Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Conversation Number Two - Interview With The Last Of The Mohicans'

For my second "conversational" outing, I decided on an experiment in prevarication.  I don't know why.  I stink at that.  Maybe it was the challenge.  Anyway, here it is.

INTERVIEWER:  Today, we are fortunate to have with us a, literally, unique human being.  The last of the Mohicans.  Mr. -- I’m sorry, I don’t know what to call you.

LAST:  Call me ‘Last.’ 

INTERVIEWER:  But you do have a name.

LAST:  I have a Mohican name.


LAST:  But I can’t pronounce it.

INTERVIEWER:  You can’t pronounce your own name?
LAST:  Pathetic, isn’t it?

INTERVIEWER:  Isn’t there someone who can tell you...

LAST:  I’m the last of the Mohicans.  Who am I going to ask?

INTERVIEWER:  Okay, then.  ‘Last’ it is.  Speaking of your name, you probably know there’s a book called ‘The Last of the Mohicans.’

LAST:  Cooper.

INTERVIEWER:  Yes, by James Fenimore Cooper.

LAST:  It’s a fake.


LAST:  The book, I never read.  The title’s a fake. 

INTERVIEWER:  Because he wasn’t the last of the Mohicans.

LAST: Obviously.

INTERVIEWER: Then, why did they call it...

LAST:  Marketing.  Who’d buy a book called ‘Pretty Close to the Last of the Mohicans’?  

INTERVIEWER:  Does it bother you that they...?

LAST:  Hey, everyone’s gotta make a living.  But I felt I deserved a cut, you know, for expropriating my distinction.  So I went looking for this Fenimore guy.  Turns out, he’s been dead since, like, 1823.

INTERVIEWER:  Actually, Cooper died in...

LAST:  I really don’t care.  ‘Last of the Mohicans.’  Can you believe that?  The guy was off by over two hundred years.

INTERVIEWER:  Speaking of believing, some people may have trouble believing you are actually who you say you are.

LAST: You mean, like you.

INTERVIEWER:  Well, I do have some reservations...

LAST:  Why would I pretend a thing like that?  It’s not like it gets me a better table in restaurants.  ‘Hey, Wolfgang, some Mohican wants to eat here.’  ‘Great!  Cancel the Katzenberg party.’  It gets me nothing.  Maybe in Mohican restaurants it might have some cachet, but, you know, there aren’t any.  You can’t make a business out of one customer.  Less than one.  Sometimes I like to eat other things.

:  It might bolster your credibility if you filled in some details.  For instance, is there a story in how you found out you were the last of the Mohicans?

LAST:  Not really.  One day, my parents sat me down and said, ‘Son, you’re the last of the Mohicans.’  Not very colorful, but they weren’t very colorful people, except for their skin, which had a reddish tint.

INTERVIEWER:  Unlike your own.

LAST:  Right.  I’m a light-skinned Mohican. 


LAST:  You’re not buying this, are you?


LAST:  I’m noticing a skeptical tone.

INTERVIEWER:  May if you told me some more.

LAST:  All right, let’s see.  My father was the second last of the Mohicans, and my mother was the third.  They’d fight about that all the time.  She’d say, ‘I’m younger, so I’m the second last.’  And Dad would scream, ‘It has nothing to do with when you were born; it’s the order in which you die!’  And she’d yell, ‘Who said I’m dying first?’  It’d go on like that for hours.  And it escalated – they’d throw pottery at each other.  Can you imagine what that stuff would be worth today?  Authentic Mohican pottery?  I have some shards, but they tell me they’re worthless.   

INTERVIEWER:  So as far as you’re concerned, there’s absolutely no doubt...

LAST:  Excuse me, is there a draft in here?

INTERVIEWER:  I don’t think so...

LAST:  I’m the last of the Mohicans, you know.  I have to take care of my health.

INTERVIEWER:  I underst...

LAST:  Got to protect the franchise.

INTERVIEWER:  Of course.

LAST:  Because when I go, that’s it.  You can close the book on the Mohicans. 

INTERVIEWER:  I take it you’re not married.

LAST:  I play the field.

INTERVIEWER:  But if you wanted to extend your lineage, why not marry and have a child?

LAST:  They’d only be half a Mohican.

INTERVIEWER:  Half a Mohican is better than none.

LAST:  Catchy, but untrue.  Nobody cares about the last of the semi-Mohicans.

INTERVIEWER:  I suppose.  Do you mind if I throw you a hypothetical?

LAST:  Fire away.

INTERVIEWER:  Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’re not the last of the Mohicans?  What if you made it all up?

LAST:  Is this how you treat a guest?  I am deeply offended.  If you interview the president, do you say, ‘Let’s say you’re not the president’?  He is the president!  And I’m the last of the Mohicans.

INTERVIEWER:  I was just being theoretical.

LAST:  I thought we were being hypothetical.  Make up your mind.

INTERVIEWER:  You’re acting kind of defensive...

LAST:  Defensive?  No.  I have nothing to hide. 

INTERVIEWER:  You have to understand my position.  A man walks into our studio claiming to be the last of the Mohicans.  It could be totally fabricated.  There is precedent for that. 

LAST:  Somebody else said they were the last of the Mohicans?


LAST:  Then actually there isn’t.

INTERVIEWER:  People have misrepresented themselves in other ways.  Writing memoirs that were completely made up.

LAST:  Terrible.  People like that make it harder for everyone.           
INTERVIEWER:  So you understand my reservations…

LAST:  You know, you’ve said ‘reservations’ to me twice.  Do you use that word when you’re not talking to Indians?  Maybe that’s proof that I’m exactly who I say I am, did you ever think of that?  You sense I’m an Indian, and if I am – one more step – I’m the last of the Mohicans.

INTERVIEWER:  Or you’re not.

LAST:  Which brings us full circle.  ‘I’m not who I say I am.  Who am I?’

INTERVIEWER:  Exactly.  Who are you?


LAST:  I’m a nobody.  A ‘never was’ and ‘never will be.’  I invent a persona, and for the first time in my life, people notice me.  Suddenly, I’m a somebody – I’m the last of the Mohicans.  People crave my company.  They’ll even pay for it.  I’m invited to rodeos, pow-wows, I cut the ribbon at shopping mall openings.  I’m important.  And I’m happy.  Then someone exposes me as a fraud, and the party’s over.  The question is, ‘Is it worth it?’  Is it worth sacrificing another man’s happiness for some meaningless ‘scoop’?  It comes down to this: A man’s fate lies in another man’s hands.  Does he send him back to oblivion, or does he act from the heart, and leave things the way they are? 

INTERVIEWER:  That was very moving.

LAST:  Thank you.  Any other questions?

INTERVIEWER:  I think we’ll leave it at that.  Our guest today has been the last of the Mohicans. 

LAST:  (TOUCHED)  Really?

INTERVIEWER:  Thank you for coming. 

LAST:  Na-mee-chee-ka.

INTERVIEWER:  Is that Mohican?

LAST:  As Mohican as I am.

INTERVIEWER:  That’s good enough for me.

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