Recently the inestimable Mr. Gaiman was kind enough to give me permission to mention him in my upcoming horror-fantasy novel Malus Domestica. I posted the excerpt on Facebook in a conversation with one of my Outlaw King fans, and it struck me that it might make a good blog post.
Coin-op binoculars punctuated the balcony’s parapet, and two people stood at the edge watching the wind kick skirls of sunlight across the water’s surface hundreds of feet below. Sitting at their feet was a Boston terrier, a piebald dog with bulging eyes and sharp, pert ears.
“Friends, Romans, countrymen,” said Gendreau as they approached.
“Do you think Deliverance is based on true events?” the woman asked him, turning away from the lake. Her Elvira T-shirt strained over the swell of her breasts, and her arms were livid with tattoo sleeves of Día De Los Muertos skeletons and curlicues.
“God, I hope not,” said Gendreau. “Friends, these are my colleagues Sara Amundson, Lucas Tiedeman, and Eduardo Pendergast.”
“I’m using these binoculars to look for sexually ravenous troglodytes, but all I can find are birds.” Sara’s lipstick was blood-red, her fingernails were as black as murder, and her hair was silver-white, shot through with streaks of pink. Jutting from the prow of her skull was a spiraling bone point about seven inches long.
Robin liked her immediately.
The man standing next to her was dressed like an FBI spook, in a black suit and tie. Even though the sky was a pool of dirty cotton, his eyes were inscrutable behind a pair of shades. What Robin could see of his face was young and handsome, with a princely profile. Too young, maybe—she could see him getting carded a lot. “It’s too bad Gaiman couldn’t come,” he said, leaning on the parapet. “This lake is positively dismal in the fall with all these dead trees and cloud cover. He would love it.”
“Gaiman?” asked Kenway. “As in, Neil Gaiman? The guy that wrote Anansi Boys and Neverwhere? That guy’s a magician?”
“Oh, yeah, sure.”
Gendreau smiled widely. “Mr. Gaiman is one of the Order’s foremost magicians. We were going to bring him along as well—he voiced a desire to sample authentic Georgia ‘bulled peanuts’, and see The World’s Largest Chair, but unfortunately he’s got a book tour.”
“Bulled peanuts,” said the spook, in a deeply-affected twang.
“Buuuuullllled peanuuuuuuts,” said Sara, drawing it out, and the in-joke dissolved into polite laughter.