"Maybe now's not exactly the best time for drugs," I told Gus gently.
"Relax," he replied. "It's not like I can overdose or anything. I'm already dead."
I shrugged. "Yeah, but if everything going on really is this confusing, I'm going to need you to be at your, uh, maximum cognitive capability."
"I don't think that's really an option anymore, sir," Onslaw whispered. "It looks like he's kind of mentally checked out already."
"Even a little vodka would take the edge off," Gus suggested hopefully.
"No," I said firmly. "Listen, Gavsot betrayed us. He's allied himself with the guy who's running that secret cult thing. I'm not sure what they're up to exactly, but I'm positive it's not anything good. So we have to figure this out, we have to figure the whole Zyzyfus thing out, we have to get Tithenai back, and on top of that we still have to blow open the doors to Heaven, so I think we just need to hunker down, work together, and—"
My increasingly desperate monologue was interrupted by a thunderous noise and a shower of drywall, plaster and dust. A demon shrouded in a long, hooded cloak had been hurled through the wall to land in a battered heap on my office carpet. He groaned but did not get up.
"You!" I hissed venomously. I stomped over to him, planted my foot on his chest, and reached down to rip off his mask. It was a gaunt-looking demon the color of Mountain Dew. I'd expected the mastermind behind this problematic secret organization to look a little more intimidating, but his guy appeared beat to hell and scared shitless.
"It's not him, sir," came Onslaw's calming voice. "He's much too tall."
I looked him over again. He was practically Ichabod Crane in demon form. Onslaw was right—the Leader was kind of on the short side. This poor schmuck was probably just a rank-and-file member of the Leader's group of followers. I looked back toward the gaping hole through which he'd made his violent entrance. Silhouetted in the settling dust was the gangly, creamsicle-colored form of Zyzyfus.
His chest heaving, probably from the exertion of having thrown someone through a wall, Zyzyfus raised a bony finger toward me and growled, "You!"