I have been asked to meet them at the end of a long since abandoned pier, derelict for 30 years, old Ferris wheel standing over the amusements and empty walkways like a soldier standing guard on a parade ground.
It is dark. Twilight. Still light enough to see, but dark enough to feel spooked at every sound, and to jump at every shadow. As I reach the end of the pier I see two shadows leaning against the rusty railing. Like windows of pure darkness framed against the escaping sunset.
They seem darker than the rest of the night; almost like they aren’t fully here, like only a part of them is present.
As I approach they both turn to face me. The Reaper is the first to catch my eye. His features, seemingly frozen in a ghastly grin, he reaches out his corpse like fingers and says in a voice, much too jolly to match what he is.
“Hi, I’m Jim. You’ll know me as the Reaper, but just Jim is fine. This is my friend, Gally.”
He points to the side, and the other shadow lightens, becomes clearer before my eyes. A shock of silver hair, purple lips, and eyes, like coal, almost not there. But then he speaks, and there is a twinkle, some mystical light behind his eyes, like he is seeing straight into my heart and soul.
“Gallimaufry. Pleasure”. He says with a nod.
He motions for me to sit on an old stone bench next to them.
Once I am seated, Jim and Gally both signal for the interview to begin.
INTERVIEWER: So, I always start with this one. Tell the readers a little about yourself:
GALLY: I am the black in the blackest night, I am the light of the most brilliant white. I am green, I am grey and everything in between. I also like pretty flowers. Not to smell or look at but I like the idea of them, if you know what I mean.
REAPER: Hi, my name is Jim. I'm from a long, prestigious line of Reapers. I'm looking for a bit of fun, but hope to find that one being that I can fall in love with and makes me want to settle down. I'm very work-orientated, I'm good at what I do, except from on Tuesday evenings. Tuesday's are kebab and movie time. On a Tuesday I like to kick back and chill with a couple of cold ones, and we watch Ryan Reynolds movies. That guy should play everyone, he's hilarious.
GALLY: I wasn't aware that you drink Jim.
REAPER: I don't.
GALLY: I also like the actor Matt Damon but not for his acting. I like his reflection. He reflects well when gazing into a mirror and that, well that tickles me.
INTERVIEWER: What was it like for you growing up? Erm, well, did you grow up?
GALLY: I was born at the time of the Big Bang. There were no midwives at this point nor health workers so I went very under the radar. You could say I raised myself or I was raised by wolves. Put down wolves, that sounds cooler. I didn’t have no parents, I was born mature and have regressed with every minute of age since.
REAPER: What is life? What does it mean to grow-up or old? To feel the weathering of time? All I've ever known is non-life. I think that's why the human condition seems so fascinating to me.
INTERVIEWER: Were any of the poems based on real people you have observed or events you have seen? If so, which ones?
GALLY: All of them. Jim and I are very lucky to observe your kind in various situations. I transform, a sort of transcendental oblique metamorphosis, which allows me to become the person I’m observing. Feel what they feel. See what they see and how they see it. I can really get into their head and scavenge their thoughts like some Viking raider. “Rarrr!” I shout as I steal and plunder. Then I write. It’s a three step process really.
REAPER: It's all quite surreal isn't it? For me, it's all about exploring and unpicking the unknown, trying to decipher an ancient language. It all seems so exciting, yet so pitifully bleak simultaneously.
INTERVIEWER: In Monsters, the title poem, you refer to people as monsters and say ‘We’re the final fright of this never ending night’. By final, do you think the humanity is already lost or do you see a way for people to turn away from this path you believe they are on and become something other than monsters?
GALLY: Humanity has always been lost. To no longer be ‘Monsters’, I think, your kind would have to become something other than human. Man is an animal who runs on an animal mindset. Elevate above that and perhaps the ending may be re-written. I hope it is rewritten because carbon based life is very rare in this Universe and I don’t like travel.
INTERVIEWER: In Opus day, what is it you think is ‘slithering in’?
REAPER: Opus Day is all about the human search for God, or a greater sense of purpose and worth. Humans are obsessed with giving their existence meaning, making sense of things that are inexplicable. Doubt is what is slithering in, questioning, reason, dread; they all make belief more substantial and plausible.
INTERVIEWER: In light of reading ‘bloody wonderful’, have either of you ever had a normal day job?
GALLY: I once worked as a shepherd for a sandwich delicatessen but they told me it was an unnecessary role and to stay away from them. The restraining order is framed on my fridge. Not really. I don’t have a fridge.
REAPER: My job is compatible to many “normal” jobs – I have quotas to meet and tasks to complete, but my job is more of a calling/destined journey, so no, not really…no.
INTERVIEWER: Without giving away any details, what was your inspiration for Mr Goldfish?
GALLY: It’s based on a true story. A friend of mine had a fish and he became paranoid when gazing at himself. So naturally I drew from this and wrote his story. The poem ends badly but in reality, the goldfish did not die on the floor. He died in the belly of a pet Labrador which scooped him up and ate him.
INTERVIEWER: Jim, what do you usually like to tweet about?
REAPER: I don't really tweet all that much at all. But if I was going to tweet it would be about how much I love David Blaine, that man’s got some mood-grace.
INTERVIEWER: Ok, so we always finish with some readers questions. Question one is from Sally and she asks: If you could be a cheese, what cheese would you be?
GALLY: Edam. It’s so complex.
REAPER: Is this really a question?
INTERVIEWER: Question two comes from anonymous: Are your looks all natural or have you had some “work” done?
GALLY: Nothing is natural about me. All of what you see is merely fragments of gas and light colliding together to make a form. And some Botox.
REAPER: My “look” (Jim’s boney fingers scratch quotation marks in to the air) is of in-natural design, to strike fear into the souls of those whom I seek out.
INTERVIEWER: Question three is from Arthur: If you had to live on the moon with just one person, who would it be? You can have anyone from history but you can’t choose each other.
GALLY: The whale from Free Willy. We’d have much to discuss.
REAPER: I have the pick of thousands of souls who I get to hang with all the time, so I'm going to choose someone who's still alive…I would take Kelly Clarkson, as I think she'd...
INTERVIEWER: OK, well that’s all we have time for. My thanks to Gally and Jim for meeting me and good luck with the book!
You can buy Monsters by following this link.