How recent is that photo, and how much has it been retouched?

It was taken the week before the first column, by a very well known and talented photographer. A friend of Mr. Dust’s that I’m not at liberty to name. It has been touched a lot, but never retouched. Why do I suddenly feel like I need a haircut?


Because you do. How did you meet Dust?

I was hired by Mr. Dust’s previous assistant, Candy. She trained me and had me up to speed before I actually ever met him.


Do you address him as “Mr. Dust” to his face?

I address him as “sir.”

What do you call Mrs. Dust?



Are you paid for your PA labor, or is your relationship a master/slave sort of arrangement?

You’ve been reading too much Sasher-Masoch. I am paid a salary that accurately reflects my talents. I punch in, punch out, home in slippers and sweats by 4pm. But I’m always on call.

Are there a lot of late night emergencies?

Mr. Dust keeps unusual hours. Doors are often locked, strange noises are accompanied by wafts of smoke, and a number of the local working girls have mysteriously gone missing.  Actually, no. Mr. Dust just sometimes has ideas at night that he’d like me to transcribe before he forgets them. He also uses me as a sounding board for new projects.


Such as?

A Billy Mays museum. Writing the sequel to Tango and Cash. Pork soda.


What can you tell us about Castle Dust?

It has more books and records crammed into it than the Library at Alexandria.


Are you The Dust’s only employee?

No. There’s Tomoko the gardener. And Claudette the nanny. Also, Marlon comes twice a week to do the rolfing.


What is rolfing?

Extremely painful inter-tissue deep muscle massage. Mr. Dust is thoroughly rolfed on Tuesdays and Saturday afternoons. It makes the dogs howl, like only they can hear the high-pitched frequency of screaming flesh.


The Dust has dogs?

A pair of AKC Weimaraners. Zelda and Sir Huntington Woof.


The column seems to have spurred a lot of strong reactions, even though The Dust himself somehow seems above the fray.

Provocative Amelioration is an unsung talent. And, like “Threepeat,” is also one of the few phrases that has received its own US patent.


Who are you talking to on that headset?

Probably Werner Herzog. Esquire magazine calls a lot. Also, Mr. Dust’s editor is good for about three top-volume rants a day.


Tell us something we don’t know about Dust.

He plays saxophone.


Thank God he doesn’t have a podcast. But saxophone? That’s as lame as Kelly Osborne’s answers to the “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” section of Us Weekly (to which I presume you have a subscription).  Tell us something juicy.

Mr. Dust is the best boss I’ve ever had. He tends to scare people who don’t know him well, and as a consequence, he has few close friends. No one wants to make the effort to break through the imposing outer appearance. Also, he’s enormous. So it’s understandable. But he’s actually a very kind and gentle person. If it’s considered juicy that he speaks through me as a way to handle his astonishing workload as well as a near-debilitating shyness, you go ahead and squeeze that lemon.


Consider it squeezed. Some of the TNB ladies, as well as a few stray dudes, want to know: are you single?

I am open-minded, unmarried, and can dance the fuck out of a pair of cheap dress shoes.


You hear that, DWTS? Fabian’s ready. Moving on. Dust wrote quite eloquently on the Mike Vick/Tucker Carlson brouhaha.  What’s your take on that?

I don’t have one. I learned long ago that in order to serve Mr. Dust best, as well as maintain a professional distance, I needed to render myself opinion-less. Also, he’s always right. So, pretty much what he said.


Wise policy. Beatles or Stones?

Culture Club. And Nina Simone.


Joyce Carol Oates or George Bernard Shaw?

Jim Carroll and George Saunders.

Who is your favorite contributor at TNB?

I decline to answer due to a conflict of interest. But I will say that there are a handful of people who I make a point to read. Some others not so much. Also, Lenore Zion is pretty. So is David Wills. Honestly, though? I don’t get the lightsabers. I see one of those, and it’s like, next.


I myself will only abide lightsabers if squirrels are also involved. Final question: Are the rumors true?  Did Jake Gyllenhaal dump Taylor Swift to be with Fabian?

He’s way too old for me. But I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s not like I let any old cleft chin buy me a drink. When Maggie decides she wants in on the action too, then they can give me a call.



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GREG OLEAR is the Los Angeles Times bestselling author of the novels Totally Killer and Fathermucker and founding editor of The Weeklings.

39 responses to “An Interview with Fabian, The Dust’s Personal Assistant”

  1. […] We’ve been asking The Dust questions in the column Ask the Dust for six weeks now, but his identity remains murky.  Although he declined to be interviewed for this section, his personal assistant, Fabian, took the time to answer a few probing questions.  Take a look. […]

  2. jonathan evison says:

    . . .hilarious!

  3. Gloria says:

    Fabian – have you heard this:


    Favorite Nina Simone cover ever.

    I admit the lightsabers are an in-joke, but I refuse to question their cleverness or universality. Though TNB isn’t a social-networking site per se, I think a lot of people use it as a community of friends as much as a place to read fine writing. Thus, certain themes and threads emerge that have nothing to do with the writing but that keep people (some, not all, though all are encouraged) returning everyday. Lightsaber envy, Fabian?

    On another note, are you distantly related to Wilmer Valderrama?

    Wonderful interview.

    • Fabian says:

      Hi Gloria!

      Thanks for the video. I’m not usually crazy about covers, but I like that one.

      Wilmer who?

      Glad you stopped by.

  4. Zara Potts says:

    Wow, Fabian. Harsh call on the lightsabers…

    But you’re right – Lenore and David Wills are v. pretty.

  5. pixy says:

    this is perfect. every part.

    i’ve got a friend in portland with your name on it should you ever require a warm body. i’ll even make sure they wait until the second date to take you to silverado.

    i agree with Zara… Fabes. perfect.

    • Fabian says:

      Nuns on scales. Let’s hang out, Pixy. But, I’m sorry, not in Portland.

      • pixy says:

        don’t let all the young retired hipsters here put you off, there’s plenty of debauchery to be found in portland.
        we should hang sometime. part of my current job description is diva wrangler, so i’m sure we’d have lots to talk about. 🙂 alas, i’m here for another 5 years with a brief 6 month sojourn to lalaland some time in the middle that is yet to be determined.

        oh, and the icon thingamijig – it’s nuns on stools with saucy legs. they’re just having fun, enjoying blue slushees at the shore. it’s what god would want.

        ps – did greg offer to do your chart? THAT would be something i’d like to see.

        • Gloria says:

          You’re in Portland, Pixie? Make sure you come to the January 30th TNB Literary Event at The Hall of Records!

        • pixy says:

          wha wha whaaaat? a tnb event here? i’m SO in.

          just a warning: i can be socially awkward. it’s pretty hilarious most times.

        • Gloria says:

          Dear Pixy.

          We’re writers. We, too, are socially awkward. We’ll stand around imbibing alcohol and trying to avoid eye contact while laughing too hard and making bad jokes. Or, at least I will.

          Fun times.

        • pixy says:

          i will imbibe the alcohol. but i should warn you that it makes me have even less of a filter than i usually do. and i have no filter or tact. not really on purpose, but because i don’t know any better.
          i’ll definitely chortle at some point in the evening. here’s hoping there is no whiskey in my mouth when i do. i don’t know how much neti potting it would take to get the burning feeling out.

          that was tmi. soor-ry.

        • Dana says:

          Yes! Get out there and meet these people! (And report back to me. 😉 )

          If pixy calls you cuntie face, you’ll know you’re loved.

          (Hi Shanny!) Billy was asking about you just yesterday. Hello from us to you!

        • pixy says:

          daner! i miss your assface. and bill – how’s the bionic hip doing??

          in my initial response to the invitation, i almost put that they shouldn’t judge you or jd based on my… uhm… unique effervescence?

          i am still trying to work out the may thing. i super mega want to go because it’s bee too many years since i’ve seen you and the bionic wonder. look out, i might climb through your bathroom window whilst the animals look on in wonder when you’re least expecting it.

          ps – dear portland tnb-er’s: my love of the word cunt and all it’s derivatives is unequaled – just a warning.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Please someone take good video of this. And a short one of Pixy using her favorite cuss word, to add to Zara’s collection.

        • Gloria says:

          @Pixie – I’m still figuring out what I want to read. I may just have to write something that overuses the word cunt on your behalf. And on behalf of all the cunt lovers in the world!!!!!11

          @Greg – The venerable and technologically savvy superhumans Quenby Moone and Art Edwards are already all over it. Word on the street is that Keith Schreiner from the kick ass bands Dahlia and Oracle is going to do music during intermission. It’s not going to be an average good time. 🙂

        • pixy says:

          there’s no such thing as “overuse” of the word “cunt”. i think henry miller tried one time in one of his little stream of consciousness rants, but it wasn’t what i consider too much.
          i triple dog dare you to write something that has too much cunt.
          if you do that, i’ll have someone punch me in the stomach so i can gutturally scream “CUUUUUUUUUNT!” ala brando in streetcar.

          and there’s gonna be music too? you won’t be able to pry me away.

        • Gloria says:

          Are you gonna be able to break it into two syllables? CUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNTTTTTTTT-UUUUHHHHHHH

        • pixy says:

          totes. i’m talented like that.
          and it’ll probably be raining too, so i’ll bring an appropriate t-shirt to get wet in.

        • Greg Olear says:

          I SO wish I could be there. Pixy getting all Lenny Bruce with the c-word would be icing on the cake. (The cherries on the cake, of course, would be courtesy of QB).

        • pixy says:

          it’s just so satisfying to say! so guttural. so succinct. so reliant on tone. i LOVE the word.

          it’s cute that you call it the c-word. i dated a british dude in another life who hated the word so much he couldn’t even call it the c-word. i should have known then it wouldn’t work out. what british person doesn’t use the fact that they’re british to liberally apply CUNT to everything??

  6. Thanks, Fabba! (Yeah, I’m going to call you Fabba now. It’s a very British sign of affection.)

    It’s funny, but I somehow knew you could dance the fuck out of a pair of cheap dress shoes the first moment I saw your pic. Those big brown eyes tell the whole story.

  7. Dana says:

    Greg, your interview skills truly are magnificent. Also, I’m pretty sure that Fabio must be related to Ricky Martin. Work that headset!

  8. Joe Daly says:

    Nice interview, Greg. You might have the legs of Mary Hart, but you’ve got the hard-hitting, no-nonsense swagger of Mike Wallace.

    Fab- interesting stuff. What were the job requirements? Drug test?

  9. I am very interested in this Billy Mays museum, Fabian. And like you even more for liking Nina Simone.

  10. Rachel Pollon says:

    I look queer cause I’m smiling in public and no one knows why. Unless people assume when you’re smiling in public and looking at a computer screen that you’re looking at porn. Do people smile at porn?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I love ATD and now I love Fabian.

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