The Wee Things kickoff: Robert’s rubber duckies

I’m starting a feature here called “The Wee Things,” where I and other authors will spotlight specific objects in our books, talk about their origins, and what they mean to us and to our characters. Fun stuff!

In Play It Safe, Liam and Fergus are shopping in the Barras market when they come upon a toy merchant selling rubber duckies that light up when you put them in water.

Liam stopped in his tracks in front of a toy seller. “Rabbie used to love these.” He darted over to a small tub filled with floating rubber duckies. Two of them were blinking lights of every color.

Fergus was confused for a moment. Liam had so many younger siblings, it was hard to keep track of their names. “Our Rabbie? As in McKenzie?”

My Rabbie,” Liam said with a growl. “You know he hates anyone else calling him that.”

Play It Safe, Chapter 2

The duckies feature in two scenes in Playing With Fire, including a very touching–literally and figuratively–scene near the end.

They undressed in silence, fingers trembling on buttons, buckles, and zippers. As his last bit of clothes hit the floor, Liam said a silent thank-you that Robert’s flat was well-heated.

He paused for a moment at the foot of the bed, taking in the sight of his naked boyfriend, as the rubber ducks’ lights flashed every color over Robert’s smooth chest and abs.

Playing With Fire, Chapter 30

So to celebrate last week’s release of Play Hard, I filmed my own two disco ducklings dancing to “Play Hard” by David Guetta featuring Ne-Yo and Akon. (Warning: video contains flashing lights)

The music choice is rather fitting, and not just because of the title. Another David Guetta song, “Dangerous,” features prominently in Playing With Fire (I won’t reveal how, because it’s too big of a spoiler).

I still remember buying the rubber duckies in a shop in New Jersey many years ago. My family thought it weird that an adult would want such toys, but I was captivated by the blinking lights. Every once in a while I still activate them (they’ve got nodes on their undersides to make them blink) just for the sheer joy of it.

To find out how Robert’s obsession with rubber duckies began (maybe), check out this interview at Gay Book Reviews. Liam spins quite a yarn about it!

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