Interview with an iconic flying rat


So it’s officially spring in the Northland, even though your eyes, ears and frostbitten toes might disagree. Around our house, this also signals the start to several sacred rituals:

  • The Shedding of the Parka
  • The Delivering of the Shovel Back to the Garage
  • The Untangling of the Jumper Cables From the Snow Pants (it was a confusing winter … )

But the best thing to come from spring’s entrance is spring’s exit because after that … it’s summer! I can’t wait! I want spring to scram so I can start enjoying the great outdoors again. Heck, I’d even be willing risk a high bridge and a tricky roundabout in Wisconsin if it meant I could get outside. (Still not going to Proctor, though. Let’s not get crazy here.)

To help get us in a summer mood, I’m conducting one of my world-famous Fake Interviews, where I pretend to sit down with an influential member of the Twin Ports and ask specific, pointed questions that are guaranteed to solicit totally fabricated answers. I hope you like it. If you don’t, just flip back and re-read Larry Weber’s column about milkweed fluff and chipmunk scat.


It was a chilly March morning as I waited for Mr. Seagull at the Super 8 out in West Duluth. A baker’s dozen doughnuts had been put out by the front desk staff, which I assumed were for anyone since they were just tossed into a pile in the parking lot. I quickly realized my mistake, however, and did leave one for Mr. Seagull. (Sure, there were a couple bites missing but it had sprinkles so who can blame me?) Finally, he fluttered down out of the sky, accompanied by a robin, a woodpecker and a flying squirrel. Strange choices for a bird posse, but then again, Steven Seagull plays by his own set of rules.

ME: So, Steven ...

STEVEN: Hey! Who took a bite out of my doughnut?

ME: It’s got sprinkles!! Anyway, uh, thanks for agreeing to this fake interview.

STEVEN: Whatevs. Can we speed this up? I gotta be down at Canal Park in an hour.

ME: Big press conference?

STEVEN: Naw. That’s when the Sports Garden tosses out their moldy french fries. Right, boys? SQUAWKKKK!

(He turned to his posse, who punctuated his proclamation with excited wing rustling, pavement pecking and nut chattering.)

ME: I was hoping you could tell us the exact moment that summer will be showing up in Duluth.

STEVEN: How should I know? I’m just a talking bird!

ME: With a cute name!

STEVEN: And a heavenly singing voice. Right, boys? SQUAWKKKKK!!!!

(Rustle. Peck. Nuts.)

And with that, they took to the sky, leaving this reporter to finish up the interview himself. Along with the sprinkly doughnut.