|A novel by Michael D. Smith
Published June 2020
mass market paperback (273 pages)
Members of a theatrical troupe find themselves leading a suicidal revolution against the CommWealth system, which has outlawed all private property.
Introduced six months ago, the CommWealth system has outlawed private property. Playwright Allan Larson has adjusted well to this new society, easily claiming umbrellas, mansions, and Porsches from fellow citizens. Any object from your house to the clothes you’re wearing can be demanded by anyone, to be enjoyed for thirty days before anyone else can request it. In order to make this society workable, CommWealth has implemented its Four Rules governing the transfer of property:
- I have thirty days’ enjoyment of this object.
- You may not ask me for anything for thirty days.
- I can only ask you once.
- You can never get it back.
Still obsessed with his ex-girlfriend Lisa after their breakup, Allan invokes the laws of CommWealth to demand ownership of her. Meanwhile bicycle mechanic and fledgling actor Richard Stapke seduces Jill Constantine, co-owner with her husband Steve of the Cup of Fog coffee shop, headquarters of the theatrical troupe Forensic Squad.
After a drunken Richard discloses that he’s secretly been writing novels and plays for years, Allan incautiously spreads the word that Richard is a genius. But an official CommWealth claim is made of Richard’s entire literary output, and the resulting five-volume Stapke Intimacies not only reveals Jill and Richard’s affair, but brings to light a twisted history of betrayals, double agents, and murder that propel Steve Constantine and other Forensic Squad members into a suicidal revolution.