Interview with Panda, taken from Book One, The Monuments of Panda Johnson.
Subject: Interview by April F Parka with:
Panda Johnson.April F Parka - “Good afternoon, Mr Johnson, thank you time today.” Panda Johnson - “And Good Afternoon to you as well Ms Parka, it's a pleasure to be here.” April F Parka - “And what a beautiful location it is, have you been to this particular hotel before?” Panda Johnson - “No, never and indeed it is a beautiful location, and please call me Panda.” AFP - (I smile at the charming Mr. Johnson) “Why thank-you Panda, please, call me April.” PJ - “Sure, sure.” AFP - “So, tell me Panda, what do you think your best quality is?” PJ - “Jeez, I have so many.” (He laughs at his own joke and I'm honestly not sure how serious he is? But there is no further reply so I move on.) AFP – (Laughs.) “How about your worst quality?” PJ - “Armpit odour, do you have any idea how much deodorant I go through?” (I smile, but get the feeling this is a well-worn response.) AFP - “Do you do your own stunts? I mean, it seems like you do?” PJ - “Oh, I'm sorry, but that is a contractual secret.” (Hmm, this really is proving to be a disappointment for me.) AFP - “Is this the real Panda Johnson we're seeing here or is it an embellishment?” PJ - “This - (he points at himself with all four hands) - is the real Mr Johnson!” (This guy is more self-centred than an Essex Girl in a house of mirrors!) AFP - “Using just three words, how would you describe yourself?” PJ - (I watch as he rolls his thumbs over one another, his mouth moving as if he chewing an invisible sweet.) “Hero - Smart - Icon!” (I smile and scratch my chin with my wonder, I can only wonder if I have just read the same book?) AFP - “And finally, Ducks? Really? Your thoughts, please.” PJ - “OMG the ducks, they were hysterical, that has to be one the best parts!” (Seriously the last question and this guy decides to come alive?) AFP - “I know I already said 'and finally' but if you could humour me with one last question, please?” (Time to chance my arm.) PJ - “Was that the question?” AFP - “Oh, I see, no.” PJ - “Then it's two last questions then?” AFP - “It would appear so, yes. Where do you get your shirts from? I mean, they're hardly off the peg from the local supermarket are they?” PJ - (He has a wry, knowing smile on his face and I fear that my originality has gone, I've asked the question that every interviewer has asked him and now I look lame and boring, and I can actually feel my cheeks burning now. This is so not how I imagined this last part going. Panda leans forward, he rests the elbows of his two lower arms on his knees, and his upper arms are resting palm down on his hips.) “You remember where I live?” (He asks me.) AFP - (I smile and nod.) PJ - “Well, there is a little lady on level 43, she makes clothing for beings of unusual needs, all hand made you know.” AFP - “Oh wow, so she makes clothes for others as well then?” (I too lean forward, encouraged by his reply and that my answer may not have been that silly after all.) PJ - (He stares straight at me and laughs.) “I'm sorry, I'm teasing, and I get that question all day long. You're lucky, the last woman that interviewed me asked the exact same question and I had her on the line for ages telling her how I had them made by a remote Iguana Herder from Distillia, she was not too impressed.” AFP - (I smile, though I know my cheeks are still flushed.) “Thank-you Panda, I appreciate your - (I pause for a second thinking how not to offend him further) - candour.” PJ - (He is laughing now.) “Well, that's one word for it.” (He leans forward, his lower right hand extended.) “My pleasure!” (He shakes my hand quite vigorously and I exit the lush hotel room my dignity almost in tatters.) Conducted at the Seven Stars, Grand Vacation Resort & Hotel, Cornwall, UK. by
- April F Parka