No, the ostrich doesn’t actually have anything to do with my post today. It’s just that as I was looking through my photos to find something to use, he kept coming up and he makes me grin every time. I figured I’d share the love.
Which is actually pertinent – I write lots and lots of angst. I have violence and serious conflicts in my stories. Rachel and I figure out ways to put our characters in some seriously awful situations, just so we can get them out again. So when we stumble on something that makes us laugh, it’s all the more precious. Humor, as any thespian will tell you, is the hardest to do. It’s hard to act, and it’s hard to write. It’s particularly hard to write on purpose – any time I set out with the express purpose of “being funny,” it isn’t, usually. I have the utmost respect for satirical writers and people like Joss Whedon, who can make even conflict funny.
One of my favorite scenes, therefore, in Sealed by Fire isn’t actually related to any conflict or even The Sex. It’s a cute little interlude on a boat out on the open water. Take a look:
Back on deck, Nash and Ari argued intently about something having to do with ancient history. Perhaps to the snakes, it wasn’t so far back.
“Fine, you win.” Ari laughed and pointed with his beer at the shore. “If you think you can claim we are connected to nāgas in front of Sal, far be it for me to argue when you get your ass kicked.”
“Oh, no, I expect you to back my facts.” Nash smirked.
“I’ve wanted to ask you”—Vanya turned to Ari—“could you show us your snake form? I wanted to really watch while you shifted form, since I didn’t get a chance to earlier.”
Ari frowned and gazed at him, his clear green eyes quizzical. “Are you serious? Why?”
“I’m curious how your transformation differs from what I’ve read about shifters.”
Vanya kept King’s rant on how dangerous lamiae were when he caught Vanya reading the battered book about them to himself.
Ari shrugged. “Sure.”
He leaned over and set his beer in the holder on the table nearby and stood watching them for a moment. A shimmer appeared in the air, and a giant Burmese python sat coiled on the seat and the side of the boat where Ari had been. There had been none of the painful bone popping and skin rolling that he’d seen in movies. Ari’s tongue tasted the air, and he undulated forward to drape himself around Vanya’s shoulders.
Vanya froze, eyes wide. “Um…”
Crap, he’d been curious, but not that curious to see Ari again up close in snake form.
“Don’t move quickly, or you’ll spook him.” Mike smirked as he walked up and sat down. “Don’t scare the kid, Ari.”
Ari’s tail looped around the edge of the boat behind Vanya’s perch, and he slithered onto the boat from Vanya’s body, moving with a soft hissing of scales. His head, even with Vanya’s, wove back and forth with the gentle movement of the boat.
Only one problem: his tail slipped backward off the slanted edge of the boat, dropping toward the water whizzing by below. He didn’t appear to notice it, either, intent on mesmerizing Vanya by weaving his head back and forth in front of Vanya’s face.
“Hush, now. Don’t interrupt.” Mike’s voice held the flavor of a laugh, and he regarded Vanya with twinkling eyes. “He wants to show off for you. Let him.”
Nash took a sip from his bottle, hiding his smirk behind it.
“But…” Vanya trailed off, helpless to do anything as more of Ari’s body slithered backward off the edge of the boat. “Do snakes get drunk?”
“All the time.” Mike sounded smug.
“Ari, your tail!” Vanya blurted.
Ari’s eyes widened, and he turned to regard his body, but his bulky mass slid with increasing speed off the side of the boat. They hit a swell and bounced, and with a loud splash, Ari disappeared over the side.
“Shit!” Vanya’s loud shout brought Jordan to peer down from the wheelhouse.
“What’s the matter?”
“Better go back for Big Dumb-ass.” Mike winked at Jordan and pointed with his beer at their wake.
Jordan turned, and his eyes widened as he took in the snake weaving through the water toward them. He cut the engines, and the boat slowed to a gentle stop, rocking in the waves. Ari swam up to the side of the boat and shifted his form below the ladder. He climbed up with a flaming face.
“At least you know snakes can swim.” Mike smacked Ari on the ass as he walked by. “Nice demonstration, Houdini.”
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