An Interview with Peter McKinley
Sarah Fields: Good evening and welcome to Interviews. I trust you had a relaxing seven-day break from my rambles. Tonight, a tragic story. Tonight, a man who will be running in the Assassination Game. Please put your hands together for Peter McKinley!
SF (gets up and shakes hands): So good to have you on the show, Peter. Apologies for the short notice and thank you so much for coming.
Peter McKinley (mumbles): Thanks a lot for the invitation.
SF (places iPad in her lap, takes a breath, and looks up): Peter, how are you doing?
PM (sits forward and looks down at his shoes): I take it day by day, Sarah. You know, when the Guild didn’t announce any names to go on the Run last week, and when Michael Oboe confirmed that on your show, I thought I got away with it.
SF (accusatory): You didn’t, did you?
PM (annoyed, pulls up right shirt sleeve to reveal electronic monitor): No, Sara. No, I didn’t. I’m under house arrest, which is not too bad because I spend the last few days with my family.
SF (looks at audience): Excuse me for saying so, but that GPS thingy matches your yellow socks.
PM (sarcastic): Why thank you.
SF: Do you know who you’re running from, Peter?
PM: Maggie O.
SF: Oh, dear.
PM (swallows): You don’t seem to have much hope for me, Sarah.
SF: Well, Maggie O is one of the finest assassins out there, Peter.
PM: She has her weaknesses. I’ve done my homework.
SF: And she hers?
PM: I wouldn’t expect anything less. But I will say this: I have twenty-four hours to keep her from killing me, and if I can pull it off, I’ll be a free man.
SF: You do realise that no-one’s ever accomplished that.
PM: As I’ve mentioned, I’ve done my homework. But there’s always a first time for everything, Sarah.
SF (looks impressed and into the wrong camera): You’re right. Now tell us what happened, Peter. Why exactly do you find yourself in this … predicament?
PM: I appreciate your choice of words, Sarah, but let’s be honest, it’s more of a life-threatening situation.
SF: True. True.
PM: You know, when Nopolka first started bumping into the furniture, I knew something was not quite right. Well, we all knew, but Kaspian and Nadildo were the ones who confirmed my suspicion when they told me Napolka used glue instead of jam on their peanut butter sandwiches.
SF (confused, scratches her head with her pen): So, if I understand you correctly, Napolka is your wife, right? I thought her name was Sandy.
PM: Sandy is her nickname.
SF: And your children’s names are Kaspian and Na…Na…
PM (serious face): Dildo
SF (puts hand over mouth, eyes are watering, looks down at iPad): Ri … right.
PM (straight-faced): My children’s names are Kaspian and Nadildo. Is anything the matter, Sarah?
SF (reaches for bottled water with tears in her eyes): Okay. Something … in my … throat. Apologies. Please … ahem … continue.
PM: Well, after the glue-sandwich incident, I was going to take her to the hospital for a check-up after work. I picked up the kids from school at five, and when we got home we found her unconscious on the floor. She’d fallen down the stairs and broken her hip.
PM: Yes. Ouch. In three places.
SF (takes another sip of water, then, poker-faced): Why only then? I mean, weren’t there any other indications before the glue-sandwiches. And why did her eyesight deteriorate so fast?
PM: To answer your first question, there were other signs before the glue-sandwiches, but they seemed like honest mistakes at the time. For example, I’d ask her to pass me the salt, and she’d pass me the pepper; I ask for the house keys, she hands me the car keys. You see what I’m getting at.
SF: I do.
PM: So, Npolka’s eyesight. Sheesh. It’s pretty gross. Are you sure you want to hear it?
SF: Of course. We กน live in a society where nothing freaks us out anymore.
PM: That’s a huge generalisation. Maybe it’s just you who has that mindset, Sarah.
PM: Well, there was an incident before the glue-sandwiches when she lost control of the car and ended up in an old fishpond. Of course we didn’t know it was a direct result of her eyesight because she was driving through a storm and the road was slippery. Fortunately ER arrived on the scene before she drowned. See, the car was sort of stuck on its side in the shallow end of the pond and slowly sinking as its weight caused the mud to shift underneath.
SF: That’s horrible.
PM: Well, it turns out that the fish in the pond were infected with a deadly parasitic isopod.
PM: Listen to this: the male parasite enters through the gills of the fish and then change their sex—
SF: Ooh. Maggie O will love this little fact.
PM: Could you please not interrupt me?
SF (sarcastic, eyes wide, looks at audience): Apologies. How unprofessional of me.
PM: Right. So, after these little fuckers turn female, they crawl out and attach themselves on the tongue of the fish. They suck out the blood until the tongue falls of, act as the tongue, and then steal the food.
SF (looking pale): Jesus. Christ.
PM: Wait, it gets better.
SF: God. No.
PM (excited): Oh, yes. So, Napolka swallowed some of the water containing the larvae, right? These parasites are amazing. Instead of going for her tongue—how they know a human being will simply remove them and then seek medical attention, I don’t know—they entered her bloodstream and made a nest behind her eyes. There they munched on her central retinal artery and optic nerves.
SF (hesitant to take a sip of water): I don’t … Peter … I don’t know what to say.
PM: Don’t say anything, Sarah. It gets even better.
SF (pale, begging): Please, no more.
PM (on the edge of his seat): So, instead of growing into isopods, these bastards … morphed into worms small enough to enter her retinal arteries. They mated in my wife’s eyes.
SF: (retching, mouth open): Fuuuuuck.
PM (sighs): You can say that again.
SF (whispers): Fuuuuuck
PM: So, the doctor tells me there’s nothing they can do for her, at which point I decide to take matters in my own hands.
SF (a slow shake of the head): And this is why you’re running from Maggie O?
PM: Yep. I took out my wife’s eyes with a spoon and dripped acid into her empty sockets to stop the pain.
SF (bursts into tears): No, no, no.
PM: I thought you said we live in a society where nothing freaks us out anymore.
SF (sniffs, regains composure, deep breath): Thank you for your time, Peter.
PM (gets up and salutes): No, no, Sarah, thank you. Oh, and one more thing. They also convicted me of releasing the worms into one of those water bottling plant reservoirs. You might want to get to a hospital as soon as possible. You have a good evening now, Sarah.
words by Ramon Ramirez
art by Craig Hopson