If you haven't read this past Sunday's post, "How Bram Stoker's Dracula Really Ended," you might want to go back and do so first. Why? Well, because it gives a little background where today's interviewee, Quincey Morris, comes from.
Our interviewer today is Libby Chastain, a friend and partner who helps Morris in many of his investigations. In his circles, Quincey Morris is considered to be one of America's premiere ghostbusters. Because of his popularity and notoriety, he is highly sought after by many magazines, of all kinds.
Chastain       and       Morris
that recently appeared in his regional Playboy Magazine:
There seems to be no shortage, on screens both large and small, of characters dedicated to fighting supernatural evil. In television land, Kolchak begat Mulder and Scully, who begat Buffy, Angel, and the Scoobies, who begat the Winchester brothers, and so on. The movies have given us (Gabriel) Van Helsing, Hellboy, John Constantine, and, next year, Guillermo del Toro’s take on venerable comics hero and enemy of occult evil, Dr. Strange.
But, by all accounts, Quincey Morris is the real deal, for all that he appears to be descended from a fictional character born in the mind of Irish writer Bram Stoker. Morris has fought the forces of darkness wherever he found them, and always come out on top – so far. Vampires, witches, demons, werewolves – they’re all in a day’s work to the man who Newsweek described as “the world’s preeminent champion in the ongoing battle of light against the darkness.” To paraphrase a line from the first Hellboy movie, when things go bump in the night, Quincey Morris is the guy who bumps back.
Who better to interview this intrepid spook hunter than his longtime partner, “white” witch Libby Chastain? When Playboy first approached Ms, Chastain, she was offered a package deal: the interview with her friend and business associate, as well as a pictorial of the lady in all her (not inconsiderable) glory. Libby declined to appear nude in our pages, but did agree to undertake the interview. She spent almost a week with Morris, at his Austin, Texas home, the results of which follow.
PLAYBOY: I’ve got to confess, this is kind of weirding me out, Quincey.
MORRIS: (Laughs) After all the stuff we’ve been through together, I never thought I’d hear you say that about something as mundane as an interview, Libby.
PLAYBOY: Maybe that’s the reason. After saving the world together – how many times?
MORRIS: Depends on your definition, but … twice, anyway. Maybe three times.
PLAYBOY: Exactly. After all the danger, and blood and pain we’ve gone through combating the forces of evil, this seems so ….
MORRIS: But it’s not like we don’t hang out together, sometimes. You were down here last 4th of July, for the big barbecue. Folks are still talking about that.
PLAYBOY: Oh, you mean because of that guy, the drunk one …
MORRIS: Elmer Davis, yeah. He had a few too many, then made a pass at you.
PLAYBOY: It wasn’t the pass I minded. It was that he wouldn’t take “No” for an answer. He assumed that, just because I’m bisexual, I’m some kind of skank. He got quite obnoxious, after a while.
MORRIS: So you turned him into a toad.
PLAYBOY: Well, it’s not like I hurt him. And I did change him back, almost immediately.
MORRIS: (Laughs) Right after you picked him up and threw him into the pool.
PLAYBOY: Well, it seemed like the natural thing to do – you know, water and all. How was I supposed to know the jerk couldn’t swim?
MORRIS: Good point. And you did levitate him back out before he could drown.
PLAYBOY: Of course I did. White magic can’t be used to hurt anyone, you know that.
MORRIS: Changing somebody into a toad doesn’t hurt him?
PLAYBOY: Well, if I left him that way, maybe. But, as it was, I just gave him a … change in perspective. Anyway, aren’t I supposed to be interviewing you?
MORRIS: So, ask me something, Ms. Interviewer.
PLAYBOY: Okay, let me start with the obvious one: how did you become a ghostbuster?
MORRIS: I prefer the term “occult investigator.”
PLAYBOY: Whatever. Answer the question, Tex.
MORRIS: Well, I guess you could say that I just went into the family business. It all goes back to Great-Granddad.
PLAYBOY: The guy Stoker wrote about.
MORRIS: Right. Most people think Dracula’s a work of fiction. They don’t realize that Stoker got his hands on those documents – the diaries, letters, clippings, and so on – from Dr. Seward’s estate, and just edited them. He called it a novel, because nobody back then would’ve published it as non-fiction.
PLAYBOY: So, the first Quincey Morris, the man who died outside Castle Dracula, was a real person?
MORRIS: As real as I am. Or you.
PLAYBOY: Which means that Count Dracula was real.
MORRIS: He sure was. Until Great-Granddad, along with Van Helsing, the Harkers, and the rest destroyed him.
PLAYBOY: So vampires really exist.
MORRIS: You know the answer to that, same as I do, Libby.
PLAYBOY: Of course. But this isn’t about you and me – it’s an interview, remember? This is for the readers of the magazine.
MORRIS: Bet they only buy it for the articles. At least, that’s what I told my Mom when she found my collection, back when I was fifteen.
PLAYBOY: Answer the question, Quincey. Get it on the record.
MORRIS: All right. Yes, vampires are real. And werewolves. And witches.
PLAYBOY: Well, duh!
MORRIS: I meant the other kind, the practitioners of black witchcraft. The kind that can hurt you.
PLAYBOY: Like Cecelia Mbwato, who we encountered a while back.
MORRIS: Yeah, exactly. It’s like we don’t have enough problems with black magic in this country. Old Cecelia had to come all the way over from South Africa to add to it.
[Editor’s Note: to understand the reference to Cecelia Mbwato, readers may find helpful this brief excerpt from Black Magic Woman:]
The Media Room at Glassboro police headquarters contained a single TV/monitor that was hooked up to both a VCR and a DVD player, and four chairs. Three of these were now occupied.
"I appreciate your letting us take a look at this without a lot of preliminary paperwork," Fenton said to Detective Hank Mulderig.
"It's okay, no problem," Mulderig said. He was a big, untidy man with white hair and bushy eyebrows, with a gut that showed he hadn't had to pass a physical fitness test in a while. "Thing is," he went on, "I don't see why the FBI should give a shit about some two-bit gas station hold-up, especially since we already got the perp in custody."
"We're less interested in the perp than we are in the woman who blinded him," Fenton said.
"Yeah, wasn't that somethin'?" Mulderig said. "Last I heard, the docs still haven't figured what was in that powder she used on him. Kid’s a damn meth-head, name of Tommy Carmody. I've busted him twice, myself. What happened served the bastard right, you ask me." He stopped, looked at Fenton, than Van Dreenan, and back to Fenton. "This some kind of terrorism thing?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes it is," Van Dreenan told him.
"Damn," Mulderig said softly, as if to himself. He picked up the remote and pointed it at the monitor, which came to life immediately. Then he aimed at the videotape player and pressed another button. "Okay, this is the footage from inside the store when it all went down."
The tape began to play, producing an image, black and white but very sharply focused, of the interior of the convenience store. There was, of course, no audio.
They watched the clerk taking packs of cigarettes from a carton and stocking the shelves behind the register. They saw the twitchy young man in the dark jacket, whom they now knew to be Tommy Carmody, approach the counter. And they saw the squat black woman who came to stand a few feet behind Carmody, holding a small bag of some kind of snack food.
Fenton thought he heard a sharp intake of breath from Van Dreenan, but didn't say anything.
They watched as Carmody drew down on the terrified clerk, then turned to train his gun on the woman. They saw him speak to her, yelling probably, threatening her with the gun. They saw her hold out the bag, saw it fall just short of Carmody's grasp, saw him bend forward to pick it up, then the woman's other hand coming up quick as a striking snake, the small cloud of powder suddenly in the air between them, Carmody staggering as he clutched his ruined eyes.
Each of the three men was privately glad he could not hear the screams.
They watched as the woman picked up her bag and scurried out the door, seemingly oblivious to the chaos she was leaving in her wake.
Mulderig pointed the remote again and stopped the tape.
Fenton was tapping a couple of fingers on his knee, a frown creasing his face. He said to Mulderig, "Mind if we see it again?"
"Sure, whatever." Mulderig pressed the Rewind button.
Fenton noticed that Van Dreenan was rubbing the bridge of his nose between two fingers. "You all right?" he asked.
"Fine," Van Dreenan said, his voice sounding a little husky. "By all means, let us watch it again."
Fenton looked at him for a moment longer, then turned back to the monitor. When the tape reached the point where the woman blew the powder into Carmody's eyes, he said, "Stop. Run it back a little bit, then play it again, will you?"
Mulderig did as he was asked. This time, as the scene played out, Fenton said, "See that? The bag didn't slip out of her hand, she's letting it fall, deliberately. It's a sucker play. She wants what's-his-name, Carmody, to lean forward and get it."
"Why the hell would she do that?" Mulderig asked.
"To decrease the range," Van Dreenan said quietly. "She wanted to make absolutely certain of her aim."
Mulderig's eyebrows went up, then he looked back at the video monitor. "Jesus. That is one cold, calculating bitch."
"Ja," Van Dreenan said. "That is exactly what she is."
[Interview continues, p. 137]
Wow! That's some pretty interesting stuff! Makes you wonder what else from your nightmares really exists!
Tune in this Sunday for the second half of this interview!
Don't forget to comment today, to snag a signed copy! If you don't win today, there's a second chance on Sunday!