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.
I can see that this one's really going to be difficult....ReplyDelete
Sure, you'll tell Zahavi about the very bad thing, but not the rest of us.ReplyDelete
Well, he's a trained killer. He knows fifteen different ways to kill with just his thumb.ReplyDelete
Hmmm...Mossad will be allies of mine when I rule the world.ReplyDelete
I think Udi would overthrow your rule of the world!ReplyDelete