[Open on James Lipton staring out into the crowd, stone-faced, from behind his desk, blue cards in hand.]
James Lipton: If I had a choice between interviewing my next guest.. or getting in my homemade time machine, going back in time to Ancient Rome, riding into town on the shoulders of a bare-chested man as peasants threw gifts and shouted "Long Live James Lipton"...I would send Gaius Julius Caesar my regrets! For if a single moment of her life were placed in an envelope, wrapped in aluminum foil, dipped in hot wax, strategically covered with shards of glass, and placed on a limestone catafalque...it would still be so powerful it could cure some form of malaria. Ladies and gentlemen...please welcome...Empress Kukka-Maria.
[Amidst deafening applause, Kukka-Maria enters the stage and leaps onto two silk pillows, stacked on a chair, across from James Lipton.]
JL: Her Royal Highness, Empress Kukka-Maria...Welcome.
KM: Thank you, I am glad to be here.
JL: [Grabbing a blue index card from the towering stack in front of him, James Lipton pauses for dramatic effect before continuing.] Where were you born?
KM: I was born in Rothbury, Michigan.
JL: Tell us about your birth parents. What were their names?"
KM: My father was Emperor Charles Augustus Poodly Dolfus William Henry Isaac Newton Smith. My mother's name was Willow Danae. My father passed away during the summer of 1999, leaving me to inherit his throne. As far as I know, my alcoholic birth-mother lives in North Dakota and only calls when she needs money for booze.
JL: If you were supposed to take over the throne, how is it that you ended up 32.54 miles away from your empire?
KM: It's the typical boy-meets-girl/boy-loses-girl tale, James. I would have inherited the throne, but I, unfortunately, was born female. The animal empire decided they could not...would not be led by a chick and forced me from my home. As a small kitten of merely 5 weeks, I was dropped off at the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury.
[The audience offers up a collective gasp.]
JL: With all due respect, Kukka-Maria, I don't believe you are using the "boy-meets-girl" reference correctly.
KM: With all due respect, James Lipton, you are a douche bag.
JL: Touché, Empress...Touché. In the early autumn of 1999, your adopted mother...I'm sorry, agent, traveled to the ranch for an offsite work event, where she met you for the first time. Tell us how she came to adopt you.
KM: When my agent arrived, I saw her group heading to a conference room, so I followed. Upon noticing I was trying to go with them, she picked me up and held me as I immediately fell asleep. Of course, she thought I was bonding with her, but in all honesty, I was just glad to have a warm, soft spot in which to sleep. You see, up until that point, I had been sleeping in either the barn or in the gift shop on a hard shelf. Later, on a break, either she asked the ladies in the store if I was their kitten, if I was available for adoption, or if I knew I was the most beautiful and super-sexiest kitten in the world. I can't remember what she said, exactly, as I was zonked on her bosom, drooling and dreaming. I imagine it was the latter.
JL: In the spring of 2000, you began dating Brad Pitt.
[The audience bursts into applause.]
KM: Yes, I did. For the sake of his privacy--and mine, I prefer not to talk too much about it. I will say we shared a freaky-deaky love affair that was destined to burn brightly, but end quickly. I told him early on, that I knew I could never love him the way he deserved and that, when the steamy love was over, it would be important that he move on. For both our sakes.
JL: In the fall of 2000, you won a Daytime Emmy for my captivating portrayal of the teenage runaway, "Tawny" on All My Children. People were surprised that a cat won!
KM: Yes, James. I think, though, they were more surprised that I won for a scene that ended up on the cutting-room floor. I blame the inept director and talentless crew. They claim they were not able to figure out how to effectively film my too-tall human co-stars and my perfectly petite self in the same scene. I think they were just intimidated by my talent and grace.
JL: I agree, Empress...I agree. As you know, I like to end my interviews with the 10 questions made famous by the renown French journalist and interviewer, Bernard Pivot.
KM: Yes, I know, James. Everyone freakin' knows. Bring them on.
JL: What is your favorite word?
KM: Kukka. It means "flower" in Finnish and is the name of my favorite cat in the entire world. She is beautiful and talented, intelligent and creative, super-sexy and...
JL: [Interrupting Kukka-Maria's self-love fest] What is your least favorite word?
KM: No. I hate being denied my every desire.
JL: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
KM: My own reflection.
JL: What turns you off?
JL: What is your favorite curse word?
KM: Fuck. It's got the FFFFF and the UHHHHH and the CK! It's harsh and it's bold and it's scandalous, but then again, so am I! Sometimes there just isn't any other word that can effectively convey your emotions.
JL: What sound or noise do you love?
KM: The sound of the treat jar being shaken.
JL: What sound or noise do you hate?
KM: The moment when the applause stops.
JL: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
KM: Exotic dancer.
JL: What profession would you not like to do?
KM: Litterbox scooper.
JL: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
KM: "Kukka-Maria! It's about time you got here! I need your help!"
JL: It's truly been an honor to spend this time with you. Normally we open the floor to the students so they can ask you questions to help them in their studies. Tonight I am going to forego that. I feel as though your wisdom and skill far surpasses their abilities. Plus, I feel as though I have done such a wonderful job interviewing you, there are no other questions to ask. Kukka-Maria, you are a true talent, true beauty and a true empress.
[Lights fade as they audience applauds.]