In honor of the forthcoming third installment in the Cole McGinnis Mysteries series, Dirty Laundry, (Due April 19, 2013 from Dreamspinner Press), Neko Kim has finally broken her silence, agreeing to sit down with Rhys for an exclusive, and one time only, interview in which she reveals much about why she is the queen of all kittehs. Enjoy!
Having already interviewed Bobby and Jae, I turned my sights onto the most silent of personalities in Cole McGinnis’ world, Neko Kim. I met up with Neko in the spacious living room of McGinnis’ home. The meet was going to be in secret and in some ways, experimental as the technology to interpret a cat’s thoughts is iffy at best. Armed with a translator I’d been given by the owner of Hellsinger Investigations, a nearly too pretty man with laughing dark eyes.
I sat down on the couch and turned the device on, listening to it crackle and beep as it cycled through its software load.
It looked remarkably like a Walkman CD player with a few gewgaws stuck into it and a plug for a small speaker but I was assured it would work for about half an hour at the most. I was going to have to make it fast. To my knowledge, no one else has done this kind of thing before and well, let’s face it, holding a cat’s undivided attention for thirty minutes is more of a miracle than getting one to talk to you through some jimmied together Babylon device.
I didn’t have to wait long. Neko joined me within five minutes of my entering the house. Of course the small plastic container of sardines I’d brought with me and left open on the apothecary chest by the couches probably had something to do with that too.
Turning on my borrowed electronics, I settled in to the questioning, trying to ignore the soft growling sounds of the tiny furry despot crouching over her sardine kill as she ate. After a few mouthfuls, her wide yellow eyes narrowed slightly and she reached over with one paw to tap the flat casing of the translator. She wasn’t stupid. She knew exactly why I’d come.
I’d have to make it very quick. There was only so much sardines and a cat has very little patience.
I have several questions for you, I said. I wasn’t going to make it pretty. No thanking her for being here. It was going to be a swift kill on my part. On hers, probably more of a toying with the mouse but I was hoping for some real answers. Showing her my list of questions, I read them off to her, going down the list. I could tell she followed along. Her eyes were rapt on the page and the puff of her long tail swished back and forth over the edge of the chest.
These three are all similar. If you could assassinate Cole, how would you do it? Where is the best vantage point in Cole’s house to make an assassination on him? Where’d you hide the bodies?
The voice that came from the device was surprisingly smooth. I guess I was expecting something more mechanical. Instead, she sounded like Lauren Bacall waiting to hear me whistle.
Cole? Ah, Big Minion. Why would I kill him? He brings me food. If I were to kill one of them, it would be Loud Barking Laugh Man. He is a nuisance. He does not watch where he puts his feet and he sometimes has bags of clothes that are very smelly. Big Minion puts his smelly things into the washing machine. He buries his smell. I am fine with that. It shows I am dominant. I do not bury my scent. It is there for all to encounter when they go into the small washing room. First Minion cleans it for me. Twice a day. I don’t like getting waste between my toes.
So tell me Neko, how do you REALLY feel about Cole?
Big Minion is… one of my humans. One does not feel anything other than favour towards minions. They know their place and respect it. He also dug me out of the fallen building. I reward him graciously by spreading my scent and fur over him so all may know he is mine. What more does he need?
What is the best way to piss off your humans?
I do not think of ways to anger my humans. I punish them at times when they are bad. For instance, once I was fed something that did not agree with my stomach. Since First Minion fed it to me, I chose to punish Big Minion in turn. A human feels punishment more keenly when it happens to their other rather than them. Guilt is a motivator.
Which of your pets do you like the most? Cole or Jae?
There are different reasons to like each. I don’t play favourites. Big Minion suffers more to be around me therefore I must show him affection in marking him or his clothes more. He should not go out without having my scent on him. First Minion is my first. He is better trained, however.
Do your humans deserve you? ;-)
No human deserves a cat. We are here for their souls to reach a level of consciousness so they may one day come back as a cat. If you deserved a cat, you would be a cat.
Total destruction of the bed: What do have to say about your silly humans, and what do you think of the new bed Neko?
The new bed is more comfortable and it does not squeak. The last one squeaked. It kept me up sometimes because I thought there was a rodent. It was very annoying.
Are you planning world domination? Who gets to live, and who do you take down first?
We already have world domination. Have you not seen the internet? Do you now know how many dollars you spend on us a year to keep us happy. And while there are those humans who are cruel to our kind, they are repaid in shunning. There is nothing a human hates more than to be cut off from its pack. They are like tiny little chickens, huddling together.
Do you ever want to just hump Bobby’s leg?
I believe that question might be meant for a dog. I do not hump anything. And which one is Bobby? Oh! Loud Barking Laugh Man. No, but I have peed in his smelly bag. I aimed for his gun but I believe I got his shoes instead.
You’re smarter than Cole and Jae. Do you ever want to bitch-slap them?
Of course I’m smarter than they are. I am a cat. No, unlike other cats, I do not believe in mauling my minions. A quick nip once in a while to guide them, yes that is suitable but the true carnage some cats wreck upon their humans is so déclassé. A withering look is usually enough to set them straight. If not, then I find sleep deprivation works wonders. After a few nights of howling, they are more than willing to see the error of their ways.
What icky thing does Cole do when he thinks no one is watching?
He brings the Loud Barking Laugh man into my house. How much more icky can that get? The others that come in are fine. Nuna Minion is nice and so is Funny Walking Woman. Round Mother is very sweet. She always gives me treats. Hedgehog Head I do not mind. He means nothing to me. I like the new one. Skin Pictures Man. He has fish on his arm. That bodes well for him. He might make it to minion status one day. He knows cats. He gives good belly rubs.
It is funny to you when Cole and Jae have sex?
I don’t watch them do that. It’s odd. I’ve tried explaining to Big Minion that it’s better if he learns to bite the neck to hold onto First Minion but he does not listen. I have stopped talking to them about it. One can only teach the stupid so much before it starts feeling like I am screaming at a rock.
Does Cole talk to you as a friend when Jae is away, telling you things he would like to know, telling you how he feels and his plans?
Big Minion talks to me when I require it. Sometimes he makes little noises and pets me. That’s suitable too. Mostly he feeds me. And leaves the curtains open so I do not have to tear them down to get the sunbeams in the house. Other than that, I don’t pay much attention to what he is saying. Sometimes he sings. He’s not very good at it. He’s always in human pitch.
Tell us the truth, Neko, when Cole’s not around you curl up in his t-shirts, right? The brush off you give him is all an act so he doesn’t know your secret that you love him as much as Jae. Right or wrong?
I curl up with him all the time. I make his eyes itch. It reminds him of his place and in turn, reminds First Minion that he suffers through it because he loves me. It is a true sign of devotion. All should be so submissive.
One cannot show a minion too much affection or they will take you for granted and start doing horrible things like putting antlers on you when it is time to bring your piney smelly tree in at the end of the year. Or worse, crocheted hats. They then take pictures hoping to blackmail you into behaving or perhaps even humiliate you by putting it on the internet. I do not believe this helps them in their quest to become cats. This also does not bode well for their souls.
When was the moment you first knew you could trust Cole with Jae??
When he came to get me and took up the mantle of being my minion. I knew when I saw his face in the dust that First Minion sent him to care for me. I trust First Minion, for all I berate him. Big Minion is an exemplary minion. It is nice to have two of them. It is easier to get two helpings of food that way.
A small thread of smoke burst up from the former CD player and it groaned woefully. Mere seconds later, something in it popped and I scrambled to find something to beat out the flames coming out of its entry ports. Sacrificing one of Jae’s dish towels, I tamped out the small disaster as Neko continued to eat, unperturbed by the potential fur-singeing catastrophe mere inches from her tail. Yawning, she haughtily graced me with one final look, burped as delicately as a wide-mouthed demon cat could and bounced off, leaving a trail of sardine-flavoured miasma behind her.
Cole rushed from the kitchen with a bottle of water but the damage was already done. The device was a smoking slag of plastic and the cat was long gone.
“Was that thing expensive? Because if it was, hope you had a warranty or something. It went all Pinto on you.” McGinnis cracked open the water and I used it to quench my thirst rather than ruin the chest by dumping water all over the certainly deceased translator. “Looks kinda… well like something a robot puked up.”
I gingerly picked up the translator’s carcass. The pretty man who’d given it to me warned me it wouldn’t last long. I’d been lucky it captured as much as it had. Shaking my head, I answered McGinnis, mourning the loss of the machine but at the same time, aware there were mysteries — such as hearing a cat’s words — that were best left unknown.
“It’s definitely dead, Jim.”
“Yeah, well be glad it was the red shirt and not you. With that cat, anything’s possible.” Cole snorted and patted my shoulder. “So, you staying for dinner? How does a deep dish Chicago style pizza sound? ‘Cause if you say yes, I can guilt Jae into saying it’s for a guest and he won’t bitch about the lack of veggies.”
*Interview posted with permission from Rhys Ford