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Last Whiteman Front Matter
As if Written by Robert E. Howard in May 1968
A Crackpot Book
Publisher Lynn Lockhart
Copyright 2021 James LaFond
...
Dust Cover
In the fateful year of 1968, Robert E. Howard, age 62, visiting editor L. Sprague de Camp in Philadelphia, is inspired by the urban riots of 1968, to travel to Baltimore and investigate events, having long ago given up writing fiction for travel writing. There, between April 30 and May 5 he writes what will be his final short novel, Last Whiteman, set in Baltimore City in the year 2068.
To the Reader
I was a boy when the riots of 2014 to 2020 announced that the world had begun to spin upon a new axis. My recourse was to seek into the past, to read the classic pulp writers of a century before. So it was that I formed Pulp Fiction Renaissance in the winter of 2021.
As the most relevant pulp writer of the 1920s and 30s to the person living in the 2020s and 2030s, Robert E. Howard grabbed my imagination. It was then, that I decided to mine for his unpublished works that languished in the open domain, and found a 1,500 word yarn titled The Last White Man.
Little did I know, that a day before being beaten to death by three black men while visiting Baltimore on May 7th, 1968 to investigate the mayhem of April 1968, that Howard had mailed the following manuscript to The John Birch Society. This, he had done after despairing of convincing L. Sprague de Camp that a mature rewrite of his long ago unpublished yarn of the last man of his race could be published through commercial channels.
Since the demise of The John Birch Society this past year, I was privileged—having law enforcement connections—to have received a copy of Howard's long lost manuscript discovered in a safe in the basement of the burnt out Wisconsin headquarters of that organization. As 2068, the year in which Howard set his most cryptic work, looms a mere decade off, I have decided to publish Last Whiteman, as a national treasure from another age, here, between the covers of this leather-bound edition.
April 1, 2062, Richard Barrett, Elkhorn Tavern, Arkansas
A Letter to The John Birch Society
Sirs,
I have written the following yarn after an olden fashion, of night in a brick row-home loft, having walked the streets of a city not mine, and no longer the home to the sons of those who built it in such strident stone. I despair of this work being published via traditional channels, and consign it to your safe keeping to do with as you will.
With Grave Sincerity,
Robert E. Howard,
May 6, 1968, Mount Royal Tavern, Baltimore, Maryland
Dedication
For Fred Kern, who was kind enough to permit this old Texan to attend the scrimmage of his football team, at Calvert Hall College for Boys in August of last year, being 1967.
Quote
“Come! let the burial rite be read–the funeral song be sung!
—An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young—
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.”
—Edgar Allen Poe, Lenore
Note
Inspired by some of my youthful works reflected upon as I strolled the nighted lanes of this monument city, wandering and wondering among Her bones as she lay unmourned by the faceless multitude who turns fearfully away. She, sooty Dame of the East, was bereft a hero—but not a poet...
For one has stumbled hence.
Of Her still gouting blood he has drunk deep.
Of Her rape, he seeks some distant sense.
In Her risen smoke he reads the fate of a race long asleep.
In Her shadow-haunted ways he inquiringly stalks, buck-tense.
From the tears she was not permitted to weep,
He seeks a future beyond the ken of posturing gents.
And so an old hack returns to the craft what of he made his bones.
In Honor of the Old Hands,
Robert E. Howard,
May 3, 1968, Half Past Midnight, the Mount Royal Tavern, Baltimore, Maryland
The Yarn to Wit
-1... A Whisper on the Morn
-2... A Drifter by Day
-3... A Barrister Pox Afternoon
-4... A Grifter at Sunset
-5... A Madness Alights
-6... A Grimly Risen Moon
-7... A Sister of Night
-8... A Sinister Tune
-9... A Minister of Kites
-10. A Master Automaton
-11. A Scent Like Sight
-12. A Recompense Moon
-13. A Sanguine Dawn Lights
-14. A Wake
“It has been carelessly said that he came Down from backward West Virginia.
It has been seriously opined that he drifted South out of depressed Pennsylvania.
It has been avidly said that he came East out of the storied West.
It has been deviously divined that he grifted North up from the dreaming South.
But it is not known, where he was born or from whence he was torn, for the man never spoke—not ever...not even once.”
-Eddie “Starch” the Barkeep, Mount Royal Tavern
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