In September 2014 I spoke to a man from the desert. That man was artist and Spells author Aaron Novy.
For two years now I’ve hosted a comedy talk show called Shootin’ It. On it, comedian Mike Malkiewicz and I have interviewed well-known actors, filmmakers, authors, comics, and, really, just anybody who we think may be fun or interesting to chat with. At the time we had come off a string of great episodes. We’d talked to Blue Ruin star Macon Blair, Cheap Thrills actor Pat Healy, legendary cringe comic Rich Vos, and Huffington Post journalist Loren Kleinman. However, following those episodes we found ourselves burnt out.
The formula was getting stale. We’d sit down and nervously bullshit with famous/pseudo-famous people for an hour and a half and, while it generally produced fascinating and popular episodes, it felt tiresome. Week after week we stuck with a successful but uninteresting mold.
One night, in a drunken stupor, I decided to put a message out into the cosmos (a.k.a. my blog). I wrote, “Who should we book next for Shootin’ It? I want guest suggestions.”
Before getting an influx of unrealistic pitches and a number of suggestions involving C-list comedians, I noticed that there was a response from a Tumblr user by the name of ‘AaronNovy2012’. Beneath the question was a reply that read, “Me.”
At the time, I had no interest in taking in an unknown variable—let alone a fan of the show with a lack of substantial credentials. I had interviewed authors in the past that I hadn’t been familiar with and the shows were, frankly, shit. Bringing on another person like that was not on my to-do list. But I decided to entertain AaronNovy2012’s proposal and took a gander at his blog. What I saw fascinated me.
AaronNovy2012, or simply Aaron Novy, was an artist who seemingly lived out in the middle of nowhere. On his blog were photos of himself, bewildered and covered in facial hair, surrounded by what appeared to be rubber tires in the formation of a hut. I crept a little farther into Novy’s posting history and uncovered a series of really bizarre but gorgeous paintings. I hadn’t seen anything like them before.
I wrote to Novy on his blog, “Let’s get you on the show sometime in mid-September,” and attached my business e-mail. Less than 24 hours after, I received an enthusiastic message back. He gave me his number and the rest was history.
Below is an abridged version of the conversation that took place over-the-phone between Aaron Novy, Shootin’ It co-host Mike Malkiewicz, and myself.
AARON: This is like the only sober day of my life.
JAYME: Is this your first interview?
AARON: Yeah, yeah. You can call it so. Yeah, so I’m just sober, hanging out. Thanks so much for having me, man. I’m like a huge fan. I listen to the podcast and all the shows all the time.
MIKE: You listen to us?
AARON: Yeah man, I was just listening to it just now ’cause my laptop is charged. So it kind of freaked me out when I heard your voice.
JAYME: [laughing] Yeah, yeah. Mike finds it really hard to believe that people would actually tune into this. We were just talking about the Rich Vos episode, about how he was really giddy and excited and obnoxious on the line.
MIKE: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
AARON: I’m the same way. I can’t listen to myself but yeah. I’m just happy talking to people. I live like a hermit. But the show– the podcast is so much better than all the other shit out there, honestly.
JAYME: Oh, thank you.
AARON: I think The Degenerates ones are funny as shit. I listen to them, like, over and over.
MIKE: Jesus. I’ve just never heard, like, someone who’s a fan, ever in my life so it’s a shocker. I like it.
AARON: I don’t even watch TV or anything.
JAYME: Yeah, hold on. I need to get to that because I’ve got quite a few questions for you.
AARON: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
JAYME: So, first of all, you’re an artist.
AARON: I think so. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid, I mean, and I still paint stupid kid shit, so it’s like, yeah, I guess so. My dad’s an art teacher so it just kind of worked out like that.
JAYME: Yeah, I’ve seen some of your artwork on your blog and it’s really impressive, it’s really unique. I like it a lot.
AARON: Well thanks. Yeah, that’s– thanks a lot.
JAYME: So how long have you been drawing?
AARON: I’m 28 now, so, shit, I don’t know. Just like, I have pictures from being a little kid. I just briefly in the last year, like, started to try and sell them just because just how I kind of started living– wanted to live, I guess. I don’t know, I’m alive 28 years, 27 years maybe. I don’t know. Been shitting a lot.
JAYME: You’re watching the sunset right now, so I’m guessing you’re a west coast guy, right?
AARON: Yeah, that was weird because you said– I saw your email and it said 10:00PM EST. and I was like, does this guy live on the west or the east coast? Yeah, I’m in Oregon, I’m in the weirdest fucking town ever, called Christmas Valley.
JAYME: Christmas Valley?
AARON: It’s like, small-assed place.
JAYME: Sounds like a fun town.
AARON: In the desert, it’s the– I don’t know. It could be the shittiest place on earth.
MIKE: What’s there to do in Christmas Valley?
AARON: Dude, absolutely nothing. There’s a thrift store or something.
MIKE: Do you guys have a diner?
AARON: I don’t know. I’ve been bumming here for the last year, just to get away from everything. But I’m always travelling back and forth to Texas. But yeah, they have a diner but I don’t want to go in there because I’m the monster of this town.
MIKE: So wait, you’re not from the west coast, you’re from Texas but you’re just–
AARON: My parents are both from the east coast, from New Jersey.
MIKE: I’m in New Jersey.
AARON: I’ve been there a couple times. It was nice.
JAYME: What made you decide to go to Christmas Valley of all places though, in terms of traveling out?
AARON: People are probably going to hate this but I was reading way too much fucking Jack Kerouac and just being a little drunken shithead around the town and one day I got on the Greyhound, fucking took it to Oregon and then I went to sit on an Oregon beach, reading Jack Kerouac and being a douchebag. I eventually found this land for really cheap and I didn’t even know where it was. Then I just bought it, like a year ago. Now I live here full-time as a monster painter shithead.
JAYME: You just up and bought a piece of land?
AARON: Yeah, yeah.
JAYME: How much did that cost you?
AARON: It’s like, it was $1,000 but I mean, this place is two hours from the nearest anything. The guy I bought it from was in California, so I had to meet him there and he was really wanting to get rid of it because this place, you can’t do shit with it except, like, be a hermit. They should make a movie. I was thinking about you, I was like, Dude, this would be a perfect movie because it’s just so weird. It’s like David Lynch content, but even fucking scarier. There’s so many stories here, man. There’s a witch that lives down the street who supposedly killed her husband.
MIKE: You should put her on.
AARON: Fuck no, dude. I don’t know– she killed her husband and she lives on Hemlock, which is even funnier.
MIKE: We all know how Hemlock goes…
AARON: Yeah, and I live off Rainbow Road, which is like the street name is fucking stupid.
JAYME: What’s with these names?
MIKE: I hate it. I don’t like how it’s fucking Christmas and rainbows. It can go fuck itself. It’s too happy.
JAYME: You don’t want to live on Rainbow Road?
MIKE: No, I don’t want to live on Rainbow Road.
AARON: Yeah man. You hate gay people then, don’t you? No, but yeah, it’s a weird fucking place. Like, just people who are away from society. It’s good if you’re like me and don’t like doing anything but paint and smoke and hang out.
MIKE: So how do you get money for pot? Or do you just grow it? Or– how do you make a living?
AARON: No– I barely– I don’t have any, like, rent or running water, so I don’t have any bills. And then I can just find free food anywhere but I make, like– I sell these paintings online. I go through Etsy, which is like the most embarrassing thing to be part of, but I sell paintings for like, really cheap and I do a lot of them, so I just don’t starve. It’s hard to starve in America.
MIKE: I had an ex-girlfriend that wanted to open up an Etsy and she would make homemade earrings and they went nowhere, absolutely nowhere.
AARON: Man, I’ve had some pretty stupid ideas of shit to put on. I just draw, like, I don’t know, drugged out people because there’s a lot of drug use. Almost everyone is on something, you know.
JAYME: If you sell your stuff on Etsy and you live in a van, how do you get it to the people online?
AARON: There’s a post office, like far enough in walking distance. You can’t ship anything overseas but– it’s usually–
JAYME: How much is shipping? Like, I don’t ever send parcels in the mail.
AARON: I sent something to New York yesterday and it cost me six dollars to ship it. I mean, it’s just like pictures, so it’s really light, you know? I put everything for dirt-cheap.
JAYME: You should really consider looking into like Society6 and Redbubble because they’ll print up canvases and shit for you. Obviously it won’t be the original but you’ll be able to make money a lot easier than that. My business partner Joel does that.
AARON: Really? Shit man, I’d be king of the town.
JAYME: You could buy all the land, yeah. Now, one thing that you mentioned, and I didn’t even believe you at first until I visited your blog, was that you lived in a hut made of mud and tires.
AARON: Yeah man, I saw it online. I just looked it up, and they’re called some really pretentious, stupid name like Earth Shit but mine’s just shit, mud and tires, I don’t know.
JAYME: How do you get in it then?
MIKE: Does it have Wi-Fi?
AARON: I go to the library. No, I could probably get it. I haven’t thought of it. I just walk to the library, which is like the size of like a small bathroom but– so I just sit outside the library and like, all day long, and write stuff or post stuff.
MIKE: People recognize the van?
AARON: Dude, a cop stopped me once and was like, “Somebody reported there was a creepy van in the parking lot.”
MIKE: I would!
AARON: Yeah, the cop called my van “creepy”, like straight up– because it is creepy. It’s very creepy.
JAYME: Is it a white van?
AARON: No, but it’s grey and has, like, curtains. And the paint is peeled.
JAYME: Oh yeah.
MIKE: Welcoming, welcoming.
AARON: It looks like an animal. Yeah man, I’m a new man now. I live in a fucking house of mud and tires.
JAYME: I assume you live in a desert-type area.
MIKE: He just said fucking Oregon!
AARON: Yeah, a desert.
JAYME: Well yeah, I assume that that’s 90% desert. How long have you been out there?
AARON: I drove back from Texas and I got here April 4th. I’ve been here since April.
JAYME: You’re fairly recent then.
AARON: Before that, I was out there for like six months.
JAYME: What were you doing before then?
AARON: I went to Portland for a while, after I first got here. And then my friends came here and we lived in an apartment. We were cool. We were crackheads. During that time I bought this land and I was just like, “Well, I’m going to go now.” Yeah.
MIKE: “Bye everyone.”
AARON: Yeah right, I keep thinking I’m going to die and like it’s going to be so sad because there’s just going to be me in a van surrounded by pictures.
AARON: But yeah, but yeah it’s cool.
MIKE: Where do you go to take a shower and like, brush your teeth and stuff?
AARON: I was just thinking about that today because… I just do it like you would if you lived in the 1800s. A bucket of water and fucking rag. I mean, pretty much like 1800s.
MIKE: A water bottle?
AARON: Yeah, you know, Gatorade all over myself. No, but just like–
MIKE: I know for a fact that you have a big fucking bush because there’s no way you’re shaving. There’s no way you’re shaving.
AARON: I just cut my beard with scissors yesterday but it was really– it was like coming down past the bottom of my collarbone and I really looked creepy then, like walking around town. So I cut it off. Now I look like a crackhead. And I have a double chin now.
JAYME: I mean, better crackhead than methhead, right?
MIKE: Double chin? So what, you’re saying you’re gaining weight?
AARON: I don’t know, I think I am, man. I don’t know if I just have body issues or what, but I swear I have a double chin now. Like, I look like a big rat, like a big, fat rat. But that’s just me. You know, I don’t have anyone, like, to compare to at this point really. So I don’t know.
MIKE: Wow. Do you have any friends there? Like, obviously the guy you buy pot from.
AARON: No, he’s like a typical pot dealer. You don’t want him to hang out but you’ll hang out for hours and, like, talk about fucking Indian spirits and you’re just like, fuck off man, I’m going to get high. So I hang out with him but I don’t really want to hang out with him. I have friends, that’s what social media I use a lot for, just to be, like, somewhat social.
MIKE: Jayme’s a hermit too, and like a manipulative, just evil human being. I’m just– I’m just a fun-loving, you know– I like to make friends and everything.
JAYME: Oh please, no. No, no, no, look–
MIKE: I make friends at every party I go to, I talk to cab drivers.
JAYME: Mike’s easily the most depressing person in the history of the world.
MIKE: Smiles mask the pain.
JAYME: He masks it with jokes, that’s it.
AARON: Yeah, no, I guess that’s what a lot of funny people do. I don’t know, I thought I was funny but I think now maybe I am just kind of depressing just around out here.
MIKE: Oh good God, man.
AARON: It’s almost a full moon, that’s cool.
JAYME: So… you catch the game last week?
AARON: [laughing] Yeah man, you get to take showers and stuff.
MIKE: [laughing] Yeah.
JAYME: That’s just quite, I don’t know.
MIKE: Fuck showers, fuck showering.
JAYME: Yeah, who needs it?
MIKE: Live in a van.
AARON: I haven’t been sick until today, when I was going to buy beer and I was like, it might have been the beer. Yeah, I haven’t been sick or any weird hygiene diseases or whatever, you know. Been pretty lucky.
JAYME: What is the weirdest situation you’ve found yourself in since you moved to Christmas Valley? Because it seems like you have a pretty out-there life but I want to know, like, what takes the cake?
AARON: Dude, I have so many, I want to think of a good one. Oh, this is the funniest one and it doesn’t make any sense but I’ll just say it because I’ve been thinking about it and wanting to write about it. I was just in this fucking thrift store and this lady just yells out, “Rosie O’Donnell is a stupid fucking idiot.” And I just thought it was the most random thing ever. Like– but no, there’s another guy who sells wood on the highway and he puts up guns, like, a lot of guns and he has a sign that says, like, “Obama is a nazi” and–
MIKE: I like him.
JAYME: He’s got a good point.
AARON: He is like, everywhere. But also, got a noose hanging, which is over the top, you know?
MIKE: Oh, he’s being welcoming. He’s showing he can tie a knot. He’s an Eagle Scout.
AARON: Yeah, I think something like that, or Vietnam vet, one of the two. I think– I don’t know.
JAYME: I just got a great idea. I think Mike and I should do a live episode of Shootin’ It from Christmas Valley. I think that’s next now.
AARON: I’m telling you, you guys have to film this place. Someone who has, like, brains.
MIKE: You film it, you send us the footage, we’ll be here inside.
AARON: God, I’d get the worst shit ever. It’d be so boring.
JAYME: You can be our man on the street. You can interview people, send it to us and we’ll put it up as episodes.
MIKE: We’ll send you no money.
AARON: I’ve thought about just having a blog about Christmas Valley and interviewing people but I don’t want to really talk to anyone here. That’s how bad it is, and like– yeah.
MIKE: Why would I want some fat rat coming up to me, interviewing me.
AARON: No kidding, man. I think everyone here thinks I’m gay because I was painting a trailer some pink colors. They think I’m a crazy, gay person.
MIKE: I thought you were just using the color pink, I mean, I don’t know.
MIKE: You should be a homesteader.
AARON: Yeah, I’m not even like that kind of person. Like I care about the environment or anything like that. I don’t give a shit, I just didn’t want to like pay bills.
MIKE: No, no. Cut some trees down, plant some crops, make a little cabin.
AARON: I would. There’s no trees, there’s just shit.
JAYME: You know, you should start a family there in Christmas Valley.
AARON: That’s what everyone does because there’s nothing–
MIKE: “It’s Christmas every year.”
AARON: Everyone has, like, five kids. Everyone has, like, five kids by the time they’re like 30. Everybody.
JAYME: Oh God. Hold on, I want to just pause everything. Now, when Mike was trying to do a derogatory, mocking voice [of a Christmas Valley resident], he said “Christmas– It’s Christmas every year.”
MIKE: I know, I fucked up.
MIKE: It’s Christmas every day.
JAYME: You fucking dummy, you suck.
AARON: [laughing] That was good man, that’s good.
JAYME: You know what, I actually– I want to visit Christmas Valley now. Just how you’ve described it in like the fucking– the fact that you can buy land for $1000.
AARON: I don’t think what I’m doing is really legal…
MIKE: Did you sign for this land or did you just meet some guy at a fucking gas station?
JAYME: Oh, who needs that when you have handshakes?
MIKE: [laughing] It’s like the Old West. Here you go.
AARON: Seriously man. But yeah– yeah, you should. You should bring a video camera, like a movie. It’s an interesting place. It’s different, that’s for sure.
JAYME: It certainly sounds it. That and, what was it, Rainbow Road? Rain– what the fuck was that?
AARON: Yeah, Rainbow Road and–
JAYME: That’s actually– that’s a course in MarioKart.
AARON: I don’t know man. This place is fucked.
MIKE: He doesn’t know what that is, Jayme.
AARON: There’s Tinsel Lane. I mean, everything is very–
JAYME: Tinsel Lane?
AARON: Yeah, like Candy Cane– there’s a Candy Cane Lane, literally. I want to vomit. Like, whenever I’m hungover and I read the signs and just like– I get nauseous, man. But it’s beautiful. Beautiful place.
JAYME: Mike, hold on, hold on. Mike, would you ever perform live in Christmas Valley? Do stand up there?
AARON: That would be the best, man. That would be so good.
MIKE: You know, why not? And I have a more important question. What do you eat?
AARON: What do I eat?
MIKE: Yeah, where do you find food?
AARON: Like rats and shit. No, I’m just kidding. I eat like– I eat like really healthy man because like, I can’t afford– I mean, I’m pretty healthy. I’ll eat like sweet shit every once in a while but I just eat like apples and green things and orange things. Dude, like everything’s so expensive here because they can make it expensive because there’s nowhere else to eat.
MIKE: I thought everything there would just cost a smile and a song. [laughing]
AARON: [laughing] That would be easier in Portland. People here are just all about business and very conservative, I don’t know.
MIKE: To me, I’m thinking the place you live in sounds just like Twin Peaks.
JAYME: It’s not. I googled pictures.
AARON: I know what it is but I’ve never seen Twin Peaks, which is fucked up but–
MIKE: Well, they’re a band.
JAYME: They are a band. I’m going to send you a picture of it real quick, Mike.
AARON: It will probably be like a picture of a deer in a field, because that’s what it pretty much is.
JAYME: It looks exactly like the Old West.
MIKE: [looking at photo] Oh my God, you are not lying. This is a desert.
MIKE: This is like the Oregon Trail. This is shit.
AARON: No, this is like a fucked up, hardy environment. I think they dumped all this waste… I don’t know, I think it was orange.
JAYME: Nuclear bomb testing?
AARON: Yeah, I don’t know. And some lady just got rabies. She was bitten by a bat so that’s just– that’s fucking weird.
JAYME: Bats with rabies.
AARON: And skunks too.
MIKE: That’s a shit town.
JAYME: That’s the best town. What are you talking about?
MIKE: [looking at photo] There is nothing here. I’m staring at it, it’s just fucking desert.
AARON: I mean, pretty much. There’s like– I think I saw that it was the hay capital of fucking United States.
JAYME: The hay capital?
MIKE: Well there you go.
MIKE: Something to do.
JAYME: Seeing the tumbleweeds roll by.
AARON: Yeah, there’s tons of tumbleweeds. Actually tons. It’s ridiculous, it’s like a cartoon.
JAYME: This is just great.
MIKE: This is a place where people drive to take their dirt bikes and then they leave.
AARON: Yeah, yeah.
MIKE: No one lives there.
AARON: Dude, yeah man. I bet everyone that comes in here thinks everyone here is a freak. A lot of people ride horses. I was going to draw a picture and put it on the internet; someone had their horse at a gas station.
MIKE: Well, how else do you– that’s what horses drink.
AARON: Ah man.
JAYME: So what are your long-term plans? Are you going to stay there for a while?
AARON: I guess, yeah. I’m going to be president– no, I don’t know. Keep working on art, man. Get a book out.
JAYME: Who’s the mayor of Christmas Valley?
MIKE: Santa Claus.
AARON: I don’t fucking– Santa, yeah man. It’s too easy. That’s way too easy. I have this book called ‘The Olympics Suck Dick When You’re 27’ that someone might put out for me. My friend Peter in Texas, but he has own stuff going on so I don’t know. I want to see that published. I want to publish other shit. I want someone to pay me to write, someone to pay me to draw pictures. That’s about it.
JAYME: You’re into writing as well then?
AARON: Yeah, I mean– yeah. The book, I wanted to have really fucked up pictures in it but it’s– I don’t know. It’s too much work for me to do. I’m just too lazy.
MIKE: You’re like an Old West like drifter, who just walked into town.
AARON: I see people twice my age and I’m just like, “Oh my God, that’s going to be me, man.” Well, I don’t know. Hopefully not.
JAYME: You don’t know.
AARON: Fuck yeah, man, it happened too quick. Like, what happened?
MIKE: “Happened too quick.” [laughing]
AARON: Nah, I need to get a gallery in New York and I’ll feel better or something like that.
MIKE: You and everybody else.
AARON: Yeah, no, I can’t stand this shit.
MIKE: I like New York.
JAYME: New York fucking sucks.
AARON: I kind of like the art.
MIKE: New York does not suck.
AARON: A lot of good stuff comes out of New York so who am I to judge?
MIKE: That’s a tough bargain. New York or Christmas Valley?
JAYME: Your appearance on this podcast is probably going to make you the most popular person in Christmas Valley. Or at least the most famous person to come out of Christmas Valley.
AARON: Yeah man, I have no doubt about that. I don’t know, though, because there’s some popular people here.
MIKE: The elves? Who is popular there?
AARON: Nothing. No, I don’t know anyone. I’m just kidding, there’s no one. Yeah, I don’t know, there’s no one. Brad Pitt. There’s no one.
MIKE: Buy the town. I just want to buy the town and burn it to the ground.
AARON: You probably could, man. Yeah, it almost got burnt down. There’s fires here like every summer. A fucking crow flew into a wire, fell to the earth in a ball of flames, and almost burnt this whole place down. It was a good summer.
MIKE: Jesus Christ. God doesn’t even want that place to exist.
AARON: That’s like a fucking sign, man.
JAYME: I just looked up the population for Christmas Valley.
AARON: Yeah, what is it?
JAYME: There’s 1,045 people there.
AARON: It doesn’t feel like that. That seems like a lot but I’m sure there is.
JAYME: That’s very few.
AARON: That’s small, huh?
JAYME: I live in a small town right outside of Boston and I thought that was pretty small, but it actually has like a population of 32,000. So 1,000 people, that’s not many.
AARON: I can’t believe I’m even getting used to it at this point. I went to Portland not too long ago and it was overwhelming. It was like kicking over an anthill. There was so many people. A lot of the people make drugs here.
MIKE: [looking at a new photo of Christmas Valley] I’m literally looking at the main road and it’s just like, this is like a fucking– that scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
JAYME: I want to go there. I want visit and get the firsthand experience.
AARON: Yeah, no one else I don’t think has ever done that. No one even knows this town exists.
JAYME: I want to go to Christmas Valley and be murdered.
AARON: I can hook that up.
MIKE: You should take your girlfriend on an all-expenses paid trip.
JAYME: To the desert.
MIKE: To Christmas Valley.
AARON: You can do that for under twenty dollars, man.
JAYME: I’m sure.
AARON: If you cut yourself here, there’s so much salt in everything, like the dirt, it won’t heal.
JAYME: That’s great.
AARON: It’s like hell on Earth.
JAYME: So I want to touch back on the fact that you like to write some. Just so there’s some fucking structure to this interview. What are you into, in terms of writing? Do you write fiction? Or is it more like memoir-type stuff? Poetry, what?
MIKE: Dr. Seuss, mostly.
JAYME: Good one…
MIKE: That killed the moment.
AARON: I’ve written so much stupid, crazy shit that lately I’ve just kind of been writing, like, little pieces of things but I can’t call it, like– I don’t know. Some things are fake. Some things are made up. I make up a lot of shit these days because there’s very little to go off of.
MIKE: Do you write in a notebook or a laptop?
AARON: I write on a tablet, a stone tablet. No, I write on a fucking laptop, man. High tech. And sometimes I write on paper. Sometimes I’ll draw and write at the same time.
JAYME: Have you gotten laid in Christmas Valley?
AARON: No, man. The dads here seem the kind to shoot someone and, like, bury you.
JAYME: That’s why you don’t fuck the dads.
AARON: [laughing] Yeah. No, I haven’t been– it’s been so long since I’ve been with a woman.
MIKE: Has anyone– did any female ever get remotely interested in you? Maybe she found that you were attractive in some way? You know, out there on your own?
AARON: I don’t know, man. I don’t think so. Mostly everyone has kids and is married really young.
JAYME: I mean, you have a Tumblr account, right? So, like, I mean, Mike, didn’t you find your current girlfriend, or whatever you want to call her, on Tumblr?
MIKE: My bae?
MIKE: No, I found her on Tinder but I have had a lot of– yeah, what’s Tinder Christmas Valley like?
JAYME: Oh, Jesus.
MIKE: Fucking cows, pigs, farm animals.
JAYME: A rock.
MIKE: [laughing] A rock.
AARON: God, man.
MIKE: This is the nearest sequoia in town.
JAYME: No, but hold on, have you tried to pick up girls over the internet?
MIKE: “Hi, fly out to the Christmas Valley airstrip. I’ll meet you there?”
AARON: No. I don’t want to bring a girl back here. I would feel bad for them. I just– I wouldn’t want to put anybody through this shit. And I don’t know, I don’t really have a fan-base at all at this point, so it’s not like I can just email someone.
JAYME: Yeah, could you imagine meeting a girl online, she comes to visit you, gets off the plane and it’s just Christmas Valley?
AARON: No, she would have to really, like, love something I did to like– yeah, that would never happen. I don’t know, it would probably make me anxious. I would be freaked out by anyone coming because I’m so used to living alone, so it’d be fucking weird.
MIKE: I wouldn’t get anxious at a blowjob. I wouldn’t be anxious at all. I’d be inviting, open, happy.
AARON: No, I would dig that. Yeah, I have a story about a blowjob but I don’t know.
JAYME: I watched The Rover right before the show tonight. I don’t know if you guys have seen that or even heard of it?
AARON: No, what’s that?
MIKE: Like Mad Max?
JAYME: It’s kind of like that. I don’t know, it’s this weird, almost post-apocalyptic Australia thing with Guy Pierce and Robert Pattenson and it’s just fucking weird that I’m now talking to you and you’re describing Christmas Valley, and it’s exactly like how the movie was.
AARON: Yeah, I’ve thought about movies… I think about movies like that all the time. Like, why am I living in this post-apocalypse dream? I don’t know, like go fucking get a job at Starbucks, man.
MIKE: Do you fight for gasoline? [laughing]
AARON: Yeah, man. Everything– you’d be surprised at what people get angry about here. There’s long lines at the gas pump because there’s only one gas station and it’s also a liquor store and grocery store. Everything I need is in one shop.
MIKE: Fuck that.
JAYME: I want to know, have you travelled elsewhere outside of, like, those west coast locations that you mentioned?
AARON: I’ve lived in Colorado at this really fucked up Savoy Hotel that was just full of child molesters and– I’ve been to New Mexico yeah, but I don’t know. Nowhere too far.
JAYME: Where else would you like to hit up, within the next, I want to say five to ten years because really, I mean, you have– you could go anywhere at any point it seems like.
AARON: Yeah, I’d fucking– I want to have some– I need to sell art or sell something so I can feel good about myself. So yeah–
MIKE: Sell paintings outside the liquor store.
AARON: Yeah, people sometimes ask me about that. Like, “You’re a painter, put your stuff up in our shop.” Like, you don’t want anything that I have.
MIKE: No, start making something they might want so you can get something to eat or some shit.
JAYME: See, you can get an opportunity like that where people want to hire–
MIKE: He’s not going to make it big in Christmas Valley. He needs to get something to eat. Fuck off, Jayme.
JAYME: No, I’m just saying. It’s a shitty experience if you have a certain kind of talent and you’re interested in one thing and then you get an opportunity and on paper it’s like, “Oh yeah, I can make money this way”, but as soon as you start doing it, it’s completely unrewarding and it kind of kills your spirit and drive.
AARON: Yeah, it really does for me.
MIKE: But he needs to eat. He’s–
AARON: I hate to sound like a pussy, but I’m the same way. It’s takes so much more work.
JAYME: I was hired for a couple of manuscript editing gigs and every time I worked on them I was like, “Ugh.”
JAYME: I know, and it paid extremely well so I took it, obviously. As soon as I saw how much they were going to offer me, I was like, “Yeah, absolutely.”
MIKE: How much were they offering you?
JAYME: It might have been around four digits.
AARON: Dude, I’d do so much fucked up shit for four digits, man.
JAYME: I’ll hire you to kill Mike right now.
AARON: Yeah, I have no place to run, but that’s about it.
MIKE: You can just hide in Christmas Valley, who’s going to find you?
AARON: Exactly. Yeah, I live in– fuck it, I already said where I live.
MIKE: I have a storm brewing at my house. There’s the thing called rain. It’s not very popular in Christmas Valley.
AARON: You do get some mad thunderstorms here, it is cool. I sound like a hippie but it’s really cool.
JAYME: You know, that actually sounds really cool. Especially in the desert because then you have a wide-open environment, you can see all that shit.
MIKE: Yeah, can’t run, can’t hide from it.
AARON: Yeah, you can feel it. But I mean, shit, if I could watch the E! Network or the Kim Kardashian reality show, I’d probably rather do that for an hour than listen to a fucking thunderstorm but if you have to, I guess you make it fun.
JAYME: Obviously you have a cellphone, but do you use a smartphone?
AARON: Yeah, I have this shitty one that I got. I never use it for anything except like—[noise in the background of the call] What the fuck was that? Fucking rabbit something…
MIKE: You better get it. That’s like your only food for the week, I would fucking drop this podcast and kill that. [laughing]
AARON: I’m sitting outside my van at night. I got lost once out here, it gets so fucking dark and it was like, nightmare fucking situation. Like, drunk and dark in the fucking desert. Blackmail story.
JAYME: What does your family think of you [being] out in Christmas Valley, doing your own thing?
AARON: I think my dad’s cool with it. I was really crazy when I was younger. Like, not crazy but anxious, as you can probably tell but I’m not– I don’t know. But as long as I’m alive and happy, I think he’s pretty happy. My brother lives in New York and he just does his thing and travels around the world saving hungry children, stuff like that. And I’m pretty– I do the same thing, except–
MIKE: You are a hungry children.
AARON: Yeah exactly, where’s my fucking water and electricity? No but yeah, yeah, that’s my family.
JAYME: You’ve never had family or relatives come out and visit you then?
AARON: Not here. I’d feel bad inviting anyone. I think one person, he’s a writer and a really good painter. He’s a very old friend who’s– we got kicked out of school together and I think he’s coming out here one of these days. Said he is, I don’t know.
JAYME: So what– like, what else are you into other than, you know, painting and surviving?
AARON: I’m working on this music thing, man. I’m just into everything. Every stupid, fucking thing. So I may not make some play or musical, but that’s the shit I’m working on; shit I’m writing, music and stuff.
JAYME: Do you play any instruments?
AARON: Yeah, this guy gave me a guitar at the gas station and it only has four strings on it. It can’t be tuned anymore because the pegs are all broken. But I’ve just been playing this fucking four-string guitar, weird instrument, but that’s kind of what made me want to start. That’s kind of like– [more noise in the background of the call] What the fuck was that noise? If I get rabies, I’m fucked.
MIKE: Have you ever played guitar before you got that guitar?
AARON: Yeah, yeah, I played in, like, bands since I was 12. I played clarinet when I was a little douchebag kid.
JAYME: Mike loves clarinet.
AARON: I want to get a clarinet, and start writing clarinet music.
MIKE: I can send you my guitar.
AARON: I think I can receive mail.
MIKE: From where?
AARON: I don’t even know if I can receive anything.
MIKE: To the grey van in Christmas Valley, you know the one.
AARON: Horseback and shit.
JAYME: Jot down his license plate number.
MIKE: I’ll send it to the post office, for the gentleman– for the fat rat in the grey van that sends things sometimes, occasionally.
AARON: Oh God, man, you do that. Everyone that’s listening to this, send a guitar to the grey van.
JAYME: And food. Send food, too.
AARON: Yeah, food, I guess.
MIKE: Bring in your canned goods, your non-perishable items.
AARON: Yeah, water’s always, like, pretty important out here.
JAYME: God, he needs water.
AARON: I overindulge every time I get too much food or too much alcohol or too much anything, so sometimes it’s better not to have that shit with me.
JAYME: I feel like there should be a satanic cult in Christmas Valley. I don’t know why I feel that way but there should be underlying satanic vibes to the town, you know.
MIKE: It’s called the KKK.
AARON: Like I said, there’s this lady who– I mean, I shouldn’t even say this, but she killed her husband and is, like, a witch. And I’m looking at her strange little house right now, down the street.
MIKE: Is she like the witch in the movie Big Fish?
AARON: I’m not sure, man. I’m thinking more—[more noise in the background of the call] Now who’s that?
JAYME: You said that she killed her husband three times now. Is this legit? A fact? Can I google this and see on her record that she served time, that she was released?
AARON: No. She probably doesn’t have a Social Security number for fuck’s sake, but this is what I heard from someone else. This could be all bullshit, it probably is.
JAYME: That’s probably why she’s in Christmas Valley.
AARON: Yeah, but that’s the kind of shit I wouldn’t be surprised at. Demonic, satanic, weird people. She has some stories I’ve heard that are pretty satanic, I guess. Whatever that means. She gave me a ride once. I didn’t know that until after. So shit, she’s kind of nice. She gave me a ride. I think her husband was abusive so, you know, you got to do what you’ve got to do. Dude, if you YouTube like, Sasquatch at Christmas Valley, that’s like the fucking stupidest Sasquatch video ever.
JAYME: I’m going to find this right now.
MIKE: I want to know how many times Christmas Valley has been said.
JAYME: I know, that’s been the theme.
MIKE: It’s enraging.
AARON: Sorry, this is like the last thing I expect to bring up.
JAYME: Now hold on a second, I’m on the Bigfoot video. It was taken in 2012 and the title of it is “New Bigfoot Sighting in Christmas Valley, Oregon Near Bend, Oregon, Caught on Video.” Six hundred and twelve thumbs up and–
AARON: Yeah dude, that’s what makes it crazy. People are watching it.
JAYME: Three hundred and ninety-six views, though. This is ridiculous. It’s a guy in a fucking ape suit, running around.
AARON: It pisses me off. There’s just so much to make fun of in this place. It’s like they’re asking for it.
MIKE: Christmas Valley is a place where you go when you’re put in the fucking Witness Protection Program. There’s probably someone out there who is a former mob member.
JAYME: Henry Hill.
MIKE: We’re just ratting him out.
AARON: Dude, I don’t want to even think about that because I’m too– it’s not like it’d be hard to find me. “Who’s that kid on the podcast who was talking shit about Christmas Valley?”
MIKE: They’re not going to worry about a fat rat in a grey van.
AARON: Dude, it’s too obvious. Man, I’m the only person who’d even, like, talk like this, you know? All these people, they just love it. They think they’re living in heaven.
JAYME: I’m still watching this Sasquatch video, I don’t know why. It’s horrible, it’s completely just–
AARON: I know, it is. It’s annoying.
JAYME: It’s not even a good fake.
AARON: Yeah, I know. That’s why I even told you. Because it was so overwhelming when I saw it. Like, this is so shitty, it’s insane.
JAYME: You should get Sasquatch as the first guest on your talk show, “Live from Christmas Valley.” That’s what I think.
AARON: Oh God. Yeah, I probably could find one. I’ve probably seen a fucking Sasquatch at the liquor store. Probably, maybe not.
JAYME: Well, hopefully we’ll be able to help you out and get some folks to check out your stuff, because you are a fantastic artist, I have to say.
AARON: Oh, that’s nice of you. I’m just– whatever, but thank you.
JAYME: You’re welcome. We’re going to kill the interview here. It was great talking to you, I have to say. Very interesting chat we had here. Christmas Valley, yes.
JAYME: What a vacation spot.
MIKE: Make sure you eat and wash daily. Drink a lot of water.
AARON: Thanks guys, I appreciate that. It means a lot.
JAYME: Alright man, take care.
AARON: Thank you. Bye.
MIKE: God bless, God bless.
JAYME: Alright, and that was Aaron Novy, painter and eventual mayor of Christmas Valley.
MIKE: He’s a hungry boy.