“Ma” Teresa was downhearted. Three days ago had been Sunday, Febry 301. Sunday was supposed to be a day of celebration, but when this Sunday came all the papers2 had said that she’d joined the mob3, that she was happy in that full-time job. Now the authorities were investigating her, her legitimate business contacts were shunning her.
Worse, her public reputation had plummeted. But she had a plan that would help with that, at least.
Her plane4 had taken off from Ballimore, and touched down on Bourbon Street. After she’d exited she found a phone booth, took a couple of smackers out of her pocket. But as she was about to step inside she saw the out-of-order sign on the door. “So here I am,” she thought, “standing outside a broken phone booth with money in my hand.” Fortunately, many stores sold self-phones5. She bought one, called her secret-cheery6. “I heard the New Yawk Kinkys’re playing a benefit game to support some school or something. They still looking for sponsors? If yes, we’re going to sponsor them. And if no, then we’ll make a vacancy, and sponsor them. I’ll be back in Ballmore by the weakening-end. Did you resvip7 me two invites to Ochay’s party? Good.”
“Ma” was over eighty8, and looked it. Short and stocky, wrinkled and large-nosed, she didn’t seem as though she was still sharp-minded. She was easy to underestimate, as many learned too late.
She continued walking, made another call. “Joe? It’s ‘Ma.’ I need a decision.”
Back in Ballmore Joe Jackson, operator of the “Shoeless,” stared at his self-phone. “I’m thinkin’ ’bout it. But I gotta tell ya. I’m gonna need more money. Fifty bucks9!” Joe was large-framed, not at all handsome. He dressed in cheap clothes, looked like he barely had two smackers to rub together. The truth was he had a small fortune socked away. But he had grown up poor, and no matter how much money he had, he still thought of himself as poor. And desperate.
“Fifty bucks?! Say it ain’t so, Joe. I can’t afford that! Thirty-five.”
“Forty. And that don’t include the show game before the regular game. Ain’t no way we’re throwing the display game. We ain’t losin’ to a bunch a amateurs.”
“Forty, then. And don’t worry about the display. That’s all right. No one bets on display, anyway.”
“Ma” ended the call. She had one more person to contact.
Less than thirty seconds later she was yelling. “Al! What are you trying to do to me?”
Al Capone, at the other end, shouted back. “‘Ma, I be th’ victim, here!” he yelled. They be lookin’ at me, not ye!” Al was a fat, fleshy man, with heavy eyebrows and thick lips. He was the biggest crime boss in Shy-town, but few people knew he actually answered to “Ma.”
“That’s your own damned fault! You’re the one who let the cops find your warehouse full of warcraft10. Which I normally wouldn’t care about, but after they’re done with you, they’ll come for your accomplices! And I know you’ll squirrel11 me out just to save your own self!”
“That b’aint be true. I would ne’er… Okay, I would! But ye would do th’ same t’ me!”
“Obviously. But the question is, what do we do? Because we are going to save me. Even if we have to save you in the process.”
“I jus’ be knowin’ that ye will think o’ somethin’. The gGrt preserve us all12!”
“Ma” answered back automatically, “the gGrt preserve us all13!”
 The length of a month was random, usually from twenty to forty days. People did not know how long any given month would be until nearly the last day. For this reason translating the modern date into its Motorized Age equivalent can be tricky. I am following Dislant’s Convention here in using the months of Year Zero to determine that today is Jun 14, 4025 A.D.E. (Fourteensday, Sevensmonth, 1291 Sovereignty Of KRG). Return to 1
 News was disseminated by hanging papers on walls, poles, and trees. Return to 2
 The mob was one of many competing criminal organizations. Other criminal organizations included the maffya, the jacuzzi, and the congress. Return to 3
 A plane was an ancient flying machine. It was noteworthy for attracting bad weather. Hence the saying, “the rain would deign to fall mainly on the plane.” Return to 4
 The primary form of long-distance communication. People took “selfies,” soaked them in “selfie-steam,” and presented “self-actual-lies.” The meanings have been lost. Return to 5
. A secret-cheery was a personal assistant. The word was a compound of “secret”, because secret-keeping was an important part of the job, and “cheery”, because secret-cherries were supposed to be cheery and happy. Return to 6
 A vip was a powerful person. To resvip is to reserve something for a vip. Return to 7
 It’s practically a cliché that the ancients died young, that few of them lived past age twenty-five. The truth is that many of them lived to age forty or older. Living to one hundred and thirty, while rare, was not unknown. Return to 8
 Although the buck traces its origin back to the Motorized Ages its value has severely decreased. For smaller everyday amounts the ancients used smackers or simoleons. One hundred smackers made one simoleon. One hundred simoleons made one buck. For a rough modern equivalent estimate multiply any smacker amount by 573400. Return to 9
 An exceedingly expensive and highly addictive drug. Return to 10
 An ancient who revealed secrets to the authorities he would be compared to a small rodent or bird. Return to 11
 I trust the reader will understand that this is a statement made by an evildoer. It does not represent my belief nor the belief of any good person. Every good person will join me in shouting “may the gGrt be forever damned!” Additional note: Some heretics claim that the gGrt (may they be forever damned!) have not been causing problems for humanity since the beginning of time. That they would not have been active, much less had followers, in the time period covered in this story. That they did not even appear until 25 SOK (2759 A.D.E.). We will devote as little time to such apostasy as possible. Return to 12
 May the gGrt be forever damned! Return to 13