14:32 Sat 06 May 2002
'I'm jotting this down in the back of a taxi on the way to Fowl Manor. I've just come home from a UK book tour and I thought I'd swing by Artemis's place, on the off chance that he's heard about the tour's success and he might be willing, finally, to give me an interview. I don't hold out much hope, though. A source in the security business tells me that Butler has completely upgraded the manor's security. I hope they don't have dogs. I hate dogs. Still, I'd rather be chased by a pack of attack dogs than be running away from Butler. That man is scary. Why do I do this job?'
Colfer shuddered at the thought of vicious attack dogs snarling with foam-flecked mouths, being held back only by a choke chain. Then he pictured the chain being released, and the rabid dogs charging at him, untamed fury in their eyes, barking and growling with a taste for an author's blood...
He really needed to stop thinking so descriptively.
Putting morbid thoughts of bloodthirsty dogs out of his mind, Colfer realized that he had arrived at Fowl Manor. He instructed the driver to wait for him, and gathered his usual tools of the trade: a notebook and a pen. He warily stepped out of the car, half-expecting the dogs to come running after him. When a minute had passed and he was still not ripped to shreds, he approached the door and rang the doorbell. He knew there was no need; there were almost certainly tiny cameras (probably supplied by Foaly) monitoring his every move.
Not two seconds after he pressed the button, the door opened, and there stood Butler, every bit as terrifying as the first time Colfer had seen him.
"Come in, Mr. Colfer. Master Artemis has been expecting you." As he followed Butler down a maze of hallways, Colfer couldn't help finding it strange that while he was 'Mr. Colfer,' Artemis was 'Master Artemis Fowl II.' It was a trifle unfair, to say the least.
They reached the Fowl equivalent of a living room; it was about the size of Colfer's entire house. A grand piano sat in one corner, and a soft string of music emanated from it. No doubt Artemis was practicing. It sounded like a particularly complicated piece, but Artemis played it with the same icy calmness he used for plotting out evil schemes. Ironic how the same talent could be used for such different tasks.
Colfer and Butler waited patiently for another minute or so while Artemis finished the piece. Even through the beautiful music, Colfer felt the silence and stillness of the manor. Yet Artemis commanded his attention like the powerful man he was. Though by age Artemis was hardly a man, his demeanor and vocabulary would tell you otherwise.
He finished the song with a surge of 32nd notes and a huge glissando, then stood as if it had been a light practice session. Colfer almost broke into applause, but was terrified that such an act would not turn out well.
"Welcome, Mr. Colfer. I had a feeling you'd drop by."
'A feeling, or Foaly's stalker-esque technology?' he thought. Artemis led the author to the middle of the large room, and sat in an expensive-looking armchair. If Colfer didn't know better, he would think it belonged to Artemis's father.
"So, what brings you here?" said Artemis pleasantly, taking a prolonged sip from the glass of Irish spring water in front of him. He motioned for Butler to retrieve one for Colfer as well, and the bodyguard retreated immediately.
"I was...hoping for an interview."
"I'm sorry, Mr. Colfer, but I don't make it a point to interview people," said Artemis with a sardonic smile.
"You know what I mean, Artemis."
"I do indeed. My answer is still no." Colfer's heart sank, and he reverted to the only thing left in his author's arsenal.
Artemis chuckled lightly, causing Colfer to squirm.
"Well, since you asked nicely..." Colfer didn't get his hopes up.
Eoin Colfer was taken completely by surprise.
"I said yes. Don't make me change my mind." Colfer quickly grabbed the notebook and pen, instantly ready. Artemis stopped him.
"Before we begin, I must ask that you don't ask any questions about my friends or close family. If you intend to publish this, which I'm sure you do, my enemies could use that information against me."
"Very well then. If you weren't a criminal mastermind, what would you most like to do?"
Artemis pondered this a moment before responding.
"I think there is a lot of work to be done in the field of psychology. If I did not have my criminal plots to occupy my time, I think I would devote my energies to putting right some of the mistakes made by misters Freud and Jung." Colfer was taking notes in shorthand, much like a reporter.
"What do you really think of Captain Holly Short?"
"I have immense respect for Captain Short, and I often wish she would come over to my side, as it were," he said darkly, letting the vampire smile creep onto his features. "But I know she never will. She has too many principles. And if she ever lost those principles, perhaps I would lose my respect for her, too." Colfer took a long sip of the Irish spring water, trying to calm his nerves. He loathed the way that he was losing his nerve over a few questions, whereas Artemis Fowl remained stoic as a statue.
"You have traveled a great deal. Where is your favorite place in the world, and why?" Artemis took no time in answering.
"My favorite place in the world is Ireland," he said matter-of-factly. "As the fairy People say, it is the most magical place. Its landscapes are the most inspirational in the world. And the people are witty and genuine," he said with a flash of the vampire-like smile again, "Though we do have a dark side." Colfer believed the last description applied solely to Artemis Fowl. Well, him and his father. He was terrified to ask the next question.
"What was your most embarrassing moment?"
Artemis's face took on a shade of actual complexion.
The rest of the questions went fairly smoothly, until they reached the final one.
"Okay, one last question. Who is your best friend?" As good-natured as Artemis had been so far, Colfer soon realized he had made an uncorrectable mistake, as the genius's face darkened considerably.
"I believe that we agreed that this question would not be asked. If my enemies discovered who my best friend is, they could get to me through him or her." He paused, wondering how to phrase his next sentence. "Let me just say that my best friend is never far away and has been with me since the day of my birth." Colfer finished his notations quickly, feeling lucky to have survived.
So lucky, in fact, that he decided to push it.
"Could I interview Butler?"