Transcript of Michael Penn’s Radio Interview.
as conducted by guest DJ, high school student, Nick Armstrong.
-Courtesy of Galatia Radio–
Good Morning, Galatia! I’m Nick Armstrong and I’m here today to interview the one and only, Mr. Michael J. Penn. As most of you already know, Mr. Penn is one of our respected elders. He has lived through the end of the world twice now—three times if you count the destruction of our underground bunker. Welcome, Mr. Penn.
Just call me Mike. Thank you for having me.
Since our airtime is limited, and there are so many questions I’d like to ask you, is it okay if we get right to the interview questions?
Fire away, Nick.
I was hoping you would say that, Mr. Penn. Er, I mean Mike. How much do your remember about your life in the modern age, when humanity was at it’s peak, before the plague toppled civilization?
I was only eight-years-old when the Celeruns dropped their alien plague on our planet. Before that time, I took everything for granted, especially my family. But isn’t that what an eight-year-old is supposed to do—assume everything will be okay and not worry about the future?
I’m in my fifties now, but I remember the pre-plague days with child-like wonder. Driving around at Christmas to look at the lights, Easter egg hunts on freshly mowed lawns, Bey Blade battles at recess, riding my bike to Kewl Jack’s for a cheeseburger and curly fries without worrying about being attacked by bouncing wumpers, poisonous snuffies, or hungry flowers. Those were carefree days, good days, good days...
How are the experiences of your own children different from your experiences?
While I’ll always be grateful for the life Galatians Bunker provided them, there was a trade off for living under the ground. Some of my children have gone from the cradle to having children of their own without having felt the real sun on their faces, without ever getting lost in the depths of the starry sky. Up until recently, they had only known the bland taste of food grown in depleted soils. They grew up in a heavily regimented environment, not because the adults were mean, but out of necessity. In our underground city, resources were scarce. Activities were limited. All they knew was school and more school. For fun there were the movies, books, video games and organized indoor sports coached by adults. They never knew the kind of freedom that comes from walking on an empty field in a sunny day, or climbing to the top of a hill, and watching the road disappear over the next one in the distance.
When the bunker was destroyed, they came to the surface for the first time, the whole world stretching out before them. I can’t imagine what must have been going through their heads.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My jewelry collection. I spent my boyhood hunting for the shiny riches left behind after the fall of civilization. Even then, I understood it as a divine calling, but I didn’t understand why. I collected so much; my adopted father used to complain that our house was beginning to look like Smaug’s lair. He forbade me from taking all my loot to the bunker, but I convinced Father Bob to help me find a way to smuggle it all in. Now that it’s been used to fund the building of a new nation, my compulsion has been vindicated. I didn’t expect to find it so emotionally difficult to part with it, especially since I knew it was going towards a noble cause.
What is your idea of perfect happiness, Mike?
I don’t think perfect happiness is achievable in this world, Nick. The closest I could get to it is to be surrounded by my family, in a home of our own, surrounded by gardens and fields, and not having to worry that it is all going to be taken away from us at any second.
What is your current state of mind?
Pensive, worried, anxious, concerned—take your pick. The Western Alliance has warned our people to leave the Northlands. If we don’t comply, they’ve threatened to destroy us. My brother, the mayor, has no intention of leaving. My other brother, Barrett, is vehemently opposed to his decision and he’s not alone. Did I mention that I hate conflict?
Everybody kind of knows that, Mike. So, tell us, what is your favorite occupation in the whole world?
Farming. My charisma allows me to make plants grow in and out of season at an accelerated rate, which has been a godsend to everyone. I love using my talents to feed people.
I know my family certainly appreciates it. I had my first pumpkin pie last week and it was wonderful.
I’m glad you liked it.
What is your most treasured possession?
The Wittlesbach Diamond. As I youth, I rescued it from an abandoned museum. God is saving it for a special purpose. I don’t know what exactly, but time will tell.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I’d say my bulky physique and blond beard. I’ve been compared to Grizzly Adams and the Vikings. Although I look fierce on the outside, I’m a big softy in the middle.
When and where were you the happiest?
The happiest day of my life was the day of my First Communion. I was eight. My parents threw me a big party with silver and white balloons, streamers, cake and big glass bowls full of pink punch. Presents wrapped in fancy paper and exploding bows covered the table. There I was in my suit and tie, feeling so proud and special because everybody that cared about me had come to celebrate. I had never felt so loved.
Three months later, every person who had attended my party was dead. But I don’t like to talk about it. Can we move to a different topic?
Sure. What is it that you most dislike?
I don’t like speaking in front of a crowds, but being on the radio isn’t so bad. Probably because I don’t have a million eyes staring back at me.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is losing my family. I went through that once when I lost my parents and siblings. If something were to happen to Jessica or the children...I don’t know what I would do.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Right after the plague, I wandering the streets in a bewildered state. Hungry, alone, afraid—those were some dark days, dark days. Then a woman named Elizabeth saw me and took pity. She had lost her husband and two boys to the disease, so she was pretty messed up herself. I needed a mother’s love, she needed to give it, and a bond was instantly formed.
What qualities do you look for in a friend?
Honesty, courage, loyalty and dependability.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I have no leadership skills. Time and time again, people look to me for guidance. I’m just not that guy.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Is know-it-allness a word?
I don’t think so, but I think everyone knows what you mean. Moving on, what do you most value in your friends?
The ability to forgive.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Wonder Woman, but not just because she looks good running around in a bathing suit. She’s my favorite because of her lasso of truth. In my opinion, the ability to separate truth from lies is the greatest superpower of all.
Interesting answer. I wasn’t expecting that at all. Who are your heroes in real life?
My adopted father, the late great Red Wakeland the First. He showed me what it means to be a man.
We’re running out of time, so excuse me for rushing through the questions. I have to get through them all of I want an A+.
Well, by all means, let’s pick up the pace.
Which living person do you most admire?
My adopted mother, Elizabeth. I was a boy lost in the darkness and she became my guiding light. And to this day, I’m convinced she’s the only reason my brothers haven’t killed each other.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasions do you lie?
I plead the fifth. Wait, does anyone even know what that means anymore?
I think it was an amendment or something. Anyway, if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be a great orator.
How would you like to die?
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
That’s a weird question, Nick. I don’t know. A dog, I guess.
Why a dog?
I like dogs.
Um, okay. Any words of wisdom on how to deal with everything that has happened to us since leaving the bunker?
When a man loses what he thought was his forever, he comes to realize that nothing really belonged to him in the first place.
I’d like to respond to that, but they’re telling me I’m out of time. Thank you for a great interview, Mike.
I hope you get your A+, Nick.
Me, too. Now back to Jessica, the weather forecaster who never gets it wrong.
Short Description: The last survivors of the human race are riding out nuclear winter in an underground bunker when disaster strikes. Forced to the surface centuries ahead of schedule, what they find blows their minds. Who can explain it? Two social misfits work together to unravel the mystery.
Extended Description: After living in a posh underground shelter his entire life, Lars Steelsun is plunged headfirst into a mind-blowing adventure on the surface of the Earth. As Lars and his displaced bunker mates are led across the grasslands by Mayor Wakeland, a man of questionable sanity who claims to talk with God, they discover a primitive world where human beings are no longer welcome. Even more mystifying is the emergence of new senses and abilities from within. Learning to use them has become a priority, but his biggest challenge comes from the vivacious Josie Albright. Her lust for glory is going to get them both into trouble. Sparks fly when her gung ho ways clash with his cautious personality. Can they overcome their differences to find love and a homeland for their people?
May not be suitable for younger readers. Contains mild profanity, sexual situations (infrequent), and violence. Main Category: epic fantasy. Subcategories: dystopian, science fiction, religion, sword and sorcery.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Epic Fantasy
Rating – R
More details about the author