Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, October 4, 2010

Heaven & Hell: Sitting Down With The Boss

Two men are seated together, somewhere between reality and the Fourth Wall. One is the author, William Kendall. The other is a character, Udi Zahahi, the chief of the Israeli Mossad.

Me: Hi, Mr. Zahavi, and thank you for coming to talk with me today.

Zahavi: You're welcome. Let's make this quick. I have a briefing with the Prime Minister to get to.

Me: Oh? What about?

Zahavi: National security. I can't speak about it.

Me: Oh, okay. Well, let's get started, shall we?

Zahavi: By all means.

Me: How do you feel being a character in my book?

Zahavi: That's a loaded question. How do you know that you're the one who's not the character, and that I'm not the author?

Me: Isn't that a little bit too existential for a character?

Zahavi: Precisely. Would a mere character ask that question? I submit to you, Mr. Kendall, that you must therefore be the character in the book, not me.

Me: I can see this conversation is going to get derailed fast. Look, let's try another question. How do you feel about the progress of the book?

Zahavi: Oh, I think it's going well. You're getting your characters all lined up and ready, and you're advancing your plot.

Me: As a career spy, how do you feel about having foreign agents coming into your headquarters?

Zahavi: I can't answer that. National security.

Me: That again. Okay, how about this? How do you feel today?

Zahavi: I can't answer that. National security. I'll ask you something. You keep hinting at this Very Bad Thing all the time.

Me: Yes, I have a tendency to do that.

Zahavi: So, what's that all about? Come on, tell your Uncle Udi what it's all about.

Me: I don't have an Uncle Udi.

Zahavi: Well, then just tell me.

Me: I can't answer that.

Zahavi: Why not?

Me: Book security.

Zahavi glares at Kendall, as if he's wondering how long it would take for a bullet to enter the author's skull from six feet away.

Zahavi: Look, Kendall, I'm the chief of Mossad. I'm used to doing whatever it takes to defend the security and safety of my nation. And whatever it takes involves a lot of shades of grey. Do you really want to mess with me?

Me: I'll tell you what. I'll whisper it into your ear.

Kendall stands up, moves closer, and whispers. Zahavi looks startled, and Kendall sits down.

Zahavi: Are you crazy? You'll give someone ideas! Damn, I'd better update our worst case scenario protocols. We didn't even think of that!

Me: I told you it was a Very Bad Thing.

Zahavi: Where did you come up with that premise?

Me: If you must know, a newscast several years ago.

Zahavi: Damned media, giving writers ideas and all...

Me: I don't like them much myself, Mr. Zahavi.

Zahavi: You doing any more of these interviews?

Me: Oh, sure. I've got two heads of state showing up soon. Then maybe something at the end. Would you like to be part of that?

Zahavi: I think I can pencil it in.

Me: Assuming you survive until the end of the book.

Zahavi: Yes, assuming I sur... wait a minute, what?

Me: Like I told the other characters. I can't promise everyone survives until the end of the book.

Zahavi: Oh, now that's just mean! How can you do that to your own characters? Memo to self: hire an assassin outside the Fourth Wall to take out William Kendall...

Me: I'm sorry, what was that? I wasn't listening...

Zahavi: Nothing, nothing. Forget I said anything.


  1. I can see that this one's really going to be difficult....

  2. Sure, you'll tell Zahavi about the very bad thing, but not the rest of us.

  3. Well, he's a trained killer. He knows fifteen different ways to kill with just his thumb.

  4. Hmmm...Mossad will be allies of mine when I rule the world.

  5. I think Udi would overthrow your rule of the world!


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