Did you ever wonder what’s up with Sean Gables or whatever names he’s going by these days? We put our senior editor, Sophie Szabo, on it and here’s what she found out about the man of a thousand faces!
We discovered we had to put an ad in the personals of a lot of newspapers around the world before we got a response and were able to set up an interview. It took months to organize and happened in the middle of a massive field of soybean plants in southern Maryland — a forever sea of short dark green in all directions — there he stood, his hands in his pockets, watching me walk over from a very long distance from my car.
He looked nothing like I expected and seemed wary of my every move and word. He wore sweats, his damp hair clung to his forehead, and he kept glancing around in all directions and checking his watch, as if expecting someone else to appear or perhaps he had an appointment he didn’t want to miss. He only nodded at my outstretched hand and smile, which made me realize this was going to be a different kind of interview than my others. But I stayed cheerful and hopeful.
“No camera, no phone, no pictures, no tape,” he murmured, to remind me of our agreement.
I nodded, swallowed, and began my interview. My neat notes swam under my eyes. Focus.
“You have had so many different identities in your lifetime,” I began, waiting for my first question to form – somehow the ones on the page seemed too mundane to ask this man.
“Is that a question?” he prompted with a general American accent.
“No, we’re interested in what you’ve done to keep them all straight. Is it challenging?”
I swallowed hard, and all thoughts of any creative and leading questions evaporated. I looked at my notebook, fighting for inspiration, my palms sweating now, and came out with a real lame question.
“How many more characters do you plan to be during the rest of your life?”
Another stare, this one right through me – gave me shivers.
I cleared my throat and tried a different tack.
“Where are you originally from? What was your life like, growing up?”
A tinge of sadness shadowed his face but vanished almost at the same time.
“I’m from a lot of places. Had a great childhood.”
Now his accent sounded Dutch. Weird.
“Your life seems very complicated. Is that true?”
He nodded once.
“Do you think you’ve gotten everything you wanted from life?”
He looked thoughtful but said nothing and glanced at his watch again, then scanned the fields around us nervously. He shifted feet and tweaked his right earlobe, as if anxious for the interview to end.
“What can we expect from you in future stories?”
At this point, I had nothing to lose except my job for failing to bring in a good story. I took a deep breath.
“What’s your real name?”
He said, “Adieu,” and began jogging away from me.
I watched him go until he disappeared into a distant bank of trees. I stayed where I was until I couldn’t see him anymore, the final term of our agreement. Indeed, I felt pretty lucky to have gotten this brief audience. Now the real work would begin, making an amazing story from his few reactions. Or maybe I shouldn’t even try – just report what I experienced. Lots to think about.
Then I started back to my car, a dot at the far end of the field. I kept glancing back toward the bank of trees where Gables had disappeared and figured I would never see him again.
Or would I even know if this secretive and unnerving man crossed my path in the future? Would you know if he crossed yours?
Senior Editor, Moonlight Mystery Press