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“Well,” I tell him, “it’s not a vintage Ferris Wheel or a Tilt-a-Whirl, but it’s something special all the same.”

I lead him to the stall that holds the leader of the gang and hit the light switch before I pull off the tarp.

“Tommy,” I say. “Meet Johnny Scales, the leader of the Mech Gang.”

I’ve seen him a thousand times and I still find it impressive whenever I take off the canvas covering. Scales stands six-foot-four with a barrel chest, arms and legs like enormous metal tentacles, and a head like a bucket with what appear to be two lights for eyes and a grill where his mouth would be if he were a man. He’s wearing oversize jeans and a cowboy hat, and has a six-gun strapped on. He’s not wearing a shirt. His curved chest door is open, showing an intricate tangle of clockwork parts.

I turn to Tommy and his reaction is everything I hoped it would be: shock and awe.

“My God,” he says. “It’s a freaking work of art.”

It takes him a long moment before he can tear his gaze away to look at me.

“Does it still work?”

“He,” I correct him, “and yes he does—after a fashion. Would you like to see?”

“Are you kidding me?”

I grin and walk over to Scales. Reaching into his chest, I flick a lever, then close the door. There’s a whirring sound inside his chest and after a long moment his eyes slowly begin to glow.

“Don’t much care for your tone, stranger.”

The voice is a recording and comes out of the mouth grill sounding like a radio just off the station.

Tommy takes a couple of steps back—I don’t think he’s even aware he’s doing it. I hold my hand over a holstered six-gun that I’m not carrying.

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