I’m planning on finishing the first draft of New Hob Book in the new year, and then I can go back to one of the languishing WiPs
The one closest to being finished is N&V, which just needs to be rewritten back into third and I need to put back all the extra PoVs and change the big bad and wait did I say closest to finished? Argh. Me. This book. Our eternal struggle to make it work.
Mundus, The Dog God Book, and Paper Teeth need variously, middles and endings and a decision about which one my agent might be interested in. I think I’m most in the mood to finish Mundus.
Mainly because of Zaile.
Their first stop was a small tea shop in the middle of a garden park. Although garden park was really an inadequate description, Daniel mused as he leaned back on the white wire chair. The little round tables and matching curlicued chairs were all Victorian Conservatory, but the garden was sultry, steaming. Bamboo competed with vine-dripping trees – none of which Daniel recognised – and troupes of little grey-green monkeys bounded though the tops, making the branches shake and rain down fruits and flowers and dying leaves.
The waiter was a simian girl who spent most of her time walking about on her hands or jumping from table to table. She was fast, Daniel had to give her that. Almost as soon as they’d taken a seat, she’d delivered two ice cold glasses of water, complete with slices of lime. She wore no clothes , but her fur was long and pale beige and more or less modest. Unless you stared. Which Daniel was doing now. Her nipples were cherry pink nubs that poked through the soft long fur on her chest and belly. She had a double row of them, six altogether.
“Acrobat clan,” Zaile said. “Performers, normally. Some of them tend to get bored of circus life and run off to be accountants.”
“And waiters,” said Daniel. He downed the water and wiped his forehead. His skin was pulsing with exertion and the heat.
“And yes, waiters.” Zaile bent over the menu, studying it. After a while he called the simian girl back over. “Earthie,” he said, pointing at Daniel. “First day.”
“Oh,” the girl snapped the menu out of Zaile’s hand. “Should have seen that. I’m slow today. I thought you’d stopped bringing them here.”
“It’s not one of mine.”
“Hmph.” The girl tucked the menus under one arm. “It’s still here though. I can do you . . fruit. And more fruit.”
Zaile looked over at Daniel. “That work for you?”
“Um.” Daniel fidgeted. “You do realise I don’t have any money, right?”
The simian girl and Zaile both started laughing. “You’ll pay in talents,” Zaile said. “Whatever you’re good at, or whatever you deem worthy about yourself. You share the happiness, basically.”
“What?” Daniel tried to wrap his mind around the concept. It sounded like something a bunch of stoned hippies had come up with after a night of acid and spliff. It had probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
“Or he could pay for you,” the girl said, and eyed Zaile. “I’m down with that.”
Zaile leaned his chin on the palm of one hand and snorted. “I’ll bet you are. But you’re bound to be disappointed.”
“Why’s that?” the girl said, her tail curling about her in a display that was alarmingly coquettish.
“I’ve swapped sex for poetry.”
“Oh. Crap.” The girl stopped waving her tail. “Fruit. On the house.”
“Really?” Zaile raised an eyebrow. “I could do you a sonnet. I am dead good with rhyming couplets.”
“Gah.” The girl pulled a sour face. “I am so disappointed, I can’t even begin to explain the enormity of my despair.”
“Well, don’t say I didn’t offer,” Zaile called out as the girl hopped off to a small glass-walled octagonal building where, presumably, the food was made.
“You sell yourself for food?” Daniel said, after a few minutes had passed.
“Crass. No. Only a fucking earthie would see it like that.” Zaile seemed more amused than annoyed. “Besides, I have other talents. I paid for an entire wardrobe designed by the Great Salamander with an epic prose poem.”
“Right.” Daniel folded his hands on his lap and stared at them. “And what if you’re not a poet or a prostitute?”
“Oh, fuck off,” Zaile said, drawling each word long and slow. “Hezekiah must have loved you, you repressed little shit. Did you let him fuck you? Because that’s his game – look for the most emotionally wrecked excuse for humanity he can find, and proceed to mess with them even more. He loves it when you earthies hate yourselves.”
oh yeah, Mundus, I choose you.