Coffee with the most irritating person I know
Well, well, look who's finally returned to her dusty little blog!
In my defense (if I actually need one), I have been quite sick over the past few weeks, and haven't accomplished much besides lying about or trying to coax food into my stomach. I haven't forgotten about my promise of character introductions. I'm just a trifle late on the delivery.
Several of you fine folks expressed an interest in Thatch, and since he is one of my favorite characters to write, I decided to start by have a coffee and a chat with him.
It was near-death by sarcasm, I can tell you, and I certainly hope you all appreciate the pains I went through to bring you this very exclusive interview.
Thatch squints over my shoulder.
"Is that actually supposed to be me?" He asks.
"It was the best thing I could find." I say. "And I forgot my camera today, so..." I don't want to tell him my original thought: that the man in the photo is far too clean and well-dressed to be correct.
"I know that I'm a wildly fascinating individual and all of that." He says. "But Janus is the main character. Why aren't you interviewing her?"
I shrug. "The people have spoken, and they chose you."
"Your friends have strange taste."
"I'll be sure to pass that on. But anyway, thanks for agreeing to an interview."
"I haven't agreed yet." There's a flicker of amusement in Thatch's eyes. He settles back in his chair and takes another sip of coffee. "Fire when ready."
Oh boy! Here goes! I think. I clear my throat and ask the first question. "What would you like me to call you?" I ask.
Thatch laughs. "Such elegant wording! Most people call me Thatch."
"Okay, then, who are your favorite authors?" I've noticed the quick, hungry glances he's thrown toward my bookshelf.
He considers for a while. "It's been a long time. I read everything I could lay hands on for a while. Dalemartin. Chezzerly. That Shakespeare character of yours was a handy one with clever words. I've re-read the Gospels more times than I can count."
"The Gospels? You mean, the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John gospels?"
"You're a Follower...or a Christian, as you call yourselves here...aren't you? What's so astonishing about the gospels?"
"Just not the sort of thing you'd expect a hardened character like myself to enjoy?"
"Maybe not." I can feel embarrassment coloring my cheeks. Oh, this is going well!
Thatch seems to be relishing my embarrassment, so I hurry on to the next question. "Which one is better? Summer or winter?"
"Any Wayfarer in their right mind will give you the answer to that." Thatch snorts.
"Okay, then, what are your favorite sports to watch?"
He considers briefly. "Well, there's always horse racing and the like. But if you're hunting pure excitement, you can't beat Namiran sweep-wrestling."
I look down at the next question and cringe. But curiosity overpowers my natural caution. I try to keep my voice casual. "Did you have a happy childhood?"
"Sure." Thatch shrugs. "Why not?"
It amazes me how quickly his features can harden into an expressionless mask. I scramble for the next question.
"What's your favorite childhood memory?"
There is a long pause as Thatch deliberately sips his coffee. I am about to give up and move off on a more promising lead, when a recollection hits him. "There was one time when my sister and I - she was a little troublemaker and no mistake!- sneaked into the kitchen and blacked out the labels on every tin and jar we could find. Switched the spices in the spice jars, too. I think the cook might have up and left us as soon as she caught wind of what we'd done. " A smile tugs the corner of his mouth. "Poor woman!"
"Did you get spanked?"
"Spanked! Certain portions of my hide have probably never recovered."
I glance at the time. "Oh dear! We'll have to hurry along, so here's the next question: who was your favorite teacher in school, and why?"
"Mr. Alderchot." Thatch replies without hesitation. "The man loved his books. Rumor had it that he talked to them and even left a candle burning as company for them at night."
I snort, and Thatch kinks an eyebrow at me. "Don't believe it?"
"A nightlight? You're taking it too far."
"Mayhap that part was more fantasy than fact." Thatch admits. "But whatever the case, Mr. Alderchot loved a good story, and he was the one who started me on reading for pleasure."
That went surprisingly well. I reflect. And the next question seems innocuous enough. I suppress a sigh of relief. "How many languages do you speak?"
"Four. I get by in a few others."
"Do you realize how envious people will be when they read that?"
"Most Vaydens speak two languages, at least."
This opens the doorway to a question I've been dying to ask. "Do you...and other Wayfarers, too...consider yourselves to be Vayden?"
"I'd say that's a question best left to the Vaydens." Thatch cracks a grin. "I've a strong suspicion they want neither part nor parcel of us."
"Well, do you know your heritage, then?" I can't resist probing further.
"Oh yes. I've researched it carefully." The mocking tone is back in his voice. "I am two parts rogue, one part fool. Distantly connected to the Turncoat of Thurngood."
"Fascinating! You must have put a lot of work into that research."
"I am rather a good at ancestries." Thatch concedes. "Would you like me to try my hand at yours?"
"I'm sure it would be interesting." I skim the list of questions. "What is usually your first thought when you wake up?"
"Breakfast." Thatch raises his cup. "And coffee, if I can get it."
"What's the longest you've gone without sleep?"
"Mayhap a couple of days." Thatch tosses back the rest of his coffee. "I hadn't the foggiest 'twould be relevant later on or I might have taken up a diary."
I glance at my watch. "Well, time's almost up. Just two more questions."
"If you could go anywhere, where would you go?" I am genuinely curious about this one, and I hope (probably in vain) that he's gotten the sarcasm out of his system.
"I've seen a good many places worth seeing, and quite a few that weren't." Thatch reflectively spins his empty cup. "Earth seems an interesting enough place. We've bits and snatches of your culture, but of course there's more to be seen. No-one's ever gotten through, you know. Not from Vayde, nor any of our trade countries. Not even the Namir. Seems unfair, doesn't it?"
I shrug, hoping he won't ask the obvious question. "I guess some portals only work one way."
The mug thuds to the table, and Thatch rises to his full height. "So, mayhap you'll explain how I'm here?"
This is not a time for feeling small, so I also come to my feet. "Smoke and mirrors? Magic? Maybe just sheer luck?" I hope my smile is as mysterious and unapproachable as it needs to be.
Thatch studies me for a moment, then sidesteps the question. "Well, then. Any parting shafts?"
"Just one more." I don't even have to glance at the notes. "How do you think your friends would describe you?"
"Why don't you conjure some for me and ask them, yourself?"
"You do have friends, Thatch. Everyone has friends."
Thatch arches that irritating eyebrow. "Do I?"
It really is time to finish, and I am unexpectedly regretful. "Thanks for the interview."
"Until next time." Thatch turns toward the door. "Will it be your turn, then?"
I can't conceal a shudder. "I certainly hope no-one catches on to that idea."
"Oh, I think 'twould be a great entertainment. Anyway, thank you for the coffee."
The door opens, closes. And Thatch is gone.
Godspeed. And a good voyage.
Any particular person you'd like to meet next (you can see them all HERE)?
Have any brilliant ideas for new ways to form said acquaintance?
Let me know in the comments.