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Friday, May 11, 2012

Character Interviews: Roz Bereens

So I sit down to have lunch with one of my characters. You know, to get to know him better. I would never take him to coffee, but I bet he'd love sushi.

"I'm really glad you could make it," I say.

"Yeah, I..." He looks around the room. His hand has never gone far from his neodynium mace. "I'm still a little confused about being here, actually."

"Don't worry about it. Is it alright if I ask you questions while you eat?"


"What's your favorite thing on my plate?"

"On your plate?" he raises an eyebrow. I notice that he doesn't smirk, like Caleb would. He's controlled. "Hmm, I don't like mushrooms. I guess I say the sushi."

"You're a carnivore," I laugh. "Why no mushrooms? A bad experience?"

"No--Lem fed me some once when we got stranded somewhere on Luna, so I know I can eat them. I just don't like the taste."

I don't ask another question for a few minutes. I'm watching how he eats with one hand, and keeps the other by his mace. He doesn't seem stressed or nervous. His shoulders slump, relaxed, and his face is unlined. It looks like he just always eats with his hand on his weapon.

"What's the worst thing that ever happened to you?"

He lays down the fork and leans back, eyes glazing a bit, overwhelmed as he stares just over my head. I expected that question to throw him back like that. "Oh man, that's hard."

I wait. His eyes play over the people mulling through the buffet lines. Of course I brought him to the Teppanyaki. It's the best restaurant in my world.

"Hey, what's the best restaurant in your world?" I ask suddenly.

He laughs a little and rubs his hands across his forehead. "Yeah--I like that question better than the other one."

"You still have to answer the other one."

"Okay." He hasn't stiffened at all, but I could almost imagine him sweating a little. He rubs his hand on the back of his neck and lets a little laugh escape again. "Well, once Lem and I had to pretend to--"

"Quick interruption--would Lem have said 'Roz and I' or 'Roz and me' if she were telling this story?"

"She'd say 'Roz and me.'"

I note it down in my little green book. He's wrong, actually--when I interview her, she says 'Roz and I.' She only uses non-formal grammar when she's with him because she feels tougher and more equal that way. But his impression of her speech says a lot. For one, it says he thinks she's more different from himself than she really is. A little more childish.

"You done yet?" He raises that eyebrow. He doesn't tease with a grinning flair the way Caleb would. He's more subtle. But he's laughing at me inside, all the same.

"Yes. Go ahead."

"Lem and I attended a dinner for this wealthy civillian Growen sympathizer--we were on recon, of course--and bloodseas, that restaurant--stars, it was great." He shakes his head. "It floats over Guetala, and takes diners over Biouk lands and forests, and ends back up in space. Lem kept talking--saying how the rich snobs didn't know anything about Biouks, or something like that--but we had a great time anyway. She got someone to tailor her mom's red gown, and I wore this silvery thing."

"I wouldn't expect you to notice clothes," I smirk, tilting my head.

"It was the first time we'd ever dressed up. It felt cool to ask for whatever we wanted, and play along."

"Was she pretty?"

He shrugs. "I didn't ask. We were on a mission."

"And the food?"

"I actually don't remember it. Lem could tell you all about it, though."

I nod and laugh. Yes, I know she could--every detail and every taste.

"So, last question, Roz."

"Oh, the worst thing one. Yeah."

I suddenly realize that his answer depends on me. On where I've called him from--what time, which part of Roz's development. I also realize that to make him talk about any of it makes me a jerk. Because, you know, I created it. Before Bioumatta, he'd choose that childhood imprisonment. After Bioumatta, he'd choose the stay in Diebol's re-education center. After Neodymium, he'd choose losing that kiss.

"It's all for a reason, you know," I say suddenly, before he can give me an answer. "But I'm not gonna be a jerk and make you talk about it."

"Uh--it's okay, I--"

"No, it really isn't. It's fine."

He's not a hugger, but I get up, walk around the table, and hug him from the side. "It was good talking to you," I say. "See ya round."

1 comment:

  1. That actually made me a little teary - that part about you being a jerk for making him talk about it. I love this little moment so much. In this interview, do you imagine that Roz knows who you are... that you're his creator? What a strange, intimate relationship we share with our characters... we being their creator but them also being a part of us, reflecting bits of our own personalities, life experiences, and observations.

    You know, Petre, if I didn't imagine you were in some other state, or, who knows, halfway across the world somewhere, I'd say *we* should go have coffee. Or sushi. You're preference. ;)