I’m not going to lie to you — even though I’m the most powerful figurehead in Bootleg City, I don’t have all the answers. That’s why I often turn to other mayors of other imaginary cities so we can talk shop, compare mistresses, and swap cookie recipes. Recently, I called Mayor P.R. Nelson of Erotic City to find out what he’s learned at the top of the municipal food chain.

Me: Mayor Nelson, thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

Nelson: I would die 4 U.

Me: Why, thank you! It’s rare to have that kind of support from another politician. Mr. Mayor—

Nelson: My name is Prince. And I am funky.

Me: Good, I was hoping we could skip the formalities right up front. You can call me Robert. Prince, your critics have accused you of — and I’m quoting here — “doing something close to nothing, but different than the day before.” Of course, you’ve been in office since the mid-’80s, so clearly you’re doing something the people of Erotic City appreciate, but does criticism like that ever get under your skin?

Nelson: I just can’t believe all the things people say. Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay? Do I believe in God? Do I believe in me?

Me: So it does get to you. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. And, for the record, I always thought you were black and straight. But speaking of God, in recent years you’ve been referencing him more and more in your speeches. Do you ever worry that you might alienate some of your more liberal supporters with your religious views?

Nelson: Am I the weaker man because I understand that love must be the master plan?

Me: I don’t think so, but let’s not pretend elected officials don’t have to hug the middle of the road sometimes to get the votes they need.

Nelson: You’re gonna have 2 fight your own damn war, ’cause we don’t wanna fight no more.

Me: Well, I don’t support the reasoning behind the war in Iraq, but I do support the troops who continue to fight it. I assume you feel the same way.

Nelson: I was dreaming when I wrote this, so sue me if I go 2 fast, but “Life is just a party, and parties weren’t meant 2 last. War is all around us. My mind says prepare 2 fight. So if I gotta die, I’m gonna listen 2 my body tonight.”

Me: I don’t follow.

Nelson: Some say a man ain’t happy unless a man truly dies.

Me: Whoa! Prince, a statement like that could be wildly misinterpreted. Just to be clear, you do want our soldiers to make a safe return home as soon as possible, right?

Nelson: In this life things are much harder than in the afterworld. In this life you’re on your own.

Me: Well … yeah … I guess I can’t really argue with that. But, from one mayor to another, go easy with those kinds of statements.

Nelson: Maybe I’m just 2 demanding. Maybe I’m just like my father — 2 bold.

Me: Yes, “bold” is a good way to describe it. Look, I certainly appreciate the honesty, and obviously so do your constituents. I don’t want you to get in trouble, that’s all. The media would go crazy if they thought you were saying you don’t care if American soldiers live or die. I mean, they could take your words completely out of context.

Nelson: Let’s go crazy. Let’s get nuts. Let’s look 4 the purple banana till they put us in the truck. Let’s go!

Me: No, I don’t think fighting fire with fire would be the best solution. Be realistic — think about the damage it could do to your career.

Nelson: I don’t want to stop till I reach the top.

Me: Are you saying you have political aspirations beyond the office of mayor?

Nelson: You just leave it all up to me. I’ll show you what it’s all about.

Me: How about a little sample of your dreams for America?

Nelson: There will be a new city with streets of gold, the young so educated they never grow old. And there will be no death, 4 with every breath, the voice of many colors sings a song that’s so bold.

Me: But a second ago you said people aren’t truly happy until they die. Are you proposing heaven on earth if you’re elected president?

Nelson: Take me with U.

Me: You’re the one making that claim, not me. Besides, even if you’re elected in 2016, do you really think the economy will have rebounded enough from this recession for people to look kindly on streets paved with gold?

Nelson: Money don’t matter 2 night. It sure didn’t matter yesterday. Just when U think you’ve got more than enough, that’s when it all up and flies away. That’s when U find out that you’re better off makin’ sure your soul’s all right. ‘Cause money didn’t matter yesterday, and it sure don’t matter 2 night.

Me: Good point — you can cross that bridge when you get to it. Moving on, a recent MTV poll showed that 73 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds are happy with their lives right now, an increase of 7 percent from two years ago, even though they think they’ll have more trouble finding jobs and buying a home than their parents did. That would seem to indicate that, like you said, they know they’re better off making sure their souls are all right, not their trust funds. That’s a pretty mature outlook.

Nelson: Act your age, mama, not your shoe size.

Me: Exactly. Finally, Prince, is it true that the P in your “P Control” youth fitness program stands for “portion”?

Nelson: I like ’em fat, I like ’em proud.

Me: But healthy eating is the key. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Mr. Mayor, thank you for your time.

Mayor Nelson has been known to dabble in music during his off-hours. Below is a concert he performed at Paris’s Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy on June 17, 1987, taken from a bootleg titled “Paris Affair.” (According to thedatabank.org, via a tip from Kelly Stitzel, the bootleg’s closing track, “It’s Gonna Be a Beautiful Night,” was recorded on June 22, 1987, at Stadion Galgenwaard in Utrecht, the Netherlands.)

Sign o’ the Times
Play in the Sunshine
Little Red Corvette
Housequake
Girls & Boys
Slow Love
I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man
Hot Thing
Now’s the Time
Let’s Go Crazy
When Doves Cry
Purple Rain
1999
The Cross
It’s Gonna Be a Beautiful Night