The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
1. Speaking in terms of building blocks, the foundational pieces of American society in the 21st century, which would you say is most vital: Doritos, Pop Tarts, or Kool Aid? Why?
Undoubtedly Doritos, as, although they are hardly blocks, it is possible, by judiciously nibbling them into rough rectangular shapes, to construct a scale model of say, the Trump Tower, a feat which would be considerably more difficult with Pop Tarts (unless, perhaps, one had toasted them to a crisp), and extremely challenging using Kool Aid. As it happens, Doritos are available in our local Coop and Sainsbury’s supermarkets in my small, Northumbrian U.K. town, the other two staples being sadly lacking.
I like that you really went with the building block metaphor. But your Trump Tower reference now has me imagining Trump involved in this whole thing. Not good. Trump Doritos, Trump Pop Tarts, Trump Kool Aid…god, this is depressing. Maybe that’ll be his next move, to put his name on every product we use. It’s not even the name, though, not really. It’s more a question of how would he alter the products to make them Trumpier. Which you know he would. To wit, other than increasing prices exponentially and reducing quality drastically, how would you imagine Trump altering these basic building blocks of life. For example, what flavor of Pop Tarts would Trump Pop Tarts (or Trump Tarts, no offense to Melania, or whatever) be?
Trump’s Pop tart flavour would certainly be Fish Delight. It would stink.
2. If you could make up your own cartoon animal alter-ego, what species would they be, and what would they be named? Would they have any special abilities or attacks?
A snowy-white, overweight middle-aged cat. One who resembles the late Shelly Winters –“Winters”. A beguiling feline with bladder issues and the supernatural ability to descend into a quiet domestic setting and trigger lethal disharmony.
I hope I’m not pulling from too far into the deck here, but I seem to remember you had a white cat named “Snow.” It’s terribly sweet of you to select a real-life pet as your alter-ego and, also, I must say a bit witchy (a la familiars). But this is a white cat and, one assumes, you are a white witch. Can you envision a scenario in which you had broader magical powers or are you calling a hard stop at marital discord and being fond of cats?
My magical powers can be broadened just by being believed in. Trust me here! And clapped for. I think of me like a more realistic Tinkerbell, only quite old, and with womanly hips (I imagine Tinkerbell’s hips as non-existent. My hips, on the other hand, feature strongly in my narrative arc(s)).
3. What leading woman/man do you find most terrifying? Why?
I’d have to say John Cleese as Basil Fawlty – imagine him being in charge of your breakfast.
Tell me more, please. What would constitute a Cleese-ian breakfast?
Sizzled eggs. Traumatized kippers. Bloody beans. Maybe this is because I moved to England. I probably need psychotherapy. But yes, it’s the surreal and worrisome feeling of being surrounded by Basil Fawlties. Everyone here is too polite and that makes me uptight! My toes curl up like kippers from so much hemming and hawing.
4. Do you think you could drive someone insane simply by painting their entire house the same color, both inside and out?
Probably – I’m presently recovering from an excessively purple hairdressing experience – I dread to think how I’d be if the decorators had been let loose with the same shade.
I take it you’re not much of a Prince fan.
I do love Prince! But I wouldn’t relish a Prince-inspired living room, so much.
5. The more humane choice: Cat collars made of fish or dog muzzles made of meat?
Dog muzzles made of meat. My Border Collie – Lab cross would make short work of either – but at least the cat’s neck wouldn’t be at risk.
See, I was imagining, in both scenarios, that the challenge would be for the animal to consume its accoutrement, one way or the other. Maybe it’s because my cats live indoors that I didn’t even consider predation. Would that change your answer?
Let’s compromise and offer a McDonald’s burger McCollar to Donald Trump. See how fast he’d cannibalize himself. Give it seconds.
6. What is best in life?
Hanging around in the airport with the right traveling buddy.
Meg Pokrass is the author of many collections of flash fiction, one award-winning collection of prose poetry (Blue Light Book Award, 2016) and a novella in flash from the Rose Metal Press. Her writing has been widely anthologized, most recently in Best Small Fictions 2018 and 2019, the Wigleaf Top 50, and 2 Norton Readers of flash fiction: Flash Fiction International and New Micro–Exceptionally Short Fiction. Meg is the founder of New Flash Fiction Review. Her new flash fiction collection, Alligators at Night, was published by Ad Hoc Fiction. You can find out more at http://megpokrass.com/
Kurt Baumeister has written for Salon, Electric Literature, Guernica, The Weeklings, Entropy, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, The Good Men Project, and others. Now a Contributing Editor with The Weeklings, Baumeister’s Review Microbrew column is published by The Nervous Breakdown. He edits the Under the Influence feature for Entropy. His debut novel, a satirical thriller entitled Pax Americana, was published by Stalking Horse Press in 2017. He is currently at work on a novel, The Book of Loki, and a hybrid collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry entitled Superman, the Seven Gods of Death, and the Need for Clean, Romantic Poetry. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.kurtbaumeister.com.