Andy spluttered out another, “wot!” meanwhile looking around frantically for something to aid him if he got into a fight. Fists were fine, of course, but a weapon of some kind was better.
Keys bent at the waist and straightened up again a moment later, holding a copy of one of the trashy romance novels, this one called BEDDING A BILLIONARE HIGHLANDER. That one had been surprisingly dirty.
“How was it?” Keys asked, holding it up. The spine was creased enough to reveal someone had definitely read it quite thoroughly.
“Your last name, Templar… you wouldn’t happen to be related to Richard Templar, the comic artist, would you?”
At this, Andy’s nervous search for a weapon ceased completely. His father’s name generally had that effect on him.
“He’s your father, isn’t he?”
“Piss off. I’m busy,” Andy said, backing away from Daniel Keys and reaching blindly for a bottle. He attempted to make himself look suitably busy, but Keys didn’t take much notice. He helped himself behind the drug counter and looked around a bit, crossing his arms over his chest. “I said, I’m busy.”
“That whole series, GHOSTMAN, that was my favorite as a kid. I had every single issue, but I still wanted the omnibus too. I talked my sister into taking me to a convention one time, when I was eight.” Daniel Keys smiled, a pleasant sort of smile that was just right for television. “Your father was a guest of honor there, but he took the time to talk to me about my favorite issue, and he drew something for me.”
“How sweet.” Andy opened the bottle in his hand, though he had no idea what was even in it.
“No one ever meant as much to me as Richard Templar, up to that point.”
“Well, I’m glad my father made such a brilliant impact on SOME little boy’s life,” Andy sneered, screwing the top right back on his mysterious bottle. He rattled it around a bit. “Certainly didn’t bother having one on mine. His head was off with the fairies whenever I was hungry or needed something.”
To be fair, Andy had been one of the most bloody troublesome and annoying kids on the planet, even in his own recollection, but that didn’t need mentioning right now.
Keys shrugged, kicking at another wayward romance novel. That one hadn’t been nearly as filthy as Andy had hoped. “He told me he had a son, and about my age, too.”
“How about that, Doctor Templar? We come to the edge of disaster and find our paths crossing with the strangest of people.”
“I’m not the one who’s strange. I didn’t make my living off of hiding away in a room with art supplies, writing about some sodding ghost who solves fucking mysteries!”
“Ghostman didn’t solve mysteries.”
“Ah, piss off.”