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A Novel of Post Economic Baltimore: A.E.G. 30: Prequel to Tinman
© 2023 James LaFond
Copyright James LaFond 2023
A Crackpot Book
Lynn Lockhart Publisher
About the Title: A.E.G. has replaced C.E. for Common Era, as that designation replaced A.D. for In the Year of Our Lord. A.E.G. means After Everything got Gay, meaning A.D. 2020, placing Motherboard in A.D. 2050
Dust Cover
Thirty years After Everything got Gay, diversity engineering has taken the place of physical infrastructure preservation. As Baltimore eats itself alive, the bosses yet thrive. By the length of white winter, the Boss, in his high tower, wishes to be warm, and not like the proles below, shiver. By brief of gray summer, the Boss, confined to the 33rd floor, declines to sweat and starve as the looters below look longingly up. But all around, in many oddly sustainable places, humans have gone to ground.
Tinman is the story of the last HVAC mechanics operating in Baltimore, to be written in 2024, Gawd willing. Motherboard is the prequel about the world these mechanics inhabit while not zip-lining from roof to roof cannibalizing the heating and cooling mechanisms of another age to maintain the suites of the Company Bosses and their food coolers. Motherboard is a view of life on a likely, future ground floor.
Inspirational Quote
“If he’s in front of me—he’s already dead.”
-The Operator
Reader’s Note
On July 10, after suffering a crippling injury since June 5, my condition became worse and required my transport to a medical facility. In too much pain to speak above a whisper and in nervous system failure, a crew of dispersed and diverse knuckleheads provided transportation and housing for this ailing sack of meat.
As I sat one dawning day, shaking in pain, drinking whiskey so I could pass out again, my host, The Brickmouse, regaled me with stories of his work as an HVAC mechanic in a corrupt city with failing infrastructure, in a trade increasingly dominated by designed obsolescence, being fanciful regulations to save the Planet which have the effect of using even more toxic resources, but making more money for the manufacturers, whose lobbyists own the politicians and regulators who draft and pass bogus laws.
I grinned and observed: “I was a frozen food and/or dairy clerk and grocery store manager for 36 of 38 years in retail food, and had a lot of interaction with HVAC mechanics. Ironically, Nero, who brought me here, is an HVAC mechanic. You are, my eldest son is, and the man who runs the nearest boxing gym, are all also HVAC men, what carpenters call tin-knockers. This begs for a novel, written next year, when I can hopefully type rather than shake, shiver and drink at your table.”
Both The Brickmouse and Nero the Pict, were intrigued by the idea and began discussing what means by which they might be able to continue the operation of some heat pump and refrigeration at the far end of a slow collapse economy. The Brickmouse also noted how he gains easy access to government buildings, including the City Courthouse, just by having an HVAC badge and work clothes, especially while hauling 20 pounds of highly explosive refrigerant into the building! Such men in the downgraded future would be even more hallowed, perhaps even to the point of being bound to serve the highest echelons of society.
Motherboard Inspirational Notes
The bride of this model for the Last HVAC mechanic served as my nurse for some months, even pouring my whiskey when I was in too much pain to hit the glass. She is a wizard of computer technology, forever having new gadgets and tech packages delivered to the Brickmouse House. The house where I draft this is almost smart, with many aspects controlled remotely.
A few days ago I woke at 2:30 AM in East Baltimore, next to Megan, after a long brutal and surreal dream. Aspects of the dream did not altogether make sense until I texted the darling land lady on my way back to the Northeast: “Buzzard to roost ETA 9:00 am.”
“Roger that… :) cool beans!” she texted back.
When I arrived to an empty house, her down in Washington D.C., I think, she texted me, “You made good time 10 minutes early!”
As I entered the alarm was disarmed and the temperature controls switched on. Later that day, when The Brickmouse returned from fixing “the Judge’s Elevator” air conditioning, and I related the dream, including one of his wild rabbit pets, who he cultivates clover for, he interpreted it to me in a way that made it fit the proposed story.
Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6 of this novelette come directly from that dream. Chapters 4 & 7 tie the dream into Tinman as a prequel, based on actual interactions between the writer and patterned characters, depicting what is going on down home while The Tinman and his last remaining associate, Zipline Cline, are negotiating passage across a devolving urban landscape.
The Protagonists
The Viewpoint characters in these novels are all patterned on actual Baltimoreans:
-Motherboard, wife of the Tinman, patterned directly on Guiallo Girl, bride of the Brickmouse, combined with a young girl who forever circles the block on her scooter
-Tinman, after my host The Brickmouse
-Zipline Cline, after my transporter, Nero the Pict
-Drew Drop, after my benefactor The Operator
-Jaseman, after Jason, head waiter at The Esoteric Cafe and paranormal investigator
-Big Ron Automaton, a robotic version of my friend
-Crutch, after the crippled author
The Story in Seven Acts
Taking place in Northeast Baltimore in the neighborhoods of Hamilton and Parkville.
-1. Rabbit Jack
-2. House of the Brickmouse
-3. Clutch the Snitch
-4. Crutch the Glitch
-5. Big Ron Automaton
-6. Jaseman Ham
-7. Good Lord
James Anderson
Mop Head
the combat space
broken dance
into leviathan’s maw
uncle satan
dark, distant futures
book of nightmares
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