. Where were we? Oh, yeah… Title of book is: Blades of Blood - The Chronicles of Turrack Series and the blurb goes ‘How far would you go to protect the ones you love?…’ *looks at MH* Hey, that’s catchy.
MH: Thank you. Continue, please.
NOSEY: As I was saying… *raises volume of voice* ‘Princess Azedeh, heir to the throne of Turrack, slays the evil in her kingdom under the guise of Tina the Terrible, the most feared assassin in the land. When a creature of dark magic terrorizes her home, she must journey to a dangerous land to stop it at the source. As she encounters more magical beings on her quest, she must determine whom she can trust—and a wrong decision will cost the princess her life.’
NOSEY: Wait a minute! Whadda I just read? *stares at Creature* This says, ‘a creature of dark…’
CREATURE: That’s not me. *shakes head wildly* Honest. I just came in here to get out of the rain.
MH: Oh, diddly-doop. Of course it’s not you.
NOSEY: It’s not?
MH: I’m the author and if I say it’s ‘not’, then it’s ‘not’… er, don’t say that fast, dear reader.
NOSEY: Well, there’s some kind of weird or dangerous creatures in this here book, that’s for sure.
MH: Such as?
NOSEY: This Tina the Terrible, for instance. *frowns* Sounds like a brat having a tantrum.
MH: Hardly! Tina the Terrible is the guise of my heroine, Azedeh. Didn’t you pay attention to the blurb?
NOSEY: Actually, I was kinda distracted by those fat bats flying over my head. *ducks as one wings by* Dude, these things are ugly!
MH: *snaps fingers* Pay attention, Nosey. When Azedeh was eight, she was kidnapped by a group of thugs.
NOSEY: *nods* Uh huh. Okay. Then what happened?
MH: Eventually, she was rescued, but her innocence was shattered. Realizing there are evil people mucking up her kingdom, she decided to go down the path of violence - which, let’s be honest, makes things more interesting.
NOSEY: Who says?
MH: I do - and today’s TV shows.
MH: *shrugs* Besides, a princess isn’t allowed to be dark and brooding for the sake of beating up bad guys, so she created an assassin’s persona of Tina the Terrible to secretly slay evil-doers who threaten her kingdom.
NOSEY: Oh, well. In that case, maybe she can set out bat traps. Ouch! *hunkers down as one furry critter zooms by, flashing shiny sharp fangs* Ms. Hatfield, this isn’t a smart place to conduct an interview!
MH: Straighten up, Nosey. Be more like Azedeh. In a way, she’s kind of like a medieval version of Batman - without the dead parents.
NOSEY: Forget Batman! *glances at ceiling* I just wanna be a Nosey man!
MH: Well, you know… *muses* They do seem somewhat attracted to your… er, unique? hair style.
NOSEY: Aw, man. *checks hair with fast hand* Gross and double gross. Look here, Ms. Hatfield. There’s only one thing to do.
NOSEY: We gotta get outta here. Gotta get rid of that evil kingdom for Tina and—
MH: How do you propose we do that?
NOSEY: Well, uh, I dunno, like, um, so - how did the evil in her kingdom get there in the first place? Couldn’t she just, ya know, sweep it out the door? *kicks at bat goo littered on floor* Like this smelly stuff oughta be.
MH: *purses lips* It would certainly make things easier if she could. A giant sandman magically appears in her kingdom and sucks people’s souls—
NOSEY: *jumps* Giant sandmen? What’re ya doing writing about old dirtbags?
MH: It’s my story, isn’t it?
NOSEY: Sure, but—
MH: But, unfortunately, our heroine lives in a medieval time so it’s not as though she can go to Target and pick up a Dyson.
MH: But the only way to get rid of the… *points* bat goo, and the sandy threat is to venture into the desert where he came from and to destroy him at the source.
NOSEY: Uh huh. Right. The dangerous land you mentioned?
MH: Hey, the grass isn’t always greener. Stay on your side of the fence if you want to survive in Turrack.
NOSEY: I’ll tell ya how to survive. Yeah. Stay at Gum Drop Island, that’s how.
MH: Oh, you think so, hm? *bites lip* Oops. My bad. Guess I shouldn’t ought to ask what you think.
NOSEY: Ha. *snorts* Nothing to think about, gal. Use a box of those delish chocolates as a bargaining chip, and there you go. No wrong decision with that.
MH: For your information, I wouldn’t recommend bribing this kid with candy.
NOSEY: And why not?
MH: Because to her, she’ll assume it’s poisoned and kill you for threatening her life.
NOSEY: No way!
MH: Way, Nosey. Big way. *sniffs* Death by chocolate is not as fun as it sounds.
NOSEY: I’m beginning to think there’s no fun at all in your ‘chronicles’ book, which… *flails arms at swooping bats* sounds like a ding-dong medieval calendar. Whoa, whoa, batsies, shoo! Shoo!
MH: A calendar of events, you mean? *laughs* Yes! With a Farmer’s Market every Wednesday!
NOSEY: Hey! *screeches* These bats aren’t funny, Ms. Hayfield! Ooh, ouch, help! *swats with microphone* You! Yo, Creature! Stop sucking your thumb - do something to help this long-nosed reporter. Ow, ouch, eek!
CREATURE: Who? Me? *shoves thumbed fist behind back* I’m - waiting - for my cue.
NOSEY: *yells* I just gave it to ya!
MH: Be quiet, Nosey. A woman’s gotta think. *takes on considering expression* Actually, did you know that the Chronicles is a spin-off of my comedy-fantasy series Kingdom of the Snark?
NOSEY: *screams and runs to other end*
CREATURE: I didn't know that, Ms. Hatfield. Tell me more.
MH: Well, Turrack started out as a random joke in the first book, but as I expanded upon the kingdom while writing the series, I realized there’s another world I wanted to explore.
NOSEY: Ooh, ooh, little batty beasties. *speeds to other end* In case you didn’t hear, my name is Nosey, not Dracula!
CREATURE: *watches Nosey bounce off walls like a ricocheting bullet* Uh huh, Ms. Hatfield, and— ?
MH: And it’s a realm that isolated itself from the others, so I don’t have to follow the same rules, and can make it darker than Snark.
NOSEY: Ms. Hatfield!!!
MH: What, Nosey? *taps foot* What’s your problem?
NOSEY: You gotta ask??? *races back to other end*
CREATURE: That’s my cue. *unzips ‘creature’ skin and lets it fall to bat floor. No, dear reader, you do NOT have to shield your eyes. This is a G-rated interview, after all*
MH: *gasps* Why, you deceiver! You’re nothing but a giant sandman in that cheap skin rug!
NEWLY REVEALED DIRTBAG: Yes! *evil laugh* And since the bats-in-belfry-haired reporter is too busy to help, I am going to suck out your soul, Ms. Hatfield!
MH: Nosey! *rushes over* My hero, my darling Nosey man. Save me, quick!
NOSEY: Save you? Why don't you save me? *dodges bat-gooey bat-lips of hungry batty beastie babes*
MH: I know! We need a vacuum! *bites nails* Um, doesn’t your atomic-battery microphone come equipped in such emergencies?
NOSEY: *brakes* Whaddaya know. Come to think of it… *flips switch and aims it toward ‘dirtbag’
NEWLY REVEALED DIRTBAG: Ugh, no, noooo… *in a tornado of dust, he spins around toward cave exit and disappears in downpour-drenching thunderstorm where his name becomes… what else? …Mudd*
NOSEY: Whoa! Whoa, wait! *gets knocked off feet* What’s happening?
MH: Flip the switch. You have it in reverse! *watches as ‘swoosh’ of wind slams against Nosey and rockets him past cave roof* Nosey, turn the mike off! You’re being propelled into infinity and beyond!
NOSEY: Don’t worry, Ms. Hatfield... *streaking like a comet, he disappears into the stars, his voice fading in the distance* …I’m a professionalllllll……
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