The scion of a mayonnaise empire, Jamie wants more out of life than maintaining someone else’s creation while living up to their expectations. Running away from home as an adult doesn’t go the way he expects…but rather, exactly the way he needs.
“I came here not knowing what future I’d have. I stayed, because of the community I found—a thriving, creative, energetic community, that didn’t care where I’m from. They made room for me, asking only that I contribute, give a damn…and stick around for the consequences.”
A former divorce lawyer from out of state, Sherman owns the Titanic—the group’s flophouse on the imperiled Hampshire Street. He swears not to sell their house, even as the city pressures him to sell out ahead of redevelopment…but can he resist the temptation of destroying it even more dramatically?
“You know what I learned from being a divorce lawyer? Besides how to destroy someone’s life? I learned how power pretends to be truth. That the whole legal system is this juggernaut fueled by money and ambition. It takes people who want to fight for what’s right, and lets them suffer for their idealism until they burn out, or give in to how easy it is to make money off misfortune. They treated righteousness as a prize instead of a motive—whoever wins is right, all else be damned.”
The City Council representative for the Hampshire Street neighborhood and its environs, Dan finds himself in the unenviable position of standing on the front line of change he doesn’t necessarily want…and isn’t necessarily powerful enough to stop. The future is in his hands, as he chooses between self-interest and the ideals he once believed in.
“I didn’t shake his hand for the children. I shook it for myself—for my dignity, for my future, and yeah, because I’m scared. My district is changing—the city is changing—and there’s only so much I can do to make sure it’s done right, and to keep unneeded change out of my neighborhood.”
A fixture on the city’s art scene, Kate takes it upon herself to push back against the city when it tries to push the street artists farther into the shadows.
“Everyone has a fighting spirit. It’s just a question of how you use it, or if you spend your life afraid of it—afraid of yourself. The hardest thing, and the best thing, I’ve ever done, is learning to stand up for myself. I need more people in my life with that kind of courage—people who give a damn, and actually do something about it.”
Baptised in beer, named by firelight, hashers are reborn with new names that make it onto “pearl necklaces.” They live as Sherman and Jamie and Kate, but what happens at the hash—to Pabst Smirnoff, True Blue Balls, and Seventh Heaven—stays at the hash…most of the time.
Maxwell A. Naylor
The gray man funding the condos, hotels, and other developments that drive gentrification, Max stops at nothing to ensure a good return for his investors—whether that means buying politicians or encouraging police to burn down homes in the way of his bulldozers.
“The cause brings the people, and what better cause than making the streets safe? Than bringing the neighborhood up? Imagine the next generation, coming of age in gleaming townhomes with street level shopping, in a neighborhood with a quality of people better than…that.”
The city’s police chief becomes embroiled in intrigue as Councilman Grant and Mayor Tennerly pressure him to close Gispert’s, a dive bar on Hampshire Street. He’d rather track down the pelt-wearing madman who destroyed a police cruiser, and shutter an illicit brewery run by lunatics, but Boyer repeatedly gets caught between political power and peacekeeping duty.
A gentleman outlaw, Seasquatch has been trying to get out of town for years…but something keeps holding him back. Can his idea of radical freedom finally set him free?
“I didn’t ask to be born. And I’ll eventually die, if I wait around for something to kill me. I can do a lot in the meantime, which is the meaning of life or whatever, but the one thing I can truly control—the last freedom of man—is the freedom to choose life in the presence of a real alternative. I choose to live because I have a choice! I am enlightened!”
The voice of this town’s urban progressives, though she would never claim such a title, Cummy Bear speaks truth to power…even when it puts her at odds with her friends or brings her face to face with the banality of evil on the dark of a jogging trail.
“The nineteen nineties called,” she yells at the outset of a bar fight. “It wants its hate speech back.”
Eager to please the chief, and blithe to the consequences of his actions, Buffone follows orders with blind conviction…and can’t fathom why he keeps getting the shitty assignments, like tracking down the missing scion of a mayonnaise empire.
“There has to be something better to do with my time than stake a place out over a missing person who’s my age and in no obvious distress. This is my penance. I know he’s punishing me for that madman destroying my cruiser.”
Mayor Tennerly is caught between preserving the things she loves, and managing the inevitable change she knows will destroy much of it. That puts her at odds with the artists, hashers, and the money behind the scenes.
“The things that make this city so much fun, are evolutions during my lifetime. Change is inevitable, but it really seems like now we’re actually teetering on some kind of brink.”