“Part 1. Factory Boys” (Part of an ongoing story with Garrett Cook)
By Ash Lomen
Tommy the Stitchman sat, baggy saftypined pants spread out like a dress, on a little corner in a big factory town named Steamroe. The time-forgotten, low-grade cement of his perch was every bit as eggshell-cracked as his stitched-up face, every bit as cracked and broken as his unbeating heart.
A human, some yuppie scum on a skateboard with bling, whizzed by and threw the butt of an expensive cigarette in Tommy’s face. Tommy didn’t mind, he picked up the still lit butt and inhaled deeply, and when he exhaled a thin film of smoke poured out from every one of the many lacerations on his face, covering his grim countenance in a haze of tobacco and chemical smoke. For just a moment he felt hidden from the world.
He knew he was taking Shelly’s death harder than most. He really didn’t care much about his own life anymore. Of what worth is a man held together by stitches when those stitches are cut?
The second human skateboarder who threw a butt in his face, Tommy shot in the back with a crusty revolver.
The boy would never walk again… unless he wanted to undergo The Surgery. It would be a difficult choice for him.
He concealed his weapon, like anyone would give recycled-shit about a gunshot in Steamroe. It was a well know Stitch Town and as far as the humans were concerned, anyone who walked its blighted streets deserved whatever horror they got.
He watched the young skateboarder spasm, in unison with the sound of nearby cogwheels. Then (after pocketing his pack of smokes) he sat back down on his curbside cracks.
Tommy Paynphul smiled.
Perhaps Professor Adam Shelly had been wrong about civil disobedience all along…