Sleeping Late On Judgement Day

BOOK: Sleeping Late On Judgement Day
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DAW Books Presents

The Finest in Imaginative Fiction by

TAD WILLIAMS

BOBBY DOLLAR

THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN

HAPPY HOUR IN HELL

SLEEPING LATE ON JUDGEMENT DAY

SHADOWMARCH

SHADOWMARCH

SHADOWPLAY

SHADOWRISE

SHADOWHEART

TAILCHASER'S SONG

THE WAR OF THE FLOWERS

MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN

THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR

STONE OF FAREWELL

TO GREEN ANGEL TOWER

OTHERLAND

CITY OF GOLDEN SHADOW

RIVER OF BLUE FIRE

MOUNTAIN OF BLACK GLASS

SEA OF SILVER LIGHT

Copyright © 2014 by Tad Williams.

All Rights Reserved.

Jacket art courtesy of Shutterstock.

Jacket design by G-Force Design.

DAW Book Collectors No. 1661.

DAW Books are distributed by Penguin Group (USA).

All characters and events in this book are fictitious.

Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal, and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

Nearly all the designs and trade names in this book are registered trademarks. All that are still in commercial use are protected by United States and international trademark law.

eBook ISBN 978-0-698-15769-9

DAW TRADEMARK REGISTERED U.S. PAT. AND TM. OFF. AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES —MARCA REGISTRADA
HECHO EN U.S.A.

Version_1

contents

Books by Tad Williams

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgments

prologue

one: just an angel

two: old friends, new fiends

three: archangelic aftershave

four: too hot

five: haunted

six: black sun

seven: world's edge

eight: braincramp

nine: buddhist druid christmas

ten: four arms, no waiting

eleven: tea and shurikens

twelve: melted frog seeks melted mate

thirteen: the great dictator

fourteen: other people's problems

fifteen: fun in america

sixteen: letting it bleed

seventeen: sshhhh

eighteen: make friends and incinerate people

nineteen: karma comedian

twenty: lioness

twenty-one: car problems

twenty-two: fortune's favorite

twenty-three: shadow swimming in light

interlude: via snotgoblin

twenty-four: werepig worries

twenty-five: the smart set

twenty-six: kids today

twenty-seven: another death threat

twenty-eight: what happens in oceania

twenty-nine: jam today

thirty: death by porcelain

thirty-one: ragtag

thirty-two: sad and beautiful music

thirty-three: rabbit hole

thirty-four: deep inside it

thirty-five: gag order

thirty-six: bobby wins again

thirty-eight: showtime

thirty-nine: narwhals and empanadas

forty: devil you know

forty-one: straight on 'til morning

forty-two: wrath

forty-three: another fine mess

forty-four: white on black

forty-five: how a world ended

forty-six: bobby's blessings

forty-seven: pointed questions

forty-eight: one tick away

forty-nine: the station

epilogue

I started the Bobby Dollar story by dedicating it to my friend David Pierce, who left us. Since then, I have lost a few more dear ones, and our field of science fiction/fantasy has lost quite a few as well.

Mortality is pain, but it's also perspective. We miss you all, you writers and artists and creators, and I still really miss Dave, but that's the terrible, beautiful conundrum of our lives: We can't love without someday learning about loss.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

My book, my rules. And the most important rule is—acknowledge, acknowledge, acknowledge! Because one of these doesn't get finished without many people's help.

My dear friends and editors, Betsy Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert, have been very important to the creation of this book (as they have with all the others, too). Blessings upon them.

My excellent agent, Matt Bialer, has held my hand (metaphorically, mostly, because he's in New York) through many crises and freak-outs. Blessings upon him.

Marylou Capes-Platt has performed another little miracle of copy-editing, giving me lots of corrections and suggestions without ever once making me want to bite myself savagely. That's impressive. Blessings upon her.

My wife, Deborah Beale, as always, has been there for me and with me at every step of the process. I am lucky to be married not just to a wonderful person, but to an excellent editor/publisher as well. (Hint: I am not a bigamist. They are the same person.) Blessings upon her. Always.

My dear friend Lisa Tveit, the Queen of All Online Stuff, has continued to make it look as if I know something about the modern world. My gratitude is endless, as have been her efforts on my behalf. Blessings upon her.

And my dear friend Ylva von Löhneysen has helped me out with many important questions related to German. Plus she's just cool. Blessings upon her as well.

Thanks also to the Bobby Dollar Army, as drawn from the splendid Smarchers of tadwilliams.com and the fine Facebook folk of tad.williams and AuthorTadWilliams, and the kind folks on Twitter, who have been cushioned slightly from the Full Tad Madness by the gentle selectivity of my life-partner at MrsTad. Blessings, blessings, blessings.

In fact, if it weren't for readers, I wouldn't be writing—I'm a storyteller, not a hermetic scholar — so blessings on all of you reading this as well. Thank you—and keep it up, please! At this rate, you'll have finished the whole book before you even know it.

prologue

I
HADN'T ATTENDED
a trial in Heaven before—not in person. They don't happen that often, for one thing.

But wait, O wise angel
, I hear you say.
How can there be trials in Heaven?

Which is a perfectly good question, because once you've made it to the Big Happy you should be golden, right? You've been judged righteous or you wouldn't get in, and after that you're doing the work of the Highest, so how could you go wrong?

Well, first of all, there's the whole Free Will thing—people and angels have to be free to make mistakes, or else we live in a clockwork universe where everything's predetermined and perfect. Most of the time Heaven does seem like that, a flock of serene shiny creatures living in complete harmony, a hive of buzzing happiness and shared purpose. But we all know that in nature, no matter how well any system works, there's always a couple of dumbass birds heading north for the winter when everyone else is flying south, or one dipshit salmon belly-surfing down the rapids, yelling, “Whoo, yeah! Check me out!” as he smacks face first into the more sensible fish swimming upstream to spawn. The fact that these unrepresentative idiots freeze and plummet from the sky or die without issue isn't the point—the point is Free Will, and apparently we angels are capable of poor impulse control just like everybody else. Thus, there
are
trials in Heaven, and I was about to attend my first.

Although “attend” is a bit misleading, I admit. It wasn't really my first, because I'd been aware of several other trials. Here in the Happy Place you can know about important things like that and even follow them closely without actually being present, although it's hard to explain, because—duh—it's another Heaven thing. Imagine sitting in a crowded bar when the playoffs are on and a local team is involved: you don't have to stay glued to the screen to know what's going on in the game; you can pick up what's happening in a dozen different ways. And that's how I'd done my trial-watching in the past.

But this trial was going to be different, and so I had secured myself an excellent seat, front row center. The poor bastard angel on trial was going to face the full weight of Heaven's judgement, and the entire Shining City was full of anticipation. The Hall of Justice sparkled and throbbed with the light of watching angels, angels who wanted more than just a general feeling about this trial, who wanted to experience it up close and personal. I thought I even saw my boss, Archangel Temuel (who us angelic grunts usually called “The Mule”) not too far away.

The crowd of the Saved, jostling each other in the massive shining hall despite being only semi-tangible (another Heaven thing which doesn't really translate), began to murmur with anticipation as the jury appeared, a row of blooming angelic flames that represented the great and the good—in fact some of the very greatest and goodest that our Third Sphere had to offer. I recognized them all.


We Are Convened In The Sight Of The Highest To Do Justice.
” These words came from the diamond-faceted white light that represented Terentia, a powerful angel who was acting as master of ceremonies. The other four heavenly judges, Karael, Raziel, Anaita, and Chamuel watched silently from beside her, their flames lined up like a menorah on Hanukkah Day Five. “
God Loves You All
,” Terentia added, then turned her attention to me.
“Angel Advocate Doloriel,
You Are Accused Of Conspiring Against Heaven's Laws. In Addition To Several Crimes, You Are Also Charged With The Sins Of Wrath, Pride, Envy, And Avarice, All Most Dreadful. If You Are Found Guilty, You Will Be Cast From Heaven And Into The Unholy Pit, There To Dwell In Suffering For Eternity. Do You Have Any Questions Before We Begin?”

So, yeah, the reason I had such a good seat was because I was the one on trial. And if you've got questions, believe me, so did I—probably the same ones, in fact, beginning with “How did I get here?” and “How do I get out of here again?” But for reasons I'll explain as I go, I didn't think it would do me any good to ask.

“Look, you've already decided what you're going to do,” I said, with what I hoped came off as a tough, cold-blooded calm I sure didn't feel. “Let's cut to the chase, because we all know the fun part is going to be the sentencing.”

But wait,
I hear you say.
How did you wind up on trial in Heaven, Bobby Dollar? How could such a thing happen to you, one of Heaven's most beloved and respected angels?

Oh, yeah, that's hilarious. Kick a guy when he's on trial for his immortal soul just to get a cheap laugh, why don't you?

You really want to hear how I wound up here? I guess it started with a dream I had.

BOOK: Sleeping Late On Judgement Day
7.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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