The following is a recorded transcript, complete and without edit, of my interview with the feline food burglar, Hercules. Reader discretion is advised.
: Good morning, Hercules. It's a real pleasure to be speaking with you today.Hercules
: Thank you, Zeus. I appreciate this chance to defend myself against the allegations that I am a starving, fluffy thief.Zeus
: Absolutely! Before we go any further, I wanted to address your second name, Goliath. According to the tape on MSNBC news
, they renamed you. Which do you prefer now?Hercules
: It's so sad when this happens, but unfortunately, here in America, name-changing for felines is all too common. I felt as if my entire identity had been lost when they did the story. I was once named after a demi-god known for his athletic prowess and strength. They made me out to be a dumb and burly giant that was too big for his furry britches.Zeus
: I can understand how that would be depressing. Did you not try to tell the people at the Humane Society what your real name was?Hercules
: Yes, but they laughed at me. I remember one handler who said, "You've got to be kidding me! Hercules?! Maybe if you're named after Hercules from The Nutty Professor
: Oh no! What did you say?Hercules
: What could I say? They had made up their minds about me. There was no changing their ignorance, especially since they had taken to standing in front of my cage, clapping their hands together, chanting, "Hercules! Hercules! Hercules!"
Zeus: So, if you don't mind my asking, why did you steal food in the first place?
Hercules: The whole incident has been blown completely out of proportion. My owner, Earnest, a gentle fellow, had been in the hospital for a lung transplant, and I, an obsessive worrier, turned to the one thing that could bring me comfort in such tragic times: food. I ate to simply ease the pain I felt inside. No one could understand how my life was in turmoil during those months.
Zeus: That's horrible, Hercules!
: No, what's horrible is the fact that now these humans with their stupid marketing gimmicks think that my pain is their gain! Having me be a spokesperson for some silly low-calorie cat food or appearing in Martha Stuart Living
about how to help pets lose weight. I didn't ask for this! I don't want these photo shoots or interviews!
Zeus: Umm, this is an interview, and you seemed pretty excited when I spoke to you about the idea.
: What about my pain? What about my hurt? Where's Dr. Phil
? Where's Oprah
? Why haven't they called me? Why doesn't anyone help me?
Zeus: I don't know that they do cat interviews, Hercules.
Hercules: Oh to hell with it then! If no one cares about my pain, then what's the use fighting it? Do you know where's there a good Chinese buffet in Houston?
Zeus: I think they're pretty much a dime a dozen.
Hercules: Good. I got kicked out of the last one I was at. It was so embarassing. The lady said to Earnest, "You take your cat now. Sign say all you can eat, not you eat all!" Needless to say, I didn't get my money's worth.
Zeus: Nice talking to you, Hercules. Enjoy your dinner.
Hercules: Dinner? This is a snack.