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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An interview with “Quaking Aspen” Hotchkiss, pt. 2

Continuing our interview with retired Rear Army Major-General Phillip “Quaking Aspen” Hotchkiss, we discuss recent developments in the campaign for the Detour Festival, the General’s practice of apiculture, and the attraction of the undead.

The Monolators: Could you comment on the current state of the contest? It appears that we are tied for first place.

Hotchkiss: Yes, it appears so, although I should point out that I’ve washed my hands of the entire matter, and cannot be held responsible in any legally-binding way.

The Monolators: You’ve become disillusioned with the campaign?

Hotchkiss: You could say that, yes. You could also say that I never really felt at home in the field, as it were, so far from the comforts of home. For instance, the quality of crack that one is forced to subsist on in the army is so inferior to what’s available on any given day here in the alley behind the house that I see no real need to go abroad.

The Monolators: Is the use of controlled substances on the rise in the military?

Hotchkiss: I have a funny story about that. Harry Truman was of course heavily addicted, and once he came to me and said, “Phillip, can’t I please have some crack to help me get through this dratted Potsdam Conference,” except that instead of saying “crack” he spelt it out with a sort of continental flair: “c-r-a-q-u-e.” He was a very dapper gentleman and wanted to appear refined—but he had very small feet, abnormally small for a human being. He had to wear special plastic extensions to walk normally, and of course it was in the big toe that he hid his pipe.

The Monolators: Apart from your military experience you’re also well-known for your contributions in the field of bee-keeping, can you tell us about that?

Hotchkiss: Yes, I have several bees here at the Chateau, I find them absolutely indispensible and terribly fascinating. You know, not many people realize that they come from the forest completely wild, and you’ve got to tame them like you’d break a horse. They’re extremely fierce, with these wild, pale, rolling eyes, and they’ll come at you with their filthy fingernails and teeth and leave quite a scratch, believe me!

But once you can get a loincloth on them they calm down nicely, and you can use them for light entertainment, dancing, what have you, and the females can be quite charming in their savage way. They're very easy to please, just give them some little plastic trinkets for their hair and they'll happily perform all sorts of, er, bare-chested activities, as it were. Of course once they get to be a bit long in the tooth you can set them to work in the mines, and they can even manage some light secretarial duties, which is really very remarkable considering their size.

The Monolators: I don’t think you’re actually talking about bees, though, are you?

Hotchkiss: What makes you say that?

The Monolators: What you seem to be describing is some kind of feral harem girl, whereas a bee is a tiny yellow flying insect.

Hotchkiss: (long pause) Yes, well I’ve got some of those too.

The Monolators: Are these honey bees?

Hotchkiss: They’re actually bile bees, they make bile. Of course the study of insects and pollination is absolutely fascinating. The process is very special, because you know that most flowers contain both female AND male reproductive organs in the same unit, they’re true hermaphrodites, which I think is a fabulous idea for human beings, it would have so many advantages. For one thing I think that the implications of self-impregnation would cut down on masturbation tremendously, it would be a boon for the Church, so I suggest that scientists get to work on this pressing issue right away.

The Monolators: I see. So, what are your plans after the conclusion of the Detour poll?

Hotchkiss: My main priority is to exercise, remain fit, and stay healthy. I feel that in order to ensure a high quality of life for the twilight years in which I now reside, it’s a matter of maintaining what I might term a youthful demeanor: being open to new ideas and new forms of expression, surrounding yourself with young people and, of course, drinking a few pints of the blood of young virgins wouldn’t be remiss either.

The Monolators: Are you advocating, then, the practice of vampirism?

Hotchkiss: Well, I wouldn’t be so blunt as that, I would really say that full-blown vampirism belongs to the professionals, and I’m more of an amateur, a gifted amateur if you like. For instance, rather than subsisting solely on blood I can also eat a sandwich. Or meatloaf, whatever. Also I don’t live in a crypt, not year-round anyway. We do have one up by the lake but it’s more of a getaway home than anything else, we call it The Cabin. We spend most of the year in a regular old two-bedroom urn.

The undead have gotten a tremendous beating in the press for a long time now, and it’s completely unfair. I know several vampires who are upstanding members of the state legislature, and they’re in the clergy and they’re very well-liked. Few people know that some very famous people with tremendous philanthropic tendencies were of this persuasion, Florence Nightengale for instance, she was a werewolf, and you may not know this, but the Mummy did a lot of charity work, he was a lovely guy, he’d stagger around to orphanages and such and, you know, juggle…juggle his head…keep the kids happy.

The Monolators: Any final thoughts?

Hotchkiss: Oh goodness, no, none whatsoever.

To vote, please visit http://detour.laweekly.com/byob/vote/. You may vote once per day from your computer; voting ends on September 18.


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