Desmond: I’m pleased to have as my very special guest, multi-shifter, George Adkins.
(Applause as a sandy haired man of average height and build in his early thirties tentatively walks on stage assisted by one of the crew. In one hand a white cane clears the space in his path.)
D: Welcome Mister Adkins.
The guest faces the interviewer with sightless eyes behind a double eye patch.
G: Please, call me George.
D: Then, George it is. Tell the audience, George, what is a Multi-shifter?
G: (Prefaces answer with deep breath.) Well, as you know, shape-shifters have only a single animal persona, a bear or large cat–or in the case of our local clan leader, Sufi Drake Martin, a Yorkshire terrier. I’m different in that I can replicate any creature that’s ever lived.
D: Anything, no matter how large or small?’
G: Yes, even animals now extinct. And by the way, the term for my kind is simply multi.
D: Are multis common?
G: No, extremely rare, which works to our advantage. The last one before me hunted in France during the eighteenth century. I had Sufi Martin and the local authorities chasing their tails, no pun intended, until that meddlesome old moose shifter produced a journal the mate of my predecessor kept.
D: A journal?
G: Yes, it documented a multi’s capabilities. And weaknesses. Without that information I’d still be prowling the streets killing at will. At least I exacted revenge on Moose for his betrayal.
D: When did you discover your abilities?
G: As with any other shifter the transformations began in my thirtieth year. I woke up one morning in the shape of a ferret. Quickly I understood I was different when I became a badger on my next morph. After I learned to control the transformations I discovered I could choose the creature, or person I wanted to become.
D: You say you can mimic other people?
G: Oh yes. While out and about, before Sufi Martin spoiled everything, I assumed the form of the spouses of attractive women and provided many passionate encounters. A more serious use of my unique talent involved becoming the people I killed so I could move freely about, unsuspected.
D: I’m told you can even assume female identities.
G: (Grimaces) Yes, but never for afternoon delight. Strictly for business.
D: As I recall you were working for the Department of Homeland Security at the time you discovered your abilities.
G: Correct. The biggest mistake of my life was coming clean with them. In a flash they had me locked away and on heavy tranquilizers. I escaped after killing three of my guards and taking the form of one. Being a native of New Orleans, I headed there, hoping to be of use to Sufi Martin, but as the drugs wore off the urge to kill took over. By the time I arrived, murderous desire supplanted any nobler desires I had to serve the Sufi. (Leans forward, adding in a confidential tone) My therapist thinks my affliction is curable.
(Desmond places a paperback book on the table before them. Camera zooms in.)
D: This is a copy of “Love and Death…” Is that Drake or you on the cover?
George smiles slyly.
G: You know us both. Who do you think it is?
D: I have to admit the image is sufficiently obscured that I can’t tell. Why would the authors choose you over Drake?
G: Maybe because I’m prettier.
D: (Compares cover image with guest) It’s possible, I suppose.
G: Then we’ll have to leave the question a mystery, but be aware the author has a droll sense of humor. He knows I made the story come alive and not Mister and Missus Perfect. How interesting would 200 pages of “Pack-speak” and white magic be without a murderous villain to liven things up? I sure had the old DHS running for cover.
Desmond asides to the studio audience.
D: Do I detect a streak of bitterness?
George growls under his breath.
G: Don’t rile me up, my friend. Remember what I can become.
D: Let’s talk about that. Here is file footage of your rampage through Metairie. What form were you there?
G: Some type of Raptor dinosaur. They’re the best balance between speed, agility, and ferocity.
D: Then you transform in full stride to another creature.
G: Correct, a hawk as I recall. Being able to shift on the run was the key to my invulnerability. It was almost impossible to get a clean shot. And when I was hit, I could usually regenerate.
D: Regeneration? How does that work?
G: Shifters have the ability to regenerate damaged parts as long as the part isn’t severed or destroyed. If that damned Linda Gifford hadn’t been such a good shot…
D: That’s right she shot out your eyes making you permanently blind.
George ruefully touches the double eye patch.
G: If only a sliver of eye had remained…
D: In that event, Sufi Martin would’ve had you executed. After all you were under a condemnata.
G: But for his soft hearted wife Kady he would’ve anyway. After drilling out my eyes the crew took me downstairs for final decapitation. She interceded.
D: She’s up for election to Congress. Are you supporting her?
G: Convicted felons can’t vote. You know that.
Desmond consults notes.
D: So why kill?
G: I’m insane remember? That’s the side effect of being a multi. Once I gave my Homeland Security jailers the slip it was off to the races.
D: Why cheerleaders?’
G: They’re one of the most protected and coveted segments of society. The terror they experience when they realize the last of the many safeguards is stripped away is the greatest rush I’ve ever felt. Watching the life drain from them can’t be beat, but now given my condition all that’s gone. For now.
D: What do you mean, by for now? Do you have something to share?
G: Even if Drake doesn’t, Mike and Cynthia have a soft spot for me. Homeland Security has me back in custody. They were foolish enough to approve a furlough for this interview, weren’t they? Rumor has it they’ve cooked something up for the President’s visit this coming Mardi Gras season. Perhaps I can reach an accommodation with my employer. They need the help. DHS is an organization with aspirations greater than their abilities.
D: I can’t wait to see how that turns out. Any last words for the audience?
G: Yes, don’t count this boy out yet. The next plague germ you inhale might be me.
Wow...err...thanks Desmond for that insightful interview with George Adkins. Thanks to Lagniappe for the transcript of the interview. Stay tuned for more insightful interviews.
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