I alternately scratched the edge of my front tooth with my thumbnail and clenched my pencil in my teeth. I had to stop acting so nervous. I was the author, Miss Reginald was the character, I was in control. I took my pencil out of my mouth and held it poised above my notebook. I had to ease into this interview . . . but I also had to get to the heart of Miss Reginald, really find out who she was.
"Miss Reginald . . . "
"Yes?" She was using her silky, sweet voice. It was a cover, I knew, but I might as well take advantage of her still having control of her temper.
"I would like to ask you about your childhood. Were you happy? Were you close to your family?"
Miss Reginald's face hardened. "I have no family. Never have."
"Were you in foster care?"
"Yes." Miss Reginald's voice had become cold and hard. Please don't lose your temper, I thought. Change of subject.
"How did you get interested in science?"
"How does anyone get interested in anything?" she said irritably. "I learned about it and it interested me."
"What made you decide to become a scientist?" I asked.
"You tell me," Miss Reginald said. "You're the author."
This author/character relationship was becoming increasingly difficult. I found myself wishing I had decided to interview Anne instead. She was a lot more willing to talk. But that was exactly why I wasn't interviewing her. Anne had already opened herself to me. Miss Reginald hadn't.
"How about an easy one," I said. "Do you like movies?"
"Yes," said Miss Reginald. Now why couldn't she let me see who she was inside? She was so closed up. I thought of another question . . . maybe this one would get her.
"Are you in love with President Crowdler?"
Miss Reginald stared at me for a moment. Well, I'm not very tactful. I tend to be overly blunt.
"I suppose. Together we have much power and influence and I love that."
"How did you meet?"
She seemed to be debating whether or not to tell me. "It was at a meeting," she said. "The meeting where I was commissioned to develop the mind control serum. He wasn't president yet. But he had been chosen to fulfill that place."
"Commissioned by whom?" This plot ran deeper than I knew.
"By The Head." Very informative.
"The head of what?"
"The Head," Miss Reginald repeated. Very well, then.
"Why were you chosen?"
"I had made great scientific advancements."
"In what way?" I asked. Finally she was talking!
"I had created diseases, developed The Machine . . . "
"You had already made The Machine?"
"I wanted to develop something that would create pain, something that would show others the pain I have felt."
What kind of sadistic person was she? But it was starting to make a little more sense.
"How long before Crowdler was elected was this meeting?"
"Five years. Four years before we had to begin eradicating spies and informers. But the plot began long before."
Well. This was new. "Was there anything in it for you?"
"Revenge on those who have been cruel to me . . . " I didn't doubt she had a rough childhood, I don't see how anyone with a good childhood could turn out as evil as her, but to count revenge as something "in it for her"? " . . . freedom, power, limitless funding for my experiments . . . "
"With torture?" I asked.
A sadistic grin spread over Miss Reginald's face. "Yes. I adore torture. Don't you?"
I can't deny I enjoy seeing my characters suffer adversity and overcome it, but to say I enjoy torture . . . no. Dungeons, maybe, but I certainly wouldn't want to see The Machine at work.
"And how does Crowdler figure into all this?" I asked.
Miss Reginald frowned. "He has been promised power and authority. And he will do with it what he pleases. He is a very selfish man."
"Does this . . . Head . . . have control over him . . . and you?"
Miss Reginald's scowl deepened. "Yes. But Malcolm Crowdler and I will rise above him. With our combined power, knowledge, and influence, and the warriors I am creating, we will be able to take the whole world!" World domination. Naturally it would all come down to that. It's a common goal among history's villains.
I looked down at my notes. I seemed to have enough. Or at any rate, some new, interesting information. Time to let Miss Reginald get back into her story . . . and to her torture. But I still think I would have had a nicer time interviewing Anne.
*Miss Reginald is one of the main villains in The Experiment