Dear readers, tonight we print a psychiatric assessment of the two protagonists from a novel we loved. With their job entailing rescuing the world from other-dimensional horrors on a weekly basis, it’s no wonder they need regular psych evals.
Assessor: What’s your name?
Morag: You don’t know my name?
Assessor: You’ve been through a traumatic incident. We want to assess your mental state. Just give us some details — name, where you’re from — that sort of thing.
Morag: They do this to you, Rod?
Rod: Oh, aye. Every time I go toe to toe with an unspeakable horror from another dimension.
Morag: [huffs] Fine. Morag Murray. I’m from Inverness, Scotland. I moved down to Birmingham at the beginning of this week. A promotion of sorts.
Assessor: Of sorts?
Morag: There were some problems in the Edinburgh office. I pissed off the wrong god. You know how you can sometimes say the wrong thing at the wrong time?
Assessor: A social faux pas.
Morag: Exactly, except this one involved a shotgun and the face of a demi-god. Both barrels.
Assessor: But you now work in the Birmingham office?
Morag: Correct. Birmingham consular mission to the Venislarn. You’ve got a city full of demons and faceless terrors, all under the surface. We’re just here to keep them happy and tucked out of sight.
Assessor: How has your first week on the job been?
Morag: [considers the state of her clothes] Well, I’m covered head to toe in a thick layer of chocolate. I wasn’t expecting that when I started the week.
Rod: You fight with a god in a chocolate factory, there’s gonna be some chocolate, right?
Morag: I see you survived the night without a delicious chocolate coating.
Rod: One of the first things they taught us in the SAS: how to avoid getting covered in chocolate.
Assessor: Your first week…?
Morag: Let’s see. Is this some sort of test to see if a fight with Zildrohar Cqulu has given me concussion? Er… I pretty much hit the ground running this week. That’s one of my key strengths. I can adapt to new situations quickly.
Rod: You mean you rush in without thinking about things.
Morag: Hey. I’m impulsive. But that can be a good thing.
Rod: Oh, aye. If you hadn’t flung yourself in, we’d never have caught that Kervy Aldo character.
Rod: Right. Kermit Ascot.
Rod: As I said…
Assessor: Who is Kerfin Edsel?
Rod: Curtain Aswad.
Morag: Kerrphwign-Azhal. A god. A little one. A godling.
Rod: A giant vampiric starfish. We chased him halfway across the city. He eats virgins’ hearts and was feeling peckish.
Morag: I caught up with him in the children’s hospital.
Rod: You saved a young lad. Some proper heroics.
Assessor: It must have been scary.
Morag: There’s not a lot that scares me. But that was my first morning. Barely had a chance to sit down in the office.
Assessor: And what do you think of the consular mission’s offices?
Morag: Putting them in plain sight, using the city library as a front? That takes some balls. And it’s impressive. Not only the offices but the Vault. A basement museum full of crazy Venislarn artefacts. Cursed puzzle boxes.
Rod: That vampiric sword, Galicum.
Morag: The Bloody Big Book, which they say contains all human history, past and present.
Rod: The Untouchable Crown of Zhen-du.
Morag: Oh, I don’t know that one. What is it?
Rod: The Untouchable Crown of thingy-thingy.
Morag: What happens when you touch it?
Rod: I don’t know. It’s untouchable. I thought it best not to touch it. I follow the rules. That’s another thing they teach you in the SAS.
Assessor: And you like having Rod on your team?
Morag: Yeah. Being part of the response team means we’ve got to handle any emergency in the city. There’s Rod. Yeah, you’re great.
Morag: And Nina. She’s young and cocky but she’s fearless. Utterly fearless. [laughs] You said I must have been frightened to face the monster. I think the scariest thing I’ve seen this week is Vivien Grey, the fourth member of our team.
Morag: She’s just so bloody… precise. Cold. Yes, the world is going to be devoured by alien gods at some point. Yes, we have to try to keep humanity from finding out, because that will only end in panic. But it doesn’t bother her one jot. She just keeps going. Like a robot bureaucrat.
Assessor: And how do you cope? With the horrors?
Morag: No. Um. I think anger keeps me going.
Morag: I don’t like the Venislarn. I know we can’t defeat them. They’re practically unkillable and some of them can melt your mind just by looking at you. But there’s no bloody way I’m going to go down without a fight. We’ll play their game. We’ll try to appease them. We’ll bow and scrape and give them sacrifices or whatever but — God! — when their backs are turned, I’m gonna give them such a kick up the arse.
Rod: I can see why you had to leave the Edinburgh office now.
Assessor: And is that it?
Assessor: Work and anger? Demonic alien gods and vengeance? What positives are there in your life?
Morag: Did I mention alcohol? Yes? Um. Well, I don’t have much time for socialising or romance or —
Rod: What about that bloke?
Morag: What bloke?
Rod: That minion of Yo Morgantus. Servant to the god who rules this city.
Morag: Shush, Rod. Don’t stick your nose in. Look are we done here?
Assessor: Is there a problem?
Morag: I’m covered in chocolate. I’m starting to set. I’d like to go home and either get a shower or just eat this stuff. It’s the weekend after all.
Assessor: It is.
Morag: And next week we do it all again. Fish men, rogue wizards, things with more tentacles than I’ve had hot dinners.
Assessor: I think I can sign you off as mentally fit.
Morag: Great. Now, can someone help me out of this chair? The chocolate has cemented me in.
Heide Goody and Iain Grant have been writing comedy books together since 2011. She’s the funny stupid one. He’s the funny clever one. They are authors of the popular ‘Clovenhoof’ series (in which Satan loses his job and is sent to live in suburbia) and the ‘Oddjobs’ series which pokes fun at the end of the world as we know it.
You can find Morag and Rod on the pages of Oddjobs.
Join us next week to meet a shape-shifting martial artist, fighting the supernatural. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.