Emotional Techno Fiction – Historical/Cyber Noir
[LATEST UPLOAD: Friday November 8, 2019 – 4:00 pm Central Time]
As the line inched forward, Queenie noticed her surroundings. Behind flickering torches, shadows sifted through the air and then into vapor like spores on plagues in the dark.
Rats the size of cats scurrying against buildings made her skin crawl. Pickpockets befriending little ol ’ladies made her blood boil. Shrill screams wailed and then echoed in the howling wind sent chills up her spine.
A streetwalker breezed by. The thought it could’ve been her mother made Queenie want to throw-up.
“What’s the matter, mother? Are you okay, mother?” Tiger had gone back to being an articulate and caring male at the age of one.
“Come here!” Queenie picked the boy up and sat him on her hip as the guard shouted.
“Law-abiding citizens in this line. Convicts in this line. Those with contagious diseases in this line.”
Tiger looked at his mother. To avert the boy’s gaze, Queenie looked over her shoulder at Heatherington, “that’s going to be a bit hard for you. Which line are you going to jump in Heatherington, dear? Let me see, says Heatherington to himself, the line for tu-berc-u-fucking-lo-sis or the line for arch criminals?”
Queenie knew how to make a man feel manly when she felt like it. The truth was, Heatherington was nothing but a lackey for Tiker, her son’s father, back in the day.
Heatherington, who was too busy consuming a white powder from a vile, snorted the substance and then patted his coat pocket. “Remember, I have these,” the weaselly thing joked.
It made Queenie want to laugh, or at least forget about the cesspool in which she and her son waded to get to the vessel that would take them to America!
“Mother!” Tiger squeezed his legs around her stomach and bosom. It was the closest feeling to being held.
“Yes, son!” Queenie looked at him and then at the sun beginning to peer upon the horizon.
“Listen!” Tiger’s eyes widened, and his smile broadened.
As Tiker limbered up, he realized it’d been a while since he held his dukes up for a living. The last fight he had was in a bar in New York on the day he arrived in America. It was with an Irishman claiming that all Englishmen were banned from the establishment, and if they wanted to stay, they had to fight him.
This was different. This was business. Botham’s business venture was to have him, and the men fight other men.
At first, Tiker thought it was an okay idea, but it was when Botham threw in, “and we shall put a wager on the fights, which you will take the lion’s share befitting your investment of blood and sweat. And I, a processing fee in keeping with my organizational skills.” Whatever that meant.
Tiker understood the lion’s share. It’s what his first promoter in London took. In fact, it’s what all his promoters back home took.
The thought of being a fight promoter in America made Tiker giddy. It would help pay for his journey to find his father. And then he would return to England to bring Queenie and Tiger back to America. It also allowed the men to pay him back the cost of buying them and for them to make purse for their life as freedmen.
The truth was Tiker had come to America to fight Jack K. Meehan, the boxing champion. He was the Bradley Mayers of America. Back in London, Tiker had fought Mayers numerous times under different names, each time diving more money than Mayers made. But there was one thing he needed—his father in his corner to make everything perfect.
Tiker rolled his right shoulder forward and then back. He hit it, testing it. Tiker grimaced through a grin as a sharp pain shot up his neck.
Before he could think about bringing Queenie and son to America. Before, he sought out champion boxer Meehan for a tilt at the title. And before he could free York and company to go forth and prosper, he had to pass Botham’s test in order to start what hopefully would be a profitable enterprise.
“Bofam! Tell me again, how’s this gonna wor’, that I’m the promo’er, but I’m the one doin’ the figh’in? Yeah? Run that by me again!” Tiker’s cockney accent came to the fore when he became excited or stressed.
Botham bowed his head for Tiker to move in closer to him so he could explain the strategy again as the doors at the other end of the barn opened, revealing what Tiker thought was a bear at first glance.
“Fark-ing-ell!” Tiker slapped himself on the face and then shook his head as if it would rid him of his current reality.
The only evidence that it was a homo sapien standing in the doorway was because it had clothes on instead of a coat of fur. An eerie silence wiped away the once spirited atmos in which Tiker felt confident.
“Now!” Botham whispered.
Tiker couldn’t help notice out the corner of his eye that the shadow cast by his opponent covered the entire ring, a square made from hay bales in the center of the barn. “Why are you whispering?” Tiker asked.
“I’m not sure, but here’s the strategy—”
“Did you just say tragedy?” Tiker quipped.
“No!” Botham became frustrated before calming down. “Okay, for a business to succeed the owner must be well versed in its service or product—”
“Oh! Got ya!” For me to lead the army, I got to be on the frontlines. Fucking hell, why didn’t anyone tell Napoleon that.” Tiker scoffed. And then he shouted, “Seventeen!” As he strode toward the darkened area in the barn.
“I beg your pardon?” Botham called out.
“Seventeen!” Tiker shouted out over his shoulder for the men to respond in kind.
NEW YORK 2019
A family of three holding hands in a chain led by a young dad skipped through the traffic. It reminded Lazoo that it was an off weekend—when Little Lazoo was with his mother, Genisis.
Friday afternoon and Manhattan’s shadows stretched beyond the Hudson reaching back in time to when Whitman walked these avenues stirring his mind myrrh until his muse forfeited her all to his whims and now hallowed ways.
A look-alike who was a young African American man in his early twenties with a fake white beard that reached down to his waist stood on a wooden box, reciting one of Walt’s odes to New York.
fifteen or twenty thousand in a week,
The carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses, the brown-faced sailors,
The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing clouds aloft…” *
Lazoo searched for his phone as the black Whitman continued to woo the growing crowd on the skirts of Time Square. Something told Lazoo to check the GUiOPERA.
“What the—” Lazoo uttered as he ran over the story so far.
Queenie and Tiger in London in 1865—immigrants. And Tiker the bare-knuckle boxer in post-civil war South. Terrence Miller, a young African American fresh out of the academy tempted by the NETWORK with an offer of working undercover as one of the most notorious agents the underworld has known.
As a node on f3quenZor, the signal was always stronger when there is another node close by.
“City of hurried and
sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!
City nested in bays! my city!” *
The kid on the make-do pulpit pointed skyward. It was well-documented that the original HANNIBAL AMMER back in the 1930s had designs on the title of POET SOLDIER. But he was overlooked for the job which was handed to Jon Pierre Solomon.
How fitting that the first black HANNIBAL AMMER is a connoisseur of Walt Whitman.
The threads of the GUiOPERA continued to swirl in the air, all of them meshing in a kaleidoscopic frenzy that ended with black Whitman confirming that he was indeed the other node.
“Seventeen! To the city of spires and masts!” He proclaimed for the music to begin.
Note: Emotional Techno Fiction is a sub-genre of Metafiction, a construct of Postmodernism.
* From poem “Mannahatta” by Walt Whitman