A rather lazy, self-indulgent interview
The subject of the following interview is that person that all of you are talking about, the man you just can’t seem to get enough of (and don’t really want to try), Mr. Zach Davis.
So, Zach, why don’t you tell the readership a little bit about yourself?
“Well, I think you’ve already covered all the important stuff.”
How’s that? I’ve only just said your name.
“Not quite true – you said my name and said that everyone is talking about me, which is true. Most of it is behind my back, but they’re still talking. I count that as a victory.”
Can you give us a hint as to why Shepherdstown can’t stop talking about you?
“It’s got to be that I’m so well-remembered. I mean, three action-packed years at Shepherdstown Junior High and four indescribably intellectual years at Shepherd University have pretty much cemented my reputation.”
It seems to me that you did not particularly stand out at the junior high for good reasons.
“The whole bleacher incident has been grossly overblown. I mean, sure, it wasn’t the nicest thing to do, but two days of in-school suspension is not that much when you take into consideration the other 178 days of that year that I did not spend in ISS, staring at the wall because my teachers only assigned worksheets that took, at best, three minutes to complete, wanting to finish reading “The Green Mile” but unable because the ISS monitor did not allow me to read. Think about that -in school, I was discouraged for reading for pleasure.”
I see. Is it hard for you to go unnoticed when you come back to Shepherdstown?
“My goodness is it ever! It’s difficult to just walk down the street. I mean, people constantly ‘accidentally’ bump into me. They pretend they don’t see me. I get, ‘Hey you! You can’t drop this here!’ all the time. It’s a bit exhausting to be honest, but I know that, when you’re a big shot, you have to get used to life in the public eye.”
Can you tell us the reasons why you are so in demand?
“It seems more than a little silly to have to explain my fame, especially to a fan.”
I would not say that I am a fan of yours.
“Yeah, of course not. C’mon – you don’t have to play coy. We both know that I’m a big deal.”
I am not aware of that, actually.
“What, are you new in town or something? Are you dense?”
You mean, am I opaque with my component parts packed closely together?
“Oh, word play. How clever. No, I meant dense as in slow-witted, but I don’t think I feel like letting you respond with something snide, so I will answer your condescending question.
The reason I am so in demand is because I am the area’s greatest writer of unpublished fiction. It’s quite obviously a joke within the literary journal community, a bit of hazing for the new kid in town. They’re just trying to make sure I pay my dues. They obviously don’t want to reject my stories. I mean, I wrote them, so you know right away that they’re brilliant.
The language always gives them away. ‘This piece is not the right fit for us,’ which means, of course, that my talent is so great that it cannot be contained within the boundaries of the Wildwood Fiction Journal.
‘We encourage you to submit again in the future,’ which means that they want me to wait a little while and then send the exact same story with no revisions. Like anything I write would need revision anyway.
Any day now I will become awash in a deluge of acceptance letter filled with anxious, pleading words. ‘Please, Mr. Davis, we beg of you: let us publish ‘Crossing the Tracks’! Of course I’ll only accept the offers from the biggies: ‘The New Yorker,’ ‘Paris Review.’ It’s only proper.”
That’s super. So until that day comes, what can we expect from you?
“Well, I’ll be appearing at Grapes and Grains and the Ruth Scarborough Library.”
Are you giving a reading?
“Kind of. I’ll be reading the labels on some wine bottles and also reading a few novels in the PS 3600s. I may read some of that out loud. You can never tell.”
Ok, well it’s been very nice talking to you.
“You know, I’ll also be doing a monthly column for this newspaper.”
“I can also write for children’s parties and things like that. Wedding speeches are a specialty of mine. I’ve never done a eulogy, but I’m more than willing to give it a go so long as you don’t mind a paraphrase of John Cleese from Graham Chapman’s funeral. So far I’ve got, ‘Good riddance to him, the freeloading b-“
Thank you, Mr. Davis. We look forward to more of your sophisticated, yet subtle and sensitive humor.