By Kate Corrnie, special to Forbode Magazine.
Today I had the unique opportunity to interview Grendel, a well-known literary figure, and someone who was just named to Forbode Magazine's list of 10 most ruthless characters. I caught up with Grendel at one of his favorite haunts: a desolate pond in Scandinavia near where he was raised. The place is a cross between those two iconic bodies of water: Walden Pond and the planet Dagobad. When I met him, Grendel was applying a fresh bandage to a wound he had recently received, so I asked him about it.
Kate: How did you lose your arm?
Grendel: I got in a fight with a big guy who ripped it off.
Kate: I'm so sorry! That sounds terrible. Can you describe what that experience was like?
Grendel: It was the worst day of my life, believe me. I was feeling down and out that day to begin with, real angry at the world, and all that. You know the feeling—well, maybe you don't.... Anyway I decided to take it out on some of old Hrothgar's folks, same as I've done many-a-time. It always makes me feel better to knock some heads. I get there and everybody's sleeping, and all that, so I grab a guy and show him who's boss, when all of a sudden this big guy jumps me and we have a real go at it. He has this incredibly strong grip. We're wrestling together for a while and I just can't shake him off. Finally he grabs hold of my arm—and by this time I'm thinking: “this place is hell, I need to get outa here”—and he literally pulls my bloody arm off!
Kate: Horrible! What did you do then?
Grendel: Well, he was holding my arm, not me, at that point so I got outa there in a hurry.
Kate: How do you feel towards the man who disabled you?
Grendel: How do you think?! How would you feel if somebody pulled your bloody arm off! That guy should be drawn and quartered! I talked to a lawyer but he acted like there was nothing to do. It was self defense he said. Self defense to pull somebody's arm off?! How wrong is that? My livelihood is gone!
Kate: Since you bring up your livelihood, why don't you tell me a little about your business?
Grendel: Basically, I'm a pirate. I take what I need and then some. It's not a bad business to be in in this economy, actually.
Kate: Clearly not, since you were recently named to Forbode Magazine's list of 10 most ruthless businessmen. It's been said that you don't just make a living, you make a killing. Is that an accurate characterization?
Grendel [chuckling]: Yeah, you could say that.
Kate: What was the pinnacle of your pillaging career?
Grendel: Well, I've been in the business a little over 12 years, so there have been a lot of good hauls, but I would have to say the best was the time I carried off 30 of Hrothgar's men in one night. I do everything on a graveyard shift, it just makes my work so much easier.
Kate: In your dealings with others you have often been compared to Cain. Do you think the comparison is accurate?
Grendel: Well... Sure. We're both kinda loners. Kinda outcasts from society. People don't like us, and we don't like people!
Kate: You say you are a loner. Did you have any friends growing up, Grendel? Why don't you tell us about your childhood?
Grendel: My life as a kid was hard. I grow up without a father: my mother was a single parent. The only place we could afford to live was little better than a swamp. No electricity. We had running water, but, unfortunately, it was running through the roof. I would have to say my childhood wasn't typical. I was always a loner; didn't have any friends growing up. I was always jealous when I saw the other kids having fun together. I tried to steal their toys and scare them. I guess I just wanted to make their life miserable because I was miserable.
Kate: Were you—forgive me if this sounds crude—were you a bully growing up?
Grendel: Yeah, you could probably say that.
Kate: How would you characterize your relationship with your mother?
Grendel: She taught me everything I know. Always stuck up for me. Still does. In fact, as we speak she's on her way to pay back the fellow who did this to my arm. Pity the poor wretches she gets her hands on. Raising me alone like she did taught her to be every bit as tough as I am myself.
Kate: We're running out of time, and I can see that shoulder is giving you a lot of pain. One more question: who's your hero?
Grendel: That's a hard one... Frankenstein's Creature is someone I really look up to, but on the other hand, there's a lot I admire in Gollum as well...
Editor's Note: Shortly after this interview with Forbode Magazine, Grendel passed away due to complications from the injury to his arm. Correspondent Kate Corrnie was the last person to interview him before his death.