September Author Gallery Feature

Curse of the Sphinx Character Interview by Raye Wagner.

Meet Athan.

It’s summer in Seattle, and after sitting in traffic for an hour, I’m ecstatic when I find a blue Nissan pulling out of a spot near Pike Place Market. The sun is playing peek-a-boo with fluffy cumulous clouds, and by late this afternoon, I’ll be glad I’m staying in a hotel with air conditioning.
I cross the street and make my way down Pine Street. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is on the corner, and I can see a young man wearing a white apron stirring a large vat of what, I’m guessing, is curds and whey. But I don’t really know. Whatever is in that milky substance has been rated the best local cheese for over a decade, and I’m craving a grilled cheese sandwich. Or maybe some macaroni and cheese.
My meal planning hits a major derailment when the young man I’m meeting crosses the store to greet me.
“Raye?” Athan asks, extending his hand.
He has quite possibly the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen, and I think I stare a little too long to be appropriate before I take his hand.
“It’s nice to finally meet you,” I say. Or at least I think that’s what comes out of my mouth.
He’s tall, like six four, and I’m guessing just under two hundred pounds. He’s thin, but not skinny, and his shoulders are broader than I thought they would be. He’s lean, but still chiseled like an Olympian athlete.
“The pleasure is all mine,” he assures me.
He points toward a table at the back of the store. Past the small round tables that are bar height, with metal backless stools. The wooden rectangle has actual seats around it, and a cup and phone sitting on it. I wonder if he’s just that trusting, or if he doesn’t care.
“May I order for you? I’m going to get the mac-n-cheese . . .” He cocks an eyebrow and smiles.
No kidding, I think my brain short-circuits. I can see why Krista hated Hope, and why Obelia was jealous. But I’m happily married, I remind myself, and I have an interview to do.
“That would be great. Thank you.”
I set up my laptop, and grab the old-fashioned Dictaphone I borrowed from my dad. Good thing, too, I doubt my memory will be at its best.
Athan returns a few minutes later with two plates of steaming, gooey white cheese and penne pasta. It looks divine. He sets a diet Dr. Pepper in front of me, as well, leading me to wonder . . .
“You posted something about it on Facebook,” he says.
“Nice. You did some homework, too.”
He holds up his hands with a guilty smirk. “My father says it never hurts.”
Indeed not.
We eat and chat about the Market, the weather, and I show him pictures of my kids. And then we get down to brass tacks.
“You’re sure you don’t mind?” I’m going to be invading his privacy for sure with the list I got from my friends.
“My life’s an open book,” he says, leaning back in his chair.
I push record on the black contraption, and bite my lip as I look over my list.
“Let’s start easy . . . What’s it like being the son of Hermes?”


Want to learn more about Athan or the other characters in Wagner’s Curse of the Sphinx?


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