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Welcome, Nicklaus Scratch in all your glory and me in all my weakness. Thank you for joining me today for this interview.
Scratch: Joining you for this interview... Hmmph... Well, I hope it's as good for me as I know it'll be for you, little lady. Cigarette... (smacks Elizabeth's uncertain, shaking hand) No, I wasn't offering you one, little lady, I was telling you that's a cigarette. Mind if I smoke? Of course you don't, because if you do have anything to say about it, you know I will SMOKE YOU DOWN... UN-FILTERED! Relax, kid... I was just yanking your chain!
-Tell us who you are. What is your purpose in life?
Scratch: (Exhales from the drag) Who am I? Oh, m' dear, I am nothing. Nothing to worry about. Nothing at all. In fact, just remember that I don't even exist. I am just like that wonderful wizard of Oz: non-existent! These words you're hearing: all in your head. Simply a little contemplative conversation that you're having with yourself. But while we're here, I'll let you in on a little secret... Wanna hear a secret? Hmm? Of course you do! There are some out there who can't get it around their big block-head that I don't exist. They see me as the most arrogant, prideful, self-centered, spiteful, and malicious being one could ever meet. They view me as a con-artist; a perverse and sadistic soul; the original serial killer- you know, beginning with that Cain and Abel incident and all. Some see me as a master of disguise, willing to slit one's throat while whispering sweet little lies in one's ear. Others picture me as the vilest of madmen... a great monstrosity... And so I ask you, m' dear: Could this impish being, dressed up in a cowl with two little horns, and a tail attached to a red spandex suit, ever be a monstrosity? That is how people perceive me, is it not? Preposterous, right? If I am anything at all, I am simply an angel of light.
My purpose in life? Ha! Life has no purpose, sweetheart. You're only going once around the ride here, and then it's over. There's nothing else behind that black curtain. So if I do anything, it's to help free people from their inhibitions. You know: live for the moment... Kick theirs and cover yours... Get all you can while you can... Just do it... and if it feels good, BY ALL MEANS- AND BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY- do it!!! You get yours, that's the ticket! In other words, my sweet dearie: DO WHAT THOU WILT! That's my calling, yes indeedy! I am simply here to help other people get what they RIGHTFULLY deserve before going six... six... six feet under!
-Once you’ve lured your victim, what do you do with him/her?
Scratch: Oh listen, toots, there are no victims who deal with me. No, ma'am. Only gamblers- those who are free-spirited enough to do things their own way. They have no need for authority. What's that you're whispering in my ear? Why heavens no, Elizabeth, my deck's not loaded against the gamblers... scout's honor! Heh, heh... What do I do with those who want to umm... play the game, shall we say? Why, I give them their heart's desire! I make them king and queen for a day- as long as their days may last! I even let them be the great Oz! For after all, there is no Oz, so why not let everyone be the grand wizard in the big scheme of things? Humanity IS the end all be all- is it not? Oh, my dearie, I whisper sweet nothings so delicately in their ears. I am such the gentleman. Now, what's that you're whispering in my ear again? No, Elizabeth, that's not true; that's NOT all sweet nothings amounts to: sweet but nothing, as you say. Nope, here's the truth that I tell them... Repeat after me: "I WILL ascend to the heavens! I WILL raise my throne above the stars of God! I WILL sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain! I WILL ascend above the tops of the clouds! I WILL make myself like the Most High! I WILL find a way!"
So you see, Elizabeth, there are no victims here. I am simply giving people all they could wish for!
-You use people’s weaknesses against them, how do you do it? Do you whisper in their hearts that is what they really need? Do you project images into their heads? In other words, what’s in your toolbox of evil?
Scratch: Ha! When will you get it through your head, dear child, that I am not evil! As you can clearly see, I am like an angel of light: simply a dim glow in your imagination. And I never use people's weaknesses against them- I help to make them STRONGER! I enable everyone to acquire what they want. Now, I know a few tricks of the trade to make that happen, but as they say in your modern society: It's all good!
-Have you ever met a human who was able to resist your temptations? If so, how do you deal with it—do you call for back up?
Scratch: A human who could resist my temptations? No temptations, sweetheart, only promises come from these lips. So, the correct question would be: Have I ever met someone who refused my promises? Well, there was this One Jewish Guy... I met Him long ago. We had a talk out in a wilderness once. He refused everything I set before Him... and I offered Him the world! Oh well, His loss. He was always a thorn in my flesh, so I put a nail in His coffin. Three nails, to be exact. But never mind Him and that silly superstition that resulted. You know the one: that death could not hold Him. True, He was the single-most controversial figure in all of history, but ignore that piddly little fact that no one has ever found His body. What's that you ask? How many tombs had Roman soldiers guarding them with a giant rock sealing the entrance? INSIGNIFICANT, my darling dear! Somebody HAD to have stolen His body. There is NO WAY He could have risen from the dead! And forget about the incident when those stupid followers of His- well over five hundred people, or so they say- reported that they saw Him ascending to the great beyond. Flying somewhere over the rainbow, I imagine. Please... give me a break, would ya? Their very eyes deceived them! All of them! Many of those followers were eventually tortured or fed to lions- and too dumb to recant that they saw Him rise! They could've saved their own lives! Oh well... good riddance!
Me... call for back up! Puh-lease! What is this, a cop show? I need no back up! But I digress: there are those who believe I employ rapists, sadists, warmongers, ladies of the evening, and creatures of the night to do my bidding. Hog wash! Again, all people's imaginations running away with them. What about the creatures of the day: certain doctors, lawyers, politicians, and those priests and preachers- those who would exploit the young and impressionable? All of them make up Johnny Q. Public. Of course, I've had nothing to do with any of those horrible, horrible people! Some folks surmise that their wicked little deeds stemmed from demon possession. BAH! Demons don't exist! All of their misdeeds and malpractices are merely bi-products of temporary insanity on their part. And I must say, it's up to you people to put your hard earned tax dollars to work to REHABILITATE them! Repeat offenders- ba-logney! YOU people didn't rehabilitate them right the first time! Society has failed them, not the other way around. Your problem, Elizabeth, not mine.
-I understand that you can shape shift into a harmless looking moth to do your dirty work, a Hickory Horned Devil moth to be exact. How do you avoid a hungry bat? Or a crazed old lady with a rolled newspaper?
Scratch: Moths? Ha! You must be referring to my preferred morphing process. And sister, it's never dirty work; all is in good, clean fun! Yes, I rather do enjoy taking on the form of a moth sometimes. Why a moth, you ask? Well I'm glad you asked! In this day and age, with all these beings vamping about as bats, and running amok as wolves, all looking for someone to devour... well good grief! That would scare the literal hell out of anybody! And I like to keep everything intact. I want to keep a person whole. Far be it from me to rock the boat- especially when they're headed down a certain lake! And I never want to scare anyone. My aim is to make a new friend. That said, I prefer to morph into a moth- a Regal moth, to be precise- also known as the Hickory Horned Devil moth... I see you've done your homework! Good girl! Care to be my student? I promise to give you a passing grade! So, why do I sometimes take the form of the Hickory Horned Devil moth? It allows me to discreetly flutter into the nooks and crannies of a person's home, car, what have you... and observe my "special needs" people. I can assess what their hopes, dreams, desires, aspirations, and lusts for life are- and then I can help them achieve whatever those may be... come hell or high water!
Avoid a hungry bat? I say bats taste like chicken! Avoiding a rolled up newspaper... sister, I AM THE NEWS! You should read me once in a while!
-Who can join your esoteric order, Wickflicker? Can everyone there turn into moths, too?
Scratch: Oh, so you've heard about my little archaic club, did you? Care to join? It's free- there's absolutely NO COST to you! What does being a Wickflicker have to offer, you ask? Why all the power, prestige, and prominence you could dare to dream up! Money. Sex. Power! How does that grab ya? All of this- everything and anything you could dare to dream up- all in exchange for one little thing that no one has ever seen... something that doesn't even exist: all I ask for, sweet child, is your soul!
No, silly girl, I am the only moth! I am the ORIGINAL! Go chase long-toothed bats or rabid dogs if you want to run with the pack!
-Describe a typical day.
Scratch: Every day is a walk in the park. Yep, I walk with people everyday, guiding them through the twists and turns life brings their way. I show them how to handle it all. I help them look out for number one. I assist and assure them that they will always come out on top. Some consider me a great therapist! Do you need to exercise, Elizabeth? Care to go for a walk? Is life dragging you down? I can lift your spirit! I will even BE your spirit if that's what it takes! You see, my dear, I always go the extra mile for my precious ones!
-What are your fears? Weaknesses?
Scratch: Pfffft! To whom do you think you're speaking? I have NO weaknesses, little missy! And I have NO fears... of course, there is that one little superstition that we discussed earlier. It does nag at me a bit. I, too, have searched high and low, and I still haven't found His body. But it'll turn up... I have no doubt! I'm simply waiting on tomorrow's Enquirer headlines that His body's been discovered. Then we can put the silliness to rest, once and for all.
-What would you do if you met your match, someone who wanted just as much as you do with the same level of power? In other words, someone who wants to “dethrone” you and can?
Scratch: Oh, but friend, all I want is you! You and your friends. I want to help you all. Is that too much to ask? Now, that Jewish Guy from the wilderness tried to overtake me, but I've already told you about His fate. Ha! I am ALL POWERFUL! You see who rules the roost around here, and I am the only gamecock in the hen house! But, sweet Elizabeth, we must remember, I don't even exist. This is all fantasy... all make-believe... all the product of the human mind. And so I ask you, dear child, how can one be dethroned when he doesn't even exist?
-Do you have any special thoughts you’d like to share with your readers?
Scratch: I will simply extend an invitation to each and everyone to join my secret society- the Olde Order: Wickflicker. Follow these simple steps, and they will afford anyone all the prominence, prestige, and power one could ever hope for:
Is your palm freely passed twixt the wick and the flame?
Do you smoke the briar’s fire fueled by faces and names?
On the bridge of your lust, will you pay the small toll?
Would you gain the whole world in exchange for your soul?
So, dear child, what's troubling you? Care to take a walk and tell me all about it? I'm all ears. Here, let me help you; give me your hand. Yes, my friend, I'm speaking to you. Yes, you... YOU... the one staring at these very words. Actions speak louder than words, and talk is cheap. It's time for action! Now, you, give Ol' Scratch your world-weary hand. I won't bite... I promise!
I know you, Elizabeth. And I know you, too. See you around!
-Nicklaus Scratch, Olde Order: Wickflicker
Thank you, Nicklaus, for the entertaining interview. I better leave before anything else happens!
*An author's note from Teric Darken: I would like for every reader to know that I am a follower of Jesus. And I'm sure you know by now whom Scratch is. Let's just say that he is always willing to play the devil's advocate. So, everything was coming from Scratch's perspective in this interview. This is what the devil would have people to believe: that there is no God, and that Jesus was merely a man, not the Messiah. The character, Scratch, and my forthcoming supernatural thriller, Wickflicker, were greatly influenced by the late CS Lewis and his work, The Screwtape Letters, in which he incorporates a similar perspective.
This Tuesday: Clara Gillow Clark, Hattie's Interview and 2 book giveaway!
Don't forget the MC Blogfest this Friday!