As part of my ongoing blog tour, the following character interview was conducted with one of my favorites from THE AFTER WAR: General Karl Metzger. To read the blog post from its original source, click the link below.
Interview with Karl Metzger
The following interview was conducted under circumstances that I was fooled into believing were for the good of fellow survivors. General Karl Metzger is the leader of a well-equipped band of mercenaries, calling themselves The Red Hands.
I waited for Karl in a small room, ruined by war. I had been escorted through the town of Odyssey under escort, and the smell wafting from the guards was horrific. One of Karl’s men stood by the door, an assault rifle strapped over his chest, and a thick, red handprint plastered over his chest, which is a symbol of their order. After a half hour the door opened, and in walks a towering man wearing crisp army fatigues with a sidearm strapped to his belt. The man shone a brilliant smile of straight white teeth, and shook my hand with ferocity. He introduced himself in a bellowing voice, and we sat.
Interviewer: Hello. My name is Brandon Zenner. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Karl: Likewise. I do hope you will find Odyssey to your liking, and your accommodations pleasurable. Would you care for a cigar?
Interviewer: I generally don’t smoke … but I suppose I can make an exception. Thank you. About the accommodations, I will be leaving shortly after the interview.
Karl: My home is your home. Stay a while and have a drink with my men—the finest assortment of fighting men you will find, this I assure you. I hear you’re a writer, a journalist. Not long ago, I would have thought your job to be an extinct practice. But I now see the errors of my ways. You have purpose to me.
Interviewer: Well … I see. Shall we begin?
Karl: Yes, of course. Ask away. (Karl leans back, putting his feet on the table, and for a moment the creaking of the chair suggests the wood might break under the man’s strong frame)
Interviewer: Fellow survivors speculate about your past, and some people believe that you might not even exist, and the tales of your exploits are only meant to intimidate your enemies.
Karl: Ha! Well, you see me before you, do you not?
Interviewer: Of course. But for the people out there, can you give me something from before the war and disease to prove your existence? Rumors have it that you were once an inmate in Hunterdon—
Karl: (Takes his feet off the table) Let me ask you this: would like to have your every fantasy played out? Would you like to live like a king?
Interviewer: Is this leading to an answer to my question?
Karl: Outside, there are three women, picked from the plunders of war, their beauty unparalleled in this existence or the next. They are yours, Sir Zenner.
Interviewer: I’m not sure how this pertains to my question.
Karl: It pertains to my question: a job offer, with a rank among the brotherhood befitting a man of your stature. My own minister of propaganda. Your words can have an advantage for me.
Interviewer: I … I’m not sure this is how an interview is conducted. I still have a number of quest—
Karl: I know (he leans across the table, the smoke from his cigar escaping with each word) how an interview is conducted. This interview is for you, not myself. Your words are mine to use and own.
Interviewer: I think—
Karl: Guard. (The man in the corner snaps to attention) Lead Sir Zenner to his accommodations. And please, make him feel welcome.
Guard: Yes, sir.
Interviewer: What the hell is going on?
Karl: (Stands and walks to the door) I will have an assortment of delicacies brought to your room; preserved meats and fruits, and the finest alcohol ever made. If you fancy something harder, we have a plunder of cocaine, heroin, pills. You will grow to see things our way.
Interviewer: I have people waiting for me. They’ll know if I’m missing!
Karl: That’s of not consequence.
It’s been a week, and I have not been let out of my room. But I do have a window with a swift stream flowing under, and not to sound like some hopeless romantic, because that is hardly the case, I do hope that someone finds my message in a bottle. These men, I fear that if I don’t do as they say, they will kill me. I’m in the town of Odyssey, follow the stream, and please, by God, help me …