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‘Hoodrat Archaeofuturism’
J O H N H O W A R D AND THE HELLHOUND OF BALTIMORE by SAMUEL FINLAY
by SAMUEL FINLAY * JAMES LAFOND * LYNN LOCKHART
Samuel Finlay has been corresponding with me concerning details of my life in Baltimore, so that he could write piece of fiction with a character based on my decrepit ass. I was all set to feel embarrassed about being depicted in some heroic light, based on His intro email titled “Conan and James walk into a bar.” But a page into the story I was pleasantly intrigued and three pages I’m I’m hooked on this novelette length piece of postmodern pulp fiction. I had forgotten how well Sam wrote and I’m enjoying the hell out of this story. Below is a sample paragraph of Sam’s 10,000 word offering. I like it so much that I hope he or Lynn can publish it along with the Filthy Few, the book I’ve written Sam into as a character.
“John stepped off the bus and put his hickory T-cane to work, walking two blocks to the bike shop. He felt like a time traveler. He remembered the place as a young man; blue collar families going about their lives, then moving away one by one as the ghetto encroached, only to be now overtaken in the wave of gentrification. If it wasn’t the warzone, it was the property taxes. He wondered how long the new arrangement would last and what would replace it. Baltimore was hard on nice things.”
Not only doe real Characters from my life, Like Mister Frank, Carbon Mike, Big Ron and my errant bondman, Stevedore Jackson, make appearances in this story that begins with a hipster bike-seller seeking my alter-ego out to solve a dog-napping crime, but Sam ingeniously recreates Robert E. Howard as a Baltimore bar owner immigrated up from Northeast Texas…
Below is some of the most enjoyable fiction I’ve ever read, with some cuss based on me talking to some gent based on Robert E. Howard:
“Big Ron been here yet?” John asked.
“Not that I’ve seen. What are you boys up to?”
“Trying to find this guy’s dog.”
“But you hate dogs.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Bob cocked his head inquisitively and John just shrugged. This amused Bob. “There a girl involved?”
“Kinda. Guy’s married to this Hipster babe. They made a kid outta this dog like all these college-educated urbanite faggots do. Anyhow, it went missing. Probably some hoodrat, but there wasn’t much stolen, so I dunno.”
Bob’s visage took on that of a hanging judge. “You gotta be some kind of a son of a bitch go runnin’ off with someone’s dog.”
Sam’s action scenes are a pleasing combination of Howard’s atmospherics and my combat mechanics. Interestingly, Sam also used a number of real Harm City moments from my ill-spent life and stitched it all neatly together.
He asked me for some feedback or input on this.
To my faux editorial eye, the story reads very clean.
As for regional details, the only thing I noted that would strike a Baltimore person as out of place, was the use of the term “swap meet.” In Baltimore, the term is fairly unknown and they call such gatherings “flea markets.”
Sam, thank you. I am truly honored that you assigned those pixels where you did.
Thanks, Sam, this is really good fiction and I hope to read a lot more of your strange tales in the future.
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