by Pete Milan.

Interview Three


Establishing shot of a large country estate in Great Britain. It is bloody huge.

The parlor. It is also bloody huge. An elegant, immaculately dressed young woman is pouring tea for our interviewer. When she sits down and comes into focus, we see that she looks very much as though she has been carved out of marble; beautiful but hard and cold. She is also very mean around the eyes.

Q: It was very good of you to see me, Mrs.--

A: You may call me Veruca. I suppose you want to talk about the contest.

Q: Among other things, yes.

(There is a distant sound from somewhere in the house, low and miserable.)

Q: What was that?

A: The dog. He has worms. What are these "other things" of which you speak? What else is there to say?

Q: Quite a lot, don't you think? After all, while the other contest winners who were eliminated over the course of the tour largely left the whole business behind them--

A: Mike didn't.

Q: And neither did you. In fact, almost immediately after you emerged from the factory, your father purchased the nearest competitors and went into business against Wo--

A: I will not have that man's name spoken in my father's house.

Q: into business against the...candy man.

A: What about it? My father was in the peanut business. Peanuts and chocolate usually go together, do they not?

Q: Yes, but your father set himself up in direct competition with him. It wasn't just business, it was a concerted effort to drive the other man out of business. Every advert for his chocolate proclaimed it specifically to be better than W--the candy man's.

A: He was the leading man in his field.

Q: Don't you find it odd that your father...well, he seems to have dedicated his life to destroying the candy man.

A: You overdramatize. My father--none of us had any great love for the "candy man," as you call him, but to suggest that we all suffered from some overweening hatred of the man is ludicrous.

Q: Yet you won't even let me say his name.

A: I was violently assaulted by over a hundred rodents, tossed down a garbage chute, nearly crushed by my mother and father--neither of whom were small--when they followed me down the chute, made to spend a good deal of time on a rubbish tip and eventually manhandled by several of his tribesmen in the name of "being rescued." No, I will not hear his name. I don't want to be reminded. Frankly, I'm beginning to wonder why I agreed to this interview.

Q: About those tribesmen. Your father was quite vocal in criticizing the candy man's choice of employees.

A: Employees? Is that what you call them? Have you ever heard how he came to employ such people? They're addicted to cacao beans. It's all they eat. So does he pay them in actual money, so that they can buy clothes and property and one day better themselves? Of course not. He pays them in cacao beans. If I were to tell you that someone in, I don't know, one of those awful Eastern European countries where they're always having wars, that somebody was running a factory and only paying his employees in beans, you'd be on the phone to Amnesty International right now. But because it's him, people think it's endearing.

Q: And yet you wanted to purchase one of them.

A: I was ten. And a bit of a brat besides. What's his excuse?

Q: A bit of a brat?

A: (eyes narrowing) Those were my words.

Q: Well, forgive me, Veruca, but your behavior during that factory tour has become almost legendary.

A: Fine. Very much a brat. Again, I was ten years old. What would you think if you could meet yourself as a ten-year-old? Besides, I was past that phase in no time. I matured quite quickly.

(That sound again. It's a very sad sound.)


A: The poor thing's suffering. We may have to put him down.

Q: Ah. Well...there were also rumors surrounding your father and the attempts made on the candy man's life.

A: Not this again.

Q: During one of the candy man's rare public appearances, his car exploded. It was alleged that your father had connections to a London "firm" and hired them to--

A: None of this was ever proved. Because it isn't true. My father would never do something like that.

Q: Would you?

A: (Stares.) Are you suggesting that I badgered my father into hiring a paid assassin to murder a man in cold blood? Even one who'd thrown me down a garbage chute? Q: No, no, no.

A: I should hope not! (sips her tea) This interview has turned rather adversarial, hasn't it?

Q: Perhaps. I apologize for that. It's just that of all the people in the story...well, you stand out, don't you?

A: I'm not sure if that was a compliment or not. Next you'll be accusing me of letting the Knids into the Space Hotel.

(They share a brief laugh.) Q: Well, er...I think we're done. Do you have anything left to say?

A: I ran out of things to say about this subject years ago. Really, I've forgotten most of it. I got off light. Violet and Mike were forever changed, and so was Augustus after a fashion...Charlie got the factory...I went home and had a bath and got on with my life.

Q: Did you learn anything from your experience at the factory?

A: I have learned a great deal of things in my life, but I'm glad to say that I never learned any of them from that man. Well...maybe one thing. It's not enough to nag or demand or cajole. If there's something you want badly simply have to take it.

Q: Thank you for your time.

A: You're quite welcome. Off to see Mike next?

Q: If I can find him.

A: Yes, he has gone to lengths to make himself scarce. Do you mind showing yourself out? Only I have business in the east wing.

Q: Certainly.

(The tape stops. When it begins again, the time counter shows it to be some minutes later. The camera is moving but we can barely see anything.)

Q: Keep it steady...I can hear it, it's coming from right behind this door.

(The moan again. Very close. Very sad. The camera follows the interviewer down a set of long stairs. They arrive at a sturdy looking door. The interviewer looks into the camera, blinking. Then he turns and opens the door.)

Q: Holy...

(It is a hot, brightly lit chamber. The walls have been painted with a jungle motif. Sitting in the middle of the room is a large cage. Sitting in the cage, uttering the same moan we have heard over and over, is a tiny little man. He is dark skinned and shaggy haired and appears to be wearing a deerskin. He looks up at the interviewer and springs to his feet, talking very quickly in a language largely composed of clicks and pops.)

A: (OFFSCREEN) What's that? Hello?

Q: Leg it! Just leg it!

(All is chaos. We get the sense that the interviewer and the cameraman are running as fast as their legs can carry them. As they emerge onto the ground floor, we see the woman's face, twisted in a grimace of rage, just for a moment. Then we are outside, still running. The interviewer and cameraman get into their car, the camera tossed in the back seat.)

Q: Holy--what the hell! What the bloody hell was--where's the phone!

(The cameraman hands the interviewer a cellphone. He dials.)

Q: Police! Yes, police! Hello! I want to report a...I guess it's a kidnapping...

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Pete Milan is a bon vivant. More of his work may be found at