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A Gift from Nessus by William McIlvanney

By William McIlvanney

Eddie Cameron is a salesperson for Rocklight Ltd., an electric apparatus company in Glasgow, the place he has been fiddling the firm's costs. Eddie's lifestyles is in tatters - his spouse hates him, and his violent mood has left his mistress teetering at the fringe of sanity.

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Joey saw angels and smelled Christmas spices all year round. He tended a garden of radio waves and injured stones. Sure, he had a few problems. " He never hit back when kids taunted him by snatching at his spiky hair; he just planted his big bare feet, almost as wide as they were long, and smiled. Returning good for bad, what could be more retarded? When Joey first heard "Little Egypt" by the Coasters on his old Philco, he thought it was a song about his hometown. The hipslinky beat didn't confuse him at all.

A good hunter, but not a fast learner, Wiley had disappointed his father in other ways. The Old Raccoon gave up trying to teach him the language of plants. Walkingstick spoke it so fluently, he'd followed Sequoyah's example and written his own syllabary. Not that he'd told anyone about it. Not even his sons knew of its existence; the time was not right. Wiley, contrary to his name, could not understand the dynamics of Network connections. He wasn't even interested in lower-level complexities: the politics of skirmish and negotiation that were bringing the Tsalagi nation to ruin.

Even before the Death Squad there were Travelers, riding solar butterflies, sucking waves of electromagnetic nectar. They rode buffalo too. When the Holy SixNorth, South, East, West, Up, and Downbend their vectors to a straight shot, laser through a hole in the fabric of totality, Travelers are calm, alert, and taking names. They sing through war, famine, and pestilence, through earthquakes, floods, and volcanic spewings. They tune harmonic strings in their wild stratospheric spin, play octaves of light to bridge us over the gulf between death and imagination.

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