DEVIL SAID BANG is on sale tomorrow, August 28th! (This also means that Richard Kadrey will be on tour–see bottom of post for dates in next two months.)
Here’s another little peak at Richard Kadrey’s fourth Sandman Slim novel DEVIL SAID BANG. And if you haven’t already go to i09 to read the first 40 pages and also read our other previous excerpt here.
It’s afternoon and the senior planning staff is waiting in the palace meeting room. The place looks like Bring Your Clown to Work Day at a Masonic lodge. The slick suits and Hellion power dresses aren’t the problem. It’s everything else they’re wearing. Ceremonial aprons covered with old runes. A morbid rainbow of colored scarves and gloves showing everyone’s place in the food chain. Blinders. Gaggers. Masks.
They’re all giving me the pig eye as I roll in. I take my time getting to the head of the table. The dirty looks aren’t just because I’m late. I’ll always be that sheep-killing dog Sandman Slim to most of them, and now, just to rub their ugly noses in it, I’m their boss. At least the armor is doing its job. No matter how much they hate me, they keep their hex holes shut with my devil armor shining like the mirrored belly of a chrome wasp.
There are twelve on the planning committee. With me there’s thirteen. A cozy little coven. Buer is there. So are Marchosias and Obyzuth. Semyazah would be here but none of the generals will put up with this shit.
Technically I’m supposed to be in ritual drag too but I have a hard time picturing Samael dressed up like a Brooks Brothers Pied Piper, so I follow his example and skip the wardrobe call.
There’s a silver circle in the center of the table. Lines radiate out to the edges, cutting the table into twelve sections. Each trick-or-treater steps up and sets down a different ceremonial object. The junk looks like leftovers from a Goth-club garage sale.
Obyzuth sets down a green rock, like a Templar meditation stone. The Hellion next to her sets down an athame knife that cuts through ignorance or butters magic toast or something. Buer drops a snake carved from the leg bone of a fallen Hellion warrior. It goes on and on like that. I’m supposed to light a red candle at the end of the ritual but things are going too slow. I fire it up now and light a Malediction off it.
“Don’t take it personally, but if I have to sit through one more of these meetings, I’m going to gut every one of you like catfish, shit in your skulls, and mail them to your families. This isn’t Hell. It’s a PTA meeting. Maybe all we need to save Hell is a bake sale.”
I flick my ashes over the candle.
“Here’s how it is from now on. Do your projects any way you want. Fuck the budgets. Fuck the schedules. When it’s done, you get one minute to tell me about it.”
The room is silent. It’s not like regular silence. More like the kind you get with a concussion.
“In case anyone thinks letting you off the leash is a license to steal or stab me in the back, let me introduce the newest member of our team.”
I go to the doors and open them. A hellhound clanks in on its big metal claws and looks over the room. The hound is bigger than a dire wolf, a clockwork killing machine run by a Hellion brain suspended in a glass globe where its head should be. They’re terrifying on a battlefield but in an enclosed space like this, the whirs and clicks of its mechanics, its razor teeth and pink, exposed brain, are enough to give a Tyrannosaurus a heart attack.
The hound follows me around the table, folds up its legs, and settles down on the floor next to me. A dutiful guard dog.
“This is Ms. 45. The new head of HR. Any of you upstanding citizens that do less than your best work, conspire against me, or sell supplies to the black market can explain it to her. She works nights, weekends, and holidays, and if she’s indisposed, Ms. 45 has a few hundred colleagues downstairs. In fact, the hounds now have the run of the palace, so watch your step. I hear stainless-steel turds stain bad.”
No one says anything. Besides the hellhound, the only sound is people restlessly moving their feet.
“Now get to work and leave me the fuck alone.”
All twelve of them file out, right into the other two hounds I stationed outside. It would have been a hoot programming them to eat each Council member as they left. A little counterproductive, though. I need them to do the work I’m sure not going to do. But If I can’t have a little fun being the Devil, why bother?
Now I can get back to figuring out the rest of Lucifer’s power so I can get the hell out of here.
_ _ _
PS: Richard will be doing a mini tour for the book:
8-28, Mysterioous Galaxy, San Diego. 7 pm
8-29, Dark Delicacies, Burbank. 7 pm
8-30, Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ. 7 pm
9-2, Decatur Book Festival, Decatur, GA. 1:15 pm
9-4, Boston Public Library, Boston. 6 pm
9-8, Borderlands Books, San Francisco. 3 pm
9-14 Booksmith, San Francisco. 7:30 pm
10-4 Tattered Cover, Denver, CO. 7:30 pm
10-11 to 10-14 New York Comic Con, Javits Center, times/dates tk