Character Interview with Babs Campbell from Ryder Hunte Clancy's Mystic Invisible
QUILL: Greetings, everyone. This is Quill Jones of the Young Adventurer’s Gazette, Rocky Mountain USA Branch. I’m back again for another fabulous interview, set in Ryder Hunte Clancy’s Land of True Enchantment; the beautiful Scotland the brave. But no adventures for us today, folks. At least nothing involving the majestic outdoors. Today’s guest is perfectly content for us to sit in her living room, cozied by the radiator with her favorite drink: a steaming mug of Ovaltine. But rather than hearing me ramble on, I’ll let her do the talking. Allow me to introduce the fabulous Babs Campbell, Headmistress of Strathmartine Academy.
Thank you for joining us today, Babs.
BABS: Oh...it’s Barbara, actually. Barbara Campbell. And I’m the Assistant Headmistress at Strathmartine.
QUILL: I do apologize. I spoke to a Mr. Monte Darrow on the way over and he told me your name was Babs.
BABS: Eh yes, he would tell you that, the naughty lad.
QUILL: He seemed like a fine kid to me.
BABS: He’s...a scoundrel. Always up to trouble, that one.
QUILL: Well...I’m sorry to hear that. So if you’re the Assistant Headmistress, who is the actual Headmaster?
BABS: That’d be Jarus Darrow, Monte’s uncle.
QUILL: Ah, I see. Monte gets away with stuff then? With his uncle being Headmaster?
BABS: No...no. The laddie brought a sack of rotten eggs to school the other day and his uncle was actually quite mad about it.
QUILL: Rotten eggs. That must’ve been unpleasant.
BABS: It was. The bag burst all over my shoes.
QUILL: How unfortunate! Not the shoes you’re wearing now? Those look good enough to use as pillows.
BABS: Yes, these are my special slippers. They help me cope after a long day of work at the high school.
QUILL: Are they your favorite, those slippers?
QUILL: And this...Ovaltine stuff...is that your favorite drink?
BABS: It is. My mum and gran used to put it in my bottles when I was wee. They say that’s why I’m so well put together today. And good thing too, working up at the school. Gotta have my wits about me with that lot of hooligans.
QUILL: Well then, I’ll have to try Ovaltine sometime, if I can get accustomed to the malty taste, that is. Do you have a favorite meal to eat alongside it?
BABS: Not really, no. Should I?
QUILL: Not at all. What is your favorite meal, while we’re on the topic?
BABS: Well, I suppose I enjoy a good trip to the chipper.
QUILL: The chipper? As in fish n’ chips?
BABS: Aye, but my doctor wouldn’t like hearing that. Apparently I have high cholesterol. I shouldn’t have told you that. I shouldn’t be saying any of this.
QUILL: Don’t fret, your secret’s safe with me. Speaking of, what is your biggest secret?
BABS: Oh...I, um...I don’t think I should answer that. I can only imagine what everyone would say if they found out.
QUILL: Are you sure? Maybe you could give us a little teaser.
BABS: Most certainly not. My business, is my business
QUILL: Okay, okay. No worries, we’ll just skip over that question and go with something a little more friendly. How about we talk about...pets. Do you own a dog? I thought I heard one barking out back.
BABS: Oh, heavens no! Dogs are terrifying creatures. So dirty and slobbery and loud. I’m a cat person.
QUILL: Ah, you love cats. Noted. Do you keep any as pets?
BABS: I do. In fact, I have several.
QUILL: Several? How many is several?
BABS: I have seven.
QUILL: Seven cats!
QUILL: Wow. Where are they now?
BABS: They’re in the back bedroom, listening to the radio...their favorite program, the Oor Wullie Read-Aloud, is broadcasting just now.
QUILL: Oor Wullie? What’s that?
BABS: I think you mean who.
QUILL: Oh, right. Who is Oor Wullie?
BABS: Why, the wee lad is one of Scotland’s most iconic comic strip characters.
QUILL: Were you raised on Oor Wullie?
BABS: I suppose you could say that. He’s always been around, ever since I could remember.
QUILL: Oor Wullie and Ovaltine. Sounds like a good upbringing. And now you’re passing the tradition down...to your cats.
BABS: That’s right. I should warn you though; it’s almost tea time and they’ll be clawing up the walls soon for something to eat.
QUILL: Ahem, well, I’ll be sure to get out of your hair before that happens. In fact, let’s dive right in to the last question.
BABS: Fire away. I’m getting good at this.
QUILL: Indeed. Let’s see, what’s your earliest memory?
BABS: Oooh...that’s a hard one.
QUILL: Yes. You might have to dig deep.
BABS: I do have a very early memory coming to mind. It’s kind of strange, though.
QUILL: Let’s hear it.
BABS: I couldn’t have been more than five years old. It was a fine, sunny day - those are rare around here, in case you didn’t gather that already...
QUILL: I did gather that, yes.
BABS: Well me and my friend Libby were playing in the back garden while our mums chatted in the kitchen. The windows were open and we could hear them talking and laughing. They always kept each other in good company. I still remember how bright and red Libby’s hair looked in the sun, there was hardly a cloud in the sky that day. She was digging up worms while I built fairy gardens in the flower bed. Then, all of a sudden a chill swept over us, out of nowhere. The sky went dark and something strange stirred from inside, where our mothers were.
QUILL: Something strange? As in what, exactly?
BABS: It was a blast of colorful lights, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. Libby saw it too, I know she did, but we never had a chance to talk about it because the next minute my mother came marching out to collect me. She sent Libby and her mum away. We never played together again.
QUILL: Wow. That’s a pretty hefty first memory.
BABS: Aye, yes.
QUILL: Did you ever figure things out? The blast of lights? The chill in the air?
BABS: Well, I have some theories. But I dunno. They’re a wee bit silly.
QUILL: Do tell, please.
BABS: You’ll think I’m crazy but...here goes. Do you believe that magic could exist?
QUILL: Oh...Do I believe in magic? Well, no...I don’t. What are you implying?
BABS: Nothing...it’s nothing...It’s been a pleasure talking with you today, Quill.