The year is 452 AD. An enterprising Roman reporter has caught up with Attila the Hun and his bunch of barbarians somewhere in Austria. Attila has just left Italy, having decided that there was nothing there worth plundering. Attila’s army had already been clobbered by the Romans in France, and he wasn’t going to risk that again for a few olive trees and some Chianti. That whole invasion had been a bust.
Attila and the toga-clad reporter are sitting and drinking beer in a luxurious tent, furnished with rugs and cushions. They are both wearing microphones. Another man in a toga is operating a large video camera.
REPORTER: This is Publius Obnoctius, coming to you from the headquarters of Attila the Hun, known to all of us as the Scourge of God. General Attila has been gracious enough to grant this interview.
ATTILA: Who’s gracious? You’re paying me. You pay me, I talk.
REPORTER: Uh … yes, General, whatever you say.
ATTILA: And what’s this Scourge of God malarkey? You can’t beat up on God. It’s impossible. Even I can’t do that.
REPORTER: I think it has to do with all the wars and pillaging. You know … starting wars, annihilating armies, burning towns, mass murder, stealing everything. That tends to irritate people and make them call you names.
ATTILA: Okay, but they can’t think of a better name to call me than that? I at least deserve to be called Fucking Marauding Sonofabitch.
REPORTER: Well, um …
ATTILA: Or Attila the Great. That’s a good one, too. I take pride in my work, yanno.
REPORTER: I’ll be happy to bring that up with the Roman public.
ATTILA (waving at the camera and smiling): I already have.
REPORTER: Of course. General Attila …
The reporter jumps, startled by a series of piercing screams.
ATTILA: Excuse me. I have to take this.
Attila takes a cell phone from a pouch hanging from his belt, opens it and puts it to his ear.
ATTILA: Hello. … Yeah. Put her on. (to reporter) It’s my fiancee, Ildico.
REPORTER: That’s some ringtone!
ATTILA: We recorded that on my last raid. It has a nice beat to it, don’t you think? (into phone) Hello, Baby! You miss me? (pause) I know I’m away from home a lot, Sweet Lips. In my line of work you gotta move around. I’ll make it up to you. I promise. We’ll be together real soon. (pause) Love you, too. Bye.
REPORTER: It sounds like the two of you have a pretty special relationship.
ATTILA: Yeah. She’s totally hot and she’s a crazy nympho. I swear she’ll kill me one of these days, but I’ll be smiling when I go. You want more beer?
REPORTER: No, I’m good. Thanks.
ATTILA: Well, I do. (leans back and shouts) Yo! More beer here! (to reporter) You can’t get good slaves nowadays. You kidnap them from the best towns, but when you get them here all they want to do is lie around and run off. Terrible service. … Whoa! That’s it! Attila the Terrible! That’s a moniker!
REPORTER: Yes, it is. So, General, what did it feel like to you when you were defeated by the Roman army in France?
ATTILA: Oh, I just lo-o-o-ved losing the biggest battle of my career and being made to look like a complete schmuck! What the hell kind of idiot question was that?
REPORTER: After he defeated you, General Aetius was called the greatest Roman of them all.
ATTILA: Yeah. I’ll bet he’s eating that up! That’s a hell of a lot better than being called The Scourge of God! By the way, if you see that sonofabitch bastard when you get back, tell him he owes me money. He bet against one of my horses and lost. That was thirty-five years ago. By this time the interest has built up big time. And I don’t take checks or credit cards.
REPORTER: Ah yes! You and General Aetius were friends as boys.
ATTILA: We all make mistakes when we’re young.
REPORTER: Well, General Attila, thank you for your time and for your … ahem … honest answers.
ATTILA: Don’t mention it.
REPORTER: This is Publius Obnoctius, signing off.