Wednesday, December 31, 2008
But then the dimensional fabric between their worlds thinned for a brief time, so that they could share a few (okay, make that a lot of) drinks at the Bar Between the Universes (not to be confused with the Restaurant at the End of the Universe—the Bar only serves basic pub grub) and got to talking:
ROUND ONE (see yesterday's blog for an explanation of rounds)
Dante (drinking Absinthe King Gold): Hey Ciara, bon soir. We’re the only ones in the club, and I’m content to play bartender. Name your poison.
Ciara: Hmm, given your choice of words, I’ll take a Coke. In the original container. Unbroken seal.
Dante: (snorts) So you’re saying that the drink used world-round to clean car batteries is safer than anything I’d pour for you? Oh-kay. (Hands Ciara an ice-cold short bottle of Coke. Unopened. Offers her a bottle opener.)
Ciara: Hey, I’m new in your world. Lots of scary-ass folks, including nightkind. Always gotta watch out for numero uno, right? Trust no one. Well, almost no one.
Dante: C’est vrai, but you gotta trust yourself, yeah? It gets old always watching out for Numero Uno. You never know when he’s gonna blindside you with a flying tackle. I ain’t trying to be cold, but I think it’s time Numero Uno was told he ain’t with the Saints no more. D’ya think there’s an assisted living center for delusional ex-football players?
Dante: Oh. Wait. You meant numero uno as in (points a finger at Ciara’s chest, then points at his own). Gotcha! See, there’s this . . . never mind, ain’t important. (Downs his drink)
So I read Wicked Game.
Ciara: And you told all your friends, right? Maybe talked about it onstage? Been my ever-lovin’ pimpalicious baby?
Dante: (pouring himself another tumbler of Absinthe King Gold) Oui, I told all my friends about WVMP and its vampire DJs, and I think I mentioned you. And Shane. And all the hot sex.
(A smile tilts his lips)
I even told them there was another book on the way full of action, hysterical one-liners, deadly fanatics, and – oh, yeah – more hot sex. I ain’t mentioned it onstage, but where do I sign up to be your ever-lovin’ pimpalicious baby? What are the perks?
Ciara: Gold chain medallions, ankle-length leather coat with arctic fox trim. The standard pimp accoutrements. I think you’d look cute in one of those big purple hats.
Dante: (chokes on his drink. Turns around so Ciara can lean across the bar and pound on his back as he gasps for air.)
Ciara: Anyway, I’ve read both of your adventures, A Rush of Wings and In the Blood, which puts me one ahead of you. I’ve even read the sections you didn’t narrate, which means I know seeeeeecrets. Which I’m willing to sell.
Dante: Secrets? To sell? How much? (works hand into pocket of leather pants, then his gaze lights on the cash register. He grins and pulls his hand free of his pocket.)
Ciara: Actually, I’m not sure I want to be around when you find out some of those not-so-fun facts. Maybe I could mail them to you and you could wire the money to one of my offshore accounts. After I’m far, far away. Out of “unmaking range.”
Dante: (blinks) Offshore accounts? What, are you Le Chiffre from Bond? Does that make me Bond or the Bond chick? And I ain’t one of those ‘unmake the messenger’ types, p’tite.
Ciara: That’s good to know. So where was I? Oh yeah, your books. I tell all my friends about your antics, and once I have some free time in between all the not-getting-killed, your stories will be the first ones I review on our dormant website. Because they officially rock.
Do people still say things “rock”? Sometimes I worry I spend so much time with Nineties Boy, my slang gets out of date.
Sorry. You were saying. Or maybe I was saying. Who was saying?
Dante: (reaches over and yanks the bottle of Coke out of Ciara’s hand.) You’ve had waaaay too much caffeine, p’tite. Choose a non-caffeinated drink.
Ciara: (sighs) Okay. Give me a Smithwick’s. That’s Shane’s favorite beer. But again, sealed, please.
And when you get a chance, come sit with me. You hovering behind the bar feels too much like a shrink with his patient. Unless you feel threatened, in which case, hover all you want. I know better than to threaten a vampire.
Dante: (snorts) Threatened. (Moves in a blur of latex and gleaming steel and sits on the stool beside Ciara, unopened bottle of Smithwick’s in hand, which he extends to her.) You still have the bottle opener, yeah?
Ciara: (gapes) Uh…yeah. (presses cold bottle against neck to cool off)
Dante: I’m impressed by how you’ve been able to play the book off as fiction, but given your skills in the persuasive arts, not surprised. You got any other promotions for WVMP coming up?
Ciara: (recovers at the mention of marketing activities) You bet! We had a rockin’ Halloween party, and then a Happy Hell-iday celebration for Christmas. Eight fanged reindeer pulling Santa’s coffin, devil horns on my elf costume, and of course, the classic holiday songs like “Little St. Nick” by the Beach Boys, and “Christmas Sucks” by Tom Waits and Peter Murphy.
(pops top of beer bottle)
See, some annoying people insisted we were going to hell, so we decided to milk it. Ratings, you know. You can read all about it in my next adventure, BAD TO THE BONE, coming out in May, in stores everywhere!
(looks around for someone to hand a bookmark to, sees no one, is deflated)
Dante: Leave some bookmarks on the bar, I’m sure people will pick ‘em up. I’d like one, too.
Ciara: So what about you? How’s the Inferno tour going? Any more onstage, um, episodes like the one in Seattle that Heather told us about in IN THE BLOOD? That looked pretty rough. I’m not surprised people thought it was a stunt. Tabloid rumors really sell concert tickets! But seriously, I hope you’re feeling better.
(reaches out to pat his shoulder, thinks better of it)
Dante: People thought what happened on stage was a stunt? Wow. I didn’t know that. Tabloid rumors . . . hell, I didn’t even think about that! I don’t even remember what happened, to be honest. But I’m good, merci beaucoup for asking.
Ciara: Good. I want to keep you around for those next two books I hear are coming down the pike. You know anything about them? Any hints for your cutest fan? (bats eyelashes)
Dante: Shane’s here?? Oh. You meant cutest female fan. (Wicked smile.) Umm . . . well, the title is BENEATH THE SKIN. And the series now has a name – THE MAKER’S SONG. I can’t really give you any hints because it might spoil ITB for those who ain’t read it yet. I can say there’ll be fights for survival, sex, love, blood, oh, and a fight for sanity. I know . . . generic. (Shrugs.) Can’t be helped, p’tite.
Ciara: Ooh, your series has a name. I’m jealous. But congratulations—it all sounds very intriguing.
Dante: Your turn. List the DJs in order of hotness. I think it’s a given Shane’ll be numero un. Gotta admit, I think he’s hot too.
Ciara: Why, thank you. In order? Definitely Noah is second—he’s got a kind, gentle soul, and the dreadlocks are a work of art. I also like that he sometimes wears glasses, though of course he doesn’t need them.
Dante: Dreads are smokin’ for true.
Ciara: Then probably a tie between Spencer and Monroe. They’re both so aloof and magnetic, although Spencer, frankly, is a major tightass. But he has piercing eyes, so point in his favor.
Dante: Oui, I’d say piercing eyes earns points, tightass loses points, so maybe Spencer’s a wash, yeah?
Ciara: Overall, yeah, but he’s good to have around. At least the sanest patient is running the asylum.
Back to the hotness rankings. Last would be Regina and finally Jim. Not that they’re not gorgeous, but their personalities are kind of a turnoff. Regina’s a bully, and Jim…well, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. He’s definitely committed “bad touch” with me more than once. I’d give anything to be able to haul off and whack him upside the head, but that’d probably get me killed.
Shane put him in his place, though, in BTTB. He totally drank his milkshake. Well, he took a sip, at least.
Am I talking too much? Do I seem nervous? Don’t answer that.
Dante: I never really got that “I drink your milkshake” line in that “There Will Be Blood” movie. I mean, what the hell was that movie even about? Um…excuse that digression.
(C&D speak over each other)
Ciara: I didn’t actually see it--I spent most of that December trying not to get killed. But these days, the catch phrase is enough to fake one’s pop culture awareness.
Dante: You seem a little nervous, yeah. But I ain’t gonna do any “bad touch” stuff or let anyone else bother you – if anyone should walk in, that is, which they won’t. Club’s closed. Just you and me, chere. Whoops. I wasn’t supposed to answer that, yeah?
Ciara: Answer what? Huh?
Dante: (pours fourth Absinthe King Gold and waits for her to catch up)
Ciara: Anyway, instead, answer this: What’s your favorite song you’d never cover onstage? A secret guilty pleasure, like REO Speedwagon or Barry Manilow, perhaps?
Dante: My secret guilty pleasure--but it ain’t secret anymore--is Justin Timberlake. I’d love to do a cover of “Cry Me a River” that song’s just brimming with rage, but the guys would probably tie me up and stuff me head first into a laundry hamper full of smelly athletic gear. My other secret--dammit…not anymore!--guilty pleasure would be Kelly Clarkson’s “Addicted.” That song cuts to the core. But…the guys would probably tie me up, stuff me into a laundry hamper, etc.
You next. What song or band is your secret guilty pleasure?
Ciara: Does Coldplay count? I’m told they’re not cool, but they’re my musical Valium. Except for their new album, which I hate. Now that they’ve been praised for reinventing themselves, they’ll do it every time, and I’ll never get my mindless soothing Brit Pop melodies back. Ah well. There’s always Snow Patrol.
Dante: Oui, Coldplay counts. The reinvented Coldplay is too generic to be worthy of secret guilty pleasuredom. (Clinks his tumbler against Ciara’s beer bottle). Hey! While we’re starting to feel no pain, it’s the perfect time to indulge our secret guilty pleasures, yeah?
(Dante jumps to his feet, blurs back behind the bar, much clinking, clanking, and muttering ensues. He straightens, shaking his hair back from his face, a triumphant smile on his lips. He thumps a karaoke machine on the bar.)
Le voici! Ain’t never done this, but I think it’d be fun, yeah? Just you and me and any song we’d never sing in front of an audience. I can set this up, we can take turns singing in the Cage or on the bar! I totally want to sing “Like a Virgin!” Whatcha wanna sing? We can flip a coin or arm wrestle or kiss or something to decide who goes first!
Ciara: Ooh, I know—let’s start with a duet! Like maybe… (flips through karaoke book) Perfect! (programs machine and hands Dante a mic) First one to laugh has to sing anything the other one chooses.
Dante: D’accord. And drink anything the other one pours.
(We hear the opening strains of the world’s tenth cheesiest vampire song: Ozzy Osbourne and Lena Horne’s “Close My Eyes Forever.” Fade out as Dante snarfs absinthe out his nose.)
To be continued next month...
Um...yeah. Anyway, leave a comment or a question for Ciara and/or Dante between now and 11:59pm EST next Wednesday (January 7) to be automatically entered to win an autographed copy of In the Blood.
And since I'm still skeptical about the level of people's internet engagement over the holidays, I'll throw in a $10 Amazon gift certificate if we reach 50 comments, so you can buy another copy of ITB for a friend. That way you won't have to lend it out and get it back with coffee stains and cat-chewed cover corners.
If you don't have a Blogger account, no worries! Just sign your name and be sure to either check back next week to see if you won, or leave a way to get in touch with you (leaving an e-mail in the address not recommended, due to spam issues).
Get an extra chance to win by friending Ciara or Dante on MySpace. Be sure to let them know you're entering the contest and what name you've commented under, so I know which commenter to assign the extra chances to. Clear as mud?
Happy New Year!