You thought Batty was the only alarmingly brilliant foreigner I know? Joke's on you, I'm up to my ass in brilliant foreigners!
It has occurred to me that I should probably set the Zeppo and Friends stories in the past. Well, since they happen fifteen years apart, it's pretty much a given that one part of them at least should be set in the past. But maybe both parts should. Because (and I know this will shock you) Maisie is a bit of an autobiographical character, and when I write her high school experience I'm drawing on mine, which happened some time ago. What a time for adolescence the nineties were! Grunge! The first primordial burblings of the Internet! Weird bootleg computer games for your toaster Mac that you got from a friend on floppy disk! Cartoons suddenly becoming cool again! Beavis and Butt-head! Dr. Katz! Space Ghost! Mixtapes! No one had a goddamn cell phone! I don't know to this day why people liked Oasis so much! See, these are the things I think of when I think of being a greasy teen, and probably it's broadly the same, but I don't know how the Young People talk now or what their mating rituals are like or any of that garbage, and the most elegant solution is to take the coward's way out and just put Maisie in high school when I was there. Which would put the earlier stories, with all their charming necrophilia and cannibalism, in the early to mid-eighties. Which makes sense, as you'd figure these losers must have been doing their thing in a time when there wasn't a camera up your ass in every public space. And I don't specify, but I think of them as being in my town, New York, and you may have heard about what New York was like in the eighties. That was The Warriors New York, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three New York, when it was considered suicidal to enter a public park after two p.m.
Of course I'd have to make it so Tancred got blown up in a different military action. And I'd have to push back the date of Declan's mother's lobotomy, which currently happened in 1956. Of course the first lobotomy was performed in 1936, so I can't push the dates back too far, but maybe fifteen years. That would put Maisie in high school in the early aughts or whatever we're calling them now, and that's plausible. CD wallets and zines and stuff. Maisie and Candy would like 581% have a zine. And the reader will expect me to say something about 9/11 but I won't say anything about 9/11 because I have had enough chatter about 9/11 to last me until the year 3000! And Maisie's like MY DAD DOES RECREATIONAL PSYCHOSURGERY, I'VE GOT MY OWN PROBLEMS OK