Rodney Bovine Interview

 Miss Nomer enters a long narrow pub.  She was shoved in by a lash of winter wind and the bits of snow that ride it.  Night fell sometime ago but this evening isn’t like most others.  It’s Friday which means The Sour Note, a trendy bar on the city’s historic square, has a full parking lot.  Neon beer lights change the windows into miniature billboards.  The interviewer opens the heavy door and shuffles in.  The air outside was cold but at least it was clean – now there’s a smoky haze clinging to the ceiling..

 The Sour Note is busy but not overly crowded.  All the chairs are full with people trickling to the bar and then back to their seats.  This where the Don Juan of Murfreesboro, TN – the orneriest horn-dog this side of the interstate– a Mr. Rodney Bovine is said to await his prey.  It doesn’t take long to spot him.  Mr. Bovine is as easy to find as a peacock in full display.  He’s wearing a brightly colored western shirt, a bolo tie shaped with Elvis Presley’s TCB lightning bolt, and tight jeans.  The jeans are especially nauseating with bright stitching along the front and sides designed to look like a pair of chaps. 

 Miss Nomer saddles up to the bar and grunts a bit as she hefts her voluptuous hide quarters onto a bar stool.  It’s hard for a girl her size to get on those high stools  “Uh, hello, Mr. Bovine, I presume?”   

Bovine is older with hairline that’s been in full retreat for many years.  He has blue eyes with a crop of gray stubble framing his face.  He might be five foot six – Miss Nomer could crush him if she had the inclination. 
He notices her right away offering her a sideways grin.  “Why hello apple dumpling!  What brings a happy hen like yourself to the fox’s den?”
Miss Nomer sets her satchel onto the water speckled bar.  Her notepad and recorder are pulled out.  “I’m here because a friend of mine couldn’t figure out how a has-been like yourself ever winds up with a girl on his arm.  She’s been in this bar on a few occasions and has had to turn you down every time.”

Rodney Bovine smiles as if he’s missed the indictment in Nomer’s words.  “Really?  Well, tell me now, what’s the sweet tart’s name?”
“Is that really important?”

Still smiling, he responds.  “Mmmm, she’s not here now so no, I guess it’s not.  OK then, my little donut princess, what’s your name?”
“I’m Miss Nomer an investigative reporter for the geographic center of the Internet –  I’m really just doing this for my resume.  As soon as one of the serious investigative websites comes calling I’m out of there.”

Mr. Bovine leans over to the recorder and speaks directly into the device.  Miss Nomer smells a heavy dose of “Steer For Men.”  He speaks slowly and with a ridiculously low voice. “Do girls read this”

A snort escapes Miss Nomer.  “I don’t know.  Maybe.”

Bovine straightens and slaps the bar.  “Then what do you want to know, sugar cookies!”

Miss Nomer raises her notepad to hide her wince.  “Ok here’s the first question.  How is it that you almost never waste a Friday evening by yourself?  I mean you’re short, not particularly attractive, it’s obvious you’re older than almost everyone here.  And your outfit says, ‘I let my subscription to GQ expire.”

 Another smile – Miss Nomer considers possibility that Mr. Bovine doesn’t understand English.

 Finally he replies, “I’m not picky.  I usually look for pairs of girls that are sitting along the walls.  On my napkin here, I keep tally marks on how many times each set of girls has been approached by the guys in the room.  If a set of girls doesn’t get any nibbles in an hour and a half, I step in.”

 “You mean some women will just sit here for an hour and a half?”

 “If they’re lonely.”  Bovine whispers a bit.   “And all that time gives them the opportunity to drink a little too much.  Beer goggles aren’t just for men you know.”

 Miss Nomer bites her pencil eraser in disgust.  “I suppose you lie about your income, too, don’t you?”

 “Standard procedure!”  His eyes lock on her pencil.  “Nibbling on the end of your pencil huh?  Intrigued by the sent your nostrils picked up.  Am I right?  My real ace in the hole is the pheromones that I bought off this Indonesian company.  I heard their ad on the radio and realized that it could only help me.”

 “How so?”

 “Well it comes in this lotion like paste that I rub on my chest after a shower.  The pheromones proactive molecules seep through my shirt and attack the woman’s nostrils.  Then they travel through her blood steam to her brain where they tell her I’m interested in making out.  I always spray a heavy dose of “Steer for Men” on my shirt to add to my potency.  I can’t help but notice that you eyes are watering.”

 “Do you even know what a steer is?!”

“A type of wild buffalo right?”

Miss Nomer released a sharp breath.  “Let’s back up.  You said the pheromones let prospective ladies know you’re interested in getting together.  Does it really take a chemical to let these women know that some bar fly is interested?!  Isn’t it just safe to say that any guy propped against a bar on a Friday night is interested?”

“Listen my peppermint pretty, I think it’s important to make it plain.  I don’t like beating around the bush.  In fact, I always let a girl know what I’m willing to spend on her before I expect some smooch time.  She can order as much off the value menu she wants but I expect to make out later.”

Miss Nomer couldn’t believe her ears.  “What?!  Is there a girl out there that would go for that?”

Here Mr. Bovine appears a bit exasperated.  He reverts to his low voice and speaks slowly.  “Lonely.  Tipsy.  Wealthy older man.  Fast food after midnight.  Indonesian pheromones.  For a reporter, you’re a little slow on the pick up.”

Miss Nomer scribbles a bit of profanity on her notepad.  “Next question.  What’s your success rate?  Be clear, what are your chances of walking out of here tonight with a girl on your arm?”

Randy Bovine brings a hand up to his face rubbing his graying stubble.  A second later, he gives Miss Nomer a heavy look.  “Well, my little strawberry parfait, you look like a girl who knows her way around the extra value menu.  Care to split a McSteamy with me?”

 “Are you serious?” 

 “Hey, just like me, they’re only available for…”  He makes quotation marks in the air.  “…a limited time.” 

 “Well, I prefer a McBeefy but I suppose a McSteamy will do and I do have a few more questions.”  She pauses and studies Rodney Bovine.  The combination of “Steer for Men” and foreign pheromones must be very potent –  the image of Rodney Bovine handing her a McSteamy didin’t seem so bad.  “Alright, but if you call me another desert, I’ll pound you.”

Meet Greg Dillwine

 “This is it.  The moment my journalistic career has been waiting for.”  Miss Nomar’s hands were a bit moist with sweat.  She carelessly wiped her palms on the sides of her tailored suit coat.  For years she’s tried to get an interview with the founder of, a man so elusive many employees didn’t even believe he existed.  He was the man who hired the company’s CEO – the megalomaniac of the memo- Chief Dodo.  The founder’s name was known only to a few and spoken only with the hush of absolute reverence…Greg Dillwine, Esquire. 

 If one gets past the head-scratching hiring of Chief Dodo, Mr. Dillwine’s achievements are nothing short of miraculous. leads the industry in recalled products, winning sponsorships from obscure non-profits, and hiring otherwise jobless cosmetology degrees.  Money falls from thin air – it’s like a vacuum for venture capital.

 “And the only business plan is to find new titles for executives…and it works!  What began as a simple Internet start up now occupies thirteen floors of a Manhattan high rise.”  Miss Nomar stopped between sets of stairs to catch her breath.  The elevator was broken and all three maintenance folks were dissecting a slow dripping coffee machine.  “Now the man…who can create money from an immense pile…of bad ideas is giving me…me an interview.”

 She arrived at a dull gray, steel service door at the top of the stairs and tried the door – it was locked.  A red light above her head begins to blink.  Miss Nomar raises her fist and pounds on the door.  There must be someone inside and she wouldn’t stop until she earned an answer.  Finally a voice pushed through the door.  “Go away Chief!  It’s not time to get up until my feet hit the carpet or my bladder explodes…my mom should never let you in the building!”

 Miss Nomar’s eyes narrow in confusion.  “Look,” her loud voice echoes down the stairwell.  “I’m here to see Mr. Dillwine.  I have an appointment and nobody’s mom let me in.”

 “Who sent you?”

 “Chief Dodo set up the appointment!  He’s supposed to be in charge!”  She reached into her backpack and pulled out a box of cereal. “He did mention bringing a box of cereal…Cheerios.”

 The speaker’s tone picked up.  “Regular, multi-grain, or honey-nut.”


 The red light suddenly turns green and the door opened.  Before Miss Nomar stood a thirteen-year-old boy with mousy brown hair going in every direction, glasses (smudged), and a T-shirt with “Harlem Knights Basketball” across the front.  The shirt is threadbare and looked like it might be glued to his skin.  The room behind him is hard to see with the shades pulled.
 “Yes, I’m Greg Dillwine.”  The boy reached over and turned on the lights revealing a dresser stacked with colognes and tattered copies of Calvin & Hobbes comics and a trumpet with “Band Camp Blows” written on the side. 

“This is my office.”  He continued.  “I need to use the bathroom so if you’ll just set the cereal on the table over there and get out the milk… I’ll be right back.”
 Miss Nomar tires to ignore the splashing sound of toilet water coming from the bathroom as she sets up breakfast and her tape recorder.  Greg Dillwine isn’t anything like she expected.  He’s way too young and barely looks like he has a pulse. 

About a minute later, Greg returns and sits – his hair has been plastered down and his breath smells like backing soda.  “I’m ready Miss Nomar when you are.”

 “Ok, but I’ll be honest…I was expecting someone a little more mature.  You look like some sort of computer geek.”

 Greg shrugs.  “Well let’s see, I’m clumsy around girls but I’m not opposed to them liking me.  I enjoy reading out of date computer shoppers because I think the rapid deprecation in computer hardware is funny.  Uh, and I one day plan to experiment with long hair… somewhat unsuccessfully.  I was even given a chocolate calculator once and I kept it – didn’t eat it.”

 The interview chuckles a bit – was he trying to be funny?  Miss Nomar wasn’t sure.  “So, yea, you’d be comfortable with the computer geek tag.” 

 Greg took off his glasses and began putting in contacts at the small table in his office.  “Sure but here’s the thing – if computer geeks can avoid being entrapped into video games they usually wind up pretty wealthy.  How much do you make per year?”

 “I work for”

 Greg tries to restrain a chortle and fails.  “Oh (ahem) that’s right.”

 “So why don’t you tell me about your inspiration for”
 “Well it was really just an idea to get a little peace.  You see I’ve known Chief Dodo for a long time and he would constantly email me this garbage about the three types of college professors – overenthusiastic, demigod, or one-dimensional freak.  Dude, I don’t care!  Then I’d get lists of his favorite vegetables and why.  Man, leave me alone!  The final straw was a screenplay about a desperate band of deodorant sticks fighting the evils of bad odors.  He wanted me to finance the whole deal and when I refused he offered me the lead role.”

 “Did you accept?” 

 A sly smile appears.  “I took it.  I figured a larger profile would help me with the lady folk so other than my film pursuits I drove an eighty something Buick Riviera with cranium rattling bass.  Whoop, there I am!”  Drops smile.  “…still without a date.”

 Miss Nomar taps her pencil on the desk.  “So you were saying something about ChiefDodo bothering you?  I’m a bit confused.  Are you talking about getting rid of ChiefDodo or are we talking about your struggle with girls?”

 “Both.”  He paused then continued.  “Right, well I thought if I paired my Rivera and the big sound system with big chest muscles, I’d not only get attention from the girls but if I brought ChiefDodo along the bass would drown out his constant talking.  The gym had loud music too.  I wound up worked out but the plan didn’t.  No girls and ChiefDodo still wouldn’t shut up.”

 Miss Nomar shook her head.  “Sir, we were talking about  What’s the story behind the web site and the company?”

 “Oh alright.  The whole thing was started with my left over time.  You see, my father was a professor at Dakota University’s computer department and I knew more than he did.  His colleges all got to know me and when I signed up for their classes they’d ask me not to come.  I still got credit but never attended class.  What did I do with my spare time?  Who knows?  I don’t remember!  I sure wasn’t dating!  Maybe I was deleting stupid, random emails from ChiefDodo.  I had to get the guy out of my IN box!  I ended up buying a web domain and gave it to him.  I installed a computer-tracking program that makes him think people actually visit the site.  Now he doesn’t bother me as much…it’s great.”

 “Are you saying is just a dumb diversion?!”
 Greg eyed his Cheerios.  “I can’t answer anymore questions – my cereal is getting soggy.  Why don’t you make yourself useful and click on the advertisers on the side of  We make a little money when that happens.  Do it.  Do it now!”

Professor Hurlbert Interview

Miss Nomar walked through the front doors of the converted hospital and is immediately surrounded by stern walls clad in sterile, sea green tile.  Everything is quietly bathed in light from periodic light fixtures a few of which are not even on.  Dakota University – Medora Branch’s renovation of the old hospital was a modest one.  A few of the surgical rooms have been made into classrooms with only the addition of a few folding chairs and a feeble podium.  Smaller patent’s rooms are now the offices for DUMB’s faculty.

A student with abnormally good posture and long unmanaged hair meanders by.  Miss Nomar raises a hand in order to pull in his attention.  He grudgingly stops as if the lost momentum causes him pain.

“Yes, excuse me, can you tell me where Dr. Hurlbert’s office is?”

The student points towards the steps just beyond his shoulder.  “Uh, yea, Dr. Vomit is right up those stairs then somewhere on your right.  Just read the signs.”

“I’m sorry, did you just call him Dr. Vomit?”

A smile reaches across the young man’s face and his head bobs a bit.  “Heh heh, yea, with a name like that you really shouldn’t teach, right?  You know, just too easy for the students to make fun of you.  It’s really not so bad though, you should hear what we call Dr. Chitfaus.  Like I said, I really don’t think they should allow you to teach when you have a goofy last name.”

Miss Nomar’s face went deadpan, “Cool, say I’m working on the college’s online newsletter.  If you tell me your name, I’ll quote you.”
The student stared at Miss Nomar for an additional twenty seconds before shrugging and moving back into his sluggish gait.

The only thing to be heard as Miss Nomar continued to the next floor was the short rasp of her footfalls on the cold steps.  It was the first Friday of the new semester.  Each class’s projects were long from being due so the halls were empty of students begging for an extension and singing dirges of sorrow.  It didn’t sound like anyone was around.

Miss Nomar arrived at Dr. Hurlbert’s door and knocked.  It was a hollow sound and seemed swallowed by the office on the other side.  A second later, the door knob turned with a bit of a high squeak.  The door opened and the professor welcomed her inside with a sweeping motion of his arm.  His height and build were plain with a slight bulge around the midsection of this suit. 

“Well, you must be Miss Nomar.  Welcome.”  His graying beard parted in a friendly grin.
The interviewer stepped in and found a seat in front of Dr. Hurlbert’s meticulously organized desk.  “Thank you, yes, I’m here from…” 

“Oh, I know,!  You know, that’s my favorite site!”  He began laughing and under his breath he muttered.  “Scrambled thought from fried thinkers…kills me every time.”

Miss Nomar removed and started her recorder as Dr. Hurlbert took his seat.  “Someone called and said that you’ve quit teaching yet maintain a paid position with DUMB.  As part of my investigative job I’ve come to find out how.”

Dr. Hurlbert didn’t reply for a moment.  Instead he just stated at Miss Nomar before shaking his head.  “Golly, I’ve almost forgotten how strange it is to hear a woman speak.”

“I’m sorry.  What do you mean?”

“Well, the college needed someone to prep the cadavers for med labs.  I volunteered and so I’ve done nothing but cut up bodies or whatever for almost a month now.  After work I spend my evenings on the internet – you know – I’m kind of a geek.”

Miss Nomar struggled to hide her disgust.  “You cut up dead bodies?  Why would you volunteer for such a thing?!”

“Well, to meet ladies, of course.”  He quickly raised his palms to stop Miss Nomar from interrupting him with the obvious questions.  “Wait, let me explain.  I thought working with and cutting up donated bodies would be a great conversation starter!  Can you imagine how curious other people would be about my work?  Instead of saying something boring like, ‘Yea, I teach,’ now I’m saying, ‘Yea, I work over dead bodies!”

Miss Nomar’s eye’s narrowed.  “Wait, are you the one who called and set up this interview?”

Dr. Hurlbert rolled his eyes, “Well yes, I mean…”  He stammered for a moment then continued, “I’m a little desperate for attention from, you know, a living woman.  I tired getting a Russian bride and thus far the only Russian I’ve learned is ‘Nyet.’  What does that mean anyway?

“Before that, when I was still teaching, I tried impressing the female faculty members in the lounge with origami.  You can guess that that didn’t go over either.  I thought an interesting job in the field of Corpse Management would make conversations and thus interest in me automatic…hasn’t worked out though.”

Miss Nomar stopped the tape recorder and stood.  “Thanks for dragging me down here.  If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a date with a 64 oz. diet soda.”

Dr. Hurlbert stood as well, “Wait!  Don’t you want to hear what we do with the leftover parts?!  How about I tell you over dinner!?”

Frank Zastaphol Interview

The walls are completely clad in small tapestries with red tassels, brass gongs the size of dinner plates, and Asian calendars featuring fattened Budas.  Red velvet stuffed to bulging dimensions covers all the furniture.  A stick of incense the thickness of a hot dog is smoldering in the corner causing the entire room to stink like cinnamon.  Miss Nomer feels like she’s in the inside of a candy Red Hot.

A homely Asian man with a completely flat face waltzes into the room through a sliding door.  He’s sporting fifteen birthmarks and a greasy looking Fu Manchu.  On his head is a paper hat that looks like a Chinese lantern.  He squints as he smiles.

Frank Zastaphol:  “Ahhhh, Miss Nomer, good for you to visit.” ( He sits in the plush chair across from Miss Nomer.  His robe glistens with million delighted sequins.)  “Have you come seeking enlightenment, inner peace, or Chinese souvenirs?”

Miss Nomer: She begins setting up her tape recorder.  “Well, do you have soapstone lions?”  He nods.  “Stuffed pandas?”

Frank Z.:  “You bet.  And don’t forget our weapon grade incense.  It’s been proven to make even male dormitories smell sweet and refreshing.”

Miss N:  “Bleach and Honeysuckle?”

Frank Z.:  (Jots something on a memo pad.)  “I’ll put you down for a value pack.”

Miss N:  “Alright, let’s get started.”  She punches the record button.  “Greetings!  This is your bare knuckled, rock overturning, special assignment reporter!  I ask the questions you can’t study for!  I find out what’s in the Special Sauce!”

Frank Z.:  (Skews eyes)  “Uh, it’s thousand island dressing.”

Miss N.:  “I mean your special sauce.”

Frank Z.:  “Uh, ok.”  (Narrows eyes.)

Miss N.:  “So you are the supplier of the fortunes in fortune cookies.  Please describe the fortune creating process for us.  What mystical forces do you tap into?”

Frank Z.:  “Well normally I just listen to static.  Sometimes I hear things.  Daytime soap operas are good sources of the things people want out of life but why don’t you tell me.  What do you think people are looking for in regards to good fortune?”

Miss N.:  (Big smile)  “Money, a better job, beauty, talent, friends, health, cold medications that work, and maybe straight teeth.”

Frank Z.:  (Holds up memo pad.  All of Miss Nomer’s requests are crammed onto the sloppy page.)  “Here’s what I like to do.  I call upon my fortune finger.  (He holds up his right pinky.)  “Now I’ll close my eyes and plant my finger on the pad.  Whatever it lands on will be the subject of my next batch of fortunes.”

Miss N.:  “Excuse me…you have a fortune finger?”

Frank Z.:  “Yea, watch.”  (He plants his finger on the memo pad.  Instead of landing on Miss Nomer’s list it points to a half completed grocery list.)  “Hmmmm, it appears fate has chosen frozen pizza snacks.”  Pulls a small slip of paper out of this robe and begins writing on it.  “Ok, how’s this?”  (He begins writing.)  “Life is like pizza pockets, it is best enjoyed spicy and hot.” 

Miss N.:  “That really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

Frank Z.:  (Shrugs)  “I does if you follow the serving instructions on the box.”

Miss N.:  “Are you sure that stuff you’re burning over there is incense?”

Frank Z.:  (Waves her off.)  “Fine, let’s get back to what people really want…money.  What is it about money that people want?”

Miss N.:  (Confused expression.)  “Are you kidding me?”

Frank Z.:  “Alright, here’s a good fortune.”  (Opens palms toward the sky.)  “A small change will put your face on coins.  Get it?”

Miss N.:  “Mr. Zastaphol, that’s not what people like about money.  Besides, you have to be dead before they will put your likeness on money.”

Frank Z.:  “Then that makes it the perfect fortune!  It is your future…after you’re dead.  Perfect!”  (Leans back in chair.)  “You know, it’s really something that fortune tellers can see major events coming but can never give a date…ever.  You’d think just once we could say, ‘You will win the lottery on Tuesday.

 “Heck, sometimes I even stick in false ones just for my own amusement.  My favorite is, ‘You just won a million dollars!’  Then offer no information.  That’s it.  I can just see the confused looks on people’s faces.”

Miss N.:  (Shakes fist.)  “Ah Ha!  Hard-hitting journalism pays off again!  I got one of those and the waiter refused to give me my money.  Now we know the truth!”

Frank Z.:  (Panicked expression.)  “Oh no.  Look, let me throw in a couple of free fortunes and we’ll call it even.  Um, ok, ‘A good idea is worth a thousand bad ones.’ And how about, ‘A gas station bathroom holds many surprises.’  ‘Plastic comes from cows!”

Miss N.:  “Don’t even try to bribe me!  This thing goes all the way to the top doesn’t it?  Talk!”

Frank Z.:  (Folds arms and turns his head.)  “I have nothing else to say.  This interview is over.”

Victor Yost – Revealed!

Miss Nomer is sitting in the posh lobby of La’Porta Day Spa.  Surrounding her are calming earth tones accented in crimson and gold.  The interviewer sees wide gold threaded tapestries and tassels on nearly everything.  The air is accented with the flavorful mix of strawberries, cinnamon, and self-importance.  She sat down almost three minutes ago and her butt is still sinking into the ultra-plush, six-inch, silk seat cushion.  The gentle sounds of string music surrounds her as she waits but it doesn’t come from an elaborate speaker system.  There’s a pale looking man in the corner of the acoustically designed lobby playing a violin.

Miss Nomer (bouncing a bit to try and hasten her decent to the bottom of her seat):  “Hmmm, maybe the next time he has his tux starched he might want to get out of it first.”

A chime sounds and two thickly built porters in tight, black shirts enter the lobby pulling what looks like an ebony rickshaw.  There’s a man inside wearing a silk smoking jacket.  Another chime and both men stop then gently lower each pole to the ground.  The man in the rickshaw stands, ambles to the seat across from Miss Nomer, and sits.

Miss Nomer (eyebrows raised a bit):  Mr. Yost, I presume?

Victor Yost (slowly sinking):  Yes, hello Miss Nomer.  You may begin the interview.

Miss Nomer (reaches over to the crystal coffee table and starts the tape recorder) Hello, we are joined today by one of America’s most detestable men.  The mastermind of a money making scheme so powerful and far reaching that its true scope cannot be properly measured.  Mr. Yost is the broker behind the cost structure of college textbooks!

Victor Yost:  I think it’s funny how you use negative adjectives to describe me.  You people are just so cute.

Miss Nomer:  I’m a little surprised you agreed to this interview Mr. Yost.  After all, I just graduated from college and I can tell you first hand the righteous fury you feel when you’re picking up a common hardback book and the price tag is nearly the same as one’s first car.  How can you possibly defend the prices your putting on these books!?

Victor Yost (shakes head and smiles):  Miss Nomer, one cannot put a price on learning.  These printing companies and the esteemed authors require proper recompense for their contributions to our educated population.  As the founder and director of CREEP, I simply make sure that students ‘pay it forward’ if you will, to those who give their higher learning the hard bound backbone it needs.

Miss Nomer (interrupting):  When you say CREEP, you are referring to the Cartel Representing Expanded Edition Printing.

Victor Yost (nodding):  Yes, we are constantly reworking the cutting edge information contained in our volumes.  Our authors treat each book like a child.  They feed it new information; help it to grow and expand.  Better-organized information leads to a better education and that means a 14th edition.

Miss Nomer (sarcastically):  You mean rearrange the pictures then expect professors to require the 14th edition thus boosting your sales again.  Admit it!!

Victor Yost: Ok, I get to rearrange the pictures.  It’s a lot mort interesting than sitting around playing solitaire all day, besides it gives me a feeling of accomplishment.  When I’m not here at my home/spa, I…

Miss Nomer (Interrupting again): Home/spa?

Victor Yost:  Of course, I built this spa so that it is in conjunction with my home.  I just thought it would be fun to offer its services to some of my closest friends and other highbrows.  It operates as a money loosing business, which is a fantastic tax write-off.  Then, when the tax benefit expires, I close the books, choose another French word, and open it up again as a separate entity.

Miss Nomer (angrily):  You own this place as a private club and it’s subsidized by the government!?

Victor Yost:  A government would be useless without an educated populace.

Miss Nomer (furious now):  I spent almost six hundred dollars my last semester on only five books!  The day before the semester concluded all of your publishers came out with an entire set of new editions!!  I was offered only six dollars and fifty cents for books that were worth six hundred only four months earlier!!  AND ALLYOU DID WAS ADD A DUST COVER!!  A DUST COVER DOES NOT CONSTITUE A NEW EDITION!!!

Victor Yost (still calm):  It does when the dust cover contains a handy guide for English to metric conversions.  (snaps his fingers)

Miss Nomer:  (two of the porters appear and lock Miss Nomer’s arms against the chairs. Another takes away her tape recorder) You are a thief!

Victor Yost:  I have done nothing wrong.  If CREEP and I didn’t take their money then they would blow it on booze and beer.

(stands and adjusts the pulls on his robe)  Well, that was more fun than I thought it would be.  Here, (hands Miss Nomer a check) this is a check for the difference between the money you spent and the actual cost of your college texts.  I threw in a little extra for a new tape recorder.  Consider it encouragement to keep your mouth shut or my boys in black here may pay you a visit.

The ruffians let go of Miss Nomer and one waits to escort her out.  The others join Victor near his rickshaw.

Victor Yost: (to one of his porters) So, do you think this will count as a confession?  I want a clear conscious you know but I also want to protect my business.

Porter (with a wink and a nod): Sure boss, and don’t worry.  No one reads anyways.


The Boyd Ringo Interview

Miss Nomar: Hello ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to another knuckle-to-the-gut, elbow-to-the-butt interview with some of today’s most lopsided personalities. Regular humans, just like you, who have taken their potential to extreme levels of absurdity. Not bizarre enough for the tabloids and too confounding for the national media, only I, Miss Nomar, can bring them to you.

The length of my introduction has already annoyed today’s subject. The thinly circulated magazine, Inane Pursuit, has ranked him as America’s busiest man. Lining up this interview was harder to do than catching a cockroach on a disco floor. Please welcome the world’s busiest man, Boyd Ringo!

Ringo: (talking into cell phone with one thumb speeding along the keys of a blackberry) “…no really, you can’t cross the streams. Everyone knows that could make every soft serve machine in the tri-county region break down! Look, this woman’s ready to cram my interview in, I’ve gotta go.” (Ringo claps his cell phone shut but is still using his blackberry.) “Go babe.”

Miss Nomar: So, Inane Pursuit has named you America’s most…

Ringo (impatiently): Busiest man! I know. It’s quite an honor but we need to roll this thing along I have to watch Book Tapeworms on the Recovery Channel. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s where the producer takes thirty middle school kids to the local library and tells them there are four one hundred dollar bills hidden in the books. It’s great watching the look on those librarian’s faces as their Dewey Decimal system is fanatically transformed into a tossed salad! And then they only wind up being ten-dollar bills! It’s a riot and it starts in ten minutes!

Miss Nomar (a bit annoyed): How is it you have time for cable television when you’re so busy?

Ringo (sets the blackberry down and pops open a handheld video game system): I don’t really have a choice. In order to get my money’s worth out of ordering cable television, I need to watch it (whips a calculator from his shirt pocket) about ninety-two hours a month.

Miss Nomar (confused): That’s almost four days of solid television watching. Heck, I don’t watch anywhere close to that amount! How can you be that much busier than I am?

(It takes a few moments for Ringo to respond. He is concentrating on his video game system. Suddenly, his face sours, he throws his head back, and begins to whine.)

Ringo: Ah man! That’s garbage! Do you hear me?! Garbage! I’ve been working on this game for the last week and I can’t get my Sword of a Thousand Snows to work on the Ringworm of Wraith! What is it going to take?

Miss Nomar (greatly annoyed): How can you be America’s busiest man? I haven’t seen you do anything remotely productive yet!

Ringo: Productive? I’ll have you know that I’m the administrator for the web site I’ve spent months and months scanning each and every yearbook page in the country from every high school from every year onto the site. People can go online and write crass notes, draw facial hair, or write in their favorite memory of that person. It’s great!

Miss Nomar: That sounds like a huge waste of time! I thought you were supposed to be busy! All I’ve seen or heard from you are video games, TV, talking to your friends, a useless website…how are you busy?!

Cant do the dishes right now mom! Im busy!

Can’t do the dishes right
now, mom! I’m busy!

Ringo: (with an indignant air) Miss Nomar, my dear, it all depends on how you define busy. I stay busy because I’m constantly doing something. I may not be productive but I most certainly am busy. Like right now I should be working on my World of Witchcraft character.

Miss Nomar: World of Witchcraft?! Do you mean that ridiculous online world where millions of inner geeks are running around playing pretend with other useless folks?

Ringo: The one and the same!

Miss Nomar: Do you even have a job or a family?

Ringo: My website makes $54,000 dollars a year but my parents don’t know that so I still live at home. They think I’m a professional video game tester.

Miss Nomar (Enraged): You’re not busy! You’re just some useless…

Ringo (flips open his cell phone then interrupts): Look lady, this has taken up too much time already. (stands) Of course I’m busy. You don’t average eight hundred seventy five text messages a day without some serious effort. Gotta go.

Interview with Matt Smith

Miss Nomar: Hello eager readers. I am Miss Nomar your ace correspondent to the world famous website. I routinely bring you the fascinating personalities that you crave. So when your neighbors finally remember to start closing their blinds, check me out instead. I ask the hard, semi-permeable, and ridiculously porous questions others in my profession fail to ask.

Today I am sitting across from the architect of America’s most obvious conspiracies. He is the creator of the world’s most infamous advertising campaign, which incidentally, has cost his company almost nothing. He is the founder and CEO of Ka-Boom Cereal Company. His company makes one of the most popular cereals on the market to day, Rainbow Crunch. Introducing Matthew Smith.

Matt Smith: Hello, thank you Miss Nomar it’s really crunchy being here.

Miss Nomar: Crunchy?

Matt Smith: (makes an open palm gesture, as if pulling Miss Nomar towards him) That’s right, crunchy. As in, I’m crunchy…you’re crunchy…he, she, it is crunchy. Come on, the conjugation isn’t that hard.

And hey, have you ever heard of slang. Use context clues baby, I haven’t got all day.

Miss Nomar: (cross look on her face) Oh, you mean the sound your neck will make if you feed me anymore sarcasm. Now, why are you using crunchy?

Matt Smith: (looks aside for a second, pretending not to be fazed by Miss Nomar’s threat) Well ok, it has everything to do with our plan to revolutionize the breakfast eating experience. People have come to associate cold cereal with having a long day or lacking enthusiasm. At Ka-Boom Cereal, we patently reject the idea that cold cereal means Monday or Tuesday or any day that nobody likes.

One way we do this is by including prizes in our products that young people might enjoy. Such as new slang words to try out with you friends. Using crunchy for anything cool was one of our company’s innovations. You can also thank us for new uses of the words “lumpy,” “crotch rocket,” and my personal fave “adios.”

Miss Nomar: Adios is not a slang word it’s Spanish.

Matt Smith: Miss Nomar, you’re not being crunchy at all. (Begins flashing gang symbols) Don’t make me go crotch rocket on you! If’n you ain’t lumpy than you just adios. Feel me. (Outstretches his arm to Miss Nomar and flexes his bicep.) No, really, feel me.

Miss Nomar: (Pokes Matt’s arm with the eraser end of her pencil.) Let’s wander back to your company’s success with Rainbow Crunch. Everyone knows why the cereal is so successful, it cannot be an accident, and yet your company consistently denies knowing any thing about it.

Matt Smith: It’s no mystery. You see, Rainbow Crunch is fortified with everything you need to be a more active you. We use the finest Bavarian hops, barley, corn syrup, and other grains known for a rich, robust flavor. Our additives aren’t made in foreign countries either. Heck, with the guidance of a professional dietitian, it can be worked into any complete breakfast.

Miss Nomar: (Pounds table with her fist) There you go again! It’s a well known fact that eating your cereal colors your…’s poo poo. It corresponds to the color of the box. I know, I’ve tried it for myself. I bought a yellow box and twenty-four hours later my uh, stool looked like a ripe banana.

Matt Smith: Yes, besides the common logo our boxes come in six different colors. You know, the rainbow. It helps our product stand out in the cereal isle.

Miss Nomar: (deadpan look on face) More denials huh? You know, it’s become something of a cult phenomenon. You have people out there who are buying and eating your cereal simply because it adds color to their stool!

Matt Smith: (Grinning broadly, rubbing hands together) That is not the official policy of Ka-Boom Cereal Company. We deny marketing Rainbow Crunch that way. These rumors on the Internet and in male dormitories are that…simply rumors. We can’t stop them being spread any more than we can control what type of milk people eat with it. (Under breath) Whole works better.

Miss Nomar: So, are you replying to Ka-Boom’s leaked inter office memos? I’m sure you’ve seen the news. These documents claim that your product engineers are working on formulas for neon colors?

Matt Smith (Stifling Laugh): I really don’t have any comment on that. In fact, I’m late for another engagement. (Stands) Oh, before I forget, you didn’t ask me about our new Island Tropics Bran Kernels. The vicious rumors that it colors your skin are totally and completely unfounded. I repeat, one bowl will not make you look like a bronze god in the middle of winter.

Interview with Jared Laroosi

Miss Nomer:  Hello to my worldwide audience!  My name is Miss Nomer and I’m coming to you live from the beautiful penthouse offices of in busy downtown Manhattan!  I bring you the cutting edge interviews with all the Z list celebrities! 

Today, I’m sitting here with one of the Internet’s most notorious thugs, Mr. Jared Laroosi.

Jarad L:  (adjusts his booster seat and straightens) Thank you Miss Nomar and yes, I am exceedingly dangerous.

Miss Nomer:  Let’s see here, you are only five foot three and a whopping one hundred twelve pounds yet you nearly make a living as a professional bully.  Tell us how.

Jarad L:  Well, it all started when I was a young man.  (Laughs a bit and shakes head.)  I’m telling you, being such a small guy is no picnic.  (deepens voice)  I had to go the  “Little Big Man” route to get any attention.  You know, being extra loud and wearing loud clothes.  But I was better at being abusive than loud.

Because I was so physically lacking, I had to make up for it somehow with personality, style, or expensive toys.  Like I said, the “Little Big Man” thing.  As it turns out, I have the personality of a leach, the pizzazz of a Star Trek convention, and I stuff my wallet with coupons.  (Pauses a bit)  That I cut from my mom’s woman’s magazines.  (Pauses again)  I guess I didn’t need to mention that.

Miss Nomer:  Ok, you don’t have the blatantly obvious characteristics that make men respect you and women take notice of you.  But the Internet helped you…

Jarad L:  (Interrupting.)  I’m also pretty stupid.  I can fill out a personal classified add with words to spare.  (Does the quotation gesture with both hands)  Single White Male seeks Any Female. Enjoys being mean, long arguments in the park, and sending food back in cozy restaurants.

Miss Nomer:Soooo (Rolls eyes a bit), the Internet thing.  You’re a cyber bully despite the fact that you barely weight enough to depress a key.  Care to explain?

Jarad L:  Wait, I want to show you my tattoo.  (Pulls up sleeve to reveal a dark purple bruise across his bicep.)  What do you think of that?

Miss Nomer:  Wow!  What did you do to yourself?  That looks terrible!

Jarad L:  I already told you.  (Puts sleeve back down.)  It’s a tattoo but my arm is so thin the ink began bleeding through and showing up on the other side of my arm.  It was supposed to be barbed wire but now it’s just a swirling mist.  (Pauses then louder.)  Of Internet Death!

Miss Nomer:  Speaking of that…

Jarad L:  Fine!  I send scathing emails to corporations and businesses large and small.  I complain about their service and the attractiveness of their employees.  The Internet has been a real boon since I don’t have to come up with a good lie on the spot.  Remember, I’m not very smart.  When I complain I’m sketchy on the details and a lot of times they wind up sending me coupons and gift certificates.   

When I’m not doing that, I like to get in chat rooms and bark strong opinions at anyone elsoe online.  (Gets excited and starts pounding the table.  No ripples formed in his coffee.)  Yea!  It’s great to royally chew people out when they can’t get to you.  I’ve got like, seventy different abusive monologues that I can simply copy and paste into emails and posts!  You will hear from me and your eyes will burn!

Miss Nomer:  So what’s the value on these fraudulently earned certificates?

Jarad L:  Oh, not much.  My favorite one was the free pass to the zoo after I complained that the ticket staff didn’t make animal noises when I asked them to.

Miss Nomer:  What was so special about the zoo?

Jarad L:  Cussing at the animals but only the ones whose cages I know are locked.

Interview with Franklin Huff

Miss Nomar:  I’m Miss Nomar a seventh year journalism student at Dakota University – Medora Branch (Go D U M B Midgets!) and special correspondent to  I bring you the interviews that the mainstream media is afraid to touch. 

Today I’m talking with Franklin Huff.  Mr. Huff, otherwise known as “The Camel,” is world famous for taking modified catheter collection bags and hiding them under his sweatshirt.  He then fills them with funneled soda from fast food soda fountains.  Welcome and good day to you Mr. Huff.

Huff:  No, (loud belch) thank you Miss Nomar it’s a pleasure to be here.

Miss Nomar:  Just to be clear, these are unused bags am I correct?

Huff:  (Gives Miss Nomar a confused look and then slowly nods.)

Miss Nomar: So how did you get started with this strange, sick hobby.

Huff:  Well Miss Nomar, I remember when fast food joints didn’t give you free refills.  The teenagers who worked behind the counter acted as gatekeepers protecting the soda fountain and denying the rest of us the carbonated beverages we all deserved.  I mean who did they think they were?  The food they served is chuck full of sodium and that makes you thirsty!  And don’t think they didn’t know that the salt in the meal accentuates the sweet taste of soda!

(Stands up and shakes fist)  But we won!  We (belch) won! 

Miss Nomar:  Please remain seated Mr. Huff.  (Waits for Huff to sit down.)  So you do this because you think the fast food restaurants are cheating you?

Huff:  Oh yea.  (Nods head vigorously)  Have you seen how much ice they put into your cup?  It takes up half the entire cup!  I can’t tell you how many angry letters I wrote before I finally began drinking my cup then throwing the ice at the teenagers behind the counter.  I would hide in a booth near the front register and pelt those evildoers with one cube of ice at a time.  You know, it was like laying seize to the world’s evil soft drinks captors.  It was how I got my first nickname, “The %^*#$ Idiot.”

Miss Nomar:  So am I right to presume that your fridge at home is crowded with slouched plastic sacks all filled with soda?

Huff:  Well not completely.  I still have a box of baking soda open in the back to keep things fresh.

Miss Nomar:  What do you do with all these catheter bags?  Surly you can’t drink them all!

Huff:  As long as my pancreas is pumping that insulin, I’m good.  But I don’t expect that to last too much longer. 

Actually, I’ve been giving my extra bags to the needy neighborhood kids.  Sure the soda is flat and the bags filled with the yellow soda looks a little fishy but the to see the looks in their eyes…  (Wipes a tear)… (Turns head down).

Miss Nomar:  (Questioning glare) How do you give them to the underprivileged? 

Huff:  Well, I usually park on street corners near private schools.

Miss Nomar:  (Shocked expression crosses her face) You stand on street corners near schools and hand out plastic bags filled with soft drinks!  Haven’t you been…

Huff: (Interrupting)  Arrested…yea.  It’s happened a couple of times.

I’ll tell you one of the challenges I had to face during all this is having to use the bathroom all the time.  I mean that soda goes right through me!  Of course, that’s less of an issue now that I use some of the catheter bags the way they were intended to be used.  Pretty cool, huh?

Miss Nomar:  Mr. Huff, (pauses) you have a hard time meeting women don’t you?

Huff:  (Belches then shrugs)

Interview with Bobby Mustang

Miss Nomar:  Hello and welcome to another interview with celebrities that couldn’t break into Hollywood’s unemployment line much less show business.  I’m Miss Nomar special correspondent to  I’m here with a man who wears tank tops regardless of the situation…Bobby Mustang.  Thanks for being here Bobby.

Mustang:  You forgot to mention I’m the developer of the all-silk tank top for when the occasion demands a little extra class.  It’s called the Silk Top for swank gyms, you know.

Miss Nomar:  Don’t worry Bobby you’ve got the market on silk workout wear.

Mustang:  Gee, I don’t know, I was walking by this store called Vindictive Secret the other day and I think they’re already making a girl’s version.  I went in to try one on and they didn’t have my size.

Miss Nomar: That’s a lingerie shop.

Mustang:  I know.  I just went in there to see if the girls working there actually wore that stuff.  Apparently they don’t.  Big disappointment.

Miss Nomar:  All right, let’s rewind.  You’re famous for wearing tank tops everywhere you go:  fancy restaurants, bar mitzvahs, and funerals.  Why?

Mustang:  Well, my original goal was to be a first chair bagpipe player for the New York Philharmonic but they weren’t interested.  It kind of tore my life up a bit.  You know, growing up with posters of famous bagpipe players on my closet door. 

Miss Nomar:  You grew up in Kentucky.  Where did you get your hands on a set of bagpipes?

Mustang:  I had to make them myself.  I stole four or five recorders from the music teacher at school and punched them into my dad’s bowling bag then strapped them down with duct tape.  I unzipped the bag a bit and put the hose to an air compressor in it.  Wow, that’s a lot of music!
Miss Nomar:  You’ve got to be kidding me.  So back to the original question, why do you wear nothing but tank tops?

Mustang:  When my career in music fell through, I got a job selling what I thought were testosterone shots to body builders.  I would wander the gym in my tank top selling the stuff.

Miss Nomar:  But you can’t weigh over a hundred and thirty pounds!  Who would buy bodybuilding supplies from you?

Mustang:  Oh, I just told them I was injured and that I used to bench four hundred fifty pounds or whatever.  Look, everyone exaggerates in a gym.  If a guy says he lifts three hundred, you can bet he can only do two hundred sixty-five.  Everyone does it and if you try to watch him then he’s having a bad day.

Miss Nomar:  You mentioned you thought it was testosterone.

Mustang:  Yea, I screwed up reading the label.  As it turns out, I was selling tetanus shots.  My bad. 

Miss Nomar:  Do people often confront you about wearing a tank top to church or weddings?

Mustang:  Yea, but I tell them I’m the bouncer and it’s usually ok.

Miss Nomar:  A bouncer at a wedding!  That’s ridiculous!  And by the way, I could probably take you.  You’re a complete weakling.

Mustang:  (With an air of confidence) Some press on tattoos and I present more of a problem.  But I suppose you’re right.  It would take a mighty man indeed to handle a woman of your girth.

Miss Nomar: What!?!?!?!

(The tape captures a stifled scream as Miss Nomer wraps her python-like fingers around Bobby’s Mustang’s slender throat.)