Messenger: So, um...you sure you're up for this interview, Poe? I mean...if you're not ready, that's fine.
Poe: I...It's fine. I'll be ok. So...um, should we start?
M: Yeah, I...sorry, it's just that...this is a bit weird. I haven't interviewed anyone I'm this close to before. Well...not anyone that I expect actual answers from, at least.
[She gave a sad smile at this point. She knew who I was talking about.]
M: Um...I guess that the place to start is with how you got involved in all of this. What was the trigger? [She looked down at the floor and fell silent.] Look, um...if this is too much....
P: [quietly] Concrete Giraffes.
M: ...You're kidding me. You...you've gotta be fucking kidding me. [I started laughing uncontrollably at this point.] I...I can't believe...that son of a bitch was telling the truth! [For those of you who don't remember, Caper mentioned this a long time ago, and I was assuming he was kidding]
P: [nodding, giving another wistful smile] He does that sometimes. Usually when he knows he won't be believed.
M: I'm sorry, I...I shouldn't be laughing. This isn't funny. But it's just...five different types of irony.
P: I know what you mean. I understand. I'd probably be laughing too if I were you.
M: So, um...obviously, that wasn't all, was it? I mean, there were other triggers before he showed up, right?
P: Well... I mean, after Concrete Giraffes I got interested in other things about, well you know who. Looked up the videos, read the blogs, usual stuff. But then I started seeing him.
[She stopped talking after this and just hugged her knees to her chest.]
M: Um...do you want to stop? We can stop.
P: [shakes head] No, I...I'm fine.
M: Okay. Uh...next question, then. When and why exactly did you join The Boss?
P: Well, um... when I was running, I found another runner named Arnold. He was, well... he helped me out for a while. He was the type who did...well, he did anything to survive. He said that we had to do whatever it takes, you know? And um... we were being chased. There was a wall and...I helped him up first. And...and he left me.
M: Um...huh. Wow. Uh...what an asshole. That's...I'm so sorry. [She nodded] So, um...how'd you get from that to...here?
P: There was... there was a tracker. He had been after us for a while. And... well, he said I had made it very difficult to find us. At that wall, I thought I was going to... they were going to... but then he offered me a job and.... [She started crying a bit at this point]. I'm sorry. I didn't want to die. I don't want to die. I'm sorry.
[At this point I kind of...put my arm around her shoulders. It felt incredibly awkward and unnatural, considering that I don't often do things like this. I don't know if you've noticed, but I was never the person walking around in a "free hugs" t-shirt. But apparently it worked, because she sort of turned into my shoulder. I was literally a shoulder to cry on. That's never happened before.]
M: Um...well, hey. I kind of joined for the same reasons. Sort of.
[She nodded into my shoulder and stopped crying as heavily.]
M:Uh...someone had asked if you think you made the right choice. Now would probably be the best time to ask that, but...look, we...we don't have to do this if you don't want to.
P: [She looked up at me and shook her head.] No, I'm...I'm fine. I can keep going. And I really wish I could answer that question. But to be honest, I don't even know.
M: Understandable, I guess... As for other questions...um, I don't know, I guess I've got some questions about what you've done here for the most part. The big one is how exactly you met Caper.
P: We...we were paired together shortly after I joined. Sort of like Screwtape and me now. He was...he helped me a lot.
M: How so, exactly? Like...helped you figure out how to do the job, or...?
P: No, he helped... me. I was sort of lost. I couldn't figure out how to deal with...what I was doing. Who I was now. It was all very confusing and horrible and... he helped me through it. Told me to pick a new name, to find a new identity. And it helped a bit, actually. He helped. I.... [She fell silent for a while again]
M: So, um...new identity, huh? Um...if you don't mind, um...what was your old one?
[She looked down, and I could swear she blushed a bit.]
P: It's, uh...Annabel. Annabel Lee.
M: ...That sounds familiar. Why does that sound familiar? Have you already told me, because I think I would have remembered that.
P: [quietly] It was many and many a year ago by a kingdom by the sea....
M: I'm...I'm sorry, I don't follow...?
P: That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee--
M: Oh...oh my god, that's...that's right, that's...! [I kind of burst out laughing here. Horrible, but I couldn't help myself. Oh, yeah, again, for those who have forgotten, Poe's first post is a poem by...well, the other Poe.]
P: Yeah...it's stupid, I know. My parents were big literature buffs, and...like I said, it's stupid.
M: No, no, it's not that, it's...you'd think I maybe would have put at least some of that together by now. It's...it's a really pretty name, if that helps.
P: ...Thank you.
M: Uh, there was another question someone had asked, but I guess that kind of answers that.... I'm...look, I'm really sorry. I...I had no clue what sort of shit you went through. And I'm only finding out now, so...I guess I'm a pretty terrible friend, aren't I?
P: No. No, you're...you're very nice.
M: Um...I should probably keep calling you Poe, shouldn't I?
P: Yes. Yes, please.
M: Right, yeah. Um...well, uh...thank you, Poe.
P: You're, um, you're welcome.
-Don't Shoot The Messenger-