Interview with a Minion... of Sloth
Looking back, there really was no excuse. From the time I walked up to the cottage I should have known that my day would not unfold even close to the way I expected. First clue? It was a cottage. You know, made of stone, thatched roof, cobbled walkway? A cottage! In the middle of Brightvale, surrounded by the most picturesque scenery imaginable. To be honest, the entire setup looked like it had been plucked straight from the pages of Medieval Home and Garden Magazine.
I reached into my pocket and withdrew a slip of paper. Glancing at the mailbox which coincidentally, was also shaped like a cottage, I put aside any lingering doubts. This was definitely #32, Meadow Lane. I started up the afore-mentioned cobbled walkway but only made it a couple steps before the wooden door burst open and a faerie Wocky flew out. Luckily she was quite observant and managed to slow down quickly enough to avoid a head-on collision. As she hovered uncertainly a furious howl, strangely high pitched, echoed from the house. Giggling, the Wocky darted around me and took off through the trees just as a baby Lupe emerged from the house.
Or at least, that's what it appeared to be. I wasn't quite sure until I got close. Her fur was mostly white with the occasional patch of blue. She raised a front paw and gingerly shook it, cringing at the amount of white powder that drifted down. With a disgusted sigh she glared into the woods.
"Just so you know, I'm never watching '101 Spotted Gelerts' with you again... and I'm telling mum you used all her flour!" she shouted. A set of giggles echoing through the surrounding forest was the only response. Not in the least amused she focused her attention on me. Somehow I didn't think it was the right time to mention that white was totally her colour.
"Look on the bright side kid, at least it wasn't Chia flour," I said, trying to put the situation into perspective. She stared blankly at me before turning back towards the house.
"Mom! The reporter lady is here" she yelled, trotting through the doorway and down the hall. I stayed outside, not sure if I was supposed to follow or await an invitation. After about ten seconds a flour dusted head poked back around the corner.
"So, like... what are you waiting for? An invitation?" she snapped, exasperated. I gave her a blank stare of my own, tempted to begin a lecture on 'why not to invite strange pets into your cottage' but somehow I doubted it would be appreciated. It was clear by that point that discretion was not the better part of anything so I adjusted my backpack and followed her inside.
The young pup led me through the house and I restrained my urge to gape at room after tastefully decorated room. Where was the gigantic 'Sloth for President' banner? The hand painted Dr. Sloth sculpture? Why, there wasn't even any sloth themed furniture! No self-titled autobiography placed proudly on the coffee table. Not one painting, poster or piñata. I found the sheer lack of slothy memorabilia quite disturbing, actually.
At the end of this parade of perfect rooms was yet another scene of domestic tranquillity. A matronly Zafara sat at the kitchen table with the baby Lupe in her lap as she wiped her off with a dampened towel. Judging by the ease with which she held the squirming girl and the evident lack of concern about the situation, I concluded that events like these were quite commonplace. Apparently satisfied with the little Lupe's current level of cleanliness, the Zafara placed her on the ground and she slunk off into a corner to see to her own grooming.
"Miriam, minion of sloth I presume?" I inquired, extending my hand in greeting. "My name is Lilithium and I'm here to ask you a few questions."
"Yes, my name is Miriam and I am a minion of sloth. You keep forgetting to capitalize that, dear," she added with a smile.
"Whoops, sorry about that," I said, quickly adjusting her title. "Miriam, Minion of Sloth." She inclined her head gracefully. "Thank you for agreeing to meet with me today," I said.
"It was my pleasure, Lilithium. There is this general misconception persons tend to have about minions, especially those of us who serve Sloth," she stated, patting her elegantly coifed curls. "I am hoping this interview will help dispel some of the myth and bring the truth to light."
"What are these misconceptions you speak of?" I asked, admiring her hair and making a note to inquire about her stylist. "And please, call me Lily."
"The first step, dear Lily, is to acknowledge a very basic distinction. That is, the difference between a minion and a fanatic." she said, smoothing her apron. "Please, have a seat." I pulled out a chair and made myself comfortable, noticing that the little terror seemed to have dozed off. Following my gaze, Miriam smiled gently and got up, removing the apron to place it over the tiny ball of fur. Turning to face me, she began her lecture.
"A minion is someone who is in the service of a powerful individual," Miriam explained, gesturing for emphasis. "Their only aim is to follow that person's instructions and accomplish his/her goals to the best of their ability. There is no thought to personal gain or recognition." Turning, she began to pace. "On the other hand, a fanatic... or fan as they are commonly called these days, is someone who is obsessed with a particular hobby or individual. They devote their time to collecting anything related to the subject in an attempt at self-gratification."
"As a minion, my only reward is the sense of achievement that comes from the successful completion of my task. So you see, there is no reason why you should expect a minion to make their home into a shrine celebrating all things Sloth. In fact, that may even be detrimental to the cause," Miriam explained. "Why would any true Minion of Sloth so blatantly advertise their affiliation when the Master can best be served by secretly carrying out his dastardly plots?"
"You make a good point, Miriam," I said, noting it down in my book.
"That isn't to say that we don't want to surround ourselves with such items. We are quite proud of Dr. Frank's achievements. Unfortunately it just doesn't suit our purposes to do so," she said with a sad smile.
"If you don't mind me asking, Miriam, how long have you been a Minion of Sloth. When did you first become one?"
"To be honest, I started out as a fan," Miriam admitted, flushing a delicate shade of rose. "I was very enthusiastic in my efforts. It was this enthusiasm that drew the attention of an actual minion. They offered me a small role to play and I jumped at the opportunity. I've been a true devotee ever since," she proudly exclaimed.
It was clear from her demeanour that Miriam was quite satisfied with the way things had turned out. Her eyes shone with happiness and she didn't appear to have been upset at any point since my arrival. Not much of a point in asking her if she liked being a minion, the answer was apparent. I moved on to the next question on my list. "What are the drawbacks, if any, of being a Minion of Sloth?"
Miriam paused for a bit, thinking hard. "If I had to choose one major flaw, I'd say it is the inactivity. It's very easy to become bored with your everyday tasks when in secret you are eagerly awaiting the next order. Although, the peculiar nature of some commands can be a bit off-putting. I remember this one time in Sakhmet....." she trailed off reluctantly. "Sorry, privileged information, dear."
"I completely understand, Miriam," I said. "Just one final question I have to ask. Is there..." My question was interrupted by the arrival of one dejected faerie Wocky. She plopped down beside the sleeping puppy and pouted.
"I can't believe I made all that effort and she didn't even bother to chase me! Where's the fun in that?" she complained.
"Well, maybe you shouldn't have snatched the flour the second my back was turned either," Miriam said calmly. "I'll be taking the cost out of your allowance of course. You'll also have to help me clean the kitchen." The young Wocky sighed and dropped her head on her paws. The oven timer chimed and Miriam pulled open the door releasing the mouth-watering scent of freshly baked cookies. "What was that last question, dear?" she inquired distractedly, clearly pre-occupied with the placing the finishing touches on her creations.
"Ah, yes. Do you have any advice you'd like to share with the aspiring minions out there?" I inquired.
"Dedication," Miriam asserted. "Dedication and consistency. You can't be a good minion if you aren't determined to make the effort. It has to be a consistent effort too. It's no use being overly zealous one day and completely uninterested the next." Miriam turned and offered me a plate full of frosted cookies. "Would you like some? I made more than enough." I raised an eyebrow at the obviously Sloth themed treats. Miriam gave a small smile.
"They are for this evening's Minion Committee Meeting. As I said, even minions like to show their allegiances sometimes." I took one of the offered cookies and grinned at Miriam.
"All hail Dr. Sloth."