An Interview with the Head Cheese

A note about the use of I, We and Them: I refers to Me, Mickee Faust, Wearer of the Most Convincing Mouse Cartilage (also known as Ears) and of course Supreme Source of All Things Faust and Beautiful. We refers to the members of the Mickee Faust Club, also known as Faustkateers, but only when I approve of their doings and wish to acknowledge my affiliation. When I'm pissed off I will refer to them as Them.

I, Mickee Faust, will be writing from several different perspectives – interviewer, interviewee, first person, second person, second person's cousin once removed so on and so on. Therefor the tone of this thing will careen wildly. Since I am writing as if possessed, spelling is going to be iffy, so fasten your seat belts. You're in for a bumpy ride.

(By the way, people often refer to Mickee as “he” but there is a lot of discussion about whether that gender specific pronoun is the correct one. Mickee, like Bugs Bunny, can be a he/she/it/they/you/and me as the occasion demands).

Q: Why the name "Mickee Faust"?

Mickee: You can thank my unsainted mother for that. She didn’t have time to name any of her 23 offspring because ratbirth had left her pretty done-in and famished. She ate all but two of the litter, keeping me and my twin brother for later. We were two tiny, pink, hairless bundles of trauma when we went crawling out of the nest in fear for our lives.

My brother was scooped up by an opportunist with a mustache who called himself his Uncle – leaving me behind in the gutter to fend for myself, filling my empty belly with the occasional castoff cheese doodle. Uncle turned my brother into a multi-billion dollar media star but my brother’s fame is tainted, based on a tissue of lies!

Q: How do you figure that?

Mickee: Consider the pictures of my brother in his early films. He looks like the rat he is. But Uncle changed all that--gave my brother a nose bob, waxed his tail and passed him off as a fucking mouse. The content of that last sentence is so shockingly shameful I should have used an explanation mark at the end of it.

I, on the other hand, have remained true to my origins, proud of my rat heritage. As a young rodent I took refuge in traditional rat hidey-holes and sewers. I took up the habits for my lab rat ancestors by ever evolving, teaching myself to read by piecing together text from the great books I plucked out of the floating muck of pooh. I thought big thoughts about the great books while plotting petty revenge and nourishing myself on the moldy cheese I’d snatched for the jaws of death (i.e. mousetraps).

Q: How grim. Now about--

Mickee: I’m not finished! For years, I schemed and toiled in obscurity-- the nameless, unknown, forgotten twin. But then one night as I was skittering through an abandoned dump, an antique beer can caught my eye-- actually it was a sharp, aluminum corner that did that. Anyway, after I wiped the blood from my eyes I saw the name FAUST written as if in script and my mind was instantly flooded with images of a play, a poem, an opera, a book, countless literary references and a couple of bad movies, all of them involving the Devil and a too-too curious German Doctor (and/or various blues musicians at the crossroads). I knew then and there I had found my name and my true calling.

Q: Meaning?

Mickee: I would steal my brother’s first name, modify it so I couldn’t be sued, affix it to the name Faust. And then –get this! -- in my new identity as M-I-C-K-E-E F-A-U-S-T (you can sing it) I’d make my brother’s life a living hell by transforming my own life into a living mockery of his.

Q: Did it work?

Mickee: Not particularly. We don’t keep in touch. He doesn’t really know I still exist, actually. But in my mind’s eye, that’s what I’m doing – making my brother pay dearly for his life of non-stop partying luxury by living out a sad, down-at-the-heels, parody of his and. . . and . .and. . .oh, Jesus Christ, what have I been thinking? What kind of a life is this? Even for a rat? O, answer me, god of Moses, Devil of Christendom, Thor of thunder, Druidic Manifestation Divine!!! Why am I doing this to myself? Eeking out a mouserable existence just to prove an ephemeral point! Why? Why? Whyyyyyyy (Poot, moan wail)

Q: So, the name?

Mickee: Huh?

Q: The name Mickee Faust. You took your last name from an old beer can and stole your first name from your brother?

Mickee: Yeah. But I spelled the first name differently! See, I’m not totally without originality.

Q: Mickee Faust is a construct, then, right?

Mickee: A what?

Q: You made up the name. So I’m assuming you’ve created a persona to go along with the name as well. Am I right? So what or who is this Mickee Faust?

Mickee: Tremble when you speak that name! (In which voice am I writing now? Can you guess? ) Mickee Faust, as I imagine myself, is a cigar-chomping rodent who expects slavish devotion and absolute unquestioning obedience from the lowly minions who aspire to the condition of Fausthood. And let me tell you, there are many thousands who aspire but only a few hundred thousand or so who are chosen.

Q: How do you achieve this uh condition of Fausthood?

Mickee: Become a Faustkateer. Duh!

Q: Who or what is a Faustkateer?

Mickee: The reality or the happy ideal?

Q: Let’s go with the happy ideal.

Mickee: Faustkateers are volunteer rodentured servants who exist only to do my bidding. I usually bid them to make theater or videos or radio or, you know, whatever strikes my fancy. Sometimes I bid them do my yard. I have a band of about hmmm oh maybe 20 full-time, loyal, do-or-die Faustkateers and anywhere from 2 to 46 fly-by-nighters who are kind of like cockroaches-- plenty more where they come from.

Q: That’s the ideal?

Mickee: Sorry, yeah.

Q: But what exactly is the condition of Fausthood that Faustkateers are aspiring to?

Mickee:It’s too complicated to get into here but as grizzled vets of Faust have discovered, when you finally become one with the show, your butt is saved.

Q: The show, meaning one of your cabarets?

Mickee: Or one of the radio shows or one of the videos or anything else we get bored into doing.

Q: Let me just write that down: “Become one with the show.”

Mickee: Do I detect a little smidgen of sarcasm?

Q: No, no. I’m being the impartial interviewer here.

Mickee: No you aren’t, you snide asshole.

Q: It would help matters if you would remember that you are interviewing yourself. So let’s put a stop to the needless, nasty name calling, shall we?

Mickee: Well, that just took all the fun out of that.

Q: So how do they become Faustkateers? Is there some kind of ritual?

Mickee: Yeah, it’s called producing a fucking show.

Q: So how does that work?

Mickee: Oh, it’s a great scam. I mean look at me. I’m a rat, right. Tubby, kind of ugly and uh. . rat like. Why in god’s name would anyone listen to any utterance of mine? And yet, there are those poor schumcks who hang onto my every word! They actually believe I am somehow in possession of supernatural powers and look upon me as The Great and Terrible Faust. It’s kind of like Scientology or one of those other psychosomatic religions.

These poor deluded fools know (because Mickee has told them so) that the Supernatural Powers of Faust have to be earned, wrestled from the grip of jealous Godthings (also known as the audience) who sit in their heavens and laugh at ratkind. The making of a Mickee Faust show soon becomes a Faustkateer obsession. They must have that chance of obtaining Faustness, they must! Rather than start their own trouble, they come to Mickee on bended knees. “Please.” they plead, “Let us do a show with your name in it so that we may strut our stuff before the Godthings that sometimes deign to recognize us when we are shopping for salad greens!”

But Mickee pretends to be busy thinking great and terrible thoughts. This strikes fear, shame and awe in the souls of the Faustkateers.

They think "Mickee is too good for the likes of me."

They think "Mickee is soooo smart. Mickee, after all, is the one who thought up this extremely original and profitable idea of a mouse named Mickee who heads up a club of people who wear replicas of mouse ears on their heads!"

They think," I am ashamed and humbled. The Great and Terrible Faust has far, far better things to do than bother with putting together yet another damn show. "

You’d think their next thought would be, "And come to think of it so do we." But no. These poor idiots have a wild choo-chooing train of thought running through their heads that goes something like this: "The only way we can obtain Great and Terrible powers like the Great & Terrible Faust is by doing a Faust show. Ergo, if Mickee won't do the work necessary to making a Faust show then we must do all the work. Yes! Yes! Let us do all of the shit work necessary to creating a Faust show!"

It has it's own kind of mad logic, actually.

So boy, they start scampering around writing the scripts, composing and playing the music, running the lights, building the ramps, directing the performances, choreographing the dances and the fight scenes, designing layout of the posters and flyers, selling the t-shirts, sewing the costumes, painting the backdrops and spending hour upon hour in front of their mirrors practicing the sorrowful faces they will use when their cue comes, in a very short skit, to bleat one sad plaintive bleat in the very minor role of an abused sheep.

Abused sheep, indeed! Anyway, the Faustkateers always end up working like dogs while Mickee sips rum and coke on the beach. Like I said, it’s a great scam and you might try it at home yourself.

Q: God, that was long.

Mickee: You asked.

Q: Next to the last question. Is there a Mickee Faust Club Motto?

Mickee: Yep. And a song! Just go the the Mickee Faust Club Song page and you’ll see it.

Q: I know all about the song. I was asking about a motto.

Mickee: I really am insufferable in your persona. Ok, yeah, there is a motto and anyone who memorizes it is entitled to all the rights and privileges thereof. The motto is . . . well actually there have been several mottos throughout these long, long years of Faust. "I Want to Live!" was one. "We'll take over the world when we’re damn well ready!" was another. "Don't blame me for this show, I'm not Mickee!" has been the most recent. Ask your favorite Faustkateer for her/his/its favorite Faust motto. If you chose the right one for your very own, who knows? All those rights and privileges thereof may be yours.

Q: How about a secret handshake?

Mickee: Yep we've got one. But it's so secret no Faustkateer but Mickee, i.e. me, knows it. And I’ve forgotten.

Q: You had a rough young rodenthood.

Mickee: Tell me about it.

Q: Your mother ate most of your brothers and sisters immediately after you were born.

Mickee: Hey! Lay off my mother! She had a salt deficiency for crap’s sake!

Q: Given that early trauma do you ever still fear for your life?

Mickee: Well, we (I’m using the royal WE here) are in the Bible Belt, right on the buckle of the Bible Belt actually. Which means we are surrounded by our natural enemies, the fanatically humorless who not only hate us but are extremely well-armed. And being as we (back to the democratic “we”) are those cheery kind of liberals who come in a variety of colors, with an assortment of sexual preferences, in zillions of ages and with some very interesting physical and/or mental disabilities to boot -- well, when nasty bigots start making hurtful comments about sicko weirdos we know good and well who they're referring to.

Q: So how does Faust work?

Mickee: Collaboratively with a dollop of tyranny.

Q: I don't want a sound bite. I really want to know how Faust works.

Mickee:Are you sure you wanna know?

Q: I wouldn't have asked twice if I didn't.

Mickee: If you really (sarcasm is just italics away, kids!) want to know the Faust Way then go to the web page cleverly titled The Faust Way. I’ll wait while you read it. . . . . . hmmm de dum de diddley dum o cheese cheese cheese-us come to meeeeeeeeee. . . .

Q: I’m back.

Mickee: That was fast.

Q: So you guys are a kind of theatre, right?

Mickee: Right.

Q: The kind of theatre where everybody does everything, right?

Mickee: Isn't it pretty to think so.

Q: Isn't that group collaborative effort a pain in the butt?

Mickee: Yeah, sometimes. A lot of times, actually. But we wouldn't have it any other way.

Q: Why not?

Mickee: It's too long to get into here so let me refer you what we call the ValueJet Passenger Philosphy of Theater and Life.

Q: Valuejet? Wasn’t that cut-rate airline with the passenger jet that crashed, doomed from the take-off by a series of stupid pilot and maintance errors, into a Florida swamp in the 1990’s

Mickee: You bet! And thanks for the historical summing up. I’ll wait here while you read it.. . . . . . . . . . hmmm diddley dah dum. . . ooooo holy swiss! How I do love, theeeeeeeee!

Q Back again.

Mickee: You must be a speed reader.

Q: I skim. So you guys are perfect and are always able to recognize when the skit/plane/ life is heading for destruction and you always do or say something to make it all better, right?

Mickee: Ah, sometimes we don't. A good crash always has a certain prurient entertainment value. Or sometimes we do but faaaaar tooooo late to do any good. Which is why the show is sometimes woefully uneven. I mean, we all put a shit load of work into our various projects. But some of the cast members have never performed in front of an audience or a camera or a microphone before. And it shows. Some have never performed before and they are natural showmice, far, far more adept and charismatic than the grizzled veterans who have been slogging away, honing their meager talents for many, many years. It seems so unfair. But God, we do our best. We're a poor, innocent theatre group struggling to change the world and make ends meet. Give us a break, pleeease.

Q: Why do you keep doing this to yourselves?

Mickee: Faustkateers are born to suffer. Well, to suffer me. But lately a lot of them have been asking themselves that question when they think I’m not in the room. It sure as hell isn't the money. The nonprofit, as we laughably call it, goes into the maintenance of our own little Idaho, a rathole over at the ultra-trendy seedy art-haven in Tallahassee called Rail Road Square which is actually a circle (ah, those wacky toked up artists.) We call our rathole in the Square the Mickee Faust Clubhouse. It's in flux. Which means the toilets are backed up again.

Q: OK, so. Is that it?

Mickee: Seems to be.

Q: So how do we stop this?

Mickee: You simply say, "Yours in Faust!" And put this aside. OK, now on the count of three. One. Twoooooo. Three.

Q & Mickee: Yours in Faust!

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