Ok, so, DISAPPEARANCE is…not all peaches and roses. When we proposed this interview, we were nervous. Well, TERRIFIED that a resident villain might turn up in the seat. Luckily (though we’re 70% in and we know for damned sure that things can turn for the worse) it was Mark Taylor who showed up today. Let’s see how this goes.
DLB: We’re scared of all of you people, and we don’t ever want to live out the apocalypse with you.
DLB: Alright, fine. Let’s start easy. What is your name?
MT: Mark Taylor, the one and only.
DLB: Yes, very possibly. Do you have a nickname?
MT: Not one anyone’s ever called me to my face. I’m kind of afraid of what Olivia might call me inside of her head.
DLB: That sounds about right for any relationship. Where are you guys from, originally?
MT: Toronto, Ontario, baby, no better place on Earth.
DLB: Really? Because things aren’t looking so hot from where we’re standing. How do you cope with the loneliness? Do you have any friends? Best friends?
MT: This is where I’m supposed to get a big sappy grin on my face and say Olivia, partner in my life and mother of my child, but…Emily has that strange way of knowing exactly what I’m feeling, and being able to see exactly what my next move is going to be. I don’t know if you’d consider her my best friend in a conventional sense, but there it is.
DLB: That sounds controversial, but we’re okay with controversial friends, so long as they make us laugh. What makes you laugh, Mark?
MT: The idea that, out of all the scant survivors left after everyone else disappeared, one of them was a woman who, at the time, had every reason to hate me. The random number generator of the universe has a sense of humour.
DLB: ‘Humour’. We keep forgetting that you’re Canadian. You know, a lot of this book challenges the Canadian stereotype. It seems you DO get mean. How do you cope with anger? Where do you go when you’re angry?
MT: Where can I go? People have gotten funny after the lights went out, and I don’t really want to be away from our group for too long. So I just find an empty room in our hideaway and bite my thumb for a while. I’m afraid there’ll be nothing left after a while.
DLB: Funny?! Not funny, haha, Mark, you survivors can be brutal. Have you gotten into any fights? Do you have any scars?
MT: Only the emotional ones, inflicted for good cause though. Olivia and I have…well, have we gotten past it? I don’t even know. Maybe we have. The scars are still there, though. They probably always will be.
DLB: Hm. You seem sweet, but we’re watching you closely, so don’t get any ideas about this nutritional human flesh over here. Where do you live?
MT: Nope, not telling you. If word gets out, someone will come after us for the food. After the Mayor and that gangster hoarded all the food they could lay their hands on, pickings have gotten slim and I don’t really want to join what little food we have left in some asshole’s larder.
DLB: Alright, fair enough. Where do you work?
MT: Well I WAS a computer salesmen, before…and now I guess I’m a professional survivor now.
DLB: We like to think we all are, Mark. But let’s get dirty. Do you have any secrets?
MT: I killed a man I was very close to. It was an accident, but it haunts me still. Even if everyone else Could forgive me, I don’t think I’d be able to forgive myself.
DLB: That’s a lot sadder than we were prepared for, Mark. Let’s stop getting dirty. Any favorite foods?
MT: I prefer powdered stuff over canned, to be honest. Especially powdered mashed potatoes. It’s weird. You would think they’d be terrible, but here we are. Anything’s better than what those poor bastards hiding out in the subway tunnels have to eat. I hear that there aren’t any rats left down there, if you get my meaning.
DLB: YES WE DO AND WE PREFER THAT YOU NOT TALK ABOUT IT. Keep it kosher, Mark. Let’s try something light again: It’s Sunday morning. What are you doing?
MT: Ideally? Sitting on the roof – any roof, really – taking in the sun and reading a book. It doesn’t even have to be a good book. It’s the little things that make all the scrounging and the sneaking worthwhile. All the horror has to get balanced out, right?
DLB: Totally. We’re not so different, you and we. How about this: You’re getting out for the night. Where are you going?
MT: The last time we got out was for the last big party all the survivors threw, before the lights went out and it all went to hell. It was interesting at first. All these people, glad to be alive, scared as hell, uncorking the city’s overflowing supply of booze without the need to consider the cost. Then, as the night went on, it got to be frightening. The drugs came in, and the dam burst, and people were…people were being people, I suppose. We got out of there before it got too hairy.
DLB: I’m sorry, drugs and booze? A bursted dam? That’s our kind of party! There was this one full moon circle when we were kids that Priestess Sunswiper hogtied a….uh, never mind. Good memories, is the point. What is your most everlasting childhood memory?
MT: Before my parents were divorced they used to take me to Kensington Market every second Saturday. It stands out in my mind primarily because there’s so much to look at, between the artsy little boutiques, the artsy students that frequent the boutiques, and the food stores that attract the widest variety of Torontonians I can think of. Well, not any more, I guess. Now it’s silent, and buried under snow. It’s funny. The last time I was there, someone had taken all of the mannequins out of one of the boutiques and put them in the middle of the street. I don’t know whether it was someone’s comment on the state of affairs after everyone vanished, or if it was just a joke. I guess I’ll never find out.
DLB: We pray that you will, Mark. Thank you for not eating us and the best of luck with your survival.