Sneaky’s Interview of Carlos, Star of A.B. Funkhauser’s New Release, SHELL GAME

Good day, dark-haired fellow. What is your name and your author’s name?

I have many names, but for the purpose of this exercise I’ll answer to ‘Carlos.’ A.B. Funkhauser, the author who happened upon my tale, took it upon herself to exaggerate certain facts. Asserting that I am ‘Wonderful’ is a case in point. Though I found this amusing, it is also quite ludicrous.

Mice to meet you, Carlos. What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.

I can only admit to one—Funkhauser’s current SHELL GAME—which hints at other worldly qualities that I won’t deny. The writer calls it a “cat dramedy with death and laughs.” Her publisher calls it “dark humor.” I see it more as biographical, though the humans featured are quite insane, and therefore strain credulity. Like her other books, SHELL GAME is a “gonzo” piece which means that the humans are exaggerated to get specific points across. Funky (my name for her) believes that she must make difficult things humorous in order for humans to access the themes and subtexts without the emotional baggage and cultural markers humans seem to get so caught up on.

I love your nickname for your author. I must think of one for Debbie. Your book certainly sounds unique.

Are you in a series? If so, please give information about it.

Funkhauser calls SHELL GAME a “black cat novel,” which tells me that she might have more planned. A black cat named “Mausie” appears in her as yet released POOR UNDERTAKER, but that story begins in 1937. If you believe that Mausie is me, then I’ll allow you to think it.

Cat characters have a way of transcending time and place and can easily change names. I, however, am the only main cat character in Debbie’s Cobble Cove mysteries, even though she’s featured a variety of other felines in her short stories and novella.

Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.

The cat I am based on and the cat that I am are one and the same. Like Carlos, I have many names: Puma, Panther, Klara (?), and Carlos are but a few. But my birth name, to use a Homo sap label, is Kobe, so named for a basketball star, I believe. Like the character in the story, I began my life in one home and then moved on to another and another. This is quite natural for me, as the book will show. I credit Funky with taking the real human issue of indoor v. outdoor cats by the horns. Not all of us were meant for confinement. I love my humans very much, but I need to be free too. Human beings, in their desire to protect me from what I am, have tried to hobble me, confine me, and deny my true nature. Luckily for me, I found not one but two writers—Bri Volinz, wrote a lovely Foreward to SHELL GAME detailing some of the aforementioned views, and Funkhauser. Both understand what a cat is and what humans could be if they would only follow our lead.

It’s great to have progressive human writers speaking for you (and catkind) in their works.

Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that feature you in an important scene? If so, please include it.

SHELL GAME looks at a community coping with unwanted change. The mechanisms used range from silly to life-threatening. In this scene, I escape captivity along with my confrères:

In the melee, Carlos made out other shapes—the American Shorthair, Maine Coon, Scottish Rag Doll, Sphinx, and Peterbald, along with a Common, like himself, though snipped at the tail to look like a Manx—all employed in the service of the kooky humans.

“Gimme a Himalayan,” a throaty female with a smoker’s rasp gasped, as the sweet Munchkin dragged across her back gave out, exhausted from its efforts.

“Blood letting is essential to our beliefs,” a hooded freak with a blue YoYo explained to a quivering couple. Clearly “new,” Carlos could not discern if they were excited or fearful.

“We don’t force religious beliefs on anyone, per se,” YoYo continued, as he rocked the cradle with the spinning orb, “but it helps if you have a healthy appreciation for the beauty that is cat.”

***

When muffled voices, signifying meal-time, bled under the door, Carlos made ready. He had no compunction about dying from exposure after a life outdoors. Heck, he’d even go gracefully under the wheels of a careless driver if given a choice. What he would not do was succumb to this perverse charade.

He was tired of being a loofa.

Maybe it was the darkness of the windowless hole he’d been placed in that gave him the advantage, or maybe it was human arrogance that presupposed the feline’s reluctance to fight back. But fight back he did. With a snap of his powerful hind legs, he vaulted at the hooded figure that removed the top of his cage, catching the fool on his left eye with claws grown too long in captivity.

The idiot responded with a prolonged howl that did not bring friends to assist, but a large ladder and a pair of two by fours propped against the wall instead. Freeing themselves from their pitiless moorings, the second-grade planks gave way, bringing the ladder along with it, each falling with enough force to set the cages on edge like dominoes in a free fall.

If his compatriots could have talked, they would have sung his praises. If they could have voted, they would have elected him to office. They were free!

Carlos the Wonder Cat had done a great thing. He was just getting started.

Pawsome writing on your author’s part and acting on yours.

What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?

It is gratifying to me that Funky settled on cats as opposed to dogs. Canines are valued for their fealty and their slavish desire to be taken care of. Whereas felines are prized for their calm, self-sufficiency. I don’t know if she is consciously aware of this, but in introducing cats like me into her novels, Funky has set up a perfect base of comparison between us and the humans: the stolid self-sufficiency of the cat versus the pitiless second guessing of the unquenchable human being. Some big cats live in prides, while others like me trip between family settings and the life of a solitary. If humans are to learn anything from me, it is that there is nothing shameful in being alone; nothing to apologize for in taking care of oneself. At the same time, care must be taken to look out for those who can’t figure it out for themselves. These ones, whatever their species, need a little push.

Well said, Carlos. I totally agree.

Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?

Like you, I meow and purr at the humans. They expect that. Amongst ourselves, we converse either ultra-sonically or through a series of chirps, chirrups, and hisses. Humans, as we all know, love to infer. A glance, a nuzzle, a stretch can mean the world to them, and I don’t mind letting them think their thoughts as long as they respect the laws of nature and don’t get too carried away with the laws of man.

Purr-cisely.

What advice would you give other cat characters?

Don’t act like a dog. Not ever.

Purrfect advice. I let my dog co-star Fido think his scenes are special when we all know it’s my feline acting is superior to any canine’s.

Do you have any new books coming out?

SHELL GAME will release as soon as my dear perfectionist Funky gives the book back to her publisher. She abhors spelling errors—they keep her awake at night—and so is committed to delivering the cleanest manuscript she can.

Best whiskers to you and your author on your upcoming release.

Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.

Social media is a human invention so you can only find me through Funky’s links and even then, I might not be able to answer, especially if I’m traveling. Please send all inquiries through her email: a.b.funkhauser@rogers.com or Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser. You can also follower her on Facebook (that makes her so happy): https://www.facebook.com/heuerlostandfound/.

If you do write, Funky will always answer you. Letters make her happy too. Oh, and I mustn’t forget her Amazon author page. This is where all her books are listed: https://www.amazon.com/A.-B.-Funkhauser/e/B00WMRK4Q4/.

Thank you, Carlos. It’s been a pleasure having you here, and I know that the cat lovers out there who read this blog will be dying to get their paws on you and Funky’s book as soon as it hits the presses.

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2 thoughts on “Sneaky’s Interview of Carlos, Star of A.B. Funkhauser’s New Release, SHELL GAME

  1. Hi, Carlos, we read your intermew with Sneaky with interest especially concerning the title of your book, Shell Game, which our writer had titled her book in progress. Now she will need to come up with something else, which is okay, since the book had kind of grown beyond that particular title. You and Funky sound like a great team! Best of luck with your Shell Game, Spam, K.B. Dundee, Cisco, Pancho and Ann (the two-legged one)

    Like

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