David Ackley: I am attired in north country formal for this interview: black breechcloth as opposed to the everyday penile sheath and ray bans.
Shelagh Power-Chopra: I like the idea of David’s puritanical loincloth, preferably lined in coarse horsehair – he should really market those…
Katrina: I could really get behind a secret society/political party/punk band/feminist dance troupe/cereal/disease called The Naked Rowdies. That’s just going on name alone. Fill me in. Give me the scoop on what I’m supporting here.
Shelagh: I remember David commenting on one of my stories at one point, something or other about naked rowdies boozing on beaches. I thought it was a great title, either for a short story or an Irish Rock band. His quick reply was: “Or a short story about an Irish band…” We then sort of amused each other, and ourselves on our respective walls.
David: It’s perhaps useful to distinguish the Rock Band “The Naked Rowdies” and the Fictionaut Group of the same name, of which more later.
As Shelagh notes regarding the band they are, in our version, apocryphal, a spinoff of a story of hers chronicling some roustabouts from the Cape, where skinny dipping has the same standing as soccer to Liverpudlians.
From this somehow sprang a set of Irish Rockers for whom wretched excess was merely the starting gate and whose misadventures in freelance nudity, dissemination of bodily fluids and ingestion of brain-eating substances ( including in Shelagh’s memorable notation, “Vats of horse tranquilizer.”) we set about to record. Our version is that the Rowdies are pure invention, drummed-up for our own amusement.
Another version, sacred text to diehard Rowdies Fans, is that Shelagh and me are the invention, existing solely to record the true history of their beloved idols. But the fans are a brain-addled, jurassic lot in their own right, whose main contribution to society is setting world speed records in chugging until you puke; and the “Inverted Pogo” a mosh pit maneuver in which two skinheads upend a third and pound his naked pate on the floor in time to the beat.
Whichever version obtains, the misadventures of the group “The Naked Rowdies” can be found on page 5 or 6 of the Fictionaut Group, “The Naked Rowdies, ” Along with free parking for anarchic low comedy of other ilk. I assume all this is perfectly clear.
Katrina: Speaking of low comedy and one-liners, have you considered taking the Rowdies to Twitter? You could be famous.
Shelagh: The rowdies are sort of like “The Mime” on Twitter but instead of random ellipsis tweets, theirs would be more like *&%$#! or *#%&(@! Occasionally they’ll throw in one word like, “waterbed” or “gooseflesh”.
David: Shelagh is correct, though I heard Paddy the Rowdies’ lead singer, attempt to explicate his position toward Twitter as follows:
” Twitting on Tweeter is for a bunch of F______g T__Ts .”
Katrina: What writing gig would you give up your left pinky toe to have?
Shelagh: I think Edward Lear’s life would ideal: scrawling limericks with a brood of ugly cats at my feet…
David: I’d like to be Tina Fey, sex change nothwithstanding.
Katrina: Hang on: Your group description says “The Simpsons” was cancelled. What the–How did I not know this? What do you plan to do with that precious, sad half hour of dead air between “Bob’s Burgers” and “Family Guy”? Do you have a running list of possibilities?
Shelagh: I’m a fan of this strange kids’ show, Flapjack, about a little boy who’s raised by a female whale named Bubbie and surrounded by drunken sailors. That might fit in well in that time slot as it certainly appeals more to adults, I think (my son thinks it’s too weird!).
David: 1.” Pimp My Ride.” 2.” Jackass.”
Katrina: Alrighty: Name five fun facts about David Ackley and Shelagh Power-Chopra without using the words “naked,” “rowdy,” or “fisticuffs.”
David: I picture him as old beyond his years, which is pretty old in the first place, dour and entirely self-absorbed. In his youth he trained for his future writing career by mucking out his grandfather’s dairy barn. He tells his children that his wartime experience consists of being pursued down Waikiki beach by hordes of ravening hula dancers. He once, on the island of Kauai(sp?), along with a couple of drunken companions, sank the outrigger canoe in which rode Elvis for the final grand scene of” Blue Hawaii.”
Some of this is true, although, as his wife, Ann, continually reminds him, he has entirely lost the ability to distinguish between truth and fiction. Which, Children, is what can happen to you when you spend too much time hanging about on Fictionaut.
Shelagh: I don’t know, I like the idea of “fisticuffs” becoming new urban slang. David’s life is far more interesting than mine… These days I live with a maharajah and we dine on exotic culinary delights all day long, smoke hookahs and I do some writing in between. That’s only four facts, but so it goes.
Katrina Gray checks in with Fictionaut groups every Friday. She lives in Nashville with the writer John Minichillo and their lovechild. She is the editor-in-chief of Atticus Review, and she blogs about mostly non-literary things at www.katrinagray.com.