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Ever since they outlawed giving presents, only outlaws give presents.
What would happen if gift-giving and Christmas were outlawed? Some guys would do stuff just because they were told they couldn't. For a couple of young desperadoes, looking to make reputations, laws were meant to be broken … especially when they're hungry for pizza.
A short work of alternate history from our Orbits line.
Joshua Norton is bankrupt and desperate in antebellum San Francisco at a time when the whole nation seems to have gone mad. He discovers that madness is a viable option, and so becomes Joshua Norton I, dei gratia Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico; a position many people of the city happily accept.
He soon discovers, however, that even with the power of monarchy he cannot cure the unhappiness of the country or of himself. How can he help Marina, who wishes only to sing, or Sophia, who desires only wealth? Worse, how can he help himself - and what should he do with his secret treasure?
A work of historical fiction based on true events.