Much to the bewilderment of Miss Reba Haws, it turns out that her contract allows us to call her back for these interviews any darn time that we want. THIS time, however, she wanted to get an advanced peek at just what she was about to get involved with, so we showed her a few pages from the book regarding our next guest. She agreed that he seems innocent enough (though we only showed her the pages of our choice), so without further ado, we now present Reba Haws interviewing Lorel…
Reba Haws: I’m gonna have my lawyer look at this this thing, there must be a way of breaking this contract. No money in the world is worth- Oh, hi. I guess we’re on the air… again. Okay Maldene fans, today I have some guy named Lorel. He looks okay, a bit the straight-laced Duddly-Doright type… which is what has me worried- I mean, welcome to our show, Lorel.
Lorel: It is indeed a pleasure to be here, Miss Haws. Anywhere I can spread the word of my services, to help the poor and unfortunate with the skill of my sword-arm and my unwavering faith.
RH: Well, sounds righteous enough. Listen, before we go any further, can I ask you something? Do you do anything special?
Lorel: I do nothing more than what any right-minded-
RH: No, I mean like are you psychic, do you cast spells, make furniture talk, breath fire, or anything like that?
Lorel: Ah, you must be referring to my compatriots. They are a just and noble crowd, if a bit rambunctious. Why, there have been many a time when it was my courage and skilled swordsmanship that got them out of a dire circumstance. My courage is unmatched, I will never fail my friends, or the innocents such as yourself.
RH: Hmm, talks like he swallowed a dictionary on Arthurian legends, but that’s something I can live with. Not too bad… Well, I appreciate your sentiment, though after my interview with Po-Adar I’m not sure if the word ‘innocent’ applies to me anymore.
Lorel: Do not worry, my fair lady, I shall be here to protect you against whatever demons may assault you, be they real or imagined. Fear not!
(The expression on Lorel’s face even looks like he should be the cover picture for Paladin’s Monthly)
RH: Hmmm, okay so far- No wait, I got it. Is there some dragon chasing you or anything? Something that might come charging into the studio any second?
Lorel: Alas, no. I was not yet a part of the group when they faced that foul beast. But I can assure you that had I been there, they would have had a better time of it!
RH: Yeah, I’m sure… Say, you don’t mind if I break out a cigarette? I never used to smoke before I started doing these interviews. I’m hoping it’ll calm me… or at least make me not care, considering what I got laced into them.
Lorel: I am never one to object to a lady’s request, though if it is relaxing you need then might I recommend a nice quiet lake instead?
RH: You go for the lake, I’m sticking with my Xanax cigarette.
(Reba pauses to reach into a pocket and pull out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Taking out and putting one cigarette to her mouth she then flicks on the lighter. As she is bringing the little flame to the end of her cigarette, Lorel’s eyes suddenly grow wide.)
Lorel (wide eyed and petrified): Fire… why’d it have to be fire.
(Reba is just getting her first good puff when she catches Lorel’s face twitching.
RH (still holding her lighter in hand with the flame on): Are you okay?
Lorel: F-fire. Hate fire.
(Lorel’s twitching gets worse and he falls out of his chair to the floor convulsing. Reba looks from him, to the flame of her lighter, then gets a little wide-eyed look herself.
RH: We really need a way to vet these people before the interview.
(The sounds of spasming are now accompanied by what sounds like bones snapping, and some incoherent gurgling. Reba very slowly turns her head back in the direction of where Lorel fell behind the table, understandably afraid of what she might next see.)
Lorel (?): FIRE!
(Leaping up onto the tabletop into view is a warty little figure about two feet shorter than Lorel, claws for fingernails, what look to be feather-stubble in places, and a mad look in his eyes. He is wearing the shredded remains of Lorel’s clothing, now a couple sizes too big for him.)
RH (shrieking): Oh my freakin’ god!
Lorel (looking at the still-lit lighter): Fire, hate fire. Fire pain. Bad pain.
RH (holding up the lighter before her like one might a cross to a vampire): We’ll then, stay back whatever you are or my, er, magic flame maker will bring you a lot of pain.
Lorel (grinning): Pain. Schanter love pain. Hate fire, fire pain, love pain!
(This series of interviews has trained Reba to catch onto things rather quickly. Thus it is at this point where Reba throws the lighter straight at the creature. He leaps up a little to catch it with his bare hand, yelping once before it goes out, then picks it up again and starts banging it on the table.)
Schanter (formerly Lorel): Make fire! Fire pain, pain good. Make it fire.
RH: Uh, just flick the little thing. Hey, w-what happened to Lorel?
(Schanter starts messing with the lighter, gets a couple of sparks, then tosses it away in disgust and begins looking around at all the equipment in the studio. On the other side of the glass wall in the observation booth, the operator finishes his latte and blandly presses a button, which causes the newly-installed metal blast shield to start sliding down into place. Just enough time for Reba to give him a sour look before turning back to Schanter).
RH: O-okay, so you’re some sort of weird lycanthrope. S-so, Schanter, is it? Fire is what makes you change? Do you have any control over it? Like say, can you change back if you wanted? Like right now?
Schanter: Schanter want fun, want pain. Hey, what this?
(Schanter leaps across the table to grab at one of the microphone cables and bites into it. Needless to say, the shock sends him on his rear, but with a big smile on his face.)
Schanter: MORE! Want more!
(The little green creature then bites on the cable again, gnashing his teeth until electrical sparks are leaping out from between them. Reba, meanwhile, is headed for the door, trying her best not to be noticed, though being the intrepid interviewer that she is, she still has her microphone and is speaking into it for our listeners.)
RH: I’m going to be signing off earlier than expected, folks. Before something happens to violate my medical insurance again. So this is-
Schanter: Pain wire!
(Schanter is looking straight at Reba and the studio microphone she’s holding. He gives a fanged grin, she tosses the mic right at him and backs away. Schanter leaps, catching it in midair, then coming down right at her feet gnawing on the mic.)
Schanter: Schanter love sparkly chew-toy. What else pretty lady got?
RH: Blue Cross, I hope. Listen, I don’t suppose- How does one beat off a creature that loves pain?
(Reba tries backing away, only to find the wall directly behind her and the door several yards away, with Schanter now less than a foot in front of her and apparently interested in her.)
RH: Hey, you know what? There’s all sorts of sparkly things in the booth. All you have to do is claw your way through that blast panel. (Then calling out into the air) Sorry Bert, but it’s either you or me.
Schanter: Sparkly? Where?
(In the instant that Schanter looks away to the blast shield, Reba makes a break for the door. Unfortunately the little guy is faster than we suspected, not to mention a lot more insane than first looks suggested.)
Schanter: Sparkly Lady want tag! You’re it!
(Schanter makes a single leap across the room, catching her in the back and propelling her to the ground, he on her back.
(Schanter now starts jumping up and down on her back like a kid on a trampoline.)
Schanter: Want more pain. Pain now!
RH (face into the floor): You can have some of mine.
(One more bounce before something else distracts Schanter- the lit sign displaying “On Air”. Someone suggested at this point that we pull the plug on the show and send in some help, but our producer said this would be fantastic for ratings so we kept on transmitting.)
Schanter: Oooh, funny light.
RH (gasping tiredly): Yes, please go for the funny light.
(Schanter leaps, doing a double sommersault in midair, catching his hands onto the edge of the sign before landing, then ripping it off the wall and landing on the ground with it in his hands.)
RH (still face into the floor but looking like she’ll be having another one of her “spells” again): Nine point five. You could have stuck the landing better.
Schanter (tearing into the innards of the device with his claws, tossing parts to either side): Where funny light go? No more light, this boring.
(Schanter turns around just in time to catch Reba staggering up to her feet. She replies with a tired and desperately hopeful smile.)
RH: Say, why don’t we just play together? We can tear this lousy studio apart so I never have to do another stinkin’ show again. Now doesn’t that sound fun? Reba want lawyers. Love lawsuits. Reba want insanity plea.
(With that, Reba starts jumping around tearing at equipment, to which Schanter joins in for a bit. We’re not sure which of them is cackling more insanely.)
Schanter: Schanter want pain. Pain hurt, pain bad. Love pain.
RH: Reba want Xanax. Reba want producer’s head on a spike. Love see him bleed. Want blood.
(Whereupon she begins clawing at her own arm to get some. Schanter gives a curious look at this for a moment then leaps over to one of the still-working microphones to speak.)
Schanter: Funny Lady break mind. Schanter sorry. Sign off show now.
(Schanter then leaps away to join Reba in some mayhem before the guys with the wrap-around jackets come in to hogtie them both. A last footnote here: You wouldn’t believe the sorts of things that Reba’s medical insurance covers.)