SCAT: Mister Herron, I’d like to thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak to you on Skype.
COLM HERRON: Think nothing of it.
SCAT: Interesting to hear you say that. I do think nothing of it.
CH: Pardon? Think nothing of what?
SCAT: Of speaking to you on Skype.
CH: I’m not sure I understand you.
SCAT: OK, I’ll spell it out. I can give you ten minutes max. I actually have better things to do but seeing as I promised I’d speak to you I will. I’m a man of my word.
CH: This is ridiculous. It was you who asked to speak to me.
SCAT: I completely agree. It is ridiculous.
CH: Well, now I’ve heard it all.
SCAT: Not yet you haven’t. You’ve made a bit of a name for yourself on Wattpad, right?
CH: Yes ... that’s true I suppose.
SCAT: The two novels you have on that site have more than three hundred and seventy thousand reads between them.
CH: Really? As many as that?
SCAT: Don’t try and tell me you didn’t know. You check it every day, don’t you?
CH: Certainly not. I haven’t time. I’m a very busy man. But I’m pleased to hear that so many people are reading me.
SCAT: Not reading you, Mister Herron. Clicking you. If someone clicks on one of your chapters Wattpad counts it as a read. Even if they say to themselves “This is rubbish” and stop reading after two lines it still counts as a read. They can’t unclick it you see.
CH: Why are you doing this Mister Scat? Why are you being so abusive? And what does Scat mean, apart from Get the hell out of here?
SCAT: It’s my acroname, Mister Herron.
CH: Acronym you mean.
SCAT: Acroname. It stands for Self-Critical Awareness Troll.
CH: Ah, so you’re a troll then. I thought as much. So this is how you spend your time is it, coming out with inflammatory rubbish?
SCAT: Not at all. Do you know what a troll actually is?
CH: An ugly dwarf that lives in a cave?
SCAT: Nope, a troll is someone who uses bait to hook a fish, possibly a herron, sorry, herring.
CH: I really think I’ve had quite enough of this.
SCAT: Same here. One last thing though. What age are you?
SCAT: That’s the age you look in the Wattpad picture you put up. I’m looking at you right now and you’re certainly not twenty-four.
SCAT: It’s a black and white photo that was taken long ago, possibly in the nineteen twenties.
CH: It was taken last year – in color – and I got it done on the computer in monochrome.
SCAT: Hah! What age are you?
SCAT: I can check up about this you know. I have ways. What age are you?
SCAT: This interview is being taped Mister Herron. Anything you say may be taken –
SCAT: I’d say you’re more like eighty-two.
CH: That’s scurrilous.
SCAT: I’m going to wind up right now if you don’t mind.
CH: Thank God.
SCAT: But I’d like to come back and interview you again in, say, twenty-five years time?
CH: I don’t see why not. You look healthy enough to me.
Colm Herron is the author of four novels and numerous essays and articles. He hails from Derry, Northern Ireland, and his newest novel The Wake was released last November.