An JLM Interview: Happy Birthday Ratatoskr

- Squirrel art by the wonderful artist amber alexander 

- Squirrel art by the wonderful artist amber alexander 

An Interview

Lights up. Audience murmurs subside. Two armchairs on a carpeted stage; a small table between them with an ashtray and two glasses. Two figures in the armchairs: one much smaller than the person opposite, and sciurine.

JLM

Welcome back. And Happy Birthday. A year older. 

RATATOSKR

And uglier. I kid. But yes, quite a year. And thank you. 

(audience laughter)

JLM

Do you blame yourself for Trump's inauguration? 

(audience laughter)

RATATOSKR

I think everyone blames themselves a bit, don't they? It's only human to. 

JLM

Human?

RATATOSKR

You know what I mean. (taps out pack; lights cigarette) Whenever you people think of the year you call '2016', and your heart sinks a little cold, you will always conflate Trump's Rise to Power with the fall of greats, the deaths of so many artistic icons. And, because you are still alive while they are not, and you find yourself stuck in this bizarre new timeline, a degree of self-reproach becomes inescapable. It's like survivor guilt, but with even less veracity.

JLM

So if we're not to blame ourselves, can we blame -- oh, I don't know -- the advent of a Norse mythological creature, a trickster squirrel made manifest in our earthly realm?

RATATOSKR

Well, I suppose you could. I can see how you might confuse my arrival with the dawn of the apocalypse. But correlation and cause, and so on and so forth. (sips whisky) And you haven't even seen the other timelines. Trust me, man, it's far worse in the universes where I decided to stay in my tree. You're dead in nearly all of them, and fire is the new oxygen. At least here Taboo gets a second season. 

(laughter)

JLM

This is the good universe? Best of all possible worlds?

RATATOSKR

Not best; but certainly more tolerable. 

JLM

Because of you. 

RATATOSKR

That's right. 

JLM

Why?

RATATOSKR

Because of all that I have gifted you. 

JLM

Such as? 

RATATOSKR

Where to start? There was a barren tract of concrete where grew nothing but decay. Then a spark! and life flourished. Spores thrived in obsession. A mountain floated out over a new sea. There went notorious pirates and speed kings flying by, and all the ghosts of Gondwana revived. Children laughed and played and learned while their mothers ranted in the dark, earthquakes fixed broken people, and there was food and coffee and books and joy in this small corner of your world. All this I have given you. 

(audience applause)

JLM

Touché, squirrel.

RATATOSKR

Well, it wasn't all me, you know. Niki and George pulled their weight, as did Lars, Essi, Xander, Nina, Monica, Gareth, Phoebe, Britt, Marcus, Liz, Liv, Sophie, Eric, Johnny, James, Todd, Sue, Paul, Joan, Keith, Anna, Tammy, Shane, Dave, Matty, Bill, Peter, Jess, Tim, Orla, Jan, Jo, Tilly, Marion, John, Ruth, Jaye, Chris, Lee, Reid, Elliott, Rob, Sophie, Andrew, Ollie, Kirsten and Little Bjorn. The human component was top shelf. 

JLM

And for the future?

RATATOSKR

(stubs cigarette out) Grander. 

Sustained applause. Ratatoskr claws thanks. Stage lights down.