My name is William Reese and I work for Rolling Stone magazine. My job as a reporter takes me all over the world. Today I’m on assignment to interview Michael Chernigov, comedian and author of “AKA Mick”. Mick, as he insists on being called, is an American of Ukrainian parentage raised in New Jersey and living in L.A. I’m picking him up at a downtown hotel in Seattle with the task of driving him back to L.A. while we do an interview. I know it’s going to be an interesting ride, Mick’s a bit of a character and he’s late, extremely late. He goes into a lengthy monologue about the inordinate amount of time he’d spent in the bathroom that morning due to the current over-carbonation of Dr. Pepper and the inability to get a decent tuna sandwich on the west coast. He’s engaging and disarming all at once. He looks as though he could be homeless. But there’s a light in his eyes when he talks and he talks a lot. Mick is a musician who doesn’t play an instrument. He walks out on stage with a guitar but never plays it. His current tour ,“Hyperbolic”, is playing sold-out shows across the U.S. He’s in Seattle for a short but well deserved break and my job is to get him back to L.A. because he won’t fly.
When I ask him why he won’t fly he goes into a monologue about sonic disruptors and flying triangles.
“I had a dream one night that really bothered me and when I woke up I looked out the window and there was a wedge of pie flying right over my house. Not sure what kind of pie, but it hit me, the flying triangles, damn they’re real. Right then I knew my flying days were over.”
Along with talking almost nonstop, Mick also seems to be incredibly flatulent and I’m thankful I rented a convertible and it’s summer. After he rips a particularly disturbing fart he apologizes with an explanation.
“It’s that Dr. Pepper, man. When I was a kid it was smooth as syrup. Now they over-carbonate it and it messes my stomach up. But I’m addicted, you know. Nothing like a good cola.”
We’re not 20 minutes into the trip when he sees a rest stop and asks me to pull over. I figure with his stomach and all it’s probably a good idea to honor his request. When over a half hour passes, I decide I better go check on my passenger. He’s not in the bathroom and I find him lying under a tree reading a copy of Popular Mechanics.
“This is the article about those sonic disruptors I was telling you about. Fascinating stuff. Those things will screw up the ozone for sure.” When I ask about resuming the trip he tells me to keep my shirt on. This is going to be a long two days. We’ve been on the road for two hours and have logged about 40 miles. At that rate our two-day trip will take a week and I’ll miss my deadline.
This is an ongoing story. Follow me for the continuing adventures of AKA Mick…