vendredi 4 mai 2018

An Excerpt from Inclement Gods

** Giveaway alert - for a free copy of Inclement Gods click here

Two thousand years ago
Minutes from the meeting affectionately dubbed:
“Oh Us! Will it ever end?”
“Let’s kill’em all!” yelled Mars, presiding in lieu of Jupiter.
Ahura-Mazda sighed wearily. These young gods were exasperating, and now that the meeting was in its fiftieth year, there were always a few standing in for their elders. Mars, always hot under the helmet, was one of the worst.
He smoothed his long curly beard, rose and rearranged his silken robes. “How many times must we explain this? We tried that before. Does the Deluge ring a bell? And now we’re back to square one. There has got to be a better way.”
“Not to mention how much work it was,” said Vishnu, playing with his nose ring. “Exhausting! All that rain… and then having to recreate everything.”
“Well, I for one wouldn’t mind getting a good storm on,” said Thor. “It would be more interesting than this meeting.”
“You gods do what you want with your humans.” Inti’s sun-disk crown of feathers was disarrayed from shaking his head so much. “My believers are still faithful, and no one is dumping a shitload of water on their heads.
“How long do you think that’s going to last?” asked Mwari kindly. “We’re well isolated, both of us, but sooner or later this plague of disbelief will spread.”
“Not to mention that Yahweh fellow,” said Amun with aristocratic disgust. “Telling people he’s the only real one and that they should renounce us. The gall!”
“Says the god who tried it a thousand years ago,” retorted Vishnu.
“Hey, that was a disagreement with my pantheon. I never tried to encroach on any of yours.”
“What about that Science gal I keep hearing about?” wondered Thor. “Who is she?”
“I don’t think she’s a goddess,” said Ahura-Mazda, unable to repress a frown of doubt. “It’s rather a way of explaining things that doesn’t give us any credit.”
“Like those humans who says the sun would come up no matter what since the earth is round,” said Athena.
Everyone turned to look at the tall young woman in armor. She stopped playing with her long auburn braid and blushed, partly with embarrassment but also with pride (the humans in question were her worshippers).
“What? Who let them find that out?” said Inti, leaning in and staring up at her with suspicious eyes.
“So, what you’re saying is that some humans are studying phenomena and then giving us the finger?” asked Thor. “A good thunderbolt always puts that to right.”
“It’s more complicated than that,” said Ahura-Mazda. “They are questioning our power and so their belief wanes. This in turn weakens us and so reduces our influence.”
“So we’ll kill’em all!” repeated Mars. “They’ll believe in us then.”
“Who?” Athena’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “The dead ones?”
Amun stood up before Mars could reply. “Talking of death, what about Anubis’s proposition the other day? That thing about us going back to earth to live with the humans.”
“Might not these scientists interpret this move as one of weakness?” asked Inti.
“Not if we kill them all!” shrilled Mars with mounting anguish, cheeks now red under his strawberry blond peach fuzz of a beard.
“Ah yes, good idea,” said Athena. “Live with humans and piss them off so they revolt.”
Thor twirled his hammer. “How can they revolt? We’re gods.”
“Perhaps,” said Ahura-Mazda. “But we are few and they are many. Personally, I preferred Mwari’s idea about creating a new dimension, even if it does mean leaving what’s left of my believers without guidance.”
“Both ideas have merit,” said Athena, “and their faults: I think the disbelief runs too deep here for our presence to do any good. What if we tried a combination of the two?”
“You mean create a new world AND live with the humans?” Vishnu’s voice became pensive.
“No!” Mars’s whole face turned vermillion. “Killing them is the solution! A nice little blood bath… Ah! Come on!”


jeudi 26 avril 2018

An Excerpt from Incompetent Gods

**Giveaway Alert: for a free ecopy of Incompetent Gods, click here

Chapter 2 : Vexations of Monarchy

In the Summer Palace near Karta, the two robed figures stood on the rim of the glowing abyss.

“Well, that worked… not at all. What did you do, you… your Highness?” asked Goblin, with what he considered admirable restraint.

Three times, the king had shouted Ba’al’s summons. Three times, nothing but silence had answered. They couldn’t try for a fourth without a new goat, and gods knew it smelled bad enough in here.

It wasn’t a BIG surprise; His Lameness King Japhet was renowned for failing at most things. This being said, he did look the part. He was, to put it simply, majestic. Exceptionally fit, with ebony skin and a great white smile, he towered over everyone. He also had big broad shoulders, ideal for taking the blame if things went wrong.

Right now, His Uselessness was leaning on the altar and pouting.

“I did everything you told me to. It’s your fault it didn’t work. Why didn’t you stay with me instead of hiding in the next room?”

“I told you, Your Worthiness,” said Goblin with all the patience he could muster. “If you want the titan to be YOUR servant, you must conjure him alone.”

That was a lie: a summoned divinity only ever obeyed his invoker, but Goblin preferred not to be seen by Ba’al. Not to mention that if there was a fault in the summons, if he had missed the aforementioned dot for example, divinities could get quite rude about it.

Alone, Goblin would have punched the wall. They had to postpone everything. There were many possible reasons for tonight’s failure, but none could be remedied now. Prince Asset would arrive soon and he could not find out about the plan.

Goblin glared at the King, thought for a second about replacing one goat with another, different kind of goat, then got a hold of himself. Even if His Odiousness was not strictly necessary, Goblin didn’t enjoy wearing KICK ME signs. He preferred to work from the shadows. He pulled the hidden lever and the two panels slid into place, closing the abyss.

“It’s all right, Your Industriousness.” Goblin bowed obsequiously. “Go and rest, I’ll clean up in here and find out why the summons didn’t work.”

“But Goblin!” The king was petulant. “I was supposed to be the world’s most powerful ruler in less than a week. We need my brother, he’s good with the gods…”

“And the other rulers,” said Goblin. “Do you really trust his lack of ambition? Especially when you’ll have so much power?”

The king frowned in puzzlement before stomping his foot. “Oh, Poo! Just hurry it up, will you! I want the world; I need new concubines, and fast!”

His Pompousness left in a huff, in the timeless manner of dim-witted kings, and slammed the door, leaving a bemused Goblin staring at it.

He shook his head. He had chosen Japhet because of his stupidity and childish behavior. Now was not the moment to be surprised by the extent of both.

**Want to read on? Get your free copy here!

mercredi 15 novembre 2017

PLAYING GOD: The creation of a Fantasy world.

Ah, writing a new world: drawing strange landscapes, giving life to fantastic creatures, constructing societies… Sounds fun, right? Liberating? Heady even? It is, but it comes with a price. Lack of constraints can easily trip the unwary fabulist and the derived enjoyment has given speculative fiction a bad reputation: it’s escapism, fluff, too much fun to be of any real consequence…
Well pffft! Let me tell you the dark little secret: even the most grounded and realist writer of fiction (and a lot of so-called non-fiction) creates a world that is, be it ever so slightly, different from reality. ALL fiction is fictional, it’s only a question of degrees.
What’s more, inventing other worlds is a fundamental aspect of human intelligence. Margaret Atwood posits that the ability is within us from infancy, that the limited confines of the crib make us imagine an elsewhere, that then our first encounter with death forces us to confront the idea of an after-world. Then we grow up, we forget… but we keep doing it unconsciously, for framing reality with our values often distorts it.
Let’s get back to writing a Fantasy world. Not all writers of Fantasy feel the need to do this. The basic tenet of the genre only asks that we naturalize the supernatural, and this reality has proven most accommodating: over the centuries, authors have dropped in hordes of wizards, vampires, werewolves, witches, gods, aliens, and so on, without readers batting an eyelash.
So how does a new world come into being? It’s a well-known fact that there are two sorts of writers: the ones who plan their story in advance (planners) and the ones who let the story write itself (pantsers). Typically, a planner has outlined all the parameters of their universe before writing the first sentence. Me, I’m the other type. I didn’t realize I was setting up an Elsewhere until I was quite far into the story, it just kinda… happened. Who’s right? Who knows? The Church likes to profess that God has a plan, but if you ask me, it all makes a lot more sense if you think of God as the create-as-you-write sort.
Jokes aside, whatever kind of world creator you turn out to be, there will come a point when you need to stop and think about your creation, define its rules. This is when you must start taking your readers into consideration, for a fictional universe cannot be anything but incomplete: if it is born in the writer’s imagination, it is fulfilled in the reader’s. The latter has to be able to penetrate it, believe it. In the name of what some call “suspension of disbelief” or “impression of reality”, this world will need to possess a structure somewhat similar to the primary reality and a coherent equation of cause and effect. And while these concepts are important for any work of fiction, they are absolutely essential to any work touching on the supernatural.
Then you will need to think about your aims as an author, and if you don’t know what these are, it might mean digging deep into your unconscious. Fantasy has the potential to be didactic and moralizing: it simplifies life and by doing so, allows an author to enlarge society’s defects and draw the reader’s attention to real problems by changing their setting and magnifying them in contrast. Moreover, the removed standpoint permits the subtle handling of difficult, often delicate subjects. By using echoes or flipping the reader’s perspective, it becomes possible to reveal absurdities while sparing sensibilities… And they call it fluff ;)
This being said, always remember that the more you diverge from the primary reality, the harder it will be to debate concrete notions and critique society. Sadly, this means that most imaginary worlds will be parasites of our own, but how? Will your creation be linked, or completely independent? What will be its mechanics?
You can choose the oldest trick in the book: the geography or spatial angle (think Jules Vernes, Gulliver’s Travels, or the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), in which the distance traveled by the hero explains differences and where comparison with the primary society is built in.
Or you can reverse the Science Fiction thing, make your world a blast from the past, or something that feels like it could be our past (even if you set it in our future). Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, along with our fascination for Arthurian romances, has made this the conventional choice of High Fantasy. In these realities, traditional and heroic values of days yore are often imbued with a nostalgic glow to denounce the evils of our modern societies.
You can go Quantum, create a parallel dimension. This sort of world will usually be linked to ours, be it by a rabbit hole (Alice’s Wonderland) or a wardrobe (C.S. Lewis’s Narnia), thus permitting comparisons. There are exceptions, especially in realities only slightly different than ours, although this means you cannot define it as a parallel dimension in the story itself. You can do a Harry Potter and use a pocket dimension existing within our own. Of course, you may find a wholly new way – Bravo! – or you can mix everything up and create something in the lines of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. You may want to explain your world, or not, or just leave tantalizing clues.
At page thirty of Incompetent Gods, I realized I had created a parallel dimension. I opted to explain it, for its genesis was directly responsible for its society. My world split from ours two thousand years ago, when the ancient pagan gods, sickened by the spread of atheism (and perhaps the arrival of new competition), decided to rip the fabric of time and space, and leave this reality for a new one. This time, they said, we will live amongst the humans, so they will never stop believing. They didn’t realized that knowledge is not faith… Forward two thousand years, a couple of centuries after the end of an era marked by global warfare where gods had become the equivalent of atomic bombs, and they are now safely ensconced in Gods Incorporated, a huge multinational that regiments the relations between mortals and immortals.
Mine became an exercise in extrapolation (or retrogression for some parameters – remember I was already on page thirty), perhaps closer to Science Fiction than Fantasy: change a variable, and see where it takes you. Divine beings exuding it like we expel carbon dioxide explained the omnipresence of magic (while its unreliability dictated the need for technology). The combined existence of pagan gods, by definition promiscuous and weirdly shaped, and breaches in the space-time continuum that permit teleportation (and resulting splicing accidents), justified the presence of mythical creatures. And in a society where divine intervention is expected, miracles and acts of gods became bought and paid for commodities.
Whatever your model of choice, whether you choose to explain it or not, you will need to know how your world works, what is possible and what isn’t, for the smallest inconsistencies can shatter the illusion you have worked so hard to create.

References & suggestions for further reading
Margaret Atwood, In Other Worlds. SF and the Human Imagination.
Stephen King, On Writing.
Ann Swinfen, In Defense of Fantasy. A study of the genre in English and American litterature since 1945.

J.R.R. Tolkien, Tree and Leaf. Including the poem Mythopoeia.

dimanche 22 octobre 2017

How do gods blaspheme?

"When you hit your thumb with an eight-pound hammer, it's nice to be able to blaspheme. It takes a very special and strong-minded kind of atheist to jump up and down with their hand clasped under their other armpit and shout, "Oh, random-fluctuations-in-the-space-time-continuum!" or "Aaargh, primitive-and-outmoded-concept on a crutch!"
Terry Pratchett - Men at Arms

As a reader, there’s nothing that brings me as much pleasure as discovering a new way of cursing. Disclaimer: this might be a French-Canadian thing. People in Québec, oppressed by the Catholic clergy until the Quiet Revolution in the 1960s, have developed a unique way of venting their anger: almost every sacrament (even the word sacrement), every implement of the mass, has become an expletive – Baptème! (my father’s favorite – baptism), Tabarnak! (Tabernacle), Ostie! (Host), and so on, which you can link in an endless chain with a de: Tabarnak de caliss d’ostie de ciboire de marde!
If not innate, my affection for swearing started at a very young age (before I even knew what it was, and long before anyone would tell me the words), with the discovery of comic books, which I read without knowing how to read. Most of these were, if not aimed at children, then at least kid-friendly, so the authors had to convey the anger and frustration inherent to a satisfying curse fest in creative ways.
There was the good old number’s-uppercase-line, but the best added to it with symbols and drawings – and the character’s expression was often quite telling, as in this lovely one from Greg’s Achille Talon.

In the next one from Astérix et les Goths, Goscinny and Uderzo pushed the irony a little further by translating the picturesque oaths.

Some found more original ways. In Gaston Lagaffe, Franquin would write out the sounds – meaningless on paper, they would regain their full sense once said aloud. And you gotta love the red face.
I grew up, sorely feeling the lack of older siblings (those treasure troves of the best profanities). I had two older brothers, but they were well into adulthood, and they couldn’t be persuaded to teach bad language to their little sister. On the other hand, they taught me that the words themselves don’t matter that much: with the right intonation, you can make up your own.
I remember my brother being cut by a bad driver when I was nine and him thundering “Cornichon à Roulettes” (pickle on wheels). My friend and I laughed for hours. And just like that, I saw the genius in Capitaine Haddock’s strings of literate insults (Tintin by Hergé). Here – Bighead, Cukold, a sort of inedible leek, Slime, Pest that attacks grapevines, and Cannibal.

When I reached my teens, I was shipped to an English speaking boarding school in Southern Québec (possibly because my language was deemed unfit by the nuns at my Catholic school). Lo and behold! A fresh new world of profanities opened itself to me. Sadly, the school library was poor in such things and my swearing vocabulary did not expand much further than what I could catch on American television.
Upon reaching adulthood, the singing ribaldries of 90s French comic cinema attracted me to the other side of the pond. Perhaps unsurprisingly, French cursing is mostly about sex, but whereas it feels puritanical in the US, the French revel in it and are not the least bit apologetic. What’s more, many French oaths also have a mundane meaning. And so a Frenchman can yell out Bordel! then look you straight in the eyes and say that no, he didn’t say whorehouse, he was just commenting on the mess.
Three years later, an incidental bachelor’s degree in my pocket, I was swearing like a native and ready to go back home, but my Great Epiphany was laying in wait. Stuck in a dreary London hotel, I discovered British humor. The sky opened up, the sun came out as I finally heard real British cursing. Colorful, irreverent, bouncy, fun to say… I fell in love instantly. It might even be the main reason I write in English instead of French.
How a person swears, the words he chooses to do it with, is revealing of his personality, but it’s also revealing at a cultural level. For a writer, it can be valuable tool that hints at a character’s nationality, and develops his personality.
My Gods Inc. series is, you guessed it, about gods. I wasn’t far into writing Incompetent Gods that the question presented itself: how in gods’ names would gods blaspheme?
But I’m not telling. You’ll just have to read the books to find out.

mardi 18 juillet 2017

Inclement Gods
When you live in a world pullulating with gods, can you truly be an atheist? Well, yes…if you know a way to get rid of them. Mysantheos, a fanatic atheist at the head of a powerful lobby/terrorist organization, has created a weapon able to kill gods and his kamikaze army is ready to attack.

As the divine bodies pile up, resentment builds at Gods Incorporated and violent factions start pushing for the extermination of the human race, and the CEO/Queen Louhi is running out of ideas to calm them down. Hopefully, her black ops teams are doing better. But will the Nerds and Richard (a down-on-his-luck private eye), saddled as they are with a group of angry gods, manage to find 
Mysantheos before all hell breaks loose?

dimanche 31 juillet 2016



In a dimension created by the ancient gods, most are now stuck working at Gods Incorporated. CEO Queen Louhi Pohjola, a mortal demigoddess turned vampire (on a diet), holds the planet in the palm of her hand and while she cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called a nice person, there’s worse lurking in her shadow.

Goblin, a bitter hybrid with childhood issues and shape-shifting abilities, has a grudge against the world. First on his to-do list is getting rid of the Queen and take her place by forcing the titan Ba’al to devour her.

As her friends and allies fall one-by-one into Goblin’s traps, the Queen’s fate seems inevitable. With no one left to fight, will Ba’al’s friends, a bunch of over-the-hill incompetent gods, be enough to stop Goblin from turning the world into hell?

Available in December 2016!

jeudi 28 janvier 2016


La journée n’avait pas commencé que je m’en doutais déjà qu’elle serait terrible.

En réalité, tout a commencé la veille, pendant la soirée. Depuis un mois, tous les soirs ou presque, je trie le contenu des boîtes que j’ai dû sortir de chez ma Marraine.

Marraine (elle a toujours insisté pour que je l’appelle ainsi), c’était la seconde épouse de mon oncle. Elle n’a pas eu d’enfants, mais elle m’a accueillie sous son aile suite au décès de ma mère. Elle a été une maman adoptive formidable ! Le mois dernier, elle est morte d’un cancer du poumon compliqué par un AVC massif qui l’avait laissée à moitié paralysée.


Bref, ce boulot qui me chiffonne le nez (il y a des papiers là-dedans qui doivent avoir plus de cent ans) suscite une gamme complète d’émotions. Ça aide d’avoir un mari à ses côtés et un verre de vin à la main.

À onze heures, on avait bu trois bouteilles. Ma gorge et mes yeux n’en pouvaient plus de la poussière. On a tout placé dans les chemises idoines et on a remis les boîtes au sous-sol. Incroyable comme ça pue du vieux papier !

Et pour bien terminer la soirée, on a pris un petit digestif avant d’aller dormir. Le verre de trop, quoi.

Minuit venait à peine de sonner quand mon mari a commencé à ronfler. Son ronflement de Calvados : rond comme une pomme, aussi subtil qu’un troupeau de Normands qui chargent. L’enfer!

Comme de fait, Satan n’a pas tardé à apparaître. En échange de mon âme, il m’a offert de rendre Achille (le nom a été modifié pour protéger l'innocent) silencieux pour le reste de ses nuits. D’habitude, Satan, il trouve des trucs beaucoup plus chouettes pour m’allécher : la jeunesse éternelle, des milliards de dollars, vingt livres en moins, la publication de mes romans, des pouvoirs magiques… N’empêche que je n’ai jamais été aussi proche de céder.

Connaissant Satan, je me serais probablement réveillée avec un mari muet.

Je lui ai dit d’aller voir au paradis si j’y étais et j’ai donné un coup de pied à Achille. Je me suis enfouie dans mes oreillers en remerciant Dieu pour la finesse de leur duvet et la douceur de mes draps (coton égyptien, huit cents fils au pouce, fini percale, hautement recommandés en cas d’infestation démoniaque).

Vers huit heures, mon mari s’est levé. Enfin, je pouvais arrêter de suffoquer dans mes oreillers et peut-être dormir.

Pas pour longtemps. J’avais oublié qu’on était dimanche. Pourquoi faut-il toujours que je prenne un coup le samedi ? On dirait que ça ne me rentre pas dans le crâne que le dimanche, la messe est à neuf heures et quart. Et pourtant, j’y allais, avant, pour accompagner Marraine.

En plus, ne me demandez pas comment, mais il le sait toujours, le bedeau, quand j’ai la tête dans le c… Je suis certaine qu’il le fait exprès. La semaine dernière, les cloches ont sonné à peine deux minutes. Ce matin, il a commencé à neuf heures moins cinq! Et il était en forme, le bedeau. Je l’imagine, tout rond, en robe de bure, chauve, pendu après sa corde en train de se balancer d’un mur à l’autre du campanile, un grand sourire aux lèvres. Le salaud…

Il faut déménager.

Mon cerveau était traversé de spasmes tranchants, mais je n’avais plus sommeil. J’ai avalé trois Aspirines et je me suis traînée hors du lit de peine et misère.

En bas, mon mari semblait en pleine forme. Il fait chier. Je lui ai grogné bonjour et on a joué à Pepe le Pew pendant deux minutes.

Il a vite compris qu’après avoir enduré son imitation de siffleux toute la nuit, j’en avais ma claque, non mais flûte !

Verre d’eau à la main, je me suis installée à l’ordinateur. À tous les jours, en me levant, j’essaie d’écrire un chapitre de roman, mais ce matin, les annonces immobilières possédaient un charme irrésistible.

L’ordinateur a décidé pour moi : vingt courriels !

Comment ça, vingt courriels ? Appréhensive, j’ai ouvert ma boîte de réception. À travers la réclame et les inanités de Facebook, le nom redouté crevait l’écran. Pendant que j’épluchais des souvenirs de famille, mon cousin a encore piqué une crise.

Mon cousin (appelons-le Lefuneste - là, c'est pour ME protéger du déplaisant), c’est le fils de mon oncle, le beau-fils de Marraine. Il n’est pas content. Marraine l’a déshérité.

Lefuneste ne semble pas comprendre que les gens n’aiment pas être traités avec mépris. Marraine, écœurée de son dédain et blessée par celui de ses enfants, a donc préférer léguer ses biens à trois de mes cousins et à moi. Ça, ça ne lui a vraiment pas plu, à Lefuneste.

J’ai ouvert son premier courriel. J’y ai trouvé la rengaine habituelle : qu’il est triste, si triste, que c’est pas juste, que s’il a raté sa vie c’est à cause de son enfance malheureuse, blablabla… Difficile à croire qu’il a maintenant soixante ans, qu’il va bientôt être grand-père.

Le deuxième, plus virulent, s’adresse aux héritiers (avec toute la famille en copie). Il nous compare à des vautours sauvages et nous ordonne de lui céder notre héritage. Il est fou, ma foi.

Dans le troisième, après la réponse de ma cousine qui lui dit « Tu es fou, ma foi », il nous traite tous de chiens sales et nous annonce qu’il a engagé un avocat. Il va poursuivre tout le monde! Oui, même la matriarche de la famille, âgée de 90 ans. Rien pour aider ma migraine.

Sourcil froncé, j’ai tourné la tête pour regarder le mini diable perché sur mon épaule gauche. Comme son patron, c’est un satyre à la peau rouge et aux cheveux noirs qui porte une petite barbichette pointue, sauf qu’il ressemble étrangement à mon ex petit ami (celui qui est passé du côté obscur de la force).

Mon diable avait un air fanfaron. J’ai pointé l’écran du pouce.

- C’est vous ça ?

Il s’est embué les ongles et les a frottés sur sa redingote de soie noire (j’ai oublié de mentionner qu’il est toujours bien sapé, comme mon ex, d’ailleurs).

- Un chef-d’œuvre, on en est très fiers, en bas.

J’aurais dû m’en douter.

J’ai appelé mon mari pour qu’il vienne lire. J’aime bien avoir son opinion et un jour il pourrait être obligé de défendre mon honneur.

De toute façon, mon verre d’eau était vide. Sur le chemin de la cuisine, le flacon de Tylenol m’a fait un clin d’œil.

- Tut tut, a dit une voix de mon épaule droite.

Ça, c’est mon ange. Il m’énerve. Il a une tête de socialiste et une gueule d’animateur de jeux télévisés. Il porte une longue jaquette blanche et des sandales Birkenstock. Et, au lieu de jouer de la lyre, il joue de la cornemuse. Mal.

- Tu viens de prendre trois Aspirines. C’est pas bon ce genre de mélange.

- Mais c’est la faute de vos foutues cloches…

Il a haussé les épaules.

- Le Seigneur donne, le Seigneur reprend (Job, I, 21). Tu ferais mieux de boire une tasse de café.

Ça semblait raisonnable, mais j’ai appris à me méfier. Je me suis servie une tasse (trois Splenda, un sucre) et j’y ai trempé les lèvres.

Beuark ! Je le savais ! C’est toujours dégueulasse, du café, un lendemain de veille. Parfois, mon ange, il mérite des baffes. En plus, il rit comme Charlemagne.

Mais j’avais trop besoin de stimulant. J’ai ajouté du lait et du sucre; le sirop a passé.

J’ai regagné le bureau. Mon mari avait les yeux gros comme des assiettes à soupe. Il s’est tourné vers moi en faisant son Obélix.

- Il est fou, ce cousin.

J’ai repris ma place. Que faire ? Mon roman ne m’intéressait plus. J’avais juste envie d’écrire à Lefuneste, de lui dire qu’à son âge, il serait peut-être temps qu’il arrête de faire le guignol. Mais je sais que ce n’est pas la solution : quand on lui répond, on l’encourage, il aime ça. Non, la seule chose à faire, c’est l’ignorer.

De retour au roman, alors…

Et là, l’ordinateur a planté. Je tapais incompétent, et sur l’écran ça devenait hyvizôcecye, je tapais dieux et le mot mhcgu apparaissait. Puis, la loi de Murphy a décidé de s’en mêler : le correcteur automatique est passé en mode finlandais.

J’ai expiré un bon coup par le nez en me disant que c’était probablement un code 18. J’ai abandonné le roman pour aller sur Internet. Pas moyen, l’ordinateur était gelé gelé.

Je hais ces machines. On passe plus de temps à les faire fonctionner qu’à s’en servir. Mes rêves de richesse instantanée se bornent habituellement à une chose : pouvoir lancer mes ordinateurs par la fenêtre quand ça me chante!

- Tut, tut, a grondé mon ange. C’est pas génial pour l’environnement, ça. Il faut que tu apprennes la patience.

Il a soufflé une note dans son infâme cornemuse. Tout à coup, j’avais diablement envie de jouer au base-ball, moi – avec une cornemuse et une tête d’ange.

J’ai cligné des yeux, il a disparu. J’ai crié à Achille de venir m’aider. Le temps qu’il arrive, j’avais décidé que c’était de sa faute. L’ordinateur marchait très bien avant qu’il ne lise les courriels du vilain…

Et l’engueulade fut.

Mais j’avais oublié mon mal de bloc. Après deux minutes, je me suis recroquevillée sur un fauteuil en pleurant. Achille m’a embrassé les cheveux. Il m’a suggéré de lire le journal d’hier à la place, pendant qu’il s’occuperait de l’ordinateur. Et peut-être que je devrais manger quelque chose, il ne restait plus beaucoup de temps avant le tennis.

Deux heures plus tard, j’avais repris forme humaine et je m’étais convaincue que je VOULAIS aller jouer au tennis.

Le problème, c’est que les clés de la voiture avaient disparu. Les deux trousseaux, pfft, volatilisés.

J’ai eu une vision : n’avais-je pas eu une rage de fumer, la veille ? J’ai demandé à mon mari s’il n’avait pas caché les clés, pour éviter que j’aille m’acheter des cigarettes. Il a répondu que non et on a commencé à chercher.

Trois quarts d’heure plus tard, on cherchait encore. Pour le tennis, c’était foutu, et Achille s’inquiétait de plus en plus. Quelqu’un (du genre cousin funeste) se serait-il introduit dans la maison ? Aurait-il volé les clés pour revenir plus tard en toute quiétude ?

Mais pourquoi les deux trousseaux ?

Moi, j’étais convaincue que mon hypothèse était la bonne. Achille s’est choqué : il s’en souviendrait, merde!

Mais là, je n’avais plus du tout envie de rigoler.

- Disons que tu les aurais cachées, fais semblant. Où les aurais-tu mises ?

Mon mari m’a fait une drôle de tête puis il a marché vers la bibliothèque. D’un geste hésitant il en a tâtonné le dessus. Cling !

Je me suis laissée tomber sur une marche. Je me suis tournée vers mon diable. Il semblait ébahi.

- Ah, non. Je te jure, il le fait tout seul. Il est phénoménal! On devrait l’engager, il serait vite le chouchou du patron.

J’ai senti la rage me monter au nez. Il fallait que je me calme. Mon ange n’avait rien vu aller, le con. Il était assis en tailleur en train de se faire une pédicure en mordant sa Birkenstock. Les pieds d’ange n’ont peut-être pas d’odeur, mais c’est quand même dégoûtant. Il a levé la tête et analysé la situation. Il a craché sa sandale.

- Désolé. Je suis aussi pantois que l’autre.

Mon diable, de son côté, a commencé à se battre avec un pot de moutarde. Je lui ai envoyé une pichenotte. J’ai fermé les yeux, j’ai compté. Je devais lutter contre ma génétique : je ne veux pas être comme mon père, je me défends de faire les mêmes colères dévastatrices…

Marraine, aide-moi !

Quand j’ai relevé la tête, mon mari était assis deux marches plus bas. Il m’a fait un petit sourire penaud.

- On fait ce que tu veux. N’importe quoi. Je suis désolé, je t’aime, ma chérie.

Mais moi, j’en avais vraiment trop marre de cette journée. Tout ce dont j’avais envie, c’était de prendre un long bain chaud puis m’envelopper dans des cotons ouatés. Me blottir dans un fauteuil devant un bon feu et lire un Petit Nicolas, histoire de me consoler d’avoir épousé Gaston Lagaffe.