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. What would life be like as your evil twin?
My evil twin would be a natural hustler, a thing that I am not. My evil twin would usurp my authorship and present herself to the world with pomp and fanfare, keeping me, the real Pam Jones, chained to a laptop in some cellar. Think the JT Leroy story combined with Game of Thrones’ Ramsay Snow, and there you have it.
2. If you were a Martian, what sort of Martian would you be? Would you be good or evil? An emperor or a worker bee? Warrior? Scientist? Magician? Please base this on solid research such as Bugs Bunny cartoons and hundred-year-old movies with terrible special effects. Go.
If I were an alien, I’d like to think of myself as something close to Ford Prefect out of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m not sure if I’d be very keen on writing for a galactic travel book, though. Maybe an on-assignment essayist a la Joan Didion, not quite throwing myself headlong into the space oddities, but close enough to get a very good look.
Or maybe I’d go the other way. I feel like if I were a Martian and had this and that ability (telekinesis, teleportation), I would be of the mindset that the laws and expectations don’t apply to me outside of my home planet. I’d shoplift, be a delinquent. Maybe steal a car and go joyriding, then abandon it for another planet, after keying into the paint, “LIFE ON MARS.”
3. If you were staffing a cartoon accounting firm made up of anthropomorphized animals, which species would you select to populate said firm (other than humans)? How about a teaching hospital? The public defender’s office? A university English department?
A data processing firm, staffed by ravens. Ravens are pretty bright and they’re excellent problem solvers. They can retain huge amounts of information, which you need in data processing. The only problem is that in data processing firms, the data you process is confidential. And for all their intelligence, ravens don’t know when to shut up.
4. What’s one Greek myth you wish ended differently? How would you end it?
Syrinx, to escape Pan’s lust, hides in the wetlands and changes herself into a reed. Pan, unsure of which reed into which Syrinx has transformed, cuts seven of them to make his flute. However, Syrinx, still a reed and still hidden in the wetlands, performs a feat of magic that turns Pan’s flute into a saxophone. Pan is doomed to play “Careless Whisper” for all eternity
5. You’ve become so famous they’re building a monument to you. And they want your input. (Yes, I know it’s awkward, but “they” insist. And you know when “they” get like this, you just can’t say no.) What would your monument be called? Where would it be located? What would it be built of? What would it look like?
I’ve thought a lot about this, actually. I would want it to be a bronze. The center would be a pair of Keds shoes or high tops atop a folded pile of clothes (I always set out the night before what I will wear the next day) and surrounding them would be life-sized sculptures of my best beloved characters. I’m not sure if I would have it erected in the Texas Hills or on the Connecticut shoreline. Maybe far in the Connecticut woods, for hikers to come upon.
6. Do you think you got the job?
I think so.
Pam Jones was born in 1989 and raised on the East Coast. She now lives in Austin, Texas with her husband. She studied creative writing at Hampshire College and is at work on her next book. She released two novellas, The Biggest Little Bird (1888Center, 2013) and IVY DAY (Spaceboy Books, forthcoming 2019) and a novel-novella duet, Andermatt County: Two Parables (The April Gloaming, 2018). Her short fiction has appeared in The Cost of Paper and Boned: A Collection of Skeletal Fiction.
Kurt Baumeister has written for Salon, Electric Literature, Guernica, The Weeklings, Entropy, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, The Good Men Project, and others. 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.