(Continued from https://ethicaldative.com/2021/10/03/claw-hammer/)
Claw Hammer studied a handful of prehistoric photographs preserved in the Museum of Ancient Technology. “Why do barbs ape-grin in the pografs?”
Siddhartha Huff processed the uppity punk’s patois for a moment. “Where did you learn about apes?” he said, more to himself than to Claw. “Apes did not grin. Maybe that’s why they’re extinct,” he retorted aimlessly. “Well, barbs did, and they are, too,” parried Claw.
The allusion to barbarians — the dead races — startled Sidd. The Pandemiad, the ancient chronicle of the horrors that had decimated bipedalism, was heavily redacted by the governor. Unvarnished history would only stoke restiveness in the lumpenproletariat. Isthmia’s origin story was garlanded evangelically with doughty ranchers and perky frontier wives conjured from the epistemic hubris pulpits of the Alamocracy.
Sidd learned belatedly that Claw Hammer was a black bean — i.e., surreptitious member — of a ding gang roaming the warrens that styled itself the Freeholies. The low-born pack of fact freaks scavenged scraps of truth from the steaming silicon dumps and pieced them into haphazard realities in their noisome gaming dens.
Sidd enjoined Claw Hammer from further contact with the Freeholies. “Whore don’t gotta love it, just gotta do it,” he thundered in dingo over Claw’s protestations. Dressed down in his own dialect, the ding burst into tears and returned a sneer of acquiescence. The matter was (it seemed) closed.
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