Hello everybody, It’s time for another interview, this time with another fictional character. Please welcome the master of revenge, you either love him or fear him, everybody knows him as The Count of Monte Cristo, it’s Edmond Dantès!!!
Q1. Hello Edmond, my research into yourself mentions you having a number of different names, which one do you prefer? (I quite like Sinbad)
Good afternoon, Monsieur Rocky. Oui, I have many names to accompany my many moods, used to deceive and destroy, as has been done to me. And so on, and so forth. Behold my elevated pinkie as I sip this tea…and…et cetera.
Ugh, that’s exhausting.
Okay first, I’m just going to drop the phony accent and formality, keep the conversation friendly. Plus, I’ve seen a lot of American movies now – so if my pronunciation is missing a ‘u’ – blame it on Hollywood.
Back to the question: As you may know I can play the part of a Captain, a Count, a Lord, even an Abbé, but deep down I’m a simple sailor. That’s where I started this whole mess, and during my time in Italy, Sinbad just seemed to fit. Pretty exotic, right? Friends call me Ed, but I’ve been isolated and angry for so long, I don’t have many left. Probably why I’m so talkative today. Just call me whatever you want, I mean, we’re boys now right?
Q2. Soooo, you experienced the ultimate betrayal, I know you got your revenge and this all happened many years ago, but do you still feel bitter about all that happened?
Nah, I’m good. Like dad always said about hardship, it builds character. Sure I was pissed, but now that I’ve ruined so many lives, I’m kind of bored with it actually. And they made it into a serial, which became a book, then turned it into a bunch of movies…did you know that one time Jesus played me in a movie? It’s true, look it up.
Wow, just googled that and it’s true, nice claim to fame there.
Deep down, though, I will admit that it’s fun seeing the face of a man watch his life crumble around him, the exact moment he realizes I’ve won. That’s a fist pump moment if there ever was one. Not that it’s a competition, of course, just that I have proven to be the victor every time.
But it’s lonely at the top.
Mercédès left me and took the brat with her, Albert, but I guess I don’t blame her. He was a good kid, even if he pronounced his name Al-bear instead of Al-burt. Funny he acted tough, but at least he was loyal and looked after his mom. Anyway, they left, so I moved on. Eventually I fell for Haydée, who was pretty cool too. We had some similar interests, shared experiences with betrayal and loss and murder and all that. I even bought her freedom at one point when she was younger. Didn’t last long, though. Turns out there were more differences than similarities between us.
Who says age is only a number?
It’s also a way of thinking. We like different music, different movies and books, pursue different dreams – plus she used far too many abbreviations to say simple things using what they call internet slang. And texting. Like WTF? I’m far too old for that shit. I like my ROFLs with butter and syrup. So we fell out pretty fast. Since then, not much else has gone wrong. Nothing a shot of penicillin won’t fix. But I’m not bitter, now that I’ve had a lot of time for introspection and meditation. Cool as a cucumber.
Q3. If somebody was imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit, what advice could you give them to get their life back on track?
Since my successful escape and complicated plan for revenge, I’ve actually put a lot of effort and money into helping free the wrongfully convicted. Sure, everyone behind bars says they’re not guilty, but the ones who are truly innocent need help fighting the flawed system that put them there. Especially in the countries which still allow the death penalty.
Don’t mind the soapbox I’m standing on now, just seems illogical to allow a government the power to kill its citizens. In some cases, for the misplaced guilt assumed by twelve of their peers. That’s happened a few times it seems. Anyway, I’ve used some of my immense wealth to create a foundation that tries to help out. We can put money on the books for commissary – and legal teams and objections and paperwork and even arrange conjugal visits – but if all that doesn’t work, the first thing I would teach them is how to make a shiv.
If the system won’t protect you, then do it yourself.
Remember I was in gen pop before I got sent to the dungeon, so if they hadn’t placed me in isolation, I was prepared to fight the biggest guy in the yard and stab the first guard that tried to pull me off. Let them all know not to fuck with me. I had a life sentence already, what more could they do? But I guess we all lucked out when I was sent downstairs to sit in the corner instead.
Q4. Seeing as you are a character in a book, if you could jump ship and join another book which would you choose and how would you alter the story?
Haha clever phrasing since we already talked about the sailor thing. There weren’t many books available in prison, and if I could pick only one from the outside, it would have to be Choose Your Own Adventure #10: Prisoner of the Ant People. Sure it’s from 1983, but also a long-time favorite. Don’t think about it too much.
I could hold my place using a thumb, and see if what I wanted to do would kill me or land me in jail again. Battle all the way to the final fight with Evil Power Master and take his head. Like a boss. Bet he can’t swordfight as well as me either, so he wouldn’t stand a chance. Did I mention I’m undefeated at reading too?
Q5. Here’s a question from Abbygayle, aged 7, from Upper Twatton. “I just read Q3, “imprisoned for a crime you didn’t commit”, were you in the A-Team? I’ve not read the book you are in, my wrists are very frail and couldn’t lift the book”
Hello, little one. Don’t worry about the book, I doubt I could’ve lifted it myself when I was first sent up. If you do find yourself in prison at some point, however, there is plenty of time to exercise. You could bench-press the book I’m in every day, and do curls with it – maybe jog around the yard a bit – and come out looking like the fella with all the gold chains from the A-Team, mohawk and all. Do you want me to teach you how to make a shiv?
Q6. If you were to join a dating site who would be the perfect partner for you? Care to share with us what your advert would be like?
Never tried online dating, personally. Usually just wait for the next port of call to blow a day’s wages. Being imprisoned at 19 may have left a its mark, I figure, but I’ve been reading a lot for this one. It might look something like this:
Wrongfully convicted and escaped to exact bloody revenge, wound up with a fortune and some kinks. Sub Male seeking Dom Female. Bondage, starvation, captivity, and some torture okay. Pirate cosplay expected. Humiliation and betrayal are deal-breakers. Someone to help me clear my cache and cookies a plus. Sailor Jerry and a twist of lime with dinner. Enjoy a fresh swim in the ocean after a cliff dive, and long walks on the beach. Kisses.
Q7. Could you give the readers a book recommendation to sit on our fake library?
Chopper by Mark Brandon Read. I read quite often now, and have always enjoyed a little story from good ol’ Chop Chop. Nothing warms the heart more than betrayal, violence, and a seedy underworld – as long as it’s met with anecdotes dripping buckets of blood from gruesome revenge and sprinkled with light comedy.
Q8. I’ve always wondered where your story went after the book ended, did you have further adventures?
I tried several things along the way, but nothing quite like what you’ve read, I suppose. After everything died down with Haydée, I finally had the ability to travel and money to do what I wanted. Well I’ve had the both for a while, but I didn’t have to get permission first.
It’s quite the difference.
So I saw more of the world and learned a lot, even joined the Peace Corps to try my hand at helping, maybe make amends for the devastation lying in my wake. Pretty quickly I caught a severe case of soul-crushing boredom, but got lucky and landed a spot as one (of only twelve) backup dancers for a couple K-Pop songs. You can still find the videos online if you look hard enough. Next I tried my luck as a safari guide under the shadow of Kilimanjaro. Brief knife fight with a local chieftain resulted in me leaving that one early, to work a short stint at a call center out of Mumbai selling postage meters to American businesses. Then, as if by magic, I wound up in the adult entertainment industry. Which all makes perfect sense. It all ended soon after an incredibly painful flare up caught the light wrong on camera, and the producer lost a bunch of money. Still pissing fire if you’re being nosy. After that I moved around a lot, over borders and across oceans, under deserts and high above the mountains, never staying in one place for too long. Joined a band, thrashed a bit until everyone went solo or ended up dead from an overdose, my album eternally motionless below the bottom of the charts. Tried to write a memoir, but I couldn’t find the words. You know, all the normal stuff. No one’s special.
So here’s the crazy part:
Eventually, I met up with some dude in a cave way up in the Himalayas, and he hands me a copy of the book I mentioned before. Prisoner of the Ant People. Said if I figured out how to make it through, I could learn the simple concepts that allow for time travel and immortality. That with this ability, I could help achieve world peace and guide us through the bullshit into the future we need. When I heard that, I checked the date, and it was still about a decade before the copyright stained into the front pages. What other evidence did I need?
I stayed in this cave for innumerable days and nights, countless hours spent studying the “manual” by firelight. Which turns should I take? Page 83 or 119 next? What consequences resulted from my actions? Was it the end? Nope. My primary duty soon became saving humanity from itself.
No pressure or anything.
When I learned the trick with the thumb, I had it figured out. Finally. As long as I kept my digit in place, I could see into the future. I could know what awaited me and make educated decisions, avoiding the dangers that might be ready to ruin me. So, practice this trick yourself, and you will see how far you can make it. Spread the word. Now that we have the key, we can all fix things right? I mean, I’m 222 years old already if my math’s right. Over six times the life expectancy of my era apparently, and one of the lucky numbers from my fortune cookie. Jackpot. So there you go, time travel and what seems to be a good run at immortality thus far. You’re welcome. Now get to work.
Well that got a little weird, next question.
Q9. Describe the perfect meal. Include food, setting and company.
Good timing, because I’m quite hungry right now. At this very moment, I’m feeling a breakfast burrito from Bonfire. It’s been far too long. Bit of a drive, sure, but the chupacabra variation is excellent. Use a punch card too, so we can get a free one later. We’ll split the freebie, you have my word. In all my travels, I haven’t found a more satisfying meal. No matter what time of day. Pair it up with a frosty can of Beer Lao from the opposite side of the globe, and I’m good.
Bring it all back to the castle, of course, and eat in the movie theater I had built when I gave the dungeon a makeover. Kick the legs up on a recliner and proceed to stuff my face like a champion. Care to join me? We can watch the movie where Jesus played me if you still don’t believe it. Or how about Blade of the Immortal? Surely you have heard of Takashi Miike…
Q10. It’s the Trump question that I always leave to the end. Let’s assume he has heard about you from somebody tweeting a scene from your book, he has hunted you down and imprisoned you. How would you seek vengeance?
Not sure how he made it through the epic, honestly. But that’s a low blow, we can settle this like gentlemen. I am a Captain Count Lord Abbé, after all.
I’m afraid that if he wants to flex his wallet, he would find the result as emasculating as his tiny hands. It’s fucking embarrassing. By the way, I have read that hand size is indicative of virility, athletic ability, character, ties to the Russians, and the hardware a guy is packing. I already told you about my time in the adult film industry, so I doubt he would win that contest. Think it looks like a baby carrot?
Made you picture it.
But that’s where the real plan comes in. Let’s suppose he finds a way to read the thing, learns of my accomplishments, misspells a tweet in angry response to the instigator – all capital letters and excessive punctuation obviously – and tracks me down so I wind up back behind the wall.
I do what I do best: Play the long game.
There’s always a way to get things in prison. Contraband is what keeps the places running smoothly. So I would begin by having someone bring in spray tan using their prison purse, probably Jacopo since he is a smuggler and loyal friend. Once inside, I would add an orange peel or two to the solution, some bread crusts, juice from the chow hall, a few drops of urine, some ash from a rolled cigarette, and let it ferment in a plastic bag over by the shit bucket in the corner.
I would already have the famous grimace, I think we can both agree, prison food generally makes for a painful poo. Then, when it was good and ready, I would smear this concoction (known in the joint as Covfefe) all over my skin. Let the bleach I stole from the laundry room fry my hair…then call for a guard. Once word got back to the biggest cheese, his ego would force him to pay a visit and see how much I looked like the angry pictures that decorate the walls of government buildings now.
Like staring into a living mirror.
Indigestion and hard gas inflating my stomach as my face twists in pain, the orange-scented wooden deck stain I brewed seeping into my skin, and wispy white hair dancing with the electricity in the air. After the battle against my very own Evil Power Master, I would walk right out, prancing away like Luke Skywalker in the flabby meat vest of an orange tauntaun. You’ve seen Return of the Jedi right? Doesn’t beat Empire, but makes my point.
Either that, or buy my way out of trouble, which is also a thing apparently. Sit down and discuss business with him over a nice hot cup of Covfefe, I’m sure there would be some left in the bottom of the bag.
Well that was fun, I’d like to thank Kevin Berg, author of Indifference and Daddy Monster, for playing the part of Edmond. You can find him on Goodreads and make sure you check out his website.