Ask the Author: Len Kuntz

The prolific Len Kuntz made his PANK debut in the February issue. He took a stream of consciousness approach to our conversation and then magic happened.

1. How can one tell the level of toothache through a kiss?

If the kiss flutters from spot to spot and attracts some wincing along the flight, then you know it’s way up there on the ritcher scale of tooth pain, probably a real doozy.

If two tongues are involved, sort of swashbluckler style, there’s a good chance both partners are pain-free.

If you can feel a throbbing, white pulse-like-a-disco-ball bleeding through a back molar or (God forbid) eyethooth, then there’s reason for alarm, as well as mouthwash.

If you have a very long Gene Simmons-esque tongue, well, you’re a lucky fellow and a bit of a freak, too, but, if you posess said tongue, then by all means, use that thing and get your partner’s tonsil bell swinging like a pendulum.  After it bounces around the gum walls for a while, the sonar waves will highlight any infected choppers, no different than electric-yellow crime scene tape.  From there, you’ll know which danger zones to avoid.

2. What would you ask to borrow from your new neighbors, your pillows?

I would either ask to borrow a pet chinchilla or a toddler.  My first pick would be the out-grown baby because I love kids.  I even like them more than pizza or the now defunct British pop duo, Oasis.

Toddlers are wide-eyed and sloppy eaters.  They are not uptight unless they don’t get their way, which is never.

Toddlers are fun to play catch with.  Their stubby, elbow-dimpled arms never reach up high enough and so the ball always bounces by them, but they never give up.  That’s the cool thing about toddlers–they think anything’s possible with a little bit of effort.  Even a missed ball becomes wonderous.

3. Why must summer camp always ruin lives?

Because Love-At-First-Sight is real.  Time is compressed.  There’s actual heat involved, both climate heat (it’s summer!) and emotional/hormonal heat (“summer lovin’!  had me a blast!”)  There are mosquitoes and creepy crawly things and bizarre, wolverine caterwauling at night, and ghost stories and sweaty palms and pits and not a lot of shower-taking going on, yet there’s always a body of water and probably skinny dipping, likely at night, though, because it’s camp after all, and so people are young and still shy, and it’s all very intense and wonderful, bordering on magical, I mean really fricking once-in-a-lifetime special, but then here it comes, up around the hill, chuffing road dust, that damn, bloated bus, and it pulls up, brakes squealing, and the driver sort of lumbers out, stiff and chubby, collecting baggage, filling the cargo hold with diaries and dirty laundry, then back inside, seated, his big rump still warm, him honking on the horn, leaning on the horn, breaking up the sweetest summer kiss that ever was or ever will be, the sun swollen-ripe and crying.

4. Why did you choose for your female character to have only seven toes? How did you work that into “You”?

I wanted her to have some quirky deformity that was man-made, something more harsh than a scar.  The “seven” is meant to be symbolic, denoting luck or hope, and so, as a foreshadow, it off-sets the damage done to her in some small way.

I also thought it made her sort of adorable.

5. What do you kiss like?

I am an adorable kisser.  At least I think I am.  If not, I aspire to be an adorable kisser.  I think that should be a goal on everyone’s list.

I don’t use a compass when I kiss, so therefore I get lost easily, which is adventurous, which can be surprising.  Once I started a kiss and ended up in North Dakota.

I kiss with my eyes open or closed, though my habit is to imagine that I’m blind and that my lips are the tracing units sending a report back to brain about the terrain and topography.

When I was a boy I was astonished that people actually kissed on the television.  My brothers told me the directors put a thin sheet of guaze between the female and male actor’s lips and I believed them, so I would get up real close to the screen, thinking I could see the tiny gossamer bandage when really it was just a tongue of saliva bubble.

6. Do you get me?

Dude, I so get you.  I get you like mac gets cheese, like fleetwood gets mac.  I get your drift, where you’re coming from.  I get how you’re probably getting jiggy with it at this very moment, whatever that is.   I get that you are really quite interested in kissing, since a third of your questions covered this salacious, slippery topic.  I get that you get down like James Brown.  I get that you are likely a go-getter, trendsetter, do-it-all-better type person.  I get that you get things done.  That you get down.  That you get right on it.  That you get while the gettin’s good.

So, yeah, I get you.

I do.

  • Pillows make for great neighbors.

  • Len, I will never again look at pillows or toddlers in the same way.. or tongues..
    This was fun! Bravo, Len!

  • I like that you figured out the ratio of kissing questions, Len. Well done.

  • The Gene Simmons tongue! “if you posess said tongue, then by all means, use that thing and get your partner’s tonsil bell swinging like a pendulum. After it bounces around the gum walls for a while, the sonar waves will highlight any infected choppers, no different than electric-yellow crime scene tape. From there, you’ll know which danger zones to avoid.” True poetry in literal motion!!! You’re an international treasure, Len. A kiss that ended up in North Dakota? I only got as far as Iowa!!

  • Outrageous and so you! Congrats, I get you, too, Len.